Refurbishing an area landmark

Library fundraiser kicks off Jan. 30
Scott De Laruelle

If you go
What: Stoughton Public Library fundraising campaign kickoff
When: 5-7 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 30
Where: Stoughton Public Library, 304 Fourth St.
Info: 873-6281 or

Photo by Scott De Laruelle. Renovations of the library will include new shelving.

Not many communities have a library that has stood astride its downtown for more than a century.

The Stoughton Public Library has served the community from its corner on Fourth and Main streets since 1908, and as more than a quarter-century has passed since its last renovation, library friends are coming together next Thursday evening to start fundraising efforts to keep it looking as lively as ever.

Dave Mannis, member of the Stoughton Public Library fundraising committee, is heading up efforts to find some funding for a library hasn’t been renovated since its addition was built in 1988, and is long due for some upgrades on the second floor.

“Bookshelves are falling apart, the carpet needs to be re-done, there are a couple meeting rooms that are quite frankly, too small,” he said. “It will be re-done larger so that more businesses can use it for off-site meetings. It’s just better for planning to take advantage of space.”

After a “gracious” recent $410,000 appropriation from the City of Stoughton, Mannis said the library now needs around $250,000 to have enough to pay for all the planned work, which he said would likely be opened for bidding in 2015. He said the Thursday evening event will be a way for local donors to start what he expects to be a year-long campaign on a good note.

“It’s always interesting to see who will be the first to write the check that will kick it off,” Mannis said. “This building has been around for a long time, and the nice thing about it and something that’s appealing to me to continue to work on this project is the city is not raising taxes to help pay for this, which pleases everyone.”

Mannis said it’s good to see the number of people who use the library going up, both to read and for all the other things offered there.

“It’s like the old days, but it’s not just books anymore,” he said. “We offer Wi-Fi services, and an increasing number of people come here to the library to work or read on electronic devices or meet in groups, things like that.”

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