It is with deep regret that we are reaching out to inform you of a very difficult decision we have been forced to make regarding this year's Benjamin Franklin Awards Celebration scheduled for Thursday, September 23.

After much consideration and conversations with the health department, our awardees Dr. Joan Prince and Arthur Harrington, and the event committee, we have come to the disappointing conclusion that we must cancel this years event due to the ongoing COVID pandemic and the risk of the variants. We all feel terrible, as we were so looking forward to spending the evening with you to raise support and awareness of your incredible Milwaukee Public Library.

Our honorees let us know that they were so grateful for our decision, and we will look forward to honoring them next year at the 2022 Benjamin Franklin Awards Celebration with all of the hoopla and fanfare they deserve.

As you may know, this event is our single largest fundraising event of the year.  The money raised at the event is essential to our community – especially at this time when the demand for library services is growing as a result of virtual classroom learning loss, no internet service at home and remote work – all which result in increased numbers of citizens flocking to use library resources. 

What you may not know is that the Milwaukee Public Library Foundation funds over 90% of the library’s programs each year and without the proceeds from our event, we are going to need the community’s support - now more than ever. 

A gift today will allow us to meet our commitment to Milwaukee Public Library and allow the library staff to continue offering the exemplary programs and services you have come to expect and enjoy.


Again, we are so sorry to have to cancel the biggest celebration of the year, but we do not feel comfortable exposing even one guest to the virus.  Your health and well being are important to all of us. 


Ryan E. Daniels - Executive Director, Milwaukee Public Library Foundation
Mary Sprague - Milwaukee Public Library Foundation Board President
Matthew Lueder - Benjamin Franklin Awards Celebration Event Chair
Milwaukee Public Library Foundation Board
James Kornfeld - Vice President
David Baum - Vice President
Matthew Simon - Secretary
Eve Romersi - Treasurer
Graham Baxter
Dr. Michele Bria
Charles Evans
Franklyn Gimbel
James Hyland
Bradley Kalscheur
Susan Lovern
Matthew Lueder
Robert Mlynarek
Jamshed Patel
Nancy Roos
Ellen Sexton
Margy Stratton
Shannon Sweek
Laura Zahn

Photos by Marshall Lee