Granton Community Library
Celebrates 10 Years
in 2022

 Granton Community Library 2022

The Granton Community Library was formed in 2012 with the combining of the Samson Memorial Library and the Granton Media center.
On Aug. 18, the library will celebrate 10 years with cake and an open house from 6 to 8 p.m.
Valorie Brecht/Clark County Press

By Valorie Brecht  


The public is invited to visit the Granton Community Library Aug. 18 to celebrate 10 years of the school library and public library merging under one roof. The celebration will take place at the library from 6 to 8 p.m., with cake being served.


Back in 2012, Granton’s Samson Memorial Library and the Granton Media Center joined forces to form the Granton Community Library, proudly serving the towns of Lynn, Grant, Sherwood, Fremont and York and the village of Granton.


Per the “Granton Community Memories 1856-1976” book, “the Samson Memorial Library got its start when former classmates, school board members and teachers of the old Windfall School got together for a reunion July 9, 1939, at the high school. Augusta Lee Samson, who had been a teacher in the district in 1867, was not able to the meeting but sent a book to the chairman… She hoped that a memorial shelf could be placed in the high school library in memory of the old school. At the second reunion, she sent a check for $25 and again expressed the hope of having a memorial bookshelf.


“Soon after that, a library board was chosen, and the names were submitted to Samson for approval. They were Mrs. F.E. Winn, Mrs. R.R. Rath, Mrs. Rella Osgood, Miss Pearle Beeckler and Mrs. Stella Davis of Neillsville.”  


Davis was a grandniece of Samson and represented her on the board.  


“The first books were put in the school, but it was soon felt it was not practical to have them there. At this point things came to a standstill.


“It happened that the drug store was sold shortly after and Mr. and Mrs. Durward Schwarze succeeded Mr. and Mrs. George Amidon as owners. Mrs. Schwarze offered to give space in the store for books and also take care of lending them.


“Some money had been given at later reunions and Samson also had sent more. Also people had donated books, both for memorials and also to add to the collection. On. Feb. 11, 1942, the library was opened to the public.


“On June 17, 1944, a meeting of the library board was called, and it was decided to hire a librarian and pay 50 cents per hour, but not more than 75 cents. Also it was noted to ask the village president to call a meeting of the village board to meet with the library board for the purpose of having the village take over the library, since there was no other way to finance it.”


On July 29, 1944, a joint meeting was held, and the library became a public library.


The history continues, “[On] July 14, 1944, the board met to consider a bid made by Alvin Reichert to let the building which had been used as a jewelry store be purchased for a library. He offered to sell it for $700 and it was accepted for that amount… Samson had by this time given, at various times, sums of money $1,000 at one time, and this was used to purchase the building. For this reason the library was named for her, being called the Samson Memorial Library.”


Also, a large number of books from the Joe Marsh Library in Marshfield were donated to the Samson Library, as Marsh was an old settler from Granton.  


“Many books have been donated from area people as memorials and one of the outstanding groups of Granton, the Granton Women’s Civic Club, raised $100 each year for over 20 years for books,” the history notes.


As of 1976, the library was already part of a country-wide system and was able to borrow books from Wausau or Milwaukee. There were more than 4,000 books in the library at that time. Some of the librarians have been Jennie Osgood, Iva Montgomery, Anita Lautenbach, Ora Davis, Dorothy Crandall and Irene Mott.


Fast forward to 2012, and the library was running short on space and only staffed three days a week by a Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction employee.


“We were in an old, one-room storefront [where the Granton Bulldog Community Store is now] and were very limited on space for our collection. So if we bought 10 books, we would have to get rid of 10 books,” recounted Missy Walz, who has worked as assistant librarian for more than 20 years.


“The village was looking to possibly build on, but they couldn’t build onto the existing library because of how the building was structured. So by moving to the school, it helped the school keep its space open,” said Walz.


The school board approached the library board and asked if there was interest in moving the library into the school so it could be open full time and serve both the public and school students. The village and the school district formed an agreement in the spring and the library opened in time for school in August 2012. Jeanette Steiner was in charge of the library of the time and headed up the effort to move everything to the school.


“We didn’t lose any public hours when we moved; we added hours,” said Walz.


The hours on school days are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday and 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday; plus 9:30 a.m. to noon on Saturday. There are three employees: director Kay Heiting and library assistants Walz and Matthew Tarlecki, and all three are joint employees of the village and school. Heiting also shares her time with the Loyal School District.


Walz said the biggest change when the libraries combined was switching to a new checkout system. At that time, the Samson Memorial Library had still been writing patrons’ names on cards that were kept in the back of the book. At the time of the move, they switched to an electronic system. The library also became a part of the Wisconsin Valley Library Service (WVLS), so patrons have access to all the books in that system, which includes Clark, Taylor, Marathon, Lincoln, Langlade, Oneida and Forest counties. All the Granton library’s books are on that system, even the ones belonging to the school.


Walz said the combining of the school and village libraries was a win-win for everyone involved.


“Public library funding is based on circulation. Well, most public libraries don’t carry the selection of juvenile nonfiction that we have, because we have that many more books for kids. On our own, we wouldn’t be able to afford to purchase that many juvenile nonfiction books.


“Being part of the WVLS also gives us that lending capability, so if you want book XYZ and let us know, we can order it from another library and have it here in three days. That’s been huge for the teachers, because they can get multiple copies of a book on a topic they’re studying.”


The library also serves as a hub for people from other communities seeking information. The library has two totes full of books, about 60 books in all, picked up three times a week to be distributed to other library system users.


“We’re a lending library, so we lend more than we have visitors come through our door,” said Walz. She encouraged people to stop by and see what the library has to offer.


“Yes, we’re a smaller library, but the nice thing is we have access to everything in WVLS and the statewide system,” she said.  


The library can be reached at 715-238-5250. Patrons are also invited to like and follow the “Granton Community Library” Facebook page.



From the Clark County Press, Neillsville, WI

August 10, 2022

Transcribed by Dolores Mohr Kenyon, August 10, 2022

Web page by James W. Sternitzky PhD, August 11, 2022

Return to Grant Township Community Web Page

Return to Grant Township Web Page



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