T. B. Scott Free Library 106 W. First St.; Merrill, WI 54452  715-536-7191
Your library since 1891 


Sketch of Frieze Design - 1911 Carnegie Building





Detail sketch of Carnegie Building Frieze - Cheryl Mains 1990    
~*~     Historic postcard of the 1911 Carnegie Library
T. B. Scott Library; Merrill, WI 54452

Merrill Public Library

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1886              T. B. Scott, lumberman, state Senator, and first mayor of Merrill dies.     Scott wills $10,000 to the city to found a free public library,  contingent upon the City’s provision of “suitable quarters” for the library  within five years.


1889              -Special city election is held to establish a public library. Results:  82 for; 0 opposed.


1891               -Janet Russell begins duties as first librarian as, on March 24, T. B. Scott Free Library  opens on first floor of City Hall (now the Old City Hall Apartments), among the first two dozen public libraries in the state.  Previous to this time the community was served by rental libraries.    


1898              Merrill Traveling Library Association, one of the first in the state,  formed.  Communities throughout the county subscribe, including Tripoli, Russell, Gleason, Irma, Chat, and Heinemann.


1899              Classification of books changed from a “good ordinary classification”  to the Dewey Decimal system.  

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1900              Librarian authorized to maintain open shelves “to give the public opportunities to select their books by examination of them on the shelves.”


1901               Separate “Children’s Room” approved by Library Board.

1905              Helen Price begins duties as second librarian.  By spring she starts the  first English language classes for foreigners conducted in a Wisconsin public library.


1908              Katherine Barker begins duties as third librarian, serves until 1914. 

1909              Request for $17,500 from Andrew Carnegie Foundation approved.    Claude & Starck of Madison (associates of the famed Louis Sullivan)   contracted as architects the following spring.

 1910               Task of re-cataloging the library collection begins.

 1911               New Carnegie library completed in Stange’sPark.  
                         (Moved in August 21, 1911)

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W.W.I            Winnifred Bailey, fourth librarian, takes active role in the war effort,  including national mobilization of library materials for American soldiers.

 1917               Elisabeth Burke, fifth librarian, begins duties.

 1919               Edna D. Orr, sixth librarian, begins duties.

 1922              Nathalie Scribner, seventh librarian, eventually becomes the chief  architect of the Wisconsin Valley Library Association, formed to encourage the sharing of resources among member libraries.

 1926              Thomas B. Scott, Jr., donates $10,000 to the library.  Interest from the gift to be used for books and magazines.


1929              Due to growth in services and collections, Children’s Dept. moved to the remodeled lower level of the Carnegie building.  


1930s             During the depression library use increases dramatically as its budget decreases. 


1935              WPA grant helps with roofing and cement work on the library.


1945              H. V. Kaltenborn, Merrill native and famous radio commentator, journalist and author donates $2,000 to the library for creation of a book fund.            


1948              Edna Kraft begins duties as eighth librarian.


1949              Several centers set up in the county so that rural residents don’t have to travel directly to the main library for books.


1959              The library wins a John Cotton Dana Honorable Mention Award for its  comprehensive, outstanding and original methods of service. [An American Library Association Award sponsored by the H. W. Wilson Co.]  



1961               The library begins participation in Project 6, a federally funded demonstration project of the Wisconsin Free Library   Commission and the public libraries of Florence, Forest, Langlade, Lincoln, Oneida, and Vilas counties.  The project strengthens the collections of established libraries and uses a bookmobile to provide service to areas where there is no public library.


1966              Architects hired to plan an addition to the library.


1965              T. B. Scott Library becomes a founding member of the new     cooperative organization called  the Wisconsin Valley Library Reference Service.  Following passage of state legislation aimed at the formation of library systems, in 1972 this  organization became the Wisconsin Valley Library Service.


1968              Edna Kraft named Librarian of the Year by the Wisconsin Library Association.


1969              Library addition opened, doubling the size of the building.  Architects were Foster & Shavey; Wausau, WI.


 1970              Ramon Hernandez begins duties as ninth library director.


1971               Library acclaimed as an excellent example of Sullivanesque architecture by Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation and Wisconsin Chapter of American Institute of Architects.


1972              -Library recognized by State Department of Natural Resources as an excellent example of construction on a flood plain.

                        -Merrill receives its first State Aids funds ($7,881.50) for the expansion of library services.


1973              -Gleason Branch opened.  Bonnie Preuser staffs it until it closes in June 2001.

                        -The library approved as a Wisconsin Registered Landmark.  

 1974              -Library named to National Register of Historic Places.

                        -Outreach Extension Service for the homebound, elderly and handicapped begins, funded with a federal grant.


1975              Kathleen Gosz begins duties as tenth library director.


1976              Tile roof on Carnegie building restored; Bicentennial “roof raising”    celebration.


1977              Library selected to receive the Wisconsin Library Association’s Clarence B. Lester Memorial Award (Wisconsin’s Library of the Year) as an “outstanding example of what a library can do and be in a small community.”


1981               N. Curtis LeMay begins duties as eleventh library director.


1983              Paperback book deposit station begun in Irma at the Irma Stop ‘N’ Shop.  The station operated until 1991.  



1985              First card catalog cards, book cards, and book pocket labels made with a new Apple IIe microcomputer.


1986              Anita Gebert, member of the Board of Trustees since 1960, named  State Library Trustee of the Year.


1988              -Library begins putting records of holding into statewide computer       Database, WISCAT.

                        -Beatrice Lebal begins duties as twelfth library director.


1991               Library celebrates its centennial, with a community-wide “Birthday Party in the Park.” [This inspired the beginning of "Jennyfest" an annual historical celebration in Stange's Park which continued for about nine years.]


1993              Card catalog discarded; use of Dynix computerized circulation system begins.


1994              Patrons begin using the Dynix computerized catalog.  



1997              -Library begins offering public Internet access.


1998              -Medford Public Library’s collection and patron records added to T. B. Scott Library’s computer database (the “M and M Project”).


1999              -Referendum for a library building project defeated.

                        -T. B. Scott Library Board of Trustees gives its approval for the library t become a founding member of V-Cat, a shared automation consortium                administered by WVLS.

                        -Tile roof on Carnegie building replaced.


1999              -Fundraising for a library building project begins.

                        -Friends of T. B. Scott Library organized.

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Photo below taken by Dr. Lewinnek the fall of 1999 before construction started on the 2000 addition.

2000              -Second referendum on the proposed library building project passes.

                        -Frye, Gillan, Molinaro Architects, Ltd. of Chicago are hired.

                        -Library moved into temporary quarters at the former Fox Point factory, 1905 E. 14th St., during construction of the addition.

                        -Groundbreaking for the new addition.


2001              -Library moved back into the newly expanded and renovated building, and reopened the doors on Aug. 20th.

                       - Library Web Page debuts.

2002              -Library designated a Merrill Historic Landmark.

                        -For the second time the library receives the Wisconsin Library   Association’s Library of the Year award.  

2006              -Beyond Books: Community Artshare begins.

2007             -March --Library begins to offer wireless internet access to the  public.        

                       -April --Lighted promotional sign, donated by Church Mutual launched.

                       -October -- Director Bea Lebal receives the Wisconsin Library Association's Muriel Fuller award.

2009          -January -- Stacy Stevens begins duties as the 13th Library Director.

2009         -September -- Sunday hours begin after Labor Day.

2011          -All year celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Carnegie Building. 

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      Home      ~ T. B. Scott Free Library (Merrill Public  Library)  ~ Merrill, WI 54452 ~  
       ~ Wisconsin Library of the Year 1977 & 2002
  ~ Member of WVLS (Wisconsin Valley Library Service) Updated Oct4, 2012c.2001-2011                     

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