Tuesday, May 5, 2009

110th Birthday of the Library

The community of Reedsburg has had a library for 110 years this week, but the whole story of the library starts back in January 1898. The Reedsburg Women’s Club requested the Wisconsin Library Commission, to come and speak to citizens about starting a library. As a result of this meeting, Mayor Crook (yes that really was his name) appointed a library committee to generate interest for a library. In 1899, ten citizens gave $25 each toward the library. According to the March 2, 1899 Free Press, “The committee in charge of the library decided to invest the money on hand in books and open its doors in the near future”.

So the first library opened its doors May 8, 1899. It was located in the back room of the Post Office owned by Mr. and Mrs. D.O. Stine, on the corner of Main and S. Park Street (currently Gavin Bros.) The Women’s Club members offered to perform the services of a librarian, with hours of operation 7-9 pm on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday and also on Saturday afternoon from 2-5 pm. May 8th a “Book Reception” was held at which visitors came to see the library and gifts of books were received. Officially the first loaned books to the public happened on Saturday, May 13, 1899. The Women’s Club committee operated the Free Library until December 1899 when it was presented to the Mayor and the City of Reedsburg and became the Reedsburg Public Library. With this presentation, the city was asked to support the new facility and in January 1900, the Common Council appropriated $300 for this purpose, to be paid in two installments of $150 each, one in January 1900 and one in July 1900. The City of Reedsburg has faithfully continued to support and maintain our library for the free use of her citizens since that time.

Celebrate the library’s 110th birthday on Friday, May 8th. The Friends of the Library will be giving out pens and other surprises here at the library.

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