We're a group of committed volunteers who believe in the value of Geneva Public Library and want to make a difference by devoting our time to supporting philanthropy. We aim to positively impact our community by raising funds and helping make it possible for everyone in our community to discover, inspire, and grow.
We meet monthly to set fundraising goals, plan events, and stay informed about the Library. We hope you'll consider joining us a fellow volunteer or donor!
Foundation Vice President
Michael Longo has lived in Geneva for over 20 years. He is a retired Engineering Director and holds a BSEE from the University of Michigan and a MS Comp Sci from DePaul University.
He became a member of the Foundation in 2006. His family enjoys the Geneva Public Library immensely and feels his support of the Foundation is one way he can give back to this wonderful institution and the community it serves.
He is married to Sally and they have three children, Rachel, Cassandra, and Julianna.
Peter Evans is an attorney with a Chicago law firm where he focuses on commercial litigation. He holds a J.D. from Vanderbilt Law School, where he also earned a certificate in law and business, and a B.S. in business from Purdue University. Peter joined the Geneva Library Foundation in 2014. As a child growing up in Geneva, he participated in many of the programs and activities put on by the Geneva Public Library. Working with the Foundation has provided him the opportunity to support the programs that played such an important part in his childhood. Peter and his wife, Maureen, look forward to their children enjoying the increasingly diverse programs offered by the library.
Martha Paschke has lived in Geneva since 2002 with her husband, Jeremy. They continue to enjoy raising their three children, Hannah, Eli, and Evie in this remarkable community. Martha works as a childbirth educator, labor doula, and substitute teacher.
She joined the Foundation in 2016, wanting to be a more active participant in her community. With so much time spent at the library with her young kids and through her own work and research, giving back in this way has been a perfect fit.
Andy Wilson lives in Geneva with his wife, Kim, and son, Alex. Since moving to Geneva in 2003, Andy and his family have been active users and supporters of the Library and childhood literacy projects. Andy is a partner with a global accounting firm specializing in M&A. He graduated with a B.A. in History from Carleton College and holds a M.S. in Accounting from DePaul. Andy is excited about the transformation the library is undergoing over the next few years and the role the Foundation can have in supporting the journey.
Alexa Schwab has been a proud Geneva resident since 2006. She is a realtor with @properties, where she enjoys helping families discover all that Geneva has to offer, including its wonderful library. Previously, she spent several years writing about the Tri-Cities for the Chicago Tribune. Alexa also serves on the city’s Strategic Planning Advisory Committee. She joined the Foundation in 2019 and is excited to give back to the library where she, her husband Jay, and her three children have spent so many happy hours.
Full funding received - work to complete this project is underway
Thanks to the fundraising efforts spearheaded by Nancy Hoelscher Bell and Patricia Hoelscher Kessler, including a generous donation from P. Christopher DuBois, Library patrons and others will soon have full searchable access to The Geneva Republican once the Library fully digitizes this local, unique historical record that covers nearly 140 years of Geneva's people, events, and institutions.
Since 1878,The Republican has recorded and reported on births, deaths, marriages, graduations, sports scores, service club and church events, festivals, photos, and news events in and around Geneva. Within the pages of this little but mighty weekly lies a treasure trove of information connecting us to our past.
The Geneva Library Foundation supported this project to digitize past editions of the Geneva Republican newspaper so that it is keyword searchable. This process is known as optical character recognition, or OCR.
The OCR process will expand the library’s capabilities to serve its local patrons – over 20,000 card holders - without search restrictions. The library does not require a password or library card to access this information so this improved, indexed resource will also be available globally.
Information can also then be viewed, read and printed. This project will serve a diverse range of users – including educators, students, genealogists, and researchers. By making this source of written history searchable, innovative teachers can better use local history in their virtual stay at home lessons. Nursing homes and retirement centers can more effectively integrate this rich part of local history through programs that spark conversations and memories.
This campaign is in honor of Catharine Smith Soderquist. Catharine was a native of Geneva, moved to Colorado in the 1960s but moved back to Geneva in 2015. She loved to discover the past on her iPad by browsing past issues of the Geneva Republican. She passed just shy of her 102nd birthday. Her nieces, Patricia Hoelscher Kessler, Nancy Hoelscher Bell and former Republican writer Ann Mulvey Wilson are coordinating this effort with the Geneva Library Foundation.
Indeed, true local history will be preserved and be much easier to use. Longtime residents will be able to look up people and events from their youth. The City of Geneva's Planning Department will be able to research properties. The Geneva History Museum will be able to find information on names, places, addresses, and stories - and quickly access the information they need. We hope the process will be completed in the fall, stay tuned for updates!