As the first executive director of the recently formed Westfield Washington Public Library Foundation, Erin Downey has set some lofty goals.
“I feel that with the support of the foundation, it is our hope that the Westfield Washington Public Library will have the resources to be proactive and on the cutting edge of technology and services and invest resources in areas that have the greatest potential to ensure our library remains a vital resource for the community,” Downey said. “We want to raise awareness about the library. I want to advocate for it and raise funds for it.”
Downey started her new position earlier this month.
“The library board had a strategic planning session this spring and decided now would be a good time to launch the foundation in hopes of growing the donations to the library through the foundation, getting more grants for the library and things like that,” Downey said.
Downey has an international management degree with a focus in marketing from Butler University. She worked in marketing for several years, then attended IUPUI for interior design and ran Downey Designs for the past 16 years.
“I was approached about this position and just felt passionate about it because I spend a lot of time at the library and wanted to help,” Downey said. “My background isn’t necessarily in fundraising per se, but I know a lot of people and I’m not afraid to go and ask for help for the library in hopes to make it the best place it can be for Westfield. I feel like the public library is the cornerstone of the community.
“It provides so much for the people that use it, all the free programs. It’s just really an important place of a community.”
Downey and husband, Patrick, have two children, Kate, an eighth-grader at Westfield Middle School, and Colin, a fifth-grader at Westfield Intermediate School.
Visiting with her children, Downey said it was great to see all the valuable programs the library offers.
“Westfield is growing immensely; however, the money the library is getting is decreasing,” she said. “That’s due to different tax laws that I can’t change. I felt working for the foundation I could affect change for them.”
Downey’s position is part time. She still runs her interior design company.
“But my main focus now is the library,” she said.