The L.D. Fargo Library continues to study the possibility of a building expansion after our building needs assessment performed in 2020.
In 2019 the library contracted with FEH Design (Oconomowoc, WI) to perform a building needs assessment. FEH studied the wider Lake Mills community, population trends, library services, and the Fargo library building itself. The final FEH report was delivered shortly before the pandemic shut down of 2020 and progress on the project was postponed.
FEH’s final report shows that the library building is too small to accommodate the current community and ongoing growth. Our unique building has been adapted over the years to keep pace with changing library services, but the older design lacks the amenities of modern buildings. The building lacks open and private study areas, training space, play areas for children, digital media areas, and separate meeting spaces.
Community growth has followed a constant upward trend. Recent residential construction in Brookstone, along Mud Lake Road, along Tyranena Park Road, and north of the Glacial Drumlin Trail illustrate recent growth and highlight how Lake Mills is a desired location. The library’s current 11,000 square feet are already undersized. Additional square footage will address three categories of need. First, the fact that our building cannot house the recommended collection size of 39,500 items. Second, we cannot offer the services we should because of size limits. Third, service recommendations show we will need a 19,995 square foot library to match community size and usage.
The Library Board’s next steps are to prepare a community survey. The community survey will gauge public interest and support for a library expansion. Our unique building is a jewel of downtown Lake Mills. The building has expanded and adapted since it’s 1902 opening. Those adaptations keep pace with changing library services and user demands. Our older building lacks open and private study areas, training space, play areas for children, digital media areas, and separate meeting spaces.