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Racine Public Library 125th Anniversary

Rooted in our community. Branching into the future. Celebrating 125 years.
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Now celebrating 125 years.

 

On September 9, 2022, the Racine Public Library will celebrate its 125th anniversary. We hope you’ll celebrate with us at our festivals and events throughout the entire year. We’re so proud of our journey through Racine’s history, and we can’t wait to see what the future holds.

125th Anniversary Events at the Racine Public Library

 

Note: Events might change as they’re planned out. Watch the website calendar for the most current details.

 

  • Winter Fest — Feb. 26, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Retro Gaming Night — March 25, 6 to 8 p.m.
  • Trivia Night Fundraiser — March 26, 7 to 10 p.m.
  • National Library Week — April 4 to 10
  • Earth Day Cleanup — April 23, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Poetry Slam Jam — Early June
    Canceled. If you’re interested in other poetry events throughout the summer, check out BONK!’s events.
  • 125th Block Party — July 16, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
    Where: Lake Avenue in front of the Library
    Sponsored by: The Racine Public Library Foundation, the Friends of the Racine Public Library and ZMac Transportation.
  • Root River Float Fundraiser — September
  • Once Upon a Time: 125 Years Ago — Sept. 9, 5-7 p.m.
  • Fall Literacy Fest — Sept. 10, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
    Canceled.
  • Murder Mystery Dinner Theater — Oct. 14, 6 p.m.
    Ticket price: $50
  • Down the Rabbit Hole Tea Party — November
  • International Games Day — Nov. 12, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Renovation Celebration — TBD
  • Party Like it’s 1897 Gala — February 2023

The 125-Year History of the Racine Public Library

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Your content goes here. Edit or remove this text inline or in the module Content settings. You can also style every aspect of this content in the module Design settings and even apply custom CSS to this text in the module Advanced settings.

How has the library spent the last 125 years?

 

The Library’s Beginnings

 

In 1895, a group of citizens, led by the Woman’s Club, formed a Library Association to found a public library. The Woman’s Club’s support for the public library became a tradition over the next hundred years. They also had several partners. Many other civic organizations, such as the Junior League of Racine, Racine Children’s Theatre, Junior Chamber of Commerce and the Rotary Club, have given huge amounts of time, labor and money to the Racine Public Library over the past century.

 

All their work finally culminated into success on Sept. 9, 1897. On this Thursday afternoon and evening, about a thousand of the 30,000 residents of Racine crowded into the city’s first free, public library.

 

 

Entering the Computer Age

 

In 1991, the library arrived in the computer age. Among its first upgrades were moving its catalog and circulation system onto computers. At first, there was only enough space for a few public access terminals, so the card catalog stuck around. It was in 1991 that the library finally installed enough terminals to retire its card catalog for good.

 

Then, in 1996, our reference librarians began using the internet to find answers to patrons’ questions. Ever since, internet access has become a staple of the library’s work through public computers, free Wi-Fi throughout the building, and even borrowable laptops and Wi-Fi hotspots.

 

 

A Library for Humans and Digital Access

 

As we enter 2022, the library’s digital tools have only grown. COVID-19 and technology access issues call our library to become more connected to the community online as well as in-person. In addition, STEM skills are fast becoming a need in communities around the world. This leads the library to offer new tools for exploring and learning tech skills—3D printers, digital literacy classes, coding instruction for children and more.

 

And of course, human-centered services are becoming the core of libraries’ support for their communities. Over the years, the community asked the library for more and more support with employment, mental health, housing, legal issues and other crises. In response, the Racine Public Library recently hired a full-time social worker and opened a sensory room. From here, we’ll keep meeting our community’s changing needs in new and creative ways.

 

Want to read more about the library’s history throughout the years?

125th Anniversary Achievements

 

We’re proud of so much that we’ve been able to accomplish this year. Here’s a few of our most note-worthy highlights:

  • Premiered our brand-new website
  • Launched a renovation of the second floor
  • Added a Techmobile and two book bikes to our Library GO! fleet of mobile libraries
  • Installed a native plant garden on Library Drive
  • Made free, instantly available e-books, audiobooks, videos and more available to all our patrons on hoopla
  • Trained library management in mental health crisis intervention
  • Added a new sensory room to regulate your emotions, stimulate your senses and support your mental health

125th Anniversary Native Plant Garden

Have you spotted the new layer of wood chips around the book drops outside the library? Then you’ve seen the site for our upcoming native plant garden! This plant bed will contribute to a healthy ecosystem for Racine’s birds, butterflies and bees. The garden will be fully planted in the next couple weeks with the help of the Root-Pike Watershed Initiative Network.

 

Will you help fund the garden’s plants? A $10 donation will cover two plants and place your name on our sponsorship sign. Our goal to fill the plot is 600 plants. Donate online here, or send a check or cash to the library with a note that your gift is for the garden.

125th Anniversary Totes and T-Shirts

Support the library with your purchase of a 125th anniversary shirt or tote bag! Shirts are available in adults’ and kids’ sizes.

 

Price

  • $20 – Adult shirts (XS, S, M, L, XL)
  • $15 – Kid shirts (S, M, L) and tote bags

Cash, card and checks made out to the library are accepted.

 

Where to purchase

 

Stop by the library’s front desk or one of our anniversary events.

 

Shirt designs

White text on an aqua blue background says "Ha! Ha! made you read." The text is displayed over an icon of an open book.
White text on a black background says "I love the Racine Public Library." In place of the actual word "love" is a red heart.

Tote bag designs

A picture of an off-white tote bag that says "In this library, all are welcome." A rainbow beams out of an open book. There's logos for the Racine Public Library and its 125th anniversary, as well as Pride on Every Page,at the bottom of the page.

125th Anniversary Events at the Racine Public Library

 

Note: Events might change as they’re planned out. Watch the website calendar for the most current details.

 

  • Winter Fest — Feb. 26, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Retro Gaming Night — March 25, 6 to 8 p.m.
  • Trivia Night Fundraiser — March 26, 7 to 10 p.m.
  • National Library Week — April 4 to 10
  • Earth Day Cleanup — April 23, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • 125th Anniversary Block Party — July 16, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
    Lake Avenue in front of the Library
  • Storytime Revival — Sept. 7, 6 p.m.
  • Fall Literacy Fest — Sept. 10, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Milwaukee Maker Fair — September
  • International Games Day — Nov. 12, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Renovation Celebration — TBD
  • Party Like it’s 1897 Gala — February 2023

The 125-Year History of the Racine Public Library

Blank

Your content goes here. Edit or remove this text inline or in the module Content settings. You can also style every aspect of this content in the module Design settings and even apply custom CSS to this text in the module Advanced settings.

How has the library spent the last 125 years?

 

The Library’s Beginnings

 

In 1895, a group of citizens, led by the Woman’s Club, formed a Library Association to found a public library. The Woman’s Club’s support for the public library became a tradition over the next hundred years. They also had several partners. Many other civic organizations, such as the Junior League of Racine, Racine Children’s Theatre, Junior Chamber of Commerce and the Rotary Club, have given huge amounts of time, labor and money to the Racine Public Library over the past century.

 

All their work finally culminated into success on Sept. 9, 1897. On this Thursday afternoon and evening, about a thousand of the 30,000 residents of Racine crowded into the city’s first free, public library.

 

 

Entering the Computer Age

 

In 1991, the library arrived in the computer age. Among its first upgrades were moving its catalog and circulation system onto computers. At first, there was only enough space for a few public access terminals, so the card catalog stuck around. It was in 1991 that the library finally installed enough terminals to retire its card catalog for good.

 

Then, in 1996, our reference librarians began using the internet to find answers to patrons’ questions. Ever since, internet access has become a staple of the library’s work through public computers, free Wi-Fi throughout the building, and even borrowable laptops and Wi-Fi hotspots.

 

 

A Library for Humans and Digital Access

 

As we enter 2022, the library’s digital tools have only grown. COVID-19 and technology access issues call our library to become more connected to the community online as well as in-person. In addition, STEM skills are fast becoming a need in communities around the world. This leads the library to offer new tools for exploring and learning tech skills—3D printers, digital literacy classes, coding instruction for children and more.

 

And of course, human-centered services are becoming the core of libraries’ support for their communities. Over the years, the community asked the library for more and more support with employment, mental health, housing, legal issues and other crises. In response, the Racine Public Library recently hired a full-time social worker and opened a sensory room. From here, we’ll keep meeting our community’s changing needs in new and creative ways.

 

Want to read more about the library’s history throughout the years?

125th Anniversary Achievements

 

We’re proud of so much that we’ve been able to accomplish this year. Here’s a few of our most note-worthy highlights:

  • Premiered our brand-new website
  • Launched a renovation of the second floor
  • Added a Techmobile and two book bikes to our Library GO! fleet of mobile libraries
  • Installed a native plant garden on Library Drive
  • Made free, instantly available e-books, audiobooks, videos and more available to all our patrons on hoopla
  • Trained library management in mental health crisis intervention
  • Added a new sensory room to regulate your emotions, stimulate your senses and support your mental health

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