Peshtigo Public Library expansion and what it will provide for the community

Kaity Coisman

PESHTIGO – An expansion is on the horizon for the Peshtigo Public Library. With construction already in full effect, they will soon tear down the west wall of the library. The expansion will provide 16 feet of space to serve the greater Peshtigo community.

The project has a variety of grants, donations and other funds covering 100% of the cost. The expansion originated under an ARPA grant that the City of Peshtigo received during COVID-19. The grant also provides for the cost of the fire department expansion. Peshtigo Library Branch Librarian Kristin Willems said the city’s inclusion of the library was a kind gesture that shows the value of community.

The project was also partially funded by the Peshtigo Library Foundation, which is covering the cost of new carpeting in the existing library space, so there is no visible divide between the original and new spaces. Marinette County is also stepping in to provide funding set aside for the expansion. Additional funding is also contributed from the Pearl McCauley Trust, dedicated to providing more items to check out from the library.

With the new 16 feet of space, Willems hopes to utilize the space by making room for story time and other community members using the library’s resources. “We’re kind of squished at story time every Monday, and they’re really close to the public PCs… We really do want to focus that area probably more for children’s space, possibly teens, but it does depend on the funding that’s available,” stated Willems. Along with more space for story time, the existing PCs will be spaced out to six feet apart, which stemmed from COVID.

Another benefit of the expansion will be freed office space for a public meeting room. Currently, during scheduled programming, community members find themselves in the Peshtigo City Council Chamber instead of the library.

Willems said during the project, she experienced the opportunity to work with the Peshtigo Fire Department, Police Department, Mayor’s office and other community members, which has created better connections to serve the community. “Working with all of these different groups to make this all happen has been really rewarding. To be able to see that all come together and the people who care about it and really investing in the library and the community,” stated Willems. Among these further connections, she hopes the library will provide programming to broad age groups.

“Programming is the biggest thing in this space that we have that will allow us to have larger groups… Our focus when we do programming, is to get people into the library. So, we have these wonderful programs, but we want you to see what else we have when you come in,” Willems said. “There’s just so much here, and it’s inexpensive, and it’s family-centered, and there’s more than just books. So, there’s just so much here, and I just want people to take advantage of what’s here for them.”

Willems said some of the additional programming she would like to add to the library will include Anne Bartels’ environmental expertise to create a garden outside the library. “We are hoping to have a community-centered program where we will be able to all go out, plant these items and she was going to provide a lot of plants and things like that,” Willems explained. “We could have Anne come in and then create this beautiful space that we could use for bringing kids outside to teach them about the environment and native plants and animals.” While programming requires a finished expansion, there are programs and activities in the works for the Peshtigo Community.

Another addition to getting community members into the library will include items purchased with the help of the Pearl McCauley Trust. These items can consist of phonics kits, sensory kits or other additional resources that aid learning.

Due to the expansion, the Peshtigo Public Library will be temporarily closed for approximately six weeks beginning Aug. 5. During this timeframe, there will be some changes for visitors to look out for. This includes the circulation desk relocated to the east wall and a new collection of themed children’s activity bags added for checkout.

The library still requires assistance during construction to ensure all existing books, CDs and DVDs remain in good condition. Community members can donate sturdy boxes or bins to pack the collection of materials, volunteer for packaging and contribute monetarily.

Individuals interested in volunteering can call (715) 582-4905 or visit the library. All donations should be sent to PO Box 61, Peshtigo.

Due to construction, there will be some event cancellations at the library, including the Aug. 5 book club meeting and the Aug. 7 end-of-summer ice cream social. There will still be events the community can attend at the library this July. These events include Story Time every Monday at 10:30 a.m., a Vietnam War Veteran talk with Eugene Frank on July 17 from 3:30-4:30 p.m. and a visit from local author Art Rein on July 24.


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