The Elkhart Lake Public Library was established in 1906 with just 500 volumes and 73 registered borrowers. Traveling books from the Madison Library Association were added in 1907 with magazines and newspapers added to the collection a year later. The Library, originally housed in an old hotel at Rhine Street and North Lake Street, has had many homes over the years. Many remember it's early location above the National Exchange Bank, then the Elkhart Lake State Bank.In 1929 the Elkhart Lake Library Club was formed with volunteers operating the library two hours every Wednesday and Saturday. The Library Club was instrumental in facilitating the creation of an official public library. The former Brieske Building was purchased for $800 in 1931 to house the new library.
The first report of operations of the public library stated 2,700 books were lent and 239 library cards were issued. The first person to check out a book was Louis LaBudde. In 1940 the librarian was paid 50 cents a night for her services. The Wisconsin Free Library Association was founded in 1960 and grant money was made available to purchase materials.
The 1990s brought space problems to the library, with over 600 books a year being added. A major fund raising campaign was launched in 1998 to raise $100,000 to double the size of the library. The campaign far exceeded its goal, thanks to community support. In 2001, the libraries in Sheboygan and Ozaukee Counties, the Bookmobile and Lakeland College converted their catalogs into one shared catalog called EasiCat., which made it possible to order materials from any participating library over the Internet.
Currently the library owns 16,450 books, 49 magazine titles, 2,160 videos, 460 audio books, 60 CD-Roms and a newly created music collection. The library serves the Villages of Elkhart Lake and Glenbeulah, the Towns of Greenbush, Herman, Plymouth, Rhine and Russell, and residents of Sheboygan and Ozaukee Counties through cooperative agreements with the Eastern Shore Library System.
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