What is the Library Foundation?

The Gail Borden Public Library Foundation supports and celebrates the library’s quest to enhance literacy in this community and to sustain a world-class library district.  Last year, a staggering 1.2 million people visited the Library and checked out more than 2.3 million items.  This would not be possible without dedicated supporters. Strong libraries strengthen communities. Your support of the Gail Borden Public Library Foundation makes a tangible difference for everyone who uses our Library’s extraordinary services and resources.

We support reading initiatives, engaging exhibits that have changed lives, capital projects and more.  The Foundation is a nonprofit organization and donations are tax exempt.

This Library Started as a Gift

Library service in this community was built on a donation. Over 100 years ago, Samuel and Alfred Church gave the gift of a building to the citizens of Elgin Township as a new home for its library. They specified only that the library thereafter be known as the Gail Borden Public Library, in honor of their stepfather, Gail Borden.

The Gail Borden Public Library has been a vibrant educational and cultural institution, providing quality services, programs and collections.  By engaging and enriching the lives of readers of all ages, from Baby Rhyme Time for infants to computer classes for seniors, the library has been a leader in transforming lives. As new fields of knowledge and formats develop and as needs change, the library board and staff work to ensure that community needs are met.  

In 1993, the Gail Borden Public Library Foundation was established to provide resources and financial support to extend and improve library services and collections.  Through their efforts, the library’s new building, which opened in 2003, was enhanced with a terrazzo floor, a copper roof and a fireplace.   Other Foundation endeavors include purchase of a grand piano, providing a quality instrument for a concert series and other special events; support for museum-quality exhibits to stimulate the mind and encourage reading for all ages; and fundraising for the tile mural to enhance the beauty of the Rakow Branch Library.


Who Manages the Gail Borden Public Library Foundation?


The Library Foundation is guided by a Board of Directors comprised of public members at large and up to two of the trustees of the Gail Borden Public Library. Inquiries regarding the Foundation may be made to the Library, or any of the Foundation Directors listed below. Send an e-mail inquiry to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .



Karen Fox

    Photo of Jo Ann Armenta

Jo Ann Armenta


Yaneth Medina


Mike Lee
Vice President

  Nicole Buchanan Nicole Buchanan
  Janet_Pritza.png Janet Pritza

Barbara Flanigan

  krugerbeth.jpg Beth Kruger
  JohnShales.jpg John Shales

Laura Bedolla

  larson.png Paul Larson

  siete-linda.png Linda Siete
      Mike McKay Mike McKay
  turnquist.png Jerry Turnquist








Director Emeritus

       From the time he made Elgin his home in 1950, E.C. (Mike) Alft has made significant contributions. A teacher, constant reader, mayor and local historian, he has written more than a dozen books and booklets – one a history of Gail Borden Library.  Much of his life has been spent in libraries:  he is recognized as an ever-present user of Gail Borden Library, having spent nearly sixty years gleaning facts, trivia and curiosities from books and microfilm.

Directors Emeriti

       Jack and Marlene Shales made a great team, working together to help the community and touching many lives. They were high school sweethearts at Elgin High School, graduating with the class of 1949. Together they raised four children and created a life in Elgin.

       They passionately believed in giving to their community, serving on several nonprofit boards and financially supporting many organizations to help others. For example, Jack was involved in United Way of Elgin campaigns for more than 60 years. A health professional who worked at several area healthcare organizations including Sherman Hospital, Marlene served on many local boards including the Elgin City Council for two terms and the Gail Borden Library Foundation from 2001 to 2018. 


Director Emeritus

        Harry Blizzard and his wife, Phyllis, moved to Elgin in the 1950's. Raising four children and running his own business, as well as traveling throughout Europe and the United States with his family, did not keep him from becoming involved in the Elgin community. He served on the boards of Elgin Community College, the Elgin Symphony Orchestra, Elgin YMCA and Elgin Historical Society.