The U.S.S. Liberty Memorial Public Library provides materials and services to help community residents gather information to meet their personal, educational, recreational, and professional needs. The library’s purpose is based on a recognition of the worth and dignity of the individual’s intellectual pursuits of whatever nature and the recognition that a well-informed citizenry is essential in a community. Resources will be provided in an easily accessible, efficient, and cost-effective manner.
In 1955, a commission was formed from Grafton-area organizations to plan the founding of a community library. The organizations included churches, a women’s group, the Lion’s Club, and more. A book drive was held in October of 1955 which netted over 2,500 books for the library. A space in the “moving picture theater” was located to house the new collection. In April of 1956, the first Grafton Public Library opened. By the early 1980s, talk began of finding a new home for the library because it was outgrowing the theater space. As part of the fundraising for the new library, a committee was formed to create a fundraising action plan. The committee came up with different levels of giving that corresponded with naming rights. The highest donor would gain rights to naming the building. In December of 1987, after giving a donation of $250,000 dollars, brothers Benjamin and Theodore Grob were granted the right to name the library. They chose to name the library after a ship – the U.S.S. Liberty – to serve as a memorial. The U.S.S. Liberty was a United States technical Navy ship that was attacked by the Israeli Navy on June 8, 1967, in international waters off the Sinai Peninsula. The dedication ceremony in June 1989 was attended by sixty survivors of the U.S.S. Liberty. Although the new library offered a larger space for the Grafton Library, by 1995 it was decided that the Youth Library needed its own separate area. A fund drive was held to renovate the unfinished basement into a Youth Library. The downstairs Youth Library opened in November of 2000. Today, the U.S.S. Liberty Memorial Public Library continues to successfully serve the ever-expanding community of Grafton, Wisconsin.
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