Friends of APL Feasbility Study

Friends of Appleton Public Library recently hired Library Strategies, an independent consulting group with 24 years of experience conducting accurate feasibility studies across the nation solely for libraries. Friends of APL hired this consulting group for two reasons:

1) To quantify the private financial support and

2) To learn from a neutral source what major donors really think about the proposed library project.

It was important for the city’s budget figures to set accurate and realistic expectations for the private portion of the public/private partnership envisioned for a new library. After private interviews this summer with individuals and organizations identified as potential major donors, here were the key findings for our area:

• Appleton Public Library is a valued asset of the community and is highly regarded by donors.
• Donors affirmed the need for a new library and the current timing.
• There’s a strong philanthropic culture and a sophisticated understanding of public/private partnerships here.
• The bluff site is important to many donors, who see it fostering economic development for downtown, serving as a gateway to the city and reflecting our civic values.
• Friends of APL can realistically expect to raise $7 million for the proposed new library.

The projected cost for the new proposed APL is just under $37 million, making the private share about 20 percent. These private donations would exceed the last six years’ national average for new library building projects. More important, they would provide a margin of excellence that can be achieved with private donations.