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Four honored for donations to New London library

Friends memberships keep programs running

By Scott Bellile

New London Public Library has been a second home for Judy McDaniel, from growing up on Spring Street in the 1950s to serving on the library and museum board today.

“I lived a block away from here growing up and I used to come here all the time, to the museum and to the library,” McDaniel said. “And when I was in high school I was a librarian at school. I spend a lot of time here.”

She and three other devotees of the library recently achieved lifetime status in the Friends of the New London Public Library organization by donating four-figure gifts.

McDaniel and fellow library and museum board member Betty Roberts gave $1,000 individually to New London Public Library.

Connie and Chuck Zolkoske gifted $1,000 as a couple.

The foursome join a small group of donors who achieved lifetime status in the friends group’s 15-year history: Cornelius Van Hanel, Milton and Trudy Staskal and Ron Steinhorst.

Roberts moved to New London 29 years ago and possesses a master’s degree in library science, so her view of her local library comes from the perspective of a nonlocal expert.

“Libraries [have] always been a part of my life,” Roberts said. “And I really like the way New London Library handles its programs. And the staff is awesome.”

Friends of the New London Library has funded many purchases and programs over the years, including:

• Licensing to hold public movie screenings.

• A popcorn machine.

• A refrigerator for staff.

• Prizes to give away during the summer reading program.

• Nursery Buckets, which are children’s activity kits that are rented out to local preschools and daycares.

“We pay for anything the library doesn’t have a budget for,” said Connie Zolkoske, an active volunteer for the friends group.

The new lifetime donors said public libraries remain relevant today because they are about more than checking out books.

People visit the library for meeting space, computers, tutoring and even help using their smartphones.

“I wouldn’t live in the town without a good public library,” Connie Zolkoske said. “It’s the lifeblood of a community.”

Patrons looking to support the library can purchase one of three annual memberships: $10 for an individual, $20 for a family or $50 for a business or organization.

A fourth option of donating $1,000 will get a person a lifetime membership.

To join, drop by New London Public Library at 406 S. Pearl St. or call 920-982-8519.

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