Elisha D. Smith Public Library

440 First Street
Menasha, WI 54952

920-967-3690

Hours

Mon - Thur 8:30am - 8:30pm

Friday 8:30am - 6:00pm

Saturday 9:00am - 1:00pm

Sunday closed

History of the Library:
Menasha's Public Library has been serving the citizens of Menasha since 1896, when the first Menasha Library and Reading Room opened in rooms above what is now the furniture store at the corner of Chute and Milwaukee Streets. Lucy Lee Pleasants, sister-in-law of George Banta, was the drivinforce in establishing this first library, and, became its first librarian. She held this position until her retirement in 1919. On the first day of operation, the library checked out thirty-ninebooks, some of which may have been in German or Polish to serve the readers who lacked proficiency in English. The first reading room did provide information, recreation, and education, which still describes the library's role.

In 1898, Elisha D. Smith, founder of the Menasha Woodenware (now Menasha Corp.), donated land and money to build the library which was located on Mill Street. That building was in use until 1969, when the Library was then erected on its present site. In 2003, renovation began on this building. During three phases of construction 18,000 square feet were added to the already existing 28,000 square feet of the Library. The $4.5 million project involved gutting and rebuilding the old building, including the replacement of the old brick sheathing.

Features of the new facility include a spacious new children's room, a grand concourse in the center, a fireplace-enhanced solarium (home to one of the original Tabard Inn Library bookcases), all public service desks on the main floor, and new meeting rooms. Dedication of the renovation project took place at the Grand Opening on Saturday, January 31st, 2004

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