“Libraries Change Lives. And Mead Public library can change your life. Be enriched, educated, connected, creative and inspired!”
Mead Public Library, Sheboygan, WI
The quote above appears in a trifold brochure published by Mead Public Library and displayed in an information rack near the ground floor entrance. It is one of many handouts available at key locations throughout the three-story 80,000 square foot building to inform visitors about the libraryʼs all-ages programming and services.
According to Library Director Garrett Erickson, the library board is committed to fostering connections with visitors-whether itʼs at the downtown location, the libraryʼs online Web sites, or at events cosponsored with programming partners, such as Sheboyganʼs Bookworm Gardens and John Michael Kohler Arts Center.
The three organizations provide venues for the annual Sheboygan Childrenʼs Book Festival, which is promoted as Wisconsinʼs first and only childrenʼs book festival. In 2014, over 5000 people took part in the free three-day autumn event.
Built in 1974, in the heart of the cityʼs downtown commercial district, the Meadʼs footprint included plans for a cascading outdoor water feature designed by American architect Lawrence Halprin and installed in 1976.
The flowing water continues to be a focal point for library guests, pedestrians and motorists and brings to mind the role Sheboyganʼs location on Lake Michigan, at the mouth of the Sheboygan River, played in the cityʼs development.
A third story was added to the building in 1997 and is home to The Henrietta A. Landwehr Childrenʼs Library Center. Traditional print books, CDs and DVDs, are available and the center also furnishes computers, toys-for-loan, parenting books, and summer reading programs, such as 1000 Books Before Kindergarten.
The Hansen Teen Library Center and the Maas Learning Center are dedicated spaces for young adults. These centers offer popular books and magazines, online homework help, movies, and gaming. Arduino microprocessors are available for fabricating remote control toys and other interactive projects. Mead staff members visit Sheboygan high schools to encourage students to sign-up for library cards.
Since 2001, the Sheboygan Jewish Holocaust Collection has been housed in the libraryʼs Fela and Anchel Warschau Holocaust Room. European Jews began emigrating to Sheboygan in the 1880s and the city was once home to a sizable Jewish community. The Meadʼs collection contains reminiscences of local individuals who survived the Holocaust.
A recent renovation of the first floor has created the Jerry Black lounging area. Black (Dr. Jerome Maas) was a local jazz musician, disc jockey, and library benefactor. Similar to an informal indoor cafe ́, tables for two or four persons are arranged in front of floor- to-ceiling windows with views of 8th Street. Food vending machines and prerecorded jazz music played through ceiling speakers add to the character of Jerry Blackʼs.
Looking east from 8th Street, the library faces the arts center across an expansive green space used jointly by the two organizations for events and performances. With a population of about 50,000, the City of Sheboygan has a comparatively large number of arts groups, thanks in part to the financial support of Sheboygan County citizens and several of the areaʼs philanthropic foundations.
Murals and visual arts installations are displayed throughout the library. These include donated private collections, as well as objects on short-or-long term loan. Some highlights: the Dr. James Michael Watercolor Collection, Josephine A. Rocca Bookmark Collection, Ruben Vega Watercolor Collection, Commedia dellʼ Arte mural by Mollie Morning Star, Gene Schuttey Paperweight and Sculpture Collection, and the recently restored 1910 Cameron murals.
Mead Public Library is located at 710 N 8th Street in Sheboygan, WI. For information, call 920-459-3400 or go online to http://www.meadpl.org
In a desire to better partner with their former 8th Street neighbor, JSM Bead Coop has sponsored this Mead Public Library video presentation produced by Celebrate Libraries® of Pewaukee, WI. http://www.jsmbeadcoop.com