Bayfield Carnegie Library Endowment Fund Reaches Milestone

BAYFIELD — The Bayfield Carnegie Library, thanks to a generous lead gift from Kimberly West Rymer and dozens of other individuals, has successfully met its first-year strategic goal to fully fund its permanent organizational endowment. The permanent endowment’s earnings will supplement operating funds in perpetuity because revenue is produced from the earnings on the untouched principal invested with the Apostle Islands Community Fund of the Duluth Superior Community Foundation.

“We are thrilled to reach this first major, key goal for the endowment,” said Blair Nelson, director of the Bayfield Carnegie Library. “Exceeding our objectives is exactly the direction we want to go, and as the community recognizes this they will be more likely to support the endowment going forward.”

The endowment fund provides stability to the idea espoused by Andrew Carnegie “a library outranks any other one thing a community can do to benefit its people. It is a never-failing spring in the desert.” The endowment fund provides the pure water — in perpetuity — to that spring.

As of this month, the fund has reached an amount of $25,932, nearly $1,000 over the minimum for the fund to start generating income for the Library. The Library has established a much higher amount ($100,000) as a goal for the fund because the more money is in the fund, the more interest earnings will provide annual funds in the future.

”The endowment fund is like building another brownstone foundation for this important cultural institution in Bayfield,” said Don Albrecht, a Library Board member. “While it will take years to have enough earnings from the fund, the method builds the potential for ongoing financial stability.”

The Library can expect income from the fund starting in 2017 once the principal has a chance to generate interest. Additional donations to the fund are always welcome and can be sent to the Bayfield Carnegie Library or directly to the Bayfield Carnegie Library Endowment Fund at the Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation, 222 E. Superior Street, Suite 302, Duluth, Minn. 55802.

This year the Library created a new five-year Strategic Plan (copies available at the Library). In addition to establishing the endowment, certain physical renovations, and new bylaws, the Plan formalized the Library’s new mission statement: “The mission of the Bayfield Carnegie Library is to be a compass for curious minds.”

The Bayfield Library is one of the oldest free public libraries in Wisconsin. Established in 1857 under the auspices of the Bayfield Lyceum the Library created into its own Association in 1875 and flourished out of a room at Bayfield’s first courthouse. The first Library Board formed in 1893.

Architect Henry Wildhagen provided a “pleasing and elegant design” in the Greek Revival style with striking iconic columns of locally quarried brownstone for the Carnegie-funded new facility, constructed in 1903. The cornerstone was laid with great ceremony from local Masons, the Bayfield city band, and a large crowd on Aug. 19, 1903.

The Bayfield Carnegie Library was named to the National Register of Historic Places as part of the Bayfield Historic District on Nov. 25, 1980.
— Bayfield County Journal, Sept 11, 2016