The final quarter of the nineteenth century of Mondovi Library history is a picture of rapid technological change. The first 75 years saw the introduction of such improvements as electricity, the hectograph, the typewriter, movie cameras and projectors, and the ball point pen. Dazzling as these changes were, present day inventions make them look mundane.
But these changes have not changed the mission, service and usage of the library itself. When asking people associated with the library what the most significant changes in the last 25 years have been, answers vary. Rachel Morey, who has been involved with the library for over thirty years, points to computerization. An Apple computer came in 1985 while Sue Gun was librarian; Sue noted that the computer did much of the record keeping so she had more time to help library users. John Herpst, school superintendent and board member, said that the transfer of some fiscal controls from the library to the city bookkeeping was an important change.
Patti Berglund, librarian since 1995, including the centennial of the library,
did not name any specific change as having the greatest significance. Mrs. Berglund, pictured at the left, has been a proponent of utilizing the Winding Rivers Library System. Using that program, the library puts a wide range of library materials in the hands of the library users: books, videos, books on tape, and research materials are included in loan materials. Mrs. Berglund has also worked to bring county funds to the library to help pay for services rendered to our out of town clients.
Another important addition to the library has been the establishment of The Friends of the Library organization for fund raising for the library and for service projects. Friends uses bake sales, book sales, Scrip sales, and membership dues to raise funds. Books for the sale come from library discards and donations. Scrip is a fund raiser involving a purchase and gift certificate program where certificates, purchased at a small percentage discount form the vendor, are sold through United Bank for profit. The Friends have also presented guest speaker programs from the Wisconsin Humanities Council. The Friends was established in 1999 and had about thirty-five members, including some family and business members at the end of the century. Friends also began publishing a library newsletter.
Microfilm was added to the library which allows area resident to research local history. Mondovi newspapers from 1876 to the present are microfilmed and available to the general public. Users can read the paper on the machine and then print individual pages. Mrs. Berglund noted that people doing family research are not the only users; young people come in and peruse past issues for entertainment by reading materials from “back in the 80’s”.
Modern entertainment and information offerings did not have a totally adverse effect on readership at the library, like some feared, but fueled an appetite for books and other materials. Patrons often come in now with specific authors and books that they heard about in the media. Young adults often select fiction for reading, but many many children pick non-fiction. School students use the library less often for research; probably due to school library offerings. In 2003, the library had 23,000
items on inventory; fiction and non-fiction were balanced. Five newspapers and about 50 magazines were available.
Cindy Brantner/Krett, pictured right, has been helping in the library since 1994. She started as a volunteer and became a part-time paid staff.