Meet the Board of Directors and Staff

Front: Mary Rouse, Yvonne Schofer, Catrina Sparkman, Toni Good, Rick Pifer, Maria Saffiotti Dale, Al Friedman, Robin Rider. Back: Oscar Mireles, Laura Monahan, Michael Chaim, Kathryn Jones, Joanne Berg, Rich Leffler, Libby Theune (administrator), Pat Bender, Jim Dast, Josh Calhoun, Bill Reeder.

The Friends of the UW-Madison Libraries are governed by a Board of Directors all of whom are volunteers.  They come from all walks of life but all have a love for libraries. Monthly board meetings are held during the regular school year.  There are also two part-time staff that implement the programs developed by the Board.

2016-2017 Board of Directors

PAT BENDER is a teacher and lifelong student, and the Libraries represent to her a permanent repository of knowledge. Membership in the Friends is a way to help ensure that this knowledge is preserved for future generations. Pat values her membership in the Friends because it provides her with a community of thoughtful and dedicated readers, and provides a practical way to assist the development of the Libraries for the coming generation. “Working together we can make a real contribution to the advancement of knowledge.”

JOANNE BERG is the owner of Mystery to Me, an independent bookstore located on Monroe Street in Madison. Prior to opening the store, Joanne worked at the UW-Madison for 25 years in various positions, retiring as Vice Provost for Enrollment Management. Joanne is an avid reader and lover of all things book-related. She is passionate about ensuring that UW-Madison continues to be a leader in providing state-of-the-art library resources.

MICHAEL CHAIM, the current board president, was in the book business for almost 25 years and books continue to be an interest and passion for him. His involvement in the Friends provides him with an opportunity to support the Libraries’ goal of making the knowledge of the campus libraries available to the scholarly community and the general public. Michael states, “I also benefit from the Libraries because they give me the opportunity to read long out-of-print books, hear rare recordings, and experience many other treasures of the Libraries.” He thoroughly enjoys working with an organization that advocates for this incredible institution.

JOSHUA  CALHOUN is an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who specializes in Shakespeare, 16th- & 17th-century poetry, and the history of media. He also teaches occasional courses in the environmental humanities and is a Faculty Affiliate at the Nelson Institute’s Center for Culture, History, and the Environment (CHE). In his teaching and research, he gets to explore three things he loves (and thinks everyone else should love, too): Shakespeare, old books, & nature.

MARIA SAFFIOTTI DALE,  is curator of paintings, sculpture, and decorative arts at the Chazen Museum of Art at UW–Madison. She has been on the Friends Board since 2005. Maria has an expertise in medieval and Renaissance illuminated manuscripts and a passion for old books. “Understanding how books were made—the archaeology of the book—can lead to a better understanding of history and culture.” Maria believes that the Libraries play a crucial role in preserving that history and the Friends help support campus libraries in this important mission.

JIM DAST is a graduate of Michigan State University and has two master degrees from the UW–Madison. He retired in 1997 after serving for 20 years as the conservator of the UW Libraries general library collections. He has been significantly involved with the Friends Book Sale since its inception and has been manager since about 2006. He is also an active volunteer with the Habitat for Humanity (HFH) deconstruction crew and their west-side Restore. “The collections of the Libraries are an almost incomprehensibly vast cultural, intellectual, and academic resource. Serving as a member and volunteer for the Friends gives me the opportunity, in some small way, to contribute to that resource.”

JOHN DILLON, formerly European Humanities Bibliographer at Memorial Library, retired from the UW–Madison Libraries in August 2012 as Distinguished Academic Librarian. He continues to have a scholarly interest in aspects of medieval and early modern literary writing in Latin. The campus libraries are important to him as a scholar because their collections and services offer irreplaceable assistance in his scholarly work. And they are important to him as a citizen inasmuch as they constitute an extraordinary public resource supporting higher learning and discovery across a great multitude of disciplines. John is involved with the Friends of the Libraries because it provides him an opportunity to continue service on behalf of the remarkable libraries at UW–Madison.

JIM FLEMING has loved books and libraries for as long as he can remember.  He has fond associations with the Carnegie Libraries of his youth and of all the time he spent in the stacks at the UW Main Library when he was a student.  He has worked at Wisconsin Public Radio where for twenty-five years was the host of the Peabody Award winning program To the Best Our Knowledge.  He has recorded books for WPR’s longest running program Chapter A Day for almost forty years, and hosted other programs including the morning classical music on WPR.  He counts himself fortunate to have been able to make a career out of something he loves.

KEN FRAZIER is the director emeritus of the UW–Madison Libraries and continues to be a strong supporter of Wisconsin’s academic and public libraries. The Libraries, together with the Wisconsin Historical Society Library, are important to him because they serve as our state’s deepest resource for people who have scholarly, historical, or scientific interests. “I’m a member of the Friends because I’ve seen what a difference it makes when a university community has a great library and library services. At the end of the day, we in the Friends are ‘book people’ and whatever technological format books may have in the future . . . we know that reading and the ‘printed word’ can transform a person’s world at all stages of life.”

AL FRIEDMAN worked in publishing and campus communication at UW–Madison for over thirty years until his retirement in 2010. He now serves on three volunteer boards (two on campus) and spends most of his free time on his farm near Spring Green. Libraries of all kinds are important to Al. “To me, every library is an archive of what we knew (or thought we knew) and a starting place for what we can create, discover, and prove.” Working with the Friends, he hopes to help secure those aspects of campus libraries that attract students and scholars as they collaborate and pursue new lines of thought.

TONI GOOD is an editor at Creative Services within University Marketing. She views libraries as essential to our campus and to society as a whole because of their role in expanding and preserving knowledge. Toni studied journalism and political science at UW-Madison. She has worked on campus for more than three decades.

KATHRYN JONES, the current board treasurer, is the registrar at the UW Zoological Museum (UWZM). She maintains and manages information concerning those collections and she prepares accession records for animals which come to the Museum from research programs, Department of Natural Resources, or local zoos. She also works with the UWZM Galapagos Collection and makes regular trips to those islands. Kathryn is an avid gardener and maintains a beautiful residence in Stoughton. She has served on the Friends board since 2009. Kathryn values the importance of accessible and comprehensive scholarly collections whether they are skeletons or books.

RICH LEFFLER, the current board vice president, is an editor emeritus of the Documentary History of the Ratification of the Constitution at UW–Madison, which publishes all of the debates that took place over ratifying the Constitution and the Bill of Rights in 1787–1791. The UW Libraries are important to him because his academic life has consisted of research that is made possible on this campus by the magnificent collections of the Wisconsin Historical Society and Memorial Library. Rich became involved with the Friends because, “It gives me an opportunity to give back to the Libraries all they have provided to me and to help during these fiscally challenging times.”

OSCAR MIRELES, the current board secretary, has been Executive Director for Omega School for over 22 years. In 2016, Oscar Mireles was recognized by In Business Magazine as one of the “15 Most Influential People in Dane County”, selected to the “M” List by Madison Magazine, and acknowledged by as one of “the 48 most powerful Latinos in Wisconsin”.  He is the Chair of the Latino Consortium for Action (LCA), a coalition of Latino organizations and associations in Dane County. He serves on the Board of Directors of One City Learning Center, Madison Museum of Contemporary Arts (MMOCA), UW-Madison Friends of the Library and Boys and Girls Club of Dane County. He is also the Poet Laureate for the City of Madison. (2016-18).

LAURA MONAHAN is the Curator of Collections at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Zoological Museum.  Laura has a bachelors degree in Anthropology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a masters degree in Anthropology with a focus in Archaeology and a minor in Museum Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.  After training at the Milwaukee Public Museum, she worked at the San Diego Natural History Museum for a couple of years, before returning to Madison for a position at the Zoological Museum in 2006. In addition to her responsibilities as curator at the Museum, Laura also teaches a course entitled Introduction to Museum Studies in the Natural Sciences.  Laura sees libraries and museums as having similar goals and opportunities, and she considers them to be integral to teaching and learning.  As an essential part of the Zoological Museum, she has encouraged expansion of the small specialist library serving that organization and their students of biological systematics.

RICK PIFER retired in 2015 as Director of Public Services for the Wisconsin Historical Society’s Library and Archives after 35 years as an archivist and librarian.  In addition, he taught archival methods for 22 years at the UW-Madison’s School of Library and Information Studies. Now, as a freelance historian he takes great pleasure in using the resources of the UW Libraries and the Wisconsin Historical Society, two of the greatest libraries in the nation. For the last four years he has focused on the Wisconsin experience during World War I. Dr. Pifer is the author of The Great War Comes To Wisconsin: Sacrifice, Patriotism and Free Speech in a Time of Crisis (2017), as well as A City at War: Milwaukee Labor During World War II (2003).

BILL REEDER has had a long-standing career in and love for zoology. He has worked as a professor of zoology at UW–Madison and the University of Texas–Austin as well as director of the UW Zoological Museum and the Texas Memorial Museum. He grew up around books, as his father was a career-long teacher of bookbinding. Bill also has a lifelong interest in the history of printing and typography and has donated volumes to the campus libraries and Special Collections. He has been involved with the Friends since 1989 in part because they provide library outreach as well as bringing support—monetary and in-kind—to the campus libraries. He currently is also volunteering at the Zoological Museum, especially working on continued development of the Zoological Museum Library.

MARY ROUSE has been an academic staff member at the UW–Madison and a community servant for more than forty years. She was the director of the Morgridge Center for Public Service (MCPS) from 1999 to 2005, which she established in 1996 together with other campus leaders. Currently, she serves as a part-time consultant there. From 1998 to 2000 she held the position of Dean of Students/Chief Student Affairs Office. Committed to education, lifelong public service and civic engagement on and off campus, she is a member of several organizations, including the Friends Board, The Friends of the WSUM student radio, the Wisconsin Campus Compact Executive Committee, and Downtown Rotary of Madison.

YVONNE SCHOFER, was the humanities-English bibliographer at Memorial Library from 1980 until her retirement in 2007. She maintained and developed several historically remarkable collections in literature, language, film and theatre, which are housed both in the Memorial stacks and Special Collections. She became a Friend of the Libraries at the start of her career and was invited to join the Board shortly after retirement. As a recipient of the Friends’ grants for special projects during her years at Memorial, she is particularly interested in promoting and supporting collection development efforts, through the awarding of acquisition grants to selectors, especially in these times of inadequate budgets.

CATRINA SPARKMAN is a playwright and author of multiple works of fiction and non-fiction. She is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin Madison with a Bachelors of Arts in English, Creative Writing and a Masters in African American Studies. Catrina teaches Theatre and Drama at the University of Wisconsin. She also works as a content writer, a theatrical consultant, workshop trainer, and public speaker for various national and international organizations. Catrina has been a lifelong lover of the library system. She makes her home in Madison, WI with her husband, Wesley Sparkman and their three beautiful children.

Meet the staff

Libby Theune, the Administrator, is a social worker by education.  She worked a decade in international adoption and then a dozen years in public libraries in Colorado.  While coordinating adult and senior programming for the library, she experienced the support of a tremendous Friends organization and appreciates the impact an active group can have on both their libraries and their communities.  She loves book groups, travel, and is an active lifelong learner.