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Success Stories

Lakes Country Public Library Starts a New Chapter with Expansion Project

Tegan Griffith
Community Facilities
A group of people are standing in a line with shovels at a groundbreaking event.

The forecast called for rain and a high of 56 degrees the day construction workers broke ground at the Lakes Country Public Library expansion site in Lakewood, Wisconsin. Book lovers would say it was ideal weather to curl up with a soft blanket, cup of coffee, and a good book from the library.

The rain held off as nearly 100 supporters, library card-carrying members and children gathered to celebrate the start of a 3,075 square foot expansion to the current library built in 1981. 

USDA Rural Development invested $500,000 with a Community Facilities grant that will help expand the Children’s Area and create a Teen Zone.

With no dedicated school in Lakewood, the library serves as an important social hub in the community for people of all ages. 

A photo showing a sign for the Lakes Country Library next to a fundraising sign with pink, yellow, and orange flowers.

According to Katie Esserman, Lakes Country Public Library Director, “We’ve had as many as 21 kids and five adults in the current space during story time. The addition will allow us to expand programming and give the community the space they need to enjoy the activities we have to offer.”

Other improvements include the addition of two small meeting rooms, one large 30-person community room, seating area, circulation desk, kitchenette, and an Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant family restroom.

Home to just shy of 900 residents, the community has raised nearly $1.5 million for the expansion. Kathleen Marsh, Friends of the Lakes Country Public Library, said “It took more than a village, it took more than a community. It took northern Oconto County to do this. Today is for everybody. This is what people do when they care about each other. When we care about the future, we care to make a difference.”

The library expansion is tentatively scheduled for completion in Spring 2024. 



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