History

Beginning with 730 books in a small room over the old horse stable of the City fire station in 1899, the West Bend Library is now located in the City cultural district with nearby  historical and art museums. A major expansion to more than 60,000 square feet on two floors, was completed in 1999-2000.

FOR outstanding user services, including reference
service and materials for local students, weekend and
evening hours for busy families, and Internet and
computer access at the level of patron requests;

FOR a recently expanded building that has provided
patrons with comfortable and quiet reading areas,
separate children’s and adult areas, and study and
meeting rooms in a variety of sizes;

FOR being a factor in West Bend receiving the 2000
State of Wisconsin Main Street award, and being
featured in the December 2000 Library Journal architecture issue;

FOR reaching out to area homebound patrons and those
in assisted living facilities and nursing homes, as
well as serving students from kindergarten through college;

FOR serving its community by helping to found the
Washington County Consortium Of Online Libraries , working
with local government officials, working with school
library media specialists, and the local university campus;

FOR THESE AND OTHER OUTSTANDING ACCOMPLISHMENTS AND INITIATIVES, which rank this library among the best in
the State of Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Library
Association is pleased to recognize the
WEST BEND COMMUNITY MEMORIAL LIBRARY
as its 2001 Library of the Year.

The Wisconsin Library Association is pleased to announce that the West Bend Community Memorial Library will receive the Library of the Year for award for 2001 at the organization’s annual conference on October 25, 2001 in Appleton, Wisconsin. This facility was recently remodeled, adding 32,000 square feet that now provide patrons with plenty of comfortable seating and expanded computer access, as well as a separate children’s department. The building was designed as part of West Bend’s cultural district and was featured with a picture in the Library Journal December 2000 architectural issue. The presence of the library was also a factor in West Bend receiving the State of Wisconsin Main Street award in 2000. But the physical library is only an outward manifestation of the support this library offers to its community, local and outlying.

The West Bend Community Memorial Library has a solid working relationship with a variety of institutions and populations. The library, in 2000, served 22 facilities and 15 homebound clients in West Bend and Hartford. It provides service to nursing homes, senior housing, and assisted living facilities, as well as a story hour at a facility for comprehensive services for children and adults with disabilities.

The library also works closely with school library media specialists, providing materials that help students of all ages fulfill class assignments, and actually working with students on those assignments. School groups visit the Community Memorial Library during the day, and homeschoolers are also regularly accommodated. The public and school library staffs also work together to promote summer reading programs, which has helped those programs grow substantially.

The expanded facility has allowed the Community Memorial Library to expand the children’s programming to include more guest performers and storytellers, along with financial help from the local Kiwanis group. The vitality of the library’s programming helped the Kiwanis decide to support an expansion of children’s programming. Saturday programming and evening story telling have attracted families with children in growing numbers.

The staff at West Bend Community Memorial Library was also active in the wider community when it helped co-found the Washington County Online Library Consortium with Hartford and Germantown. This consortium shares cataloging, an online catalog, and daily van delivery, which offers more accessibility to materials to citizens of Washington County.

Community leaders have written enthusiastically in support of this award to West Bend Community Memorial Library as Library of the Year, citing the welcoming staff and service to all in the community. There was wide citizen support for the expansion project, a sure sign the older facility was doing something right to begin with. By all counts, West Bend citizens are rightly proud of this new facility that will continue to serve its population with more innovation and materials as the years go by.

Library Challenge http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/West_Bend,_Wisconsin#Library_controversy

Robert B. Downs Intellectual Freedom Award Recipient 2009
WLA Proquest/SIRS Intellectual Freedom Award Recipient 2009