Library History

History of the L. D. Fargo Public Library

1899 — March 14, Lorenzo Dow Fargo made his gift of $5,000 (raised to $6,000 in 1900) for a public library building. He later paid a Library debt of $728.37.

1899 — April 29, Library Board of Directors organized and took steps to secure plans for a library building.

1899 — Present lot was purchased for $1,710.00 through a fund drive.

1899 — June 19, Plans by architect George Ferry were accepted for the Library building. The library is designed in the Neogothic Revival Style which is a simplified form of the Gothic Revival and was employed primarily for churches. Characteristics include steeply-pitched roofs, irregular massing, and a random ashlar finish.

1899 — June 29, Volunteers who owned a team and wagon were invited to haul stones “hard heads” for construction of the library building.

1902 — August 21 and 22, the L. D. Fargo Public Library was dedicated.

1902 — July 24, Miss Eva Stiles was hired as Librarian, with the starting salary of $1.00 per day.

1902 — October 7, First day of library service to the community of Lake Mills.

1903 — November 24, A fund raise effort to cover the cost of library furnishing and books netted $1,050.00.

1903 — Circulation statistics: 1,471 volumes owned, 560 registered patrons, and a circulation total of 6,087.

1927 — 25th Anniversary of the L. D. Fargo Public Library. A Children’s room was begun.

1948 — A summer reading program for children began, “The Bookworm Reading Club.”

1952 — 50th Anniversary of library service.

1966 — June 27, “Open House” to view the $72,855.00 addition to the Library.

1976 — Bicentennial Time Capsule placed in the Library.

1979 — County Library service made available to the patrons of the L.D.Fargo Public Library.

1980 — January 1, The L. D. Fargo Public Library, and the other public libraries in Jefferson County, joined the Mid-Wisconsin Federated Library System, thus increasing available services to patrons.

1980 — January 12, Fire caused heavy damage to the Library structure, the children’s books and the record collection.

1980 — January thru March. Volunteers cleaned the fire damaged building and materials and assisted in making the library ready for limited use.

1980 — April 7, The Library re-opened with only basic services offered.

1980 — Annual Report: Except for the month of December, monthly circulation broke all existing records.

1981 — April 5, Dedication and Open House for the reconstructed Library.

1981 — April 5-11, L. D. Fargo Public Library festival in celebration of the reopening of the Library, and in observance of National Library week.

1995 — October, L. D. Fargo Library purchases the automated computer system, DYNIX, thus allowing for electronic access and maintenance of the library’s collection.

1999 — December, the L. D. Fargo Library joins the shared system between Beaver Dam, Waupun, Mayville, and Watertown, thus allowing for one massive database with the collections of 5 different libraries.

2007 — MWFLS joined with Lakeshores Library System (LLS) to form the SHARE system. The SHARE system shared computing resources and library collections across Jefferson, Dodge, Washington, Racine, and Walworth counties.

2013 — After two years of fundraising and planning the library has it’s full interior renovation since the 1980 fire. The library redesign is by Bungalow Pros of Lake Mills with construction by Advanced Building Corporation (ABC) of Verona, WI.

2014 — The SHARE partnership is dissolved for MWFLS and LLS to continue with separate computer systems. MWFLS forms the trio system and continues to share public library collections from libraries in Jefferson, Dodge, and Washington counties.

2015 — Jefferson County votes to withdraw from MWFLS and merge with Waukesha County Federated Library System and together form the Bridges Library System.

2020 — Pandemic.