Saturday, June 28, 2014

248. Cornell Public Library, Cornell, WI

There are many reasons to visit a specific library: follow up on an intriguing article or picture, complete a regional group, drive down the road and see a universal library sign.... How about "want to visit a shoe outlet and a certain 'boutiquelet' with a big sale in Wisconsin, look at the map, discover a small town library between the two sales;" yes, that will suffice.

The town of Cornell celebrated its centennial last year and the public library published a booklet about the library as part of the celebration. The booklet is clearly written and illustrated with old photographs, a very nice piece of work.

 The brick building has some interesting architectural details, like the crenelated roofline on the front. Inside, as in so many libraries, there is a clear interest in local history, with a floor-to-ceiling old wooden "history cabinet," an antique wheelchair holding teddy bears, and many old photographs that give a broad look at town life, from a children's playground parade to a visit from Senator Kennedy.

All is not old, however. There are four public Internet computers, and wifi is available for those with their own laptops. Although the library is unaffiliated with any regional consortium, it offers free interlibrary loan service, faxing, and test proctoring. The latter two are too often not available in larger libraries, so finding them here is commendable. And they are open about 30 hours a week!

Young patrons will find a cozy corner with a bright rug, enough books to get them started on a life of literacy, and a whole menagerie of stuffed animals. There is a summer reading program and a LEGO club.

Adults will find plenty of media and books. Perhaps reflecting its roots in the Presbyterian Sunday School, there is a large collection of books marked "IN" for inspirational.

Leaving the library, we realized we were hungry. That's when we discovered that Cornell is on a popular bike trail, which apparently provides enough business to support a very nice deli and ice cream shop, with friendly staff and excellent food. We left replete, taking with us a slab of "chocolate fudge cheese." Sorry, you'll just have to visit Cornell yourself to learn about that--but it's good!

For more about this library, visit their website at or look for them on Facebook.

6/27/2014,  car, with NJ


  1. Impressive to have a small town library open 30 hours a week! I have tried chocolate cheese in another Wisconsin town, and it really is good.

  2. The centennial booklet also included the following information about the Cornell Public Library. The library was started by the Presbyterian Sunday School in 1924. It outgrew the facility very fast and the Cornell Women't Club was asked to take over the library in 1925. It was then located in a downtown building until 1928 when it was moved into the new city building. The library continues to remain in the building to this date. We serve not only Cornell but many surrounding townships.

    1. I'm pleased to see the comments from Cornell folks. I just looked back at the cover of the booklet, and I wonder if this resolves the issue of the dates: Is it the case that the town of Cornell was founded in 1913, and the library came along ten years later?

    2. I believe that would be true.


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