By Kris Leonhardt
MARSHFIELD — The community gathered Sunday, Nov. 13, to celebrate the grand opening of the Everett Roehl Marshfield Public Library.
The event was highlighting by a program featuring local officials who were instrumental in the facility’s completion.
“We came together as a community to build this incredible facility, … just like a house doesn’t become a home until people make it such,” said Marshfield Mayor Chris Meyer. “The library is really the result of the work of the staff of the library, the community, and the people who patronize the library. This is our library. We make this a library.
“I am very happy that so many people came together to make the library possible. Everyone from the staff, who handled questions day in and day out while continuing to operate the library; the common council, who set some very stringent parameters on how this could be funded; and, of course, everybody who in their own small way contributed to this library project, whether it be through a financial contribution or through your time and energy, of which I am sure Lori (Belongia) has made good use.”
Funding for the library was completed through a collaboration between the city of Marshfield and the community, with the city contributing $3 million and the remainder coming from the private sector and community donations.
“We have 515 different individual families that donated, 159 pledges (that donated to the project),” explained Amber Leifheit, executive director of the Marshfield Area Community Foundation, which served as fiscal agent for the new library. “People came out and did what they could — no matter how big or how small — and that is just wonderful.”
The new library features study rooms with smart televisions, enhanced technology with Wi-Fi throughout the facility, a children’s program room, young adult/teen area, genealogy and local history room, and fireside reading area.
“Fred Rogers was a great man,” said Everett Roehl Marshfield Public Library Director Lori Belongia. “He was an unsung soldier. He was a television icon and an advocate for early childhood development and literacy. At the beginning of every one of his programs, he sang a song. My favorite line from that is one that seems to be written specifically for this day, ‘It’s a wonderful day in the neighborhood.’”