Friday, February 23, 2007


One of my duties with the Friends of the Marathon County Public Library is to act as an "Ambassador". Each month I am to make a trip to one of the MCPL branches (or to another library), talk to the staff, view the facility, and report back to the Friends group.

This month I visited the Stratford Branch Library and talked with Janice Pankratz, the Branch Coordinator. Stratford is located on the Western side of Marathon County. The library is located in a very smart new building, right across the street from a park, on the North side of town.

Stratford established it's first library in 1930. The present library building was erected in 1995. Stratford is very proud of its library as 50% of the cost was paid for by MCPL and the other 50% was paid for by the community. There is a display on the wall of their nice meeting room which highlights all people who contributed at least $250 towards the building project. The Stratford branch has approximately 17,000 items in its collection, but has access to over 1 million items through MCPL & Wisconsin Valley Library Service's V-CAT system.

Ms Pankratz keeps her library neat, clean, and well organized. While there I saw a couple people going over newspapers and magazines in the reading area. A mom came in with a little girl who immediately rushed over to the play area in the children's section. I'd guess the children's area, which is very well stocked with books, covers 30% of the library's square footage. I saw some of the toys which the MCPL Friends had purchased. The library has 2 Internet terminals and 2 Catalog terminals. Janice indicated that joining V-CAT this past summer has been a big boon to "Home Schoolers" in her area. While there I saw a lady walk out with a huge stack of books which had just come in by courier.

The Stratford branch has a book discussion group, children's programs, and hosts various meetings in their facility. They will be doing their part in the MCPL 100 year celebration in November. Right now they are preparing for a Used Book Sale which will be held on March 7-8-9. Some of their inventory for the sale comes from local donations and some comes from the inventory of the MCPL Friends.

The Stratford Branch Library would be a nice place for you to visit. Janice is a very pleasant lady to talk to, and she'd be happy to show you around her facility.

400 N. Fourth Avenue
Stratford, WI 54484

Phone: (715) 687-4420

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