Greendale Public Library

5647 Broad Street
Greendale, WI 53129


Mission Statement:
The mission of the Greendale Public Library shall be to provide high quality, publicly-funded library resources, services and information to all residents of Greendale and the metropolitan area.

Greendale had its beginning in 1936 when the Department of Agriculture’s Resettlement Administration began the construction of three new communities known as Greenbelt towns. Greendale was created to produce homes for families of an income level that ordinarily precludes living in a suburban setting. All of the property was owned by the government until the federal government disposed of the Greenbelt towns in 1949, and by 1952 the transfer to private ownership was completed.

Greendale residents have been provided library service since 1938.

In 1969, remodeling of the Intermediate School required the "public library" to move to the Greendale High School. The school district continued to support public library services until a new state law in 1971 said school districts could no longer operate libraries for municipalities.

In January of 1972, the Village President appointed a library advisory committee which recommended that the Village of Greendale form a Library Board.  By October of 1972, the first Greendale Public Library Board of Trustees held their first meeting.

In March of 1973, the Library Board created the position of Library Director and on June 1, 1973, Darlene Blakely became the first director of the Greendale Public Library.

By mid-1973, the Library Board began to study the available space in the former Kroger site in the shopping mall on Broad Street. By late 1973, a three year lease was signed for that space with a target date of May of 1974 for opening the first separate public library space in Greendale. The library was designed by the Village Engineer and the Building Inspector. Bids were opened for equipment purchases and remodeling of the site began.

A consultant’s study by John Jahnke on various sites available in the Village of Greendale for a public library resulted in the selection of the northeast corner of Broad Street and Southway for a feasibility study for future construction.

At the same time, the Library Board interviewed and selected its first full-time director. On April 1, 1974, Cecilia Chapple began her duties as Library Director.

On July 1, 1974, the first non-school site public library in the Village of Greendale was opened to the public. Located at 5666 Broad Street in the Village Center, it was a 4,000 square foot facility able to house about 35,000 volumes. This rented space was leased for three years.

As a new member of the Milwaukee County Federated Library System in July of 1976, the Greendale Public Library could take advantage of the unique offerings of this state-funded cooperative.

In May of 1977, the Library Board accepted a five year plan that included keeping the library at the site on Broad Street. The possibility of remodeling the basement or expanding into addition leased space was discussed. A second three lease for the 4,000 square feet was signed.

In the spring of 1979, the library was remodeled to include an office for the Library Director and an enclosed entryway for the public. In October of 1979, Cecilia Chapple announced her resignation as Library Director. Darlene Blakely became the acting director for the library until January of 1980 when Gary Warren Niebuhr became the new Library Director.

In 1980, with the addition of some new shelving, the Library was totally rearranged. In 1982, the library staff was reduced by one full time clerical staff aide and consequently closed on Saturdays during the summer.

In 1984, the City of Greenfield approached the Library Board with the suggestion that the two communities plan a joint library.

In 1985, the Library Board approved the Milwaukee County Federated Library System Member Agreement, a document negotiated to end some of the political problems that had reduced library service county-wide, and the Library Board also approved an extension of the lease agreement on the rented site on Broad Street.

The Library Board initiated two broad program in 1987. The first involved the Planning Process for Public Libraries established by the American Library Association which could have led to the first comprehensive long range plan for the library. After the study was completed, the Library Board did not accept the long range plan.

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