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Curtiss-Wedge, F.; Jones, Geo. O. (ed.) / History of Dunn County, Wisconsin
(1925)

Chapter XV: the Stout Institute, memorial building and library,   pp. 117-123


Page 122

HISTORY OF DUNN COUNTY
therefrom. It was two years before there was any accumulated income from the
trust funds. During that period of time such expense was paid by Mrs. Fanny
Crane and the late Louis S. Tainter, daughter and son of Captain and Mrs. Andrew
Tainter. The original endomrnent of S65,000-has since been increased to
S105,000 through legacies left by other members of the Tainter family and by
other citizens of Menomonie.
The Memorial Library was opened to the public on Jan. 21, 1891, and at that
time contained 3,000 volumes. The first year it had 900 patrons and a circulation
of 15,000. Books have been continually added until now the collection embraces
about 16,374 volumes, besides 2,577 public documents and 3,930 pamphlets. The
annual circulation is 60,000. The total number of patrons in 1924 was 5,964, of
whom 1,947 were from the rural districts.
While this is a privately endowed library, it is conducted for a public purpose.
That purpose is the circulation of its accumulated books throughout the county
of Dunn without cost to its patrons. The primary qualification of a patron is
that he or she be an inhabitant of Such county. A person once having become a
patron, his standing thereafter, if he continues to be an inhabitant of the county,
rests solely on his own conduct. He is only iequired Lo observe a few rules made
for the care and return of the books taken by him and generally to live up to the
legal obligations of a bailee having the possession of property belonging to another.
In the foundation of the library there were made three innovations or depar-
tures from the generally accepted restrictions to be imposed upon a library. It
widened its field beyond the limits of the municipality in which it was organized
and became a circulating library for the entire county of Dunn; it did not require
its patrons to procure a guarantee for the faithful performance of their obligations
to the library, nor to put up a money deposit to secure such performances; and it
opened up its shelves to the free and unhampered inspection of all patrons and
visitors. The library is tolerant in matters of religion and politics. It endeavors
to place on its shelves the works of all reputable writers on all phases of religion
and politics. Unasked, its library staff does not assume to advise nor to direct nor
influence the reading of any patron, Its managing committee believes that its
patrons know what they wish to read and what and when they want to read. The
only way the library seeks to influence its patrons is by the qulaity and kind of
books it purchases. Suggestions as to what to purchase are always welcome from
those who have a kindly interest in the welfare of the library.
When first opened the library had a much smaller circuiation in the rural dis-
tricts than now. The automobile and the parcels post have helped the managers
of the library to a great extent in the carrying out of the wishes of the donors that
the benefits of the library should be as great to the patrons living outside of the
city as to those living within the city. In this respect this library long stood unique.
It has been of especial value to the schools, and every encouragement is offered for
the use of the books both bv teachers in the city and those of the district schools.
The first librarian was Miss Cora Farnum (now irs. P. B. Clark), who entered
upon her duties Aug. 1, 1890. Other libraries were visited and library manage-
ment and classification of books studied. A catalogue was completed for public
use by Jan. 21, 1891. This catalogue was the only one published, as the continual
arrival of new books soon compelled the adoption of a card catalogue system in
its place. The first assistant was Miss Ada Kelsey, now Mrs .Fred Curran. She
or Miss Lizzie Kelsev (now Mrs. N. L. Howison), were assistants during the four
years of Mrs. Clark's work in the library. 'Mrs. Clark had a very efficient and
able library board in Rev. Henry Doty Maxson, 'Mr. C. E. Freeman and Miss
Stella Lucas. At one of the board meetings 'Mrs. Clark suggested that to have
book-marks would be of great use in protecting the books from turned down cor-
ners, pencil marks, etc. The plan was adopted, and, having proved very popular,
has been continued. They are known as the Maxson book-marks from the fact
that on every one is printed a number of reasonable requests indited by Mr. Max-
son supposed to be made by the book to a little boy reader, with respect to its
proper use and care; they, are now sold in many" bookstores.
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