105 Third Ave W, Osceola, WI
The Hotel Library: As early as 1921, the Osceola Women’s Club (OWC) fostered the dream of a public library. In spite of their hard work and effort, the effects of the Depression were great, consuming the support and resources required for a library.
Though their dream lay dormant for decades, it was not altogether lost. In 1966, the visionaries of OWC once again entertained the idea of having a public library in Osceola. Nine years later, after being approved by the Village mayor Dr. L.O. Simenstad, our current library would be birthed when Shirley Braun was recruited to become the first professional librarian of what is now the Osceola Public Library.
With some secondhand book shelves and books purchased by the OWC, they set up shop in the two front rooms of the Osceola Inn, becoming only the 10th such library in Polk County. Equipped with a desk, typewriter, and writing tablet, Shirley went about the business of supplying the residents of our community with literature to both educate and entertain.
Although the women of our community are credited with both carrying the vision and birthing our public library, the labor of the men who loved them as well as other caring community members is laced through and woven into their work. For that, we’re most thankful to all the trailblazers that made a path for us to so richly enjoy!
The Emily Olson house: After being in use for a year, the library received an unusual and generous offer from Emily Olson. Just around the corner, on River Street, stood her childhood home. She inquired if the building would make a good library. The answer, of course, was, “Yes!” What an exciting prospect – an expansion that would provide the required space to further meet the needs of the community.
After receiving board approval, the OWC, library board members, and faithful volunteers readied the home for it’s new role in serving the local residents. In addition to the few pieces of furniture and shelving that were moved from the hotel library, the new building was furnished with spare pieces from the Eau Claire Public Library. The librarian there was reportedly an extraordinarily nice man. Having learned that Osceola was a small village with just a small library, he allowed Osceola to have anything that was needed at no charge including the libraries first card catalog.
The additional space allowed the library’s book collection to grow, extended hours of operation increasing from 10 to 20 hours per week, and weekly a Storytime.
408 River St, Osceola, WI
102 Chieftain St, Osceola, WI
With circulation increasing annually, by 1987 plans were being made to add onto the River Street library. The owner of the Kluge Auger building contacted the library to see if there would be any interest in his building for the expansion. The Kluge building lay at the south end of chieftain street along side the picturesque Mill Pond. In February of 1988, the library board approved the building for the relocation of the library. The OWC, community organizations, library patrons and board joined their efforts to raise over $200,000 from private sources for the renovation project.