"[History is] a cyclic poem written by time upon the memories of man." -Percy Bysshe Shelley

Saturday, April 21, 2012

the making of the library: original town board documents

Report of the Committee
to the Town Board of Manitowish Waters

August 27, 1985

l. Creation of the Library Committee and its original mandate:
At the regular, annual town meeting of Tuesday, April 9, 1985, the assembled voters present voted to create a Library Committee. The official minutes of said meeting record : ". . .that a committee be formed to look into a library.” The committee as presently constituted (below) has interpreted that mandate to mean that this committee should serve as a preliminary study committee, with responsibility for bringing recommendations concerning the establishment and construction of a town library to the town board, and through said board to the citizenry of Manitowish Waters.
          The minutes of the April 9, 1985 meeting also show that "Chairman Olesen appointed Rev. Hall as chairman, Helen Townsend, Betty Skrobot and Toby Hyland —the report to be given at the budget meeting in Nov.” The Library Committee has duly functioned with that membership, and feels prepared to make at least its initial report and recommendations to Town Board at this time.

II. Site selection for a town library:
Much time and consideration was given by the committee to this matter. In summary, among the possible sites discussed were:
  1. Town land, wooded, between the Town Hall (Community Center) and the Fire Hall.
  2. Privately owned land, possibly available through donation, adjacent to the Frank B. Koller Memorial Park, and fronting on Best Lake.
  3. The basement of the present Community Center building.
  4. The old town hall building near the cemetery.
  5. Structures in the shopping area along Highway "W" and possibly available - such as the Yankee Book Studio and the old post office.
  6. Other parcels of town land as yet undeveloped - such as the area north of the airport and east of the Community Center building.
  7. Other vacant land along either Highway 51 or Highway "W".

All possible locations were thoroughly discussed and evaluated regarding such considerations as: visibility, accessibility, suitability for development and construction (including factors like site contours, water table, possibility for septic, etc.), scenic and aesthetic values, availability of parking space, suitability for accommodating the handicapped, ease of maintenance of subsequent building and grounds, possible expense of site acquisition, and possible public acceptance of the final recommendation of‘ a location. In addition, actual on-site inspections were made, including gathering of physical dimensions, survey or plat maps, and review of adjacent or nearby properties.

All things considered, the Library Committee hereby Recommends: that the location of a town library be the site between the present Town Hall/ Community Center and the Fire Hall (item a. of this Section II., above).

III. Design and construction of a town library:
An essential consideration in the discussion and decision immediately preceding was whether the physical structure and facilities of a town library should best be a completely new structure or a currently existing structure with necessary renovation. After much deliberation, it was the unanimous position of this committee that our community and its people would be best served by a new structure, specifically designed and built with this unique purpose in mind: to be a library and nothing else.

At this point it should be reported that as this committee set about its study, Frank and Betty Koller generously made known their desire to donate the construction of a town library to the town and people of Manitowish Waters (within the limits of a dollar amount which, to date, cannot be specified). Since this construction would be their gift, Betty specified that it would be their wish to have the design and actual building of the library done by Tri-State Homes, Inc. of Mercer, Wi., Mr. Ed Alvey, President. Consequently, the Library Committee subsequently invited Mr. Alvey and his staff to lend their counsel and expertise to the meetings and work of our committee.

In addition, this committee also consulted and was advised by special resource material on the design and construction of small town libraries (as well as the future organization and administration of a community library program and particular services thereof). These publications (all available for reference or inspection) include: Small Libraries, Library Facilities for the Handicapped, and others. From such material, the input of various of our town citizens, and the discussion of the committee, it was finally decided that important and highly desirable features in the design of‘ the library building would include:
  1. A large room for the main stacks of the library's principal
collection of books
  1. A Children's section or room
  2. An audio-visual/fine arts room
    d. A lounge/conference room
    e. An office and receptionist’s area or desk
  3. f. Bathrooms
  1. A finished basement/storage area/general purpose or activities
The Library Committee hereby Recommends: that the appended drawings, specifications, and description of a library building as prepared by Tri-State Homes, Inc., be approved as the design for the new town library to be constructed on the site as specified above.

IV. Organization and administration of a library program and services:
This section and topic is a large and involved one in itself. The Library Committee spent a considerable amount of time and discussion on such concerns as:
  1. The need for widespread community support and involvement through "friends of the library”-type organization, special programs and projects, etc.
    b. The acquisition of books, a-v resources, and other library materials, through purchases, donations of New and used books, grants or loans of materials, etc.
  2. The need for a librarian(s) and other staff, whether hired, volunteer, or both.
  3. The relationship of our new town library to the Wisconsin State Library Division, the Northwest Library System, the Bookmobile, the Vilas County Library Board, nearby community libraries, etc.
  4. The relationship of our new town library to the town board of supervisors and community of Manitowish Waters as a whole.
  5. The need for a permanent body to supervise, direct, plan, and generally administer the programs and services provided by the library.
Since these concerns and related ones were judged to be beyond the original mandate of this study committee, but since these are questions and issues which need to be dealt with in conjunction with the construction of the building itself, the Library Committee hereby Recommends: that —
    1. The town board adopt a resolution that there will be a public
      library in Manitowish Waters, in accordance with the appropriate
      Wisconsin state statute.
    2. As soon as practicable, a Board of Trustees of the Manitowish Waters Public Library be created to fulfill the above functions. According to the state statute, again, it shall be comprised of five members, with three-year, staggered terms of office.

Financial considerations for the construction, maintenance and operation of a town library:
While this is a most important aspect of this entire project to establish a town library, as indicated above, it is not definite at the date of this report as to how much the Koller's are able to donate of the construction or other needs of the building.

We are most grateful, however, for their generous offer, and suggest that questions that might pertain to costs of construction be directed to them.

Future maintenance and operating costs are not yet clear at this early stage, but would seem the appropriate and necessary concern of a Board of Trustees for the library.

VI. Appendices:
    1. Minutes of meetings of the Library Committee
    2. Drawings, specifications and description of the recommended library
      building by Tri-State Homes

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