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50th Anniversary LogoIn 1969 Director of Public Libraries Harold Sander realized a longstanding dream when he established The Indianapolis Public Library Foundation. Mr. Sander chaired the first meeting of the Library Foundation’s Board of Directors that day. The Board had been selected by Mr. Sander and was made up of a cross-section of leaders committed to advancing the purposes for which the Foundation was established. The Foundation would be an organization that could assure the continued growth of the Library and provide for constantly expanding services and facilities. Mr. Sander saw the Foundation as a vehicle to stimulate public support for the Library, disseminate information to the public, increase the resources of the Library through gifts and bequests, increase awareness of current resources, and encourage an appreciation of Library services.


In November 1992, the Foundation Board of Directors hired Danny R. Dean as the first staff member and President of the Library Foundation. For six years, staff consisted of the President and an Administrative Assistant. During this period, the Library Foundation’s annual revenues doubled, and its net assets grew more than threefold. In 2002 a capital campaign (also known as The Imagine Campaign) raised approximately $44.5 million to support the expansion and renovation of Central Library. In the summer of 2003, Phase II of the Imagine Campaign was initiated with the goal of creating endowments that would support programming throughout the Library system. The Imagine II Campaign raised more than $4 million to support programming in three key areas: Early Childhood Literacy, Cultural and Community Programming and Lifelong Learning Initiatives. 


By the end of 2007, the Foundation’s annual revenues had grown to more than $4 million, with net assets of more than $17 million – more than 10 times the amount during Mr. Dean’s first year. 2009 brought the inaugural year of the Eugene & Marilyn Glick Indiana Authors Award. Made possible by a generous gift from The Glick Fund, a fund of the Central Indiana Community Foundation, the program sought to recognize and reward the contributions of Indiana authors to the literary landscape of the state and beyond. The Indiana Authors Award also gave the Library Foundation an annual signature event and fundraiser in the form of its Award Dinner. In 2016, following the decades-long tenure of Mr. Dean, the Foundation Board of Directors named Roberta K. Jaggers as President of The Indianapolis Public Library Foundation. She leads an eight-person staff that includes herself, a Director of Development, two Development Officers, a Stewardship Assistant, an Office Manager, and Office Assistant/Bookkeeper and an Administrative Assistant.


Since its inception, the Library Foundation has funded countless programs throughout The Indianapolis Public Library system ranging from children’s story hours to arts and cultural programs to early literacy initiatives and more. Major initiatives funded by the Library Foundation include: the Marian McFadden Memorial Lecture Series, which brings a nationally known author to Indianapolis each year to present a free public lecture; the Summer Reading Program, which annually draws more than 55,000 participants and encourages children to read throughout the summer; the Job Center, which assists job-seekers in researching employment opportunities, preparing application materials and filing for unemployment benefits; the eBook Tinker Station which teaches patrons how to use eReaders and the Library’s growing digital collection; and many more. Please explore Foundation history in this digital collection, made possible by Friends of the Library through gifts to The Indianapolis Public Library Foundation. 



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