Marathon County Public Library
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MCPL Branch Histories

Athens BranchLibrary
Athens Library began as a small collection of books in the Bloczyski Hotel. In 1926, The Athens Women’s Club took over management of the library and moved the collection to the Athens Bank. The library again moved in 1941, this time to the Community Hall where it remains today. A county-wide building program brought new quarters for the library. Completed in August 1996, the remodeled space made it possible for the library to quadruple the number of books held at the Athens Branch Library, and to offer a wider range of programs to children.

  • 1947: Athens Library joined the Marathon County Library.
  • 1974: Athens Library became a branch of the newly formed Marathon County Public Library

Edgar Branch Library
In 1928, The Edgar Women's Club obtained books from the Wisconsin Traveling Library and this functioned as the local library until 1946. As the County Library grew and provided more services to the branch libraries, the village stepped in to provide building space so that the public would have a larger library to enjoy. The County-wide building program funded the remodeling of the former Edgar Bank in 1994, giving the public more books, computers and more space for family and children's programs.

  • 1948: Preschool storytimes began at the library.
  • 1961, 1975, 1985, 1994: The village provided building space in four different locations for the library.

Hatley Branch Library
In June 2005, the Hatley Branch Library and Community/Senior Center opened its doors to serve Eastern Marathon County, including Bevent, Elderon, Hatley, Norrie, Reid and Ringle. The newest member of the Marathon County Public Library system offers all available library services. The community center is comprised of a multi-purpose room, meeting room, offices and kitchen, and will be used for area events and meetings and is available for general public use.

Marathon City Branch Library
Marathon City's library service began in 1954 as a facility housed at the Marathon High School. By 1975, the Village relocated the library to the village hall, and later moved the library to a storefront location on Main Street. Construction of a new village hall in 1985 included the branch library. Now, the Village of Marathon is interested in increasing the size of the library by again including the library in their plans for a village building project. More space is needed for books, computers and for special programs for children and families.

Joseph Dessert Branch Library
Joseph Dessert came from Canada to Little Bull Falls (Mosinee) in 1844. He decided that a library was needed and built and equipped a free library for the community. Dedicated on February 11, 1899, the building was used as a library and at times also as a post office, village hall, school room, and was the scene of many events including dances and balls. The library was the only place in town with theater facilities, so amateur plays were presented here and school commencements were held in the Hall. The library existed as a city library until 1974 when it was recommended by the Library and municipal boards that the Joseph Dessert Branch Library join Marathon County Public Library. Celebrations have marked two significant anniversaries for the library, the first in 1949 at the 50th anniversary and the second in 1999 at the time of the 100th year. Renovations have been completed with the most recent occurring in 1995 as part of the county-wide building program for libraries. Today, the library maintains its status in the City of Mosinee as both an important community service and as a building significant to the history of the community.

Rothschild Area Branch Library
The library in Rothschild opened its doors in 1949 when the Rothschild Homemakers group worked with Kay Biwer, County Librarian, to establish a branch library. First located in a small cloak room in the village hall, it soon moved upstairs to a larger area. A fire destroyed the village hall in 1968, and the village constructed a new building for the library and village offices. By 1998, the Village needed more space for offices and the library was in need of expansion, resulting in a newly constructed library/village hall complex completed in March 1999. Schofield and Rothschild Branch Libraries were merged to form this larger branch library with more open hours and a larger collection.

Spencer Branch Library
An item from the 1875 files of the Village of Spencer shows the purchase of "thirty books for the library," at a cost of $19.33. The pioneers of Spencer of more than 100 years ago understood the importance of reading and having a library. The library in Spencer received formal recognition in 1941, when County Librarian Kay Biwer proposed that a branch library of the county be opened in Spencer. The local American Legion agreed to sponsor the new branch library and the first books arrived by mail from the county. When the Women’s Club organized in 1946, their first project was to get the library into new quarters, and the club's support for the library continues today. In 1966, the Village took responsibility for the library by including the library in Village Hall plans, most recently in 1997 when the new village complex was completed. Changes in the services offered at the branch library have occurred over the years with the addition of family and children’s programs, public computers, Internet services, and a much larger book collection.

Stratford Branch Library
Beginning in 1930, the Stratford Woman’s Club volunteered their time cataloging books and working in the library which was housed first in the Knights of Columbus Hall and later in the back of the post office. In 1947, the library was moved to the Village Council Chambers where it remained until construction of the new library in 1995. The library staff worked to introduce new services. The first story hours were held in 1947 and best sellers were rented out for 10 cents per week in 1948. The Stratford Library joined the county library in 1949, and has been a popular service for area residents since its beginnings.