Saturday, June 8, 2013

178. Forest Lodge Library, Cable, Wisconsin

I saw a picture of this library on the Internet a few months ago and knew I had to work it into my travels. From the library brochure: "The Log Cabin Library in the Wisconsin North Woods. Free Internet Access (Wireless, too!) Unique Natural History and Wisconsin collections. On-line Databases. One Library Card for 29 Libraries. Member of NWLS [Northern Waters Library System]. Experienced & friendly staff. A Joint Public Library of the Cable & Namakagon Communities." The library motto is Free People Read Freely. All libraries could well adopt that statement.

That pretty well sums it up, but I'll add some things that I noticed. It truly is a log cabin, so of course there is a wonderful stone fireplace. Above the fireplace are pictures of the founder and her mother. On the mantle, a remarkable carved clock. Shelves along the walls are split logs; you have to visit and see them to understand how cool they are. The long reading table in the middle and the librarian's desk are original, dating to 1925. But while the library is rooted in the past, it is also modern, with three public computers, wi-fi, and access to the collections of the NWLS and beyond. The computers are in wooden carrells especially designed and built to fit the space available, adding to the human scale and feel of this library.

The top shelves hold very old books, with a sign stating that "Books on this shelf are not catalogued for circulation." In the children's area, however, the top shelf holds Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books, and a large collection of the stories of Thornton Burgess that do circulate--"ask the librarian for assistance". I don't recall seeing Thornton Burgess books in any other library lately, though Minneapolis Central probably has them in the stacks. My Dad read all of these to me when I was very young.

Also in the children's area are a low shelf with crayons, paper, and coloring books, and a modest collection of every type of book (picture books, easy readers, fiction, non-fiction) that one would expect to find. There is a collection of puppets and a bench (by the same person who made the computer carrells) can serve as a puppet theater. Mesh "discovery bags" provide collections of books and games on various topics.

There is an especially large collection of field guides, witness to the period when the library and the Cable Natural History Museum were merged. (They are now separate again.) There is a room with fiction, some shelves of mysteries, and books for sale in the vestibule. What I did not see (perhaps I missed them?) were romance novels and science fiction.

If you're in northern Wisconsin, stop in; you'll find the library staff to be friendly and welcoming. To learn more, go to [When I went to that site I saw a notice about Library Chocolate. How I missed that, I can't imagine. I did buy a canvas totebag with "Free People Read Freely" on it, however.]

6/7/2013, car


  1. Only 2 1/2 years late...but...somehow I had failed to ATTEND to the yellow strip of paper that had, apparently, been on our bulletin board for awhile. Thank you so very much for visiting our little library and for your kind words about it! It's true there is no designated section for sci-fi or romance...but, there are a few of those titles interspersed with our "general" fiction. Not a great deal has changed since your visit...but...if you find yourself in the vicinity again...DO stop in and check out our outdoor musical instruments! They're a lovely addition to the campus area we share with the Cable Natural History Museum. You may also be interested to know that our photo appeared in the 2014 Robert Dawson pictorial essay THE PUBLIC of three libraries in Wisconsin to make the cut...
    Thanks, again, for visiting the log cabin library!

    1. Outdoor musical instruments? I am to schedule a trip back to Cable...Hmmm.

      Thanks so much for your comment. I remember the Forest Lodge Library fondly, and have described it to many people, encouraging them to stop and see it.

    2. And what fun to get a comment after all this time! I'm thrilled to think that my "calling card" has been on the bulletin board, waiting for you.


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