HISTORY OF THE DORCHESTER PUBLIC LIBRARY
In researching the old Dorchester newspapers as to who was
involved; how, when and where did the Dorchester Public Library get
its start; I came across many interesting articles and one thing led to
another until I felt pretty comfortable that I had sufficient data to
put the full facts on paper.
I had one additional piece of good fortune. I was able to track
down a young woman by the name of Karen (Olson) Reynolds;
granddaughter of Alta Erlei. Alta Erlei was instrumental in
organizing and pursuing a public library for the citizens of
Dorchester. Karen had a document that was written by her mother,
Margaret “Erlei” Olson (daughter of Alta Erlei) and so I thought a
good place to start would be to reinstate that document at the
beginning of this writing.
I, Margaret Erlei, was a freshman in the fall of 1931 when the idea of
a library for the village of Dorchester was promoted by a group of
women led by Wayne Hugoboom, the high school music teacher.
They named themselves the patroness Club. Wayne also organized a
youth group to which I belonged. We called ourselves the Bookworm
Club and met in Hugoboom's living room. One social event was held,
that being a sleigh ride party, that I remember. We helped the
Patroness Club by going to homes asking for donations of unused
books, I think the Bookworm Club dissolved when Wayne pursued
Because of my mother's (Alta Erlei) interest and activity; I was close
to the excitement when the village board met and was presented
with a request for the use of the village hall for a library.
We were aware that some of the board members were opposed to
the request. With approval of the board came the business of
building shelving with doors that could be locked. Funds for this
may have been granted by the village board.
The women volunteered their time twice a week, Wednesday and
Saturday afternoons and evenings. Gradually their number was
reduced to just a few regulars. A small fee was paid to own a card
and a penny a day was collected on overdue books. The most
requested reading was for love stories, mysteries, detective and the
current best sellers. I remember requests for reference books
placed by our outstanding student, Elmer Estrumse.
The library took out memberships with several book clubs and this
added variety. One of the most appreciated assortments came in
each month by rail from the University of Wisconsin Traveling
Library. The books arrived in a large, heavy wood box. At first,
Bill Monroe, the station agent, paid my brother (Leon Erlei) 5 cents
a hundred pounds to transport the box to the village hall (about two
blocks). Later it became my mother's responsibility and she was a
familiar sight pulling a sled or wagon in all kinds of weather. My
father (Henry Erlei), brother or I helped her pack and send the box
and receive it as she could not do it alone.
After a while, the library board decided to hire my mother at five
dollars a month and thus relieve the volunteers of their obligation.
The library was informal in structure. I do not remember how she
classified the shelving except for one type of reading material which
she kept out of the range of young patrons. These books were on the
top shelf, quite available to me but to this day I have not read Seed
or The Grapes of Wrath. I must have lost interest along the way as I
had discovered Tolstoy, Victor Hugo and Alexander Dumas and many
others which were not on my mother's list. For a brief time, I had a
story hour for youngsters but the parent's interest dwindled.
Harold (Boob) Martens kept the hall swept and had a fire in the
potbelly stove by the time my mother arrived but she was proficient
in building her own fire if Boob had duties elsewhere. The odor of
the place was something we had to get used to. For years no women
had stepped over the threshold except to vote. The floor boards
were dark and glossy with traces of missed spittoons and coals
dropped from the stove. Wood and coal smoke combined with the
tobacco smoke of at least four decades saturated every crack and
crevice. Captains chairs were drawn up to the two long tables and
were lined along the wall and around the heater.
The fire engines were housed in the other (west) half of the building
and back of the meeting room was the town jail. Its two cells
provided cots for transients. As soon as the weather became chill
we could expect to find one or two staying overnight or for several
days. The big heater provided warmth and cooking space. Many of
the men were decent, intelligent, educated and interesting. Most
were willing to share their troubles and tales with us and my mother
always made their visits welcome. Occasionally, one of our family
stayed with her until closing; when an especially fearsome character
was in town.
My mother performed her duties zealously, enjoying the books and
the people from 1932 to 1952. Her payment was never increased.
September 11, 1931 --- The first article that I was able to locate in
the Dorchester Newspaper occurred on this date and would confirm
the time mentioned in Margaret Erlei's writings. The article states:
Since we have no library here, we have been asked, “Where can I
get one of the books recommended by the column?” Due to the lack
of a library, we can think of no better recommendation than the
Free Traveling Library from Madison, Wisconsin. The only cost to you
is postage and of course a small fine if a book is kept over time.
Just write the Free Traveling Library, Madison Wisconsin and the
books will be shipped to you.
We are hoping that Dorchester will have a branch of the traveling
library here as we have had in former years when Herbert Buehrens
so graciously gave his time for book worms.
September 18, 1931 --- Ready for some real news. The book shop
at Marshfield, located adjacent to the Hotel Charles, near the post
office has a special sale on books. Among them are The Royal Road
to Romance and the Glorious Adventure by Halliburton as well as
Revolt in the Desert by Lawrence and many other books of that
caliber. Books which sold for $3.50 to $5.00 per copy are now being
sold for just $1.00 per copy. If you are interested in having an
excellent library built up; here is a real chance to add some worth
while books to your library. If you aren't particularly interested in
reading them yourself and fell slightly philanthropic, why not donate
the books to the Book Worm Club or let them buy the books as a
nucleus for a Dorchester Public Library? Think it over.
October 2, 1931 --- THE BOOK WORM ---This week brings news of
our new “Book Worm Club”. The initial meeting was held Tuesday
evening with 14 members present. It was decided to meet every
two weeks on Monday evening so as not to interfere with the
Catholic card parties on Tuesdays. The next meeting will be held
Monday evening October 12. The place will be announced next
week. If you couldn't come this first time be sure to be present a
week from Monday evening for we have many plans to discuss and
begin working on.
Business --- No officers were elected but Wayne Hugoboom took
charge as temporary chairman and Emery Fritsch was appointed
temporary treasurer. It was decided to charge each member an
initial fee of 25 cents and a monthly charge of 10 cents; not enough
to prohibit anyone and a way of raising enough money to begin.
Our Aim --- The main aim of the Book Worm Club is a Public Library
for Dorchester. The dues of the members will go towards buying
new books and paying current expenses. Several people have
already promised to donate books to the library, which is open to
everyone. We shall be happy to receive any books you should wish
to donate to our library. Of course there are books we cannot use
for a library but your judgment will tell you which books are
suitable. We can use good fiction, biography, history, adventure and
travel or any other type of book. Look over your collection, pick out
the books you wish to donate, then either bring them to the
Hugoboom residence or tell us and we will call for them. With
everyone cooperating we should have a nice start towards a library
by our next meeting. If any books you wish to donate are broken or
torn, send them just the same and we'll fix them up for use. Just
help us get started.
Committees --- The only committee appointed was a Ways and
Means Committee to find ways of raising money to purchase books.
The committee is composed of Miss Hart, Mrs. A.W. Schief,
H.L. Hougen and Geraldine Herman. We want to give everyone a
chance to help with the library so we are working out plans to satisfy
everybody. To help start the library we are going to use the Free
Traveling Library in conjunction with our own material, giving us a
large supply of available reading material.
Surprise --- At the next meeting, Oct. 12, we are going to have a
program and a lunch. Be sure to be present and help us make plans
and have an enjoyable time.
October 9, 1931 --- The Book Worm --- This week brings a plea for
everyone interested in a public library to attend our meeting this
coming Monday evening at the Village Hall. Election of officers will
take place, committee reports read, plans made for the future and
following a program to be given; a lunch will be served.
Plan to be present and help us organize this worth while movement.
We need the concentrated assistance of everyone in Dorchester
community to make the public library a reality.
Bring in Your Books --- We ask you again to bring in the books you
wish to donate to the public library. Bring them to the Hugoboom
home this week if possible so we can start arranging and listing
them. If you cannot bring them yourself, let us know and we shall
call for them. You might write your friends and ask them if they
wish to donate any books. We want a library capable of serving all
the community and so we are asking for all the good books we can
get. Remember–good fiction, history, biography, travel and
adventure stories are all desirable. Can you do your bit and
help us out?
Why a Library? --- When they read or hear of the library move, some
folks will say; Why should Dorchester have a library? Our first
answer is to get your idea: Why shouldn't we have one? Here are
some of the answers we might receive.
1. Money is too scarce now to support a library.
2. It would benefit a few.
3. Uses too much of the taxpayers money.
4. A library is not necessary.
5. It would not benefit the town.
6. It would be a failure.
7. Not enough people interested in it.
8. Wait until later when there are better times.
You who are not in favor of a library look over this list of reasons and
you'll probably find your reason there. If not, then tell us what it is
and we'll see if we can't convert you to our way of thinking.
Dorchester has nothing worth while to join the people into a friendly
band of neighbors. There is nothing here that is maintained directly
by the people.
The only maintenance’s are the village board, fire department and
school and they are indirectly maintained by taxes. The library is
maintained directly by the people and goes as far as the people
want it to. With all of us working together side by side, will it not
help us see our neighbors in a newer and more enlightening way?
And at the same time it will ensure the success of the library. The
library will not use taxpayers money in the sense of taxes. It will be
maintained by the Book Worm Club, minor fines and dues, using no
allowance from village taxes.
October 16, 1931 --- The Book Worm --- The Book Worm Club met
Monday evening at the Village Hall with 21 members present. A
library for Dorchester is assured and so the club began at once to
working on plans for making the library a huge success. Dues were
made payable and all those who were not present are urged to pay
the treasurer, Mr. Fritsch, as soon as possible to give us some funds
to work with. Remember it costs you 25 cents to join and10 cents a
month for dues. Can you afford to give that much towards building
up a public library in Dorchester? If you cannot see Mr. Fritsch, you
may leave your dues at the Clarion office before the next meeting
on Monday, October 26th at the Village Hall.
What is it? It is the big Halloween Carnival, which will take place
Friday evening, October 30th. Plenty of thrills and excitement,
plenty of fun, music and entertainment for everyone. The proceeds
will be used for the Dorchester Public Library. If you don't care to
join the Book Worm Club, here is your chance to show us your
interest and give us some real support in raising funds for the library.
More about the big Carnival will be announced later but keep it in
mind and keep the date open – October 30th. Two weeks from today.
The library will be located in the Village Hall. The Dorchester
Village Board has given its consent and are sincerely in favor of the
library. They are letting us use the Village Hall for the library and
are furnishing lights and heat.
We can't thank them enough for their kindness and interest in this
new venture to better community life. The library is something
everyone in the village and surrounding territory can make use of
and still be proud of.
One More Thing --- Another item that will be needed as soon as the
library is started is at least two table lamps for the reading tables.
The lights are all right in the hall but are not suitable for reading
work. If you have an old electric table or desk lamp with a broken
shade or otherwise damaged so it cannot be used in your home, will
you donate it to the library. The boys electrically and mechanically
inclined will be more than pleased to have the opportunity of fixing
Here's something of interest to everyone. As soon as our library is in
operation, we have more plans. None of them are expensive but
they are mainly to give Dorchester boys and girls something
constructive to do. First we will have a story hour for the tiny tots
every Saturday afternoon with capable people in charge of the
department. We are also going to organize a boy's club, either Sec.
Hawkins or Boy Scouts; a girl's club, either Campfire, Kitchen Craft
or whatever they wish and a Forestry Club for bigger boys and girls.
October 30, 1931 --- The Book Worm --- As soon as possible after
the carnival, the library will start operations. We are still asking for
books and urging you to let us know about them. We have over 100
books at present and we are hoping to have at least 200 or 300 books
when the library opens. The library is yours to use as soon as it's
opened. Then too, we will begin our clubs shortly after wards.
November 13, 1931 --- Library --- The Village Board has supported
The Book Club from the first and their motion of approval and help
has taken form in a beautiful new library built this past week in the
It will be stained and varnished this week and will then be ready for
use. Some of the club members under the direction of Miss Hart,
are beginning the work of sorting and labeling the books for the
library and if any of you folks have books for us, please notify us so
we can get them now. As soon as the library opens we shall print a
complete list of the donors of books.
Getting back to the subject of the new library shelves, we want you
all to look them over. The work is well done and we are proud of it
and want everyone to take the best of care of the village hall and
library. We sincerely thank each member of the village board for his
splendid cooperation in making the library an assured success. We
also thank Mr. Andrew Sorenson for his earnest efforts in helping get
the hall in readiness. The hall is being cleaned and scrubbed
thoroughly and everything is being put in readiness to give
Dorchester folks a chance to have a public library. We urge you to
lend any assistance you can and also to make use of our library as
often as you wish. It is entirely for you people and your support is
solicited and more than welcome.
November 20, 1931 --- the Book Worm --- There are a few things we
still can use for our library that we are unable to buy. One is a small
desk for the librarian. Any table that is quite small would be
suitable. If you have one in the woodshed, store room or attic, why
not donate it. Or if you wish to keep it, why not lend it until we are
able to buy one. We also need shades for the lights and some more
lights or lamps. Let us know if anything you have that could be used.
December 11, 1931 --- The Book Worm --- The club met Monday
evening at Village Hall with quite a small attendance. Many of the
members seemed to have forgotten the night. The history of
Dorchester was discussed and the members seemed quite anxious to
compile a history of Dorchester. With about 250 books in the library
already; that shows you what has to be done before we are ready to
open the doors.
January 1, 1932 --- Public Library To Open Wednesday, January 6th
On Wednesday afternoon the Dorchester Public Library will open its
doors for the first time. A nice collection of books is on hand and
there are books to satisfy everyone. The hours are as follows:
Wednesdays: 2 to 5 – 7 to 9. Saturdays: 1:30 to 5 and 7 to 9;30.
To aid in our library fund we are asking each person (excluding Book
Club Members) to pay 10 cents for their library card which will
entitle them to draw books for a year. The amount is small but it
will help pay certain expenses for the library.
Make use of our library! Remember it is a room for reading and
drawing books and it is necessary to keep it quiet for those who wish
to read. Don't forget the library is for everyone. We ask you to use
it. And too, donations are still gladly welcomed.
January 29, 1932 --- The library has done very well so far and we
are urging more people to make use of it. We have about 70 cards
out now. Let's see if we can increase that to 100 before the end of
January. The tiny tots had their first Story Hour last Saturday
afternoon and we are quite sure they enjoyed themselves very
much. We acknowledge the receipt of books this week from the
J. Skerbeck, J. Schober and A.W. Schief families. We thank you all
very kindly for the books donated to the Dorchester Public Library.
February 5, 1932 --- The library is a success! We have nearly 80
cards out now and are working toward the 100 mark. We urge
everyone of you to take out books and tell your friends to take out a
card and borrow books from the library. Our purpose is to serve you
and you will find Miss Herman, our librarian, on the job to help you
in selecting books. We are very proud of her work.
The story hour for children will be held again this coming Saturday
from 2 to 3 o'clock with Miss R. Crocker telling the stories
March 4, 1932 --- Each week brings more news of our library. This
week we wish to tell you that we are well past the 90 mark in cards
and we urge you who have cards to help us raise it to 100.
We have acquired something else, this past week. We have a new
librarian. Her name is Mrs. Louis Sebold but should you go to the
library for a book; you will be struck by the similarity between her
and Miss Geraldine Herman, our former librarian. Yes, you can still
call her Geraldine but not Miss Herman. All the book team members
join us in congratulating the happy bride and groom thru this
March 18, 1932 --- In spite of seeming lack of interest, a small but
peppy crowd attended the book club party Monday evening.
Needless to say they had a good time and music was furnished by
Mrs. Erlei and Miss Margaret, as well as other talented members of
March 25, 1932 --- The library has about 110 cards out now. The
books on the list published two weeks ago are due Saturday, March
26, this coming Saturday. Be sure to have them back in time so we
can have the books here for you early in April.
April 8, 1932 --- Big Library Tea At Village Hall Wednesday
This next Wednesday afternoon April 13, will mark the opening of a
public Library Tea which will be held at the Village Hall. Three
ladies are uniting to serve the tea and everyone in and around the
village is invited to attend. Sandwiches, cookies and coffee will be
served and the lunch will cost 10 cents a person. Serving will begin
at 2:30 and last until everyone is served. As the library is open that
afternoon you can draw books as well as enjoy a luncheon. The
ladies in charge of this first public tea are Mrs. A.J. Premeau, Mrs.
R.W. Hugoboom and Miss Bertha Vangness. Be sure to attend.
April 22, 1932 --- At the regular meeting of the Book Worm Club
Monday evening, it was decided to have a wiener and marshmallow
roast at our May meeting, which will be held Monday evening, May
16th. Everybody is urged to be present. The dues for May is one
book from each member for the public library. If you haven't any
book of your own, find someone who is willing to donate one and
bring it as your dues.
Monday night's meeting was full of good information and fun,
although the crowd was small. Mrs. Erlei and Miss Margaret and
Miss Ardath Hugoboom furnished several trio selections on
concertina, guitar and saxophone. Mrs. H.L. Hougen gave an
interesting talk on “Reading as a Pastime” and Miss Hart's talk on
“Selection of Reading Material” was also very well received. A brief
round table discussion ended the program.
Have you guessed our circulation yet? Well, here it is!
January - 304 Books --- February – 406 Books ---
March – 488 Books --- Total - 1,198 Books.
With that for a total of the first months, we should have a total of
around 7,000 or 8,000 books circulated during our first library year.
This week brings two boxes of new books from the traveling library.
Among the books are a special set of ten German books and ten
May 13, 1932 --- Due to Mrs. Louis Sebold's moving and beginning
housekeeping; she is taking a vacation as librarian. Miss June
Hugoboom is acting as assistant at the present.
Sept. 9, 1932 --- This month brings a renewal of book club meetings
and we urge everyone to attend our first meeting of the year to be
held a week from Monday, September 19th at the Village Hall.
Plans are being laid to arrange for more library room and magazine
racks as well as a reading room. Next week will bring more
particulars. We are in receipt of a reading lamp for our room from
Mrs. C. Decker and we wish to take this opportunity to thank her for
it. We still need one or two more electric lamps and if anyone has
one or two extension cords, bulbs or shades, they have no use for,
we would be glad to get them. We are trying to fix up the rooms so
you may enjoy yourself at our library.
We are indebted to Mrs. E.M. Sorenson for the use of her set of
books: “The Messages of the Presidents” and to Mrs. W.R. Munroe for
the recent donation of books for the library. We are in need of
another library compartment. Our two groups of shelves are filled
to overflow and as a result we are going to add to our present
library. Are there any boys or young men interested in our work who
would like to built some shelving for us?
October 7, 1932 --Although our schedule for librarian on Wednesday's
is incomplete, we have the schedule for three of the weeks and so
give it here for your convenience. Cut it out and hang it up or paste
it to something and thus remember when your turn comes.
1st Wednesday P.M. – Mrs. S.C. Sorenson – 1st Wednesday Eve.
Mrs. N. Pickett --- 2nd Wednesday P.M. - Mrs. H. Erlei ---
2nd Wednesday Eve. - June Hugoboom --- 3rd Wednesday P.M. -
Mrs. A.W. Schief --- 3rd Wednesday Eve. - Wayne Hugoboom ---
4th Wednesday P.M. - Mrs. Louis Sebold --- 4th Wednesday Eve. -
The following people will have sections of Wisconsin history to
discuss at the October meeting: Leo Schober, Margaret Erlei, June
Hugoboom and Jack Allar. Be sure to see Mr. Fritsch to get the topic
and references in which to find material for the discussion.
October 28, 1932 --- The regular meeting of the Book Worm Club
was held Monday evening at the Library with a nice size crowd in
attendance. After much discussion it was decided to divide the club
temporarily into two clubs; one for the ladies who wish to help the
library and the other for young folks from high school age through
the young married folks age. The younger group will retain the
name of the Book Worm Club and the ladies will decide on a name in
the near future. The Patroness Club has been suggested as a
suitable name for the club. Club members felt the division would
induce more Dorchester ladies to join the Patroness Club and more
young folks to join the Book Club group.
December 2, 1932 --- A committee was chosen to write up a set of
by-laws and constitution for the club. The committee is composed
of Wayne Hugoboom, Emery Fritsch, Margaret Erlei and Anna Miller.
A reading of the by-laws and chance for changes and adoption will
be made at the December meeting. The two members of the Book
Club who will act on the library board in connection with two
members of the Patroness Club, the librarian and presidents of both
clubs were chosen at the meeting. They are Mrs. L. Sebold and
E.G. Fritsch. As soon as the Patroness Club meets and selects its
members of the board a meeting of the Library Board will be held to
determine which books to purchase, what penalties to deal out for
misdemeanor and future plan for the success of the library. So,
don't forget the next meeting on Monday, December 17th. Let's all be
present and invite guests and have them dress to fit the title of a
January 6, 1933 --- The library board will meet at the R.W.
Hugoboom home on Wednesday evening January 18, at 8 o;clock for
the purpose of establishing newer and stricter rules regarding the
use of the library. New books will be discussed and final approval
placed on books to be purchased for the coming month. The board
consists of Mrs. L. Sebold, E.G. Fritsch, Miss Anna Ugoretz, Mrs. S.C.
Sorenson, Mrs. H.L. Hougen, Mrs. Henry Erlei and Wayne Hugoboom.
February 10, 1933 --- We begin this week's column with a hooray.
For several weeks the Club has been debating whether to buy books
first and then build more library room or build more shelves and let
the books go for awhile. Through the extreme kindness of Mr. Allar
and the Village Board members, we are to have more library room in
a short while. That leaves the book clubs free to purchase books
mending and reading material.
We tender our unanimous vote of hearty approval and thanks to the
Board for their unfailing support and cooperation. Money spent for
library room and shelves cannot go wrong. We felt when the library
was organized a year ago that it was purely a trial. But during the
year it has proven a source of enjoyment, entertainment and benefit
to the people in and around Dorchester.
March 17, 1933 --- You undoubtedly noticed our new and appropriate
heading of our column last week but as space was scarce we were
unable to mention it. Some time ago we consulted Ernest Mehner
about an appropriate heading for our column. Shortly after, Ernie
brought over an ink drawing which we thought excellent and last
week found Ernie's drawing a permanent part of our column. The
worm, which you notice is a glow worm, is the symbol of our club
and column. Its glow lights the path to book reading and enjoyment
and enlightens the mind. So you see our motto really is, “Light the
way to better reading and enlighten the mind”.
The new cupboards are almost finished now and we are urging all
patrons who have books to donate to the library to let us know
where we may call for them. The magazine shelf is completed and
we ask all those having magazines to bring them to the library on or
before the first of each month.
June 23, 1933 --- When in doubt of what to read, ask our librarian.
Mrs. Erlei can usually tell you something of the story and give you an
idea of whether or not you'd enjoy the book.
August 25, 1933 --- At the special meeting of the Book Worm Club
Monday evening; it was decided to create the office of President of
the Library Board Association. Through unanimous vote, Mrs. E.R.
Erickson was chosen for the office of President of the Association.
Sept. 29, 1933 --- Members of the library board for the coming year
are: Mrs. S.C. Sorenson, Mrs. F.P. Foley, Mrs. A.W. Schief, Mrs. Henry
Erlei, Miss Lucienne Manney, and Mrs. E.R. Erickson.
October 13, 1933 --- Meeting of the library board was held last
Monday evening. New officers: a chairman Mrs. S.C. Sorenson, and a
secretary Miss June Hugoboom were elected to serve on the board.
1933 to 1951 --- Very little news from this point on ever showed
up in the old newspapers. The library continued to function and
function well considering that the budget for its existence was very
small. I give a lot of credit for those who started the library and for
those who kept it viable in the years after its beginning.
September 13, 1951 --- In 1950, construction on the new Memorial
Hall had begun and now a year later; it was ready for occupancy.
The plan was to move the library to the new structure as soon as it
was viable and so here in 1951 – discussions for the move began.
Library Board Appointed At Friday Meeting --- President Vircks
named a library board comprised of W.P. Lehnetz, Dr. A.W. Schief,
Mrs. L.D. Sorenson, Mrs. Henry Erlei and Mrs. Herman Beisner; Mrs.
M.S. Surmann and Harold C. Lunde were named advisory members to
the board. Removal of the library to the new municipal hall was
discussed at some length before adjournment of the meeting.
January 3, 1952 --- Village authorities have announced that the
Village Library has been closed for moving and when its installation
in new quarters are complete, its reopening in the council room of
the new municipal auditorium will be announced.
January 31, 1952 -- Village Library to Reopen in New Quarters Feb. 2
The Dorchester Public Library which has been closed the past month
or so, for removal to the municipal auditorium will reopen Saturday,
Feb. 2; library spokesmen said today. The library now is located in
the council room at the front of the new hall and Mrs. Herman
Beisner is acting librarian while Mrs. Henry Erlei, librarian is on sick
leave. The same hours will be observed as usual.
Feb. 5, 1953 --- Library to Close Wednesday Evenings During Lent
Mrs. Herman Beisner, librarian announced today that the village's
public library will observe similar hours to those observed last year
during Lent and that beginning with that season two weeks from
yesterday on Feb. 18, the library will be closed Wednesday evenings
during the six week period.
May 28, 1953 --- Library Will Be Closed for Memorial Day Holiday
Mrs. Herman Beisner, local librarian, announced this week that the
Dorchester Public Library will be closed all day Saturday, May 30
because it is Memorial Day. The library is open each Wednesday and
Saturday afternoon and evening and observes the regular hours
except upon special occasions of which May 30 is one.
July 18, 1968 --- Library Moved Into New Home Tuesday -
The Dorchester Public Library was moved Monday and Tuesday to its
new location in the former home economics room of the old
Dorchester High School. The work of moving all the books, furniture
and equipment was completed late Tuesday evening. The library
will be open usual hours in the new location: Wednesdays and
Fridays 2 to 5 and 7 to 9. Remodeling of the library's new home is
not complete, among major work still to be done is building of more
shelves. The space in the front of the Memorial Hall vacated by the
library is being converted to auxiliary space for memorial Hall
as a community facility for meetings, receptions and like uses. A
beer cooler was installed last month and extensive remodeling is
planned to start next week.
So the third home of the Dorchester Public Library was now secure
and life for the community and library was bright as this was the
first time that the library did not have to share the space with other
community activities. No longer did the library books and magazines
have to be secured with closed doors and the more valuable
materials no longer had to reside behind lock and key.
The space was adequate and part of the remodeling process
included both men and ladies bathrooms. The room above the
library (the former science room of the old high school) was also
available for storage of old equipment or old records, etc. This
space however was shared with the storage of other village but
seldom used equipment.
September 1994 – Construction is well underway for the new stand
alone library. The 50 foot by 60 foot structure will include space not
only for book, magazines and other reading materials but innovation
and technology related features will also be present. VCRs, DVDs
and on-line computers will be available for the citizens of
Dorchester and the surrounding area for the first time. A new
building and yes even a machine which will permit anyone to access
the old newspapers thru the use of reading/displaying microfiche.
The Wisconsin Historical Society in the 1970s and 1980s took to the
road and microfilmed every old newspaper in the entire state. This
achievement meant it was now possible to view the old newspapers
by having each page of the newspaper appear on a screen for
viewing. In 2008, a new machine was purchased which permitted
the pages of the microfilm to be produced on paper so that a copy
could leave with you when you departed the library. This technique
was a tremendous addition as it was no longer necessary to hand
write the information required.
By April of 1995; the 3000 square foot building was completed and
the dedication took place one month later in May of 1995.
A tremendous accomplishment by a lot of people; people who
contributed time in raising funds and of course by those who
contributed monies to the well being of this very worthwhile effort.
May 2005 --- The words fell like a 50 pound rock hitting a plate
glass window --- The Dorchester Public School would be closed and
would not reopen in the fall. Ironically, it was already known that
the St. Louis School would close one year later in 2006 and for the
first time in 132 years; there would be no building housing an
educational facility within the confines of the Village of Dorchester.
What to do; call a meeting with the Dorchester Library Board and
see if a partial solution was available. The meeting was productive;
the library board would agree to an expansion of the existing library
if the monies could be raised. This writer agreed to raise the
necessary funds for the expansion. The bottom line was; the library
would now function as the center of the community for all kinds
of activities including; providing activities for seniors, teens,
expand the kiddie corner and this writer requested and received
authorization to use approximately one third of the new space for
a Historical Center. Since the Village of Dorchester was the owner of
the library; it was necessary to receive approval from them as well.
During the summer of 2005; at one of the village's regularly
scheduled monthly meetings; they too approved of the project and
so the movement began.
September 2011 --- Almost six and a half years later; approximately
$150,000 was raised and 40 foot by 60 foot addition was underway.
By the end of April, 2012; the building was completed almost seven
years from the time the movement started back in 2005.
What a proud moment for all of those who assisted in the program
and what a success. I remember saying; now we are back in the
May, 2012 --- So beginning in 1932 in the old Dorchester Village Hall
and relocating to the new Memorial Hall in 1952; then to the old
Home Economics Room in the old Dorchester High School in 1968 and
finally to the new library building in 1995 and the addition to that
structure in 2012.
Librarians and Dates served:
Miss Geraldine Herman --- January 6, 1932 – May 13, 1932
Miss June Hugoboom --- May 13, 1932 – October 7, 1932
Mrs. Alta Erlei --- November, 1932 – January 31, 1952
Mrs. Eric Beisner --- January 31, 1952 – September, 1958
Miss Zeila Whitman --- September, 1958 – September, 1962
Mrs. Ruth Carlson --- September, 1962 – December, 1988
Karin Hoffman --- December, 1988 – September, 1991
Evonne Runge --- September, 1991 – September, 1994
Marge Wilcox --- September 1994 – September, 1997
Anne Wingler --- September, 1997 – March, 1999
Shirley Gebert March, 1999 – May, 1999
Sue Bedroske – May, 1999 To Present
August, 2016 --- Looking back; I would say how fortunately we were
to have had so many good people in Dorchester during 1931. This
was during the most severe time of The Great Depression and people
certainly had more important concerns in their lives; like how to put
bread on the table for their families.
Yet, there were those who saw the future and how important it was
to read about the world and see what was happening elsewhere in
the world. Just a few years later; most books in Germany would be
outlawed and yes burned so that others could not read the truth.
Here in this great land – freedom rings loud and clear. The message
is “Do Not Ever Let Anyone Destroy What This Country Stands For”.