Your NEW Library

Why a new library?

The library building project is long overdue.  We recently held our annual holiday party at the Rice Lake City Hall because we can no longer accommodate the crowds that attend our popular family programs.  The mold discovered in our lower level by St. Croix Environmental Services has led to staff offices being moved into our already crowded public space.  Our current wood-framed structure suffers from aging infrastructure, a lack of quiet space, a dearth of outlets for modern library users, and poor sight lines for staff.

Current Activity

After extensive discussions and many suggested locations from our community members, the Library Board of Trustees has evaluated three final site possibilities.

  • The first is the current location.  This space offers us great visibility and provides wonderful access to our community’s walkers and bicyclists.  It improves upon the downtown, bringing customers to Main Street.  The downside to this location is that the current available footprint requires a multi-story facility, adding to operational costs and there would be no room for additional growth without purchasing more property.  We would also need to find a temporary smaller home during construction which  would add to the costs.  Additionally, parking continues to be an issue for our users-especially parents and users with handicaps.
  • The second is the former hospital site.  This location is a little further from downtown but still offers great walkability.  The location is serene and lovely and would offer the entire community use of a great view of our city’s lake and also allows for a single story structure with a walkout and outdoor programming space.  One potential downside is the fact that we wouldn’t be as visible to new users as the location is a bit out of the way.
  • The final option is the mall location (formerly JC Penneys).  This location offers plenty of space and visibility as well as a great single story option for us.  It is, however, much further from the center of town and doesn’t offer the outdoor programming space our patrons have requested.

In January of 2015, the Library Board of Trustees received a letter of intent from the Lakeview Board of Directors.  That letter expressed their wish to donate the land where the former Lakeview Hospital once stood.  This is a huge boon for the Library and the community as a whole, as it means that we can continue to offer the great services you love, without interruption, while we work on a new facility that will serve the Rice Lake area for decades to come.  The Library Board indicated that they would like to accept this offer, as this site rose to the top in our evaluation of locations due to its beauty, space, parking, and neighborhood feel.

Next Steps

Since the Library Board can only indicate their wish to make this the location of the new library, our Rice Lake City Council must make the final decision and negotiate with the Hospital Board for the transfer of land.  The Hospital Board is asking that a commitment be made and construction begin in two years and that the site be used exclusively for the purpose of constructing a public library.

Library Director, Dawn Wacek will be presenting this information to Council and more at the February 10 meeting of the Common Council.  Members of the public are encouraged to attend and express their thoughts on the matter during Public Comments at the beginning of the meeting.  Each person may speak for a maximum of 3 minutes.  If you are unable to attend, please consider contacting your Council Person.  Their contact information is below.

Should Council elect to accept this gift, valued at almost $300,000 by an independent assessor, the next activity for the Library is to begin a capital campaign in earnest.

If you are interested in getting involved in the campaign, please contact Library Director, Dawn Wacek at

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Your Elected Officials

Steve Harrington, Mayor


District Councilmembers

Bruce Willers (1)         715.296.0007

Dan Schwab (2)          715.234.1555

Stu Durkee (3)             715.736.2395

Mike Diercks (4)          715.736.1981


At-Large Councilmembers

Daniel J Lawler           715.234.2948

Mark O’Brien               715.790.5337

Justin Fonfara        715.651.6333

Dan Genereau          715.234.3960


Our Building Committee Members

Dawn Wacek-Library Director

Angie Katterhagen-Library Staff

Jenny Hastreiter-Library Board of Trustees

Melissa Kozma-Friends of the Library

Jill Holtegaard-Friends of the Library and Library Board

Carolyn Dunham-Citizen Member

Ryan Weaver-Citizen Member

James Kiffmeyer-Citizen Member

Tonya Waite-Citizen Member


Building Committee Meetings

MINUTES RLPL Building Committee 11-29-11

MINUTES RLPL Building Committee 05-23-2012


Our Community Survey

RLPL Needs Assessment 2010-2011

Program Assessment

Future of Libraries-Recommended Reading

2013 State of America’s Libraries

Why Public Libraries Matter (Forbes)

Library Services in the Digital Age

The Digital Age is Forcing Libraries to Change (Washington Post) 


Coming Soon…

New Construction

The above sketch is our concept of a brand new library facility in our current location.  This design offers us amazing flexibility and efficiency in everything from daylighting to staffing.  A big thanks to MS&R for all of their work in developing this concept with input from our Building Committee, patrons, friends, and staff.


This sketch demonstrates our concept of a fully renovated and expanded library.  It allows us to reuse the current building to some degree and expand into our current pocket park.

Both designs offer us a much more efficient and flexible building which will last our community fifty years before further renovations are needed (this is the lifespan of many aspects of building mechanicals, etc.)  Both designs include a beautiful third floor meeting space that would be open and available to the public for meetings and other uses.  They also both include a lovely green space which the library would continue to utilize for outdoor programming and events as well as a lovely space to relax with a good book.