Thirty years ago, the Larsen Family Public Library opened its doors. A group of dedicated volunteers had the vision for a local library in the Siren/Webster area, secured funding and found space. Launched with 3,000 donated books and an all-volunteer staff; the library was first housed in an old discount food store located in the same area now occupied by Four Winds Market. In January of 1992 the library relocated to the old First Wisconsin Bank building on Main Street in Webster. Ten years later – busting at the seams – it moved to its current location in the donated Larsen car dealership at WI 35 and Main Street. They made the move in August of 2011 and held a grand opening celebration on September 9th. Thirty important and busy days.
This year, the Library celebrates 30 years of continued growth, success, and service to the community. Today, the Library has more than 3700 card holders; providing access to nearly 30,000 books in circulation and countless resources online. Library Director, Patti Meyer, together with one paid staff and numerous volunteers have helped young and old gain access to materials for education, business and leisure. The library will recognize 30 years of dedicated work by volunteers, Board members, staff, Friends of the Library, and the support from the community during 30 days of celebration.
To further amplify 30 for 30; the library announced they have received a generous $30,000 match grant courtesy of Hugh Schilling of the Nexen Group in Webster. A staunch patron of the library, Schilling said: “I believe a properly funded library is one of the keys to lifelong learning and a strong sense of community identity. Helping to match my donation will benefit Webster and the entire area for generations.” The Library Board is especially excited to accept the match grant challenge this year because – if the donations to match are made -- it will retire the building mortgage debt. Library Board President, Laura Rachford, acknowledged that: “the incredible support the library has received from Mr. Schilling this year and from our community over the past 30 years is a clear example of how important this library is.”
Anniversary celebrations will begin with the Children’s Book Fair held during Gandy Dancer Days, August 14, 10 am to 1 pm. Parents and grandparents are invited to bring their little ones, (0-10 years old) to get a free book and learn more about the popular Grow a Read]er Program. In tandem, Friends of the Library will hold their book sale and offer commemorative 30th anniversary book bags for sale. For the next 30 days the library will have special anniversary exhibits, trivia games with daily prizes, and quilt auctions. All of these will conclude with a full day of festivities on Saturday, September 11th. During that day the Library will host an open house from 1-3:00 with music and refreshments. In addition, the Friends will hold their September book sale in the library parking lot beginning at 10 in the morning. There is much to celebrate, and everyone is invited to join in throughout the month and at the September 11th open house and book sale.
Donations are being taken now and will continue until the match is made. You can learn more about the anniversary event and how to donate from the library staff, on the website, and at the Larsen Library Facebook page.