A Small Town Public Library

Our family is living in a small town public library. Not really. However here in Rice Lake Wisconsin Joel’s mom doesn’t have internet access in her apartment. Since we must have internet access in order to work, we just walk across the parking lot to the Rice Lake Public Library.

We’ve met some very friendly and helpful people here. We’ve spent the most of the last couple of days here and so it’s almost like home. Fiona has been able to play with lots of different kids of various ages. The top floor of the library is devoted to the children. At one end there are lots of activities for the children. There are puppets and a stage to put on puppet plays, a wooden doll house, lots of blocks and other activities. At the other end is a section specially set aside for the Teens. They even have a movie night.

The collection of DVDs for the kids to check out is great. Fiona checked out a movie with Piglet in it. Did you know that John Lithgow also writes children’s books? We checked one out today.

You can learn more about this small town library on Twitter, Facebook and at their website.


  1. Fully agree that libraries can be a traveling family’s best friend, here’s an excerpt from my blog on libraries which we used frequently when road schooling last year…
    At St. Olaf College my student job was working at the Rolvaag Memorial Library, checking out books, shelving books and one ridiculously magical night tap dancing on the tables once we were closed. At Graduate School at Tufts University I would study down in the basement in the deathly quite, rarely used, study carols until the notorious flasher found me and from then on I would study in the well lit and highly populated reading room.

    Once I had kids I realized libraries weren’t just about sneaky spaces and free books but hubs for the community and opportunities to find friends and outlets for stay at home moms who were going nuts with their babies stuck at home. Story time. Sing Along Time. Arts and crafts time. A place to go. Again, all for free.

    In London the stinky Golders Green Library with their dirty toys and limited selection of sticky children’s board books had a redeeming grace: it netted me an introduction to Wallace and Grommit, and my dear fried Mei Chen. We had been in London for just a few weeks and the library was a destination for 1 ½ year old Simon, 6 year old Josh and me. We could walk there, do our shopping along the way, check out books and stop for a snack as headed home. On a fateful October 16, 2003, Mei and Justin, her almost 2 year old, were there as well. We chatted, we laughed, we chatted some more, the boys played. By the end of the quick encounter we had exchanged numbers and Simon and I were invited to Justin’s birthday party the next day. We have been great friends ever since. Score another win for the library!

    Since we have been back in the US we have been using the public libraries as classrooms to home school our boys, warm places to retreat to on cold rainy days, plug in our computers, use their free wifi, and explore the books on the shelves in a safe inviting atmosphere.

    From The Mark Skinner Library in Manchester, Vermont to the Lincoln Library in Springfield, IL, to the Minneapolis Public Libraries, Great Forks, North Dakota, Thompson Manitoba, Ketchum, Idaho Community Library, and now Hood River, Oregon we have been checking out material and seeing what is going on in the local communities.

    To paraphrase Lady Bird Johnson, there is no other institution that is more democratic than a town library. The only entrance requirement is interest.

  2. Howdy, Wendy! Thanks for dropping by.

    Libraries are super, and it makes me more aware that they’re not common in some parts of the world. If we hadn’t had a library in Imperial Beach (San Diego) when I was a kid (loooong before the internet) I might not have survived.

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