Back in 1903, a Spooner physician, Dr. George Lemmer, who was also the coroner, and an in-town drug store owner, built a house on the corner of High and Walnut Streets. It was a beauty.
Meanwhile, a dozen years later, the first tiny book-lending facility opened in in a former schoolhouse located in the Summit Street alley much to the delight of the Spooner Study Club who funded the book purchases. Eventually, the growing collection moved to the basement of the City Hall where it was tended and grew to a large enough size that when the City of Spooner purchased the now empty Lemmer home, the library made it their new home.
There were books to lend all throughout the house and rooms were divided into sections; books for adults in the former living room, books for reference in the dining room and the young adult books were housed in a former bedroom, etc.
Now the Spooner Memorial Library boasts that in one year alone there were 95,205 library items checked out, and that's not even half of what they have to lend.
This facility earns it's funding through the City of Spooner and monies from Washburn and surrounding counties along with fines, page copies, donations, the annual Book Sale, and various grants. These funds support one full-time employee, Angie Bodzislaw, the Library Director, and nine part-timers. There are also the two volunteers, one is a book doctor, and other takes care of all the outside weeding and the wiping of the inside library tables.
The reason that this library is such a success is due to their constant attitude of change. There are still a few reference books on the shelves, but by using your library card and going online to badgerlink.net you can get all the information you need on many subjects. Subjects like finding old magazine articles, and information that ranges from health to auto repair. There is a section called. Ask the librarian.
The library has replaced the reference books with 3861 DVD's, and 2117 audiobooks and they carry well over 29,000 fiction and non-fiction books. They've arranged for almost 13,000 interlibrary loan books, and their public computer use is off the charts. As an added computer service, if needed, a free tutorial is offered to travel the internet highway more knowingly.
Now comes the enjoyable part. With their library card in hand, children can go to the Backpack Station, check out one out and then fill it with a stuffed animal, a game, books, and a superhero cape. They can even keep them out for three weeks. Just so parents know, each stuffed animal that is returned receives some careful cleaning, so it's ready for the next youngster's love.
The library also has a clever 'game' for adults that's called the Memory Kit, and it can be taken out for three weeks to aide both the Alzheimer patient and their caregiver.
Adults might be coming in to read one of the eight daily newspapers or some of the many magazines or participate in the Summer Reading Program. This year, 440 adults signed up as well as the same number of kids, and there are even 54 teens reading this summer. Add those figures up, and it comes to nearly one thousand summer readers!
Some kids are coming in to participate in a Summer Scavenger Hunt, each hunt created by a team of two of the part-timers to challenge people of all ages.
The Fairy Tale Book Face Hunt was enormously popular, and it was created by two very gifted and talented women, Kerry Russell and Lucy Strunk. Lucy is .a very talented budding artists and cartoonist and it was she who drew one half of nine fairy tale character's faces which were then placed throughout the area so when they were found, each one coming with its own clue, a quick photo of the child's face filling in the other half of the character's face would suffice for proof of discovering the clues. The kids started at the library for their first clue and then they were on their own.
This is just one example of the creativity at the Spooner Memorial Library that makes it so popular.
The library works hand-in-glove with the Lakeland Family Resource Center, and often with the Shell Lake Library to achieve their goal of showing children the joy of learning.
The library has fairy doors that come with a map, occasionally live snakes and occasionally the place welcomes goats, lemurs, an alligator, a monkey and a kangaroo.
It's a wonderful place to spend some time no matter what your age; there are no signs that say SILENT OR QUIET anywhere, and best of all, as of this January, there are no late fines on any of the children's materials.
Library doors open at 9a Monday through Saturday and they close at 8p Monday through Thursday, 5p on Fridays and 4p on Saturday.
Their mission statement couldn't be more simple. “We are a haven, a place that invites and offers opportunity, celebrates community, and promotes literacy.”
About the Author
Diane is a features writer for DrydenWire.com. She started her fifteen-year career as a features writer for the Washburn County Register and has written for assorted newspapers and national magazines. She has also just released the third novel in her Chicago series of books – Scott Free in Chinatown. You can visit Diane's website at www.dianedryden.com or her facebook page at facebook.com/authordianedryden.