1950 – 1975

During those two decades, Mrs. Wright steadily added books and other materials and politely persevered in cajoling the city council to include small extras in the annual appropriation. Her budget in 1967 supported the council’s decision to air condition the library and asked for one round table and ten chairs. Mrs. Wright cited the council and city clerk for “continued cooperation in helping develop and maintain one of the better municipal libraries in this part of Wisconsin”; that request signed by Rev. Harold Haugland, W.H. Hehli and Charlotte Quarberg brought home the appropriation.

Decline in readership was noted with the advent of radio. Patron borrowing had plummeted to six each per year by 1949. TV’s were flooding into households during the 50’s. But, in 1958, 998 patrons had borrowed 16,576 volumes: 16 apiece. Adults were reading 55% fiction and juveniles 81% fiction. Readers were tempted with 594 new volumes. Readership reached a zenith in 1960 when patrons took out 25 items each.

The dedication of librarians is reflected by their wages. Mrs. Wright worked 15 years before her salary topped a dollar an hour. In 1965, she was paid $1800 for 1,664 hours; in 1969, she received $1.62 an hour. The library was usually open 18 hours a week in the winter and 15 hours in the summer; the librarian worked 32 hours.

Historically, the library expands and improves at a very even rate without abrupt changes. The appropriation from the city budget has since 1902 been increased modestly year by year; with each raise, came additional books, furniture and salaries. Fines in the 60’s seem to keep pace with phone bill, and occasional gifts made other purchases possible.

Mrs. Wright left in 1970. Hazel Halvorson worked as interim until Mrs. Mary C. Tanner was hired.

Librarians were not the only ones who brought continuity to the library operation. Since the inception of the library, the library has benefited from the long term, intense interest of library board members. Over the decades the roster of board members reveals names of persons who stayed on for many years. In 1975, the board members were: John Herpst, Mrs. Newell Erickson, Mrs. William Lover, Mrs. Jon Lee, Rev. Norman Ruthenbeck, Mrs. Randall Morey and Mrs. Gene Kramschuster.