Community Orgs Services

Dunn County Celebrates 150 Years of Library Service in Menomonie

marking a century and a half of resiliency, strength, and learning

Kelly Carlson |

FEELIN' 150. The
FEELIN' 150. Dunn County has been offering library services to the community for 150 years, with plenty of ways for people to get involved. (Photo via Facebook)

While the Menomonie Public Library itself is not turning 150 years old, the history of library services in Dunn County precedes the public library we think of today, dating back to 1874. Celebrated with rich challenges, events, author readings, and more, the Menomonie Public Library brings awareness to the importance of library services and the benefits they provide for our communities, marking 150 years of service in 2024.

“Every generation of library leaders and supporters has tried to adapt and do more to meet the needs of the people in their community,” began Joleen Sterk, director at the Menomonie Public Library (600 Wolske Bay Road). “From early founders and leaders, who saw the need for library service; to James Huff Stout and his rural Traveling Libraries movement; to Andrew and Bertha Tainter, who constructed and gifted a fabulous performing arts center/community hub/library for Menomonie in memory of their daughter Mabel; to the leaders and visionaries who got a ‘new’ library built on the shores of Lake Menomin in 1986; and everyone who has used their community library ... every interaction matters.”

The first public library in Dunn County was established by the local Women’s Club in what was later known as the First National Bank in Menomonie. It was created in 1874 as part of a local reform movement that included the rejection of saloon licenses. Fifteen years later, the Mabel Tainter Memorial Building was built, and it included a public library.

Right now, you can interact more with the library by checking out a book, supporting book sales, or keeping an eye out on the events calendar. To celebrate, folks can get involved with trivia each month (with prizes), history facts on social media, live music with Music over Menomonie this summer, author readings, library historical exhibits, and even an initiative to get outside and move to support your mental health. Many of these are ongoing throughout the entire year, so you have plenty of time to stop in and take a look.

“Libraries change lives, and we want people to know about our long and rich history, and the impact that having library service has made here,” Sterk said. “Stop in for a visit, and share the library love!”

Learn more about upcoming events and other celebrations at, or keep up with them on Facebook or Instagram (@menomonie_library).