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Library Takeover

Library Takeover Header

What is Library Takeover?

Library Takeover is a program created to to support communities to make their idea happen at the library! We hope that by providing space, time, and resources for community members to host their own events, we'll not only have fun, exciting, events, but we'll also be setting the stage for future library programming that involves and reflects all of Madison.

As of midnight on October 1, 2021, applications for the upcoming round of Library Takeover (Round 3) are closed,

Teams will be notified by October 22, 2021 whether or not they have been chosen to participate in this program. Up to 3 teams will be selected.

For questions about Library Takeover, please contact

More Takeover

Find out about previous Library Takeover events and community partners on the Past Library Takeover Programs page.

Meet the Mentors

Sarah Akawa will serve as a mentor for the 2021-2022 Library Takeover ProgramSarah Akawa:

Sarah Akawa is an advocate for queer nightlife and inclusive spaces. Akawa is a DJ and producer operating under the name Saint Saunter, and has put extensive effort into booking queer-focused dance parties, live music events, and art shows at venues around town. In 2019, Akawa ran the multi-genre summer festival series Hot Summer Gays, as well as Queer IRL, a monthly queer dance party.


Rob Dz will serve as a mentor for the 2021-2022 Library Takeover ProgramRob Dz:

Rob Dz is a Madison-based Hip Hop artist and activist. He currently works as the Media Projects Bubblerarian at the Madison Public Library. He is the creator of the Mad Lit event series on the 100 block of State Street that focuses on creating a more inclusive downtown by bringing in music, art and businesses of color throughout the summer. One of his songs is the inspiration for the title of American Family Insurance’s book, Let’s Talk About It, which memorializes the mural art downtown following the civil unrest of 2020. 

Rachel Werner will serve as a mentor for the 2021-2022 Library Takeover ProgramRachel Werner:

Rachel Werner is the founder of The Little Book Project WI, a bi-annual community arts and nonprofit printmaking collaboration. Her literary writing and craft essays have been published by Off Menu Press, Digging Through The Fat, and Voyage YA Literary Journal. A selection of Rachel's recipes are also included in Wisconsin Cocktails (UW-Press, 2020)—and her poetry in the anthology Hope is the Thing: Wisconsinites on Perseverance in a Pandemic (The Wisconsin Historical Society, 2021).

Frequently Asked Questions

Application for Round 3 of Library Takeover are not yet available. Please contact us at for general questions, or if you would like to be notified when applications are open.

1. What exactly is Library Takeover?

Teams of community members pitch event ideas they’d like to do at the Madison Public Library. A panel of volunteer reviewers picks up to three event ideas, and those ideas are supported with the following:

  • Funding (more on that below) to support your event
  • Free space in the library to hold your event
  • Event planning workshops to turn your ideas into action and meet with your team
  • Guidance from experienced event organizers and mentors

2. How are event ideas chosen for Library Takeover?

We are looking for event ideas from community members who do not typically have access to resources for big community events. Specifically, no non-profits, institutions, or government agencies. Here are some details our reviewers will look for in applications:

  • Inclusivity - that the event is widely inclusive, or elevates a specific underrepresented group
  • Community - that attendees will feel a sense of community at the event
  • Impact - that the idea will have a life beyond or outside of a single event

3. What is the timeline for Library Takeover Round 3?

  • Applications open on September 1st and close on October 1, 2021. 
  • Teams will be notified of their status the week of October 18th, 2021. 
  • Event planning workshops will be held at the Central Library (201 W Mifflin Street) Tuesday nights on November 9, 16, 30 and December 7, 6-7:30 p.m.
  • Events will take place in Spring of 2022

4. Who can participate?

Any group of 3-4 people who have an idea and are willing to attend four sessions to learn about event planning is welcome to apply. However, the entire team can’t be associated with an existing institution like a school, a government agency, or a non-profit organization.

5. What kind of event can I plan?

Anything that’s free and open to the public will be considered. We encourage you to think outside the box! All we ask is that the event be held at the Madison Public Library by May 31, 2022.

6. Will there funding available for the events?

Yes. Each team will have $2000 to spend on their event. How you use the money is flexible but there may be some restrictions on how the money can be spent. Don’t worry too much about budget details at this point--if your idea is accepted, we’ll work with you to figure out how to make it happen.

7. Do I need to have event planning experience?

Not at all! We will help you plan your event from idea to clean-up. At the four-part series of workshops, you’ll hear from other event organizers about how to plan an event, from budgeting to marketing to day-of logistics.

8. How will I be compensated for my time working on the Library Takeover program?

Participants will each receive a $400 stipend and a certificate of completion from Madison Public Library. We will also provide language for you to use to explain this experience on your resume and in job interviews.

9. I’m an individual that wants to do this program. Can I sign up solo?

Individual signup is NOT available for this program. If you can find two people to join you, you can sign up as a team.

10. Can I bring my child with me to the sessions?

Childcare and refreshments will be provided for any children over the age of 3.

11. Where and when will the planning sessions be held?

The four-part series of workshops will be held at the Central Library (201 W Mifflin Street) Tuesday nights on November 9, 16, 30 and December 7, 6-7:30 p.m. Refreshments are provided for Library Takeover participants and their children. Depending on when your event is going to take place, we may ask that you schedule a few more informal meetings with your group to check in before the event.

12. Are you providing transportation to the bootcamp sessions?

Bus or parking passes may be provided.

13. Do I need to attend all of the workshops?

At least two people from each team need to attend each bootcamp session so that the event planning process can move forward. In order to receive the certificate of completion, all participants need to attend at least 3 of the 4 workshops.

14. What does Library Takeover look like if COVID-19 safety guidelines change?

We are staying on our current timeline for Round 3 (see #3), with the understanding that some of the workshops or events that are part of Library Takeover may need to be moved online or otherwise be social-distancing-friendly. Any updates or changes to the program will be informed by current Dane County Public Health guidelines and recommendations.

15. I have a hard time getting my ideas down on paper. How can I get some assistance filling out the application?

Library staff at any Madison Public Library location can help fill out the application. You can reach out to staff by email at, by calling Central Library at 608-266-6350, or DM us (@madisonlibrary on Twitter or @MadisonPublicLibrary on Instagram and Facebook) and we’ll connect with you that way. Help may also be available through the Madison Writing Assistance program.



This program was made possible in part by generous support from: