Happy Birthday Marathon County Public Library!

Eds Note: Here is something we can all agree on, 100 years of public library service is a good thing. And remember the big Wausaublog reunion scheduled for the bicentennial of the library. See you there.

Phyllis ChristensenBy Phyllis Christensen

One hundred years ago, in April 1907, Wausau Free Public Library opened to the public. The opening was the result of a project that began in 1904, when philanthropist Andrew Carnegie agreed to grant $25000 if the city of Wausau would set aside land for the building. Mr. and Mrs. Walter Alexander donated land to the city for a library building and park. On April 3, 1907, the library opened with a collection of almost 5000 items.
100 Year Logo

In 1937, Marathon County Library was established as a W.P.A to serve county residents who did not have access to a local library. The two libraries grew and offered expanded services. In 1974, the libraries merged with other local libraries and formed Marathon County Public Library.
The 100th birthday celebration began in January and will continue throughout the year. A display on second floor at Wausau Headquarters changes each month to depict a different decade of history. The final display will depict our vision of the library of the future.
Each branch library, Athens, Edgar, Hatley, Marathon, Mosinee, Rothschild, Stratford, and Spencer, will have a local celebration. On April 15, there will be a special birthday celebration at the Wausau library. Everyone is invited to share in the celebration which will feature activities for kids, music by Andy Z and the Spankin’ Monkees, a barbershop quartet. And, of course, birthday cake for everyone!
For more about the history of MCPL, read the Wikipedia article written by the library’s reference librarians. More information about the 100th Birthday Celebration is available on the library’s web page.


16 responses to “Happy Birthday Marathon County Public Library!

  1. The new political frontier is the library. The war of the 21st century will be fought there, and librarians will be the new activists.

  2. Dino, that’s good to know. I will be sure to inform the future Mrs. Rent (who by the way has been a youth librarian for the last 17 years).

    Speaking of that.. are you guys at the library looking for anyone this fall?

  3. Librarians are the true culture warriors. Protecting information and access to information for generations to come.

    Thank you librarians.

    And pass the lipbalm!!!

  4. Dino, you’re right. The day of the librarian who is a meek old maid with her hair in a tight bun and peering through her horn-rimmed glasses protectively over the counter is long gone. Activism, open doors, community, and conversation are what we are about today.

  5. Dr. Rent, maybe Mrs. Rent and I should talk.

  6. Hey if were giving jobs away…

  7. 17 years she has been doing this my friend.. 17 years.

    I will let her know to get in contact with you Phyllis.

  8. “The day of the librarian who is a meek old maid with her hair in a tight bun and peering through her horn-rimmed glasses protectively over the counter is long gone. Activism, open doors, community, and conversation are what we are about today.”

    Don’t sell yourselves short, Phyllis. Librarians and libraries have long served an important role in promoting justice and equality. Any chance to celebrate them is well worth taking. I too can remember many wonderful hours spent in the Marathan County Public Library, and I congratulate y’all on the anniversary.

  9. Many of you expressed that a good creme brulee makes you weak in the knees, but for me it is a good library. And the MCPL is an excellent library indeed, and the improvements that have been made over the past 8 plus years that I have lived here keep making it better and better.

    I will also add kudos to the people of Merrill, who, considering the size of their town, have a spectacular library. I have spent many hours up there, and enjoyed them all.

    One of the reasons that we moved to Wisconsin is the quality of public services up here. And libraries are, perhaps, the most visible public service. Anyone can walk in anytime (well, when they are open) and almost immediately assess the quality of the library. I can just sense a good library when I walk in.

    The only “problem” I see with the library is that it seems very underutilized. The last time I looked at an annual report (if I did the math right) the average county resident checks out about 10 books a year from the library. Considering that my family often has 100 items on my card at any given time, this seems awfully low to me. I don’t think this is because the library is not inviting enough or doesn’t have the “right” materials or whatever, I feel that people just don’t take advantage of the resource enough.

    So, if you haven’t been in a while, why don’t you go spend a relaxing hour looking around at what you are missing.

  10. The future Mrs. Rent would agree with Bill. Her library is a fraction of the size of ours. Our youth library section would give her entire library a run for the money.

    However, based on information we have found in number of people participating in the summer reading program, or number of items checked out…. hers and ours are close… scarey close.

  11. MPCL has widened the appeal of our summer reading program. In 2006, participation went up 31%. 31%!!!

    Yes, we’re happy with that, but we’re not satisfied. We’re looking for even more ways to connect with our customers.

    A lot of credit for increased participation in the summer reading program and increased circulation goes to our branches. MCPL isn’t just Wausau. It’s also Athens, Edgar, Hatley, Marathon, Mosinee, Rothschild, Spencer and Stratford.

    Staff at each of those locations select material, maintain a collection, and offer programs based on their knowledge of their own community. And, they know their communities very well!

  12. Shortly after I first moved to Wausau they began the construction of the “new” library. I remember going to the temporary location at what is now the Fox 55 building on 3rd Street. Even in temporary quarters it was a great resource. I am still amazed by the library and all that they offer.

  13. Phyllis,

    If you could email me your email address (drrent93@hotmail.com), i will forward it on to the lovely and talented future mrs rent (aka Brook)

  14. ———- Quote of the Day ———

    Knowledge is power. What you know is your power base. It’s the
    battery you run on. You need to charge it constantly and consciously.
    Who do you want to be in charge of what you know? News directors?
    Radio disc jockeys? The office gossip? Tabloid newspaper editors? A
    pessimistic family member? Take control of what you know. Knowledge
    is power. Respect yours and build on it.
    – Steve Chandler, “100 Ways to Motivate Yourself”

  15. I know I owe the library a ton of money, and that is why I tend to stay away.

  16. Dino.. marry a librarian 😛

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