Episode 3: Ashley Charest of the Library Foundation

By Clint Patty, J.D.

Clint Patty:

Well, hello there. Welcome to Investing in Good, a podcast that shines a spotlight on those making a profound impact within Northeast Kansas. This podcast is proudly presented by Clayton Wealth Partners, your partner in philanthropic financial planning for individual donors, and investment management for endowments, foundations, and nonprofit organizations.

In each episode, we’re going to sit down with the remarkable leaders and dedicated workers of nonprofits across the state of Kansas. We are going to delve deep into their noble endeavors. We’re going to listen to their stories, learn about their causes, and talk about the challenges that they have in making the lives of Kansans better each and every day. We are talking about good causes being done by great people. Stay tuned now as we delve into our next inspiring story on investing in good.

Welcome back to Investing in Good. I’m Clint Patty, the Managing Partner at Clayton Wealth Partners. And I am very happy to have as our guest today, Ashley Charest with the Library Foundation. I started to say Topeka Shawnee County Public Library Foundation and would’ve used way too many words, but it is the Library Foundation.

Ashley Charest:

We’re trying to help you out to be short and concise.

Clint Patty:

I appreciate that. I need that help frequently, so it’s always good to welcome in our friends here. And Ashley, you certainly are a friend of ours and glad to have you here. But for our audience members who may not know you, hard to imagine, but there might be a few people out there that don’t. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background in nonprofits here in Topeka.

Ashley Charest:

So my children, first of all, will not believe that there isn’t a person in Topeka that I know because they hate walking into the grocery store, or the restaurant, or down a street with me, but that’s exciting because I love Topeka. I came to Topeka to go to school at Washburn, fell in love, got married, which something that’s unusual in the nonprofit world is most people don’t go into nonprofit as a career. That’s not a thing, but I’m a weirdo. And so I did.

My degree at Washburn was public relations, and then I got a certificate in nonprofit management, and my whole goal was to be in some sort of service capacity. So when I got out of college, two days later, graduated two days later, had a job working in association management. I had no idea what that even really meant, but I had a great 16 years of working with international trade associations. I know more about flat architectural glass than I ever thought I would know.

Clint Patty:

I will guarantee you more than probably anyone listening to this podcast.

Ashley Charest:

Absolutely. And it drives me crazy. And yet it’s super fun to just have weird knowledge. But then I switched over to working for the Topeka Chamber of Commerce for a couple of years. I loved that job because it really helped me solidify myself in Topeka, and I’m a huge fan of Topeka. Being an import, I always say that Topekans love their city less than people that come into the city. That’s just how it was.

Clint Patty:

When you say import, import from where?

Ashley Charest:

Still from Kansas, but tiny, tiny little town in the middle of the state, Marion County. And I lived in Lincolnville. There were less than 300 people there.

Clint Patty:

We had less than 600 in Whitewater. We were just south of you. And we used to play Marion High in football in the old mid-Kansas League for anybody old enough to remember when that league was around. But yes, I know the Marion County well, great beautiful place.

Ashley Charest:

I’m so grateful that I grew up in a small town. I had to do everything. You know that right?

Clint Patty:

Absolutely.

Ashley Charest:

You had to do everything. You had to be in sports and you had to be in the arts, and you had to lead groups, and it was wonderful. But I love being in Topeka and being able to get a gallon of milk right away if I need it. That’s a positive for me. So I loved working at Topeka Chamber, but I had an opportunity to go lead my first ever organization, Junior Achievement of Kansas. I was there for five years, adored it.

And then I had an opportunity to move to another nonprofit that I’d never worked directly in before, which was foundation work. So the Library Foundation is where I’ve been at now for 11 months, and I’m loving it. I’m a huge reader. So I really feel like this job brings out the true book nerd in me.

Clint Patty:

Well, and that is particularly after the renovation several years ago to the library. What a jewel in the middle of our town, really.

Ashley Charest:

There are people in our town that haven’t been to the library.

Clint Patty:

Yeah, that’s a mistake. If you’re here for any length of time. I mean, I have family who visit and wanted to see it and marvel at it. So it is a jewel of the community.

So tell us a little bit, tell our listeners a little bit about the overview of the foundation. We know about the library, the structure of the building, we know a little bit about what it does, but how does the foundation exist to help support that library? What is its mission?

Ashley Charest:

Yeah, so its job is to really provide enhanced resources to the library. So I think of that icing on the cake scenario. So the library and the funds that it receives through our taxes, that’s the cake. And the foundation gets to do the icing part of it, so the other things that just make us stand above and beyond other libraries in our community. We support things like the collections and the programs, services, our technology stuff, as well as the physical facilities, which is probably what most people would think of when they think of the foundation, that we would do physical facilities, but we cover the gamut.

Clint Patty:

Yeah, the interesting think to me was, I know I was researching doing podcasts, how much work you all do in training the community in that area.

Ashley Charest:

Yes, we have people that use our podcast rooms and our level two tech center. We also have a video podcast room. We actually have individuals that have literally recorded their demo albums in the library. So that’s super exciting. We have people that do podcasts that are seen around the world, and it happens in our Topeka and Shawnee County public library with funds that not only the community provide, but the foundation provides as well. And that’s awesome.

Clint Patty:

So very much like what we think of as a traditional foundation, there to establish a pool of money, collect donations, all in support of a single entity, that being the library.

Ashley Charest:

Absolutely. If you haven’t worked in the government side before, when an entity receives tax dollars, they don’t receive other dollars. So the Library Foundation is the source, the location where other funds can come for supporting the library. And then we hold those and have a board that oversees them, and we get to utilize them either as they were designated or as our board decides is best to help support our library.

Clint Patty:

Can you tell us just a little bit about how the foundation itself, the amount of positive impact its had on the local community through its support and library? Maybe a few examples of funding projects that have happened that have really made a big difference?

Ashley Charest:

So I think the biggest thing that people will see in the community if you don’t go to the library is our Book Mobiles. So we have Book Mobiles, we have one Adventure Mobile and one Learn and Play Bus. And those items were made possible through the foundation, but quite frankly through some very specific donors for those projects, so Security Benefit and Capital Federal Foundation. And so if the Library Foundation had not been there to accept those funds to then turn around and purchase those items, our community wouldn’t have the Book Mobiles, the Adventure Mobiles that go to our elementary schools, and then our Learn and Play bus that help support our preschool kiddos in the community.

Clint Patty:

So talk about each one of those. We’ve all seen the book Mobiles and the exchanges you can do out in the community. What’s the Adventure Mobile? I don’t think I’m familiar with that one.

Ashley Charest:

So that’s because you’re not a K through sixth grader in Shawnee County. That’s your problem right there.

Clint Patty:

That is a problem. I don’t even have a K through sixth grader anymore at home.

Ashley Charest:

You can’t ask them.

Clint Patty:

I can’t ask them the question.

Ashley Charest:

So the Adventure Mobile, imagine like a really cool book craft activity van rolling up to your school. And it allows kiddos to come on and still have access to books and things of that nature. But they also have activities that are surrounding a theme, also very age appropriate, so based upon how the school wants to set that up. But yeah, the Adventure Mobile just rolls up. They’re a ton of fun. And then they roll out.

Clint Patty:

And these generally go to school districts throughout Shawnee County?

Ashley Charest:

That is correct, absolutely.

Clint Patty:

So how about the Learn and Play Bus?

Ashley Charest:

So the Learn and Play Bus, I’ve actually had the opportunity to sit on both a Bookmobile and a Learn and Play bus. So the Learn and Play Bus comes out to our community in set locations. They don’t go to a school or a preschool. They go to designated areas within the community. And then really birth to, I would say, right before kindergarten, that’s that age that the Learn and Play Bus is perfect for. And parents bring their kiddos on there. So they’re not only getting to have Boomer the Bear read to them on the bus. There are books that kids can look through on that bus. They don’t check them out, but they do look at them on the bus. There are tons of educational toys and games that they can play.

But I think for me as a parent, the coolest aspect was when the parents and the kids are sitting there, there’s an area where you can actually sit in a big circle on the Learn and Play bus. And as parents are helping their kids read or play with an activity, there is also a person from the community, that could be someone from Shawnee County Public Health, or it could be someone from Vallejo, could be someone from Parents As Teachers, we have a volunteer come on that bus and actually talk to the parents about any situation that they might be coming up against. Are there immunizations on time? Are their kids hitting milestones? And having material there so that those parents can take that.

Sometimes when you’re a parent, especially a stay-at-home mom, I would guess, I haven’t been one, but you’re pretty isolated I would think. And so having someone else to talk to and say, “Hey, my kid’s doing this, is that normal? Should I be worried about this?” It’s just another adult, quite frankly, that helps you reassure that you’re doing good, “You’re doing good, mom.”

Clint Patty:

Reassurance is a parent, it’s a big thing, sometimes hard to find. So that’s great. I hadn’t heard that. So these buses then go out into the community. We’re talking hundreds, thousands of kids a year that go through these?

Ashley Charest:

I would say definitely thousands. Now when I say that, it could be the same kid going every single, let’s say Wednesday, but definitely thousands of kiddos going through there.

Clint Patty:

Great. So talk about, are there some recent or upcoming projects that the foundation has that it’s involved in that you’d like to talk about?

Ashley Charest:

Yeah, so I think probably right before the pandemic, I feel like people remember things right before and then a few years after.

Clint Patty:

Yeah. The middle was a blur for most of us, right.

Ashley Charest:

The middle’s was a blur. So right before Covid, we had a wonderful gift from the Swagger family. And we created Claire’s Courtyard, which was our outdoor space. That space was completely funded by a gift that was given to the foundation from the Swagger family. So that is a very visible, even when you’re just driving by the library, you see that. So that’s one.

One that will be upcoming that I know I am super excited about because I spend a lot of time in the kids’ library with my kiddos. We will be renovating next year, the kids’ library. And so that will be a huge renovation that the foundation is lucky enough to be a part of. You’re going to see spaces more coming together. You’re going to see spaces that can flex from one type of setup to another type of setup. But I have to preface that the dinosaur leg will still be there. That is the question I get all the time. The dinosaur leg will still be there.

Clint Patty:

Yeah. That would be noticeable if that disappeared.

Ashley Charest:

That would absolutely be noticeable. But a lot of technology really focusing on a lot of those STEM activities and trying to make it a very usable, fun space that can be flexible and we can switch it around as we need it. I mean, goodness, we have so many kids in the kids’ library day in and day out. And right now it’s not very easy to switch from what a zero year old needs to what a 13-year-old needs. And so we definitely need that flexibility in the space, but still books, adding in hopefully some great technology aspects, but keeping that dino leg.

Clint Patty:

And timeline for this renovation, what’s that look like?

Ashley Charest:

Yeah, so it’ll start in September because we do not want to start during summer reading. Summer reading is massive for us. And so it’ll start in September of ’24. It will be done before summer reading ’25. So let’s just say May of ’25. We do need that whole time. And we’ll do it in parts so the children’s library will not be shut down. We’ll do half of it and then we will renovate the other half in that time period.

Clint Patty:

And the entire time, the dinosaur leg…

Ashley Charest:

Still will be there.

Clint Patty:

Unscathed, untouched? Good.

Ashley Charest:

It might be covered for a little while, but it’ll still be there.

Clint Patty:

It’ll still be there.

Let’s go back to Claire’s Courtyard just for a second. Tell us a little bit for those who may not know or those who haven’t seen it driving by, what is Claire’s Courtyard? What does it have? What’s its purpose, all that?

Ashley Charest:

Yeah, so it has a couple of different pieces. So first of all, when you walk into Claire’s Courtyard, we have an open air flagstone brick courtyard area with tables and really just the ability to be outside. You can grab some food at the Millennial Cafe and go outside and eat. You can have your book and eat. We also have a stair-stepped area with a small area for musical performances. And then we also have a sunroom. So an enclosed building that, let’s say you had an event there or something and it started raining, you could go into the sunroom. But the sunroom is a reservable place as well. So if you wanted to have, let’s say, a birthday party, I’ve seen lots of kids’ birthday parties, you have access to the courtyard, but also have that sunroom to be able to do some containing kids situation as well.

Clint Patty:

So for those who might be interested in that, what kind of capacity are we talking about? Can you get 25 in there, 50 in there?

Ashley Charest:

In the sunroom, I think around 25 to 30. In the courtyard area, several hundred.

Clint Patty:

Having that available for kids, that’s fantastic.

Ashley Charest:

And a good place to do bubbles with kids during summer reading.

Clint Patty:

That would be another. Okay.

So how does the foundation operate generally as far as raising funds? How is the community involved in that? Can you walk through the process that the foundation has for raising money?

Ashley Charest:

Yeah, so I would say there’s three ways that we receive money, which one of those ways splits into two, so really four different ways that we receive money. So grants, that is a thing that every nonprofit takes advantage of. And the Library foundation is the same. So grants, either local, state, federal. We did have a humanities grant at the federal level that we received a few years ago.

We also, of course receive donations from local corporations. You’d mentioned Security Benefit and Capital Federal Foundation earlier in regards to our mobiles, our Book Mobiles and Adventure Mobiles, but definitely great corporate support. Topeka is wonderful for that, and we’re grateful we live in a city where corporations are so giving.

And then of course individuals. So we have a lot of individual giving. And individual giving is the one that’s split two ways. So we have individuals that give on just a yearly basis, whatever that amount is. That can be through memorials or it could just be through a campaign donation that they always make at the end of the year. And then we also have individual giving that focuses more on estates, so estate gifts, but then also people giving us things like paintings.

So our gallery collection, we have, oh, I know it’s at least over 12,000. It might be even closer to 14,000 individual pieces in our gallery storage area. And so people can give us things. That also even might be like historical values. We have people that give us yearbooks all the time, or unique things that come through, maybe with Cyrus’s signature on it. We keep all of those things to help archive. We also did receive a lot of archives when Menninger’s closed, we received a lot of items from their facility as well that we now house.

Clint Patty:

The yearbooks are a ton of fun. And for kids who want to know what, if they’ve got local parents, what they looked like back in the day-

Ashley Charest:

We can help them.

Clint Patty:

Or their grandparents, and sometimes great grandparents. It’s amazing how far back that collection goes.

Ashley Charest:

Yeah, I’m not sure what our… I’d have to find out what our oldest yearbook is, but I’ve at least seen some in the thirties, but I think it goes further back.

Clint Patty:

Yeah, it’s remarkable. So talk about local partnerships maybe that you have in the community that the foundation has, that the foundation’s able to work together with. You’ve talked about a couple already with CapFed Foundation Security Benefit. What are some other partnerships that the foundation has that helps keep that mission going?

Ashley Charest:

So the most recent one that I can think of, and that’s just because we have them all the time, but the most recent one was in our Alice C. Sabatini Gallery. We had a collection that just closed actually less than two weeks ago. It was called DoPiKa: A Land Acknowledgement. And we worked with Lisa LaRue-Baker. She was the co-curator for DoPiKa, which was our gallery exhibit program.

And that exhibit, we provided the space and the support, and Lisa co-creating and working with the six local tribes that are in our area, they actually created an exhibit that they saw as a representation of themselves and the tribes, and how they interrelated here in the Topeka community. So that was one great partnership.

And then that led actually to a collection that we will have coming up in the gallery. It opens up on February 23rd. And it’s going to be called Our Stories African-American Topeka before and after Brown V Board. So Brown V Board has its 70th anniversary this next year. And so we are working with the Black Collective here in Topeka to curate and highlight Topeka and the African-American experience before and after Brown V Board. So that’s going to be a great one to see.

Clint Patty:

That’s fantastic. And for people who have not… It’s hard to imagine people who have not been to the library. It’s not just books. And I think that’s what you’re hammering home over and over again. Wonderful art. Wonderful food by the way, if you want to eat at the Millennial Cafe, which I’ve done a number of times, it’s a great place to grab a meal and grab a bite while you’re there. So you’re able to eat while you’re there. You can see some wonderful art and history. And we’ll talk a little more about some of the other things. But it’s more than just books, isn’t it?

Ashley Charest:

Oh, absolutely. So I hate to say this, but before I started working at the Library Foundation, I’d only been in our gallery once, and that’s a real shame. That’s a bad on me because our gallery space, it changes four times a year. So at a minimum, people should be coming into our gallery space four times a year. Maybe even just set your goal at once a year because maybe you don’t like a certain type of creation that we’ve put together. But it’s just a gorgeous gallery space that we have here in Topeka that we’ve actually, we expanded during Covid. And in addition, we put in a little, I’m going to call it a mini-art studio. So if we have an exhibit that an art project goes with, we can have the art project right there off the side of the gallery.

Clint Patty:

Yeah, it’s fantastic. So for those who haven’t seen it, if you have any interest in seeing art at all, you need to see this gallery. So we’re living in an increasingly digital world. We’re talking right now in a digital medium that did not exist 10 years ago, which is hard to imagine. How is the library and the foundation in assisting the library adapting to those changes in technologies and trends?

Ashley Charest:

Early on, and I would say early on in the foundation’s history, so the foundation is actually 41 years old. Early on in the foundation’s history, there were donations for talking books, which now people think of that more as audio books, but it was different. Talking books had the CDs, or the records, or the cassette tapes, depending on when we’re talking about the talking book series. That was one way that the foundation jumped in right away and saw a need from a digital standpoint. We know people love their books, and to open their books and have that paper, but some people needed talking books. And so that was a way that the foundation helped the library increase its digitalness at that point.

Now we have on the second floor, it’s called the level two tech center, and that’s where the podcast and the video cast space is. We also have co-lab rooms up there where people can do Zoom meetings. If you’re working from home and you want a space just to come in and have a meeting that feels different, you can come in and reserve a space. We also have a maker space in the back of the level two tech center, and in that maker space we have Macs, which most digital or graphic people will say are superior. We have Macs, we also have PCs back there. And you can use those tools completely free. You have your library card, everything is free in the library except for the cookies at Millennial Cafe.

Clint Patty:

I was just going to ask, and all of this, at the cost of?

Ashley Charest:

And all of the cost of zero. You just have to have your library card. But there’s a 3D printing machine that you can use to create whatever you want to create. Maybe it’s a prototype or maybe it’s cupcake toppers for a birthday party. You can’t find that cupcake topper. That one, that’s a story I know that’s true.

But also we have a cricket machine. So those are the vinyl cup machines that are becoming very popular with people making their own cups, or their shirts, or whatever. You do have to bring your vinyl in. We have vinyl that you can purchase. We also have the plastic stuff that you can purchase for the 3D printing machine. You do have to bring that in. But actually using the equipment is completely free for anyone that has a library card.

Clint Patty:

So if I want to, for my own podcast, start my own video cast, start a band that I want to cut vinyl tracks on, and there’s almost no limit to what you can do.

Ashley Charest:

And start your own side business where you print t-shirts or cups, we’re here for you.

Clint Patty:

I was there when they brought, the first year they had the 3D printer in. I had never seen one before. And to watch it demonstrated, it blows you away. And I read now there are people that are using 3D printers to develop and build homes, energy efficient homes, which it’s fascinating. So all here in Topeka, and again, all at the mighty cost of nothing.

Ashley Charest:

That’s right.

Clint Patty:

Not too bad a deal.

Ashley Charest:

We’ll take it.

Clint Patty:

They’ll take it any day of the week.

So what is the foundation’s vision for the future of both it and the library, and how does it plan on continuing to make this positive impact into the future?

Ashley Charest:

So I think the foundation’s vision is really just to grow the impact of the library, whether that is physically in our branch, whether that’s out in the community in Book Mobiles, or whatever other type of medium you want to talk about. That’s our goal is to just continue to grow.

Now, we do have a little thing coming out in the beginning of ’24 called our strategic plan. We’ve been going through a strategic planning process all of this year. I was excited. I came on board and they were starting, and I’ve been able to see the whole process. And I’m not giving you any previews because Marie Pyko, our CEO, I don’t want her to beat usurped from her excitement of getting to announce this.

Clint Patty:

Absolutely. Yeah. Don’t break any news.

Ashley Charest:

I’m not breaking any news here. But we do have a strategic plan that has some very specific focuses that are for the next, let’s say, three to five years, going to have tremendous impact on our community, continuing work that we do like with digital equity and things of that nature, but then also things that we have never entered before that we’ll be taking a look at.

Clint Patty:

Wow, that’s a nice tease that we’ll have people continuing to follow you. And I assume we can follow you on the website, in the news. All this stuff will out there?

Ashley Charest:

Absolutely. All the social medias. Go on our website, which is… We are on the Topeka and Shawnee County public library website, which is tscpl.org. If you click on foundation, you can find out all kinds of information about us. Or just give us a call. We love to talk to people. And we’ll tell you what we’re working on, or what’s coming up, or maybe something cool that you want to come and check out at the library. Because we work there. The foundation is a separate entity, but we’re a part of the library. We’re library staff. And we just love to brag on the cool things that we’re doing.

Clint Patty:

So to save people punching it into their Google machine, that phone number is?

Ashley Charest:

(785) 580-4493. That gets you directly to me. We don’t have a foundation number. That’s Ashley’s number. Give me a call. I love talking to people.

Clint Patty:

That’s fantastic. That’s great. So talk about then for people who might be interested in either donating, but maybe not money, but their time. Are there volunteer opportunities for people in the community with either the foundation or the library?

Ashley Charest:

So with the foundation, we definitely have volunteers on our board as well as our committee. So that’s absolutely an opportunity. But I do want to plug, the library has a volunteer coordinator. Her name is Carrie Zimmerman, and if you want to volunteer at the library, she’s the lady to contact. And she will be able to talk to you about all the different opportunities that there are. Maybe even some ones that maybe you’re interested in doing we don’t have, and we can just add them, who knows?

But also we have another organization in addition to the foundation and in addition to the library, we have friends of the library. And our friends group, they have some staff, but man, they are powered on volunteers. Friends runs the Booktique. That’s at the library. So that’s completely volunteer run. They also-

Clint Patty:

Okay, describe the Booktique.

Ashley Charest:

Yeah, it’s like going into a Barnes and Noble, but all of your books that are in there have been donated. So for every book that you purchase, all of that money goes to support the library. So the friends is a nonprofit as well. They house that money and then they make an annual distribution to the library every single year. So free books come in. We have a ton of books that come into the library every single year from people in the community. We either sell them at our quarterly book sales or we sell them in the Booktique.

Clint Patty:

So for folks that would be interested in any… First of all, how would you get a hold of Carrie Zimmerman?

Ashley Charest:

Yeah, just call the main line to the library. And you can’t ask me that phone number right now because I don’t remember it off the top of my head.

Clint Patty:

People can punch that into their Google machine. They’ll figure that out.

Ashley Charest:

Yeah, just look for Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library. Call the main desk and just tell them them what you want. They will route you to our 180 plus individuals that work at the library.

Clint Patty:

Just folks, just tell them, Ashley sent you.

Ashley Charest:

Okay. See, the sad thing is that will be normal. And they’ll, “Ashley told me to call in.” They’ll be like, ” Yep, she sure did. Let me get you where do you need to be.”

Clint Patty:

“We are prepared for that.”

Ashley Charest:

Yes, they are. Or they should be. Now. I’ll go tell them real quick when I get back to the library that they should expect an uptick in calls because of your podcast.

Clint Patty:

Just personally, given your involvement and your passion for the library and reading, can you tell me what your favorite book you’ve read is, and the first book you read was? If you can remember, that’s a tough one. First and favorite?

Ashley Charest:

Well, my favorites easy, Gone With the Wind. I know. It is not normal. I also-

Clint Patty:

No, it’s complete… That’s my wife’s favorite book.

Ashley Charest:

Oh, is it? I love it.

Clint Patty:

She’s probably read it a dozen times at least.

Ashley Charest:

Oh yeah.

Clint Patty:

Actually, I bought her a first edition of it one year for our anniversary.

Ashley Charest:

Oh okay, well, I would like to see that.

Clint Patty:

I will. I’ll bring it to you.

Ashley Charest:

Please.

Clint Patty:

It’s not in great… Because it was a first edition I could afford, not in great shape.

Ashley Charest:

I still want to see it.

Clint Patty:

It is technically a first edition.

Ashley Charest:

I want to put my hands on the first edition of Gone With the Wind. I also love the movie. I do believe the book is better than the movie.

Clint Patty:

She does too.

Ashley Charest:

I believe that with almost every movie that I see. So that’s my favorite. My first book… My mom read to me a lot, so I don’t know what my first book was, but the one I can remember, and I read it to my kids, was The Monster at the End of This Book. And it’s Grover.

Clint Patty:

I remember that, yep.

Ashley Charest:

And he’s building walls and all of this stuff to make sure that the monster doesn’t get, that we don’t turn the pages to get to the end of the book. And in the end of the book, it’s Grover because Grover’s the monster. And you know what? It shows you to not be scared about things. Sometimes turning those pages are the best things that can happen to you.

Clint Patty:

That is such a fantastic story. What a great memory with your mom.

Ashley Charest:

I know. She’s awesome.

Clint Patty:

So let’s talk a little bit briefly, it’s a little off topic, but let’s talk the importance of parents reading to their children. How big is that?

Ashley Charest:

Okay. Well, it’s huge. And I’ll say that I don’t think I would be the reader that I am without my whole family, first of all, reading to me, and then being cool with my obsessions. So we would have to drive to go to a mall. It was a venture. I didn’t have a public library where I grew up. I had a school library, but not a public library. And so my mom would drive up to the Salina Mall and I would take my $10 from babysitting, and I would spend probably two hours in the bookstore best spending my $10. So that’s huge.

Now, I will say I’m a huge reader and so I read to my kids. And I hate to say this, but they’re not huge readers. I did it. And they can read and they can comprehend. It’s just not their favorite thing to do. And so I think that as parents, we should do everything that we can to make our kids good readers. But the reality is sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. And both are okay.

Clint Patty:

All right. You’ve been listening to Ashley Charest, who is the Executive Director of the Library Foundation. Ashley, thank you for being here today. And one more time for people who want to get involved. And folks, this is your opportunity to volunteer, to give, to support this jewel in the middle of our community. Let’s talk about that contact information one more time.

Ashley Charest:

Yes, you can, of course give us a call. We love talking to people, (785) 580-4493. Or you can find us online, foundation.tscpl.org.

Clint Patty:

Ashley, thank you.

Ashley Charest:

Thank you for having me.

Clint Patty:

Absolutely. You’ve been a great guest and we will have you back. We’ll talk soon.

Ashley Charest:

Sounds great.

Clint Patty:

Thank you.

You’ve been listening to another episode of Investing in Good. Today’s episode was brought to you by Clayton Wealth Partners. We are more than just individual wealth managers and financial planners. If you’re an individual seeking to increase your impact through thoughtful charitable giving, or if you represent an endowment, a foundation, or a nonprofit that’s looking to safeguard and grow your financial assets, please consider partnering with Clayton Wealth Partners. You can visit us at ClaytonWealthPartners.com and discover how we can help guide and empower you in your mission to make a difference.

Don’t forget to subscribe to our podcast and join us next time as we delve into more stories of inspiration right in the heart of our community.

On behalf of Clayton Wealth Partners, I’m Clint Patty. I thank you for listening. And we will see you soon.

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Clint Patty, J.D.

As Managing Partner, Clint serves on the management team providing leadership, supporting business development efforts and providing client consultation.