The bubbling excitement for not just the adults who anticipate the library’s arrival, but their children- and their children’s education, the fact they would have a place stored with endless knowledge at their fingertips, not to be constrained in a small City Hall room. An architecturally faultless building with pillars of marble and staircases of stone, the walls lined with oak shelves storing the history of Winnebago, events to birth to deaths galore dating as far back at the 1800’s, a historians playground, a curious mind’s maze.
Opening to the public in 1900, strenuous construction finally halting to open the building which is still active today. Not only was this a place for adults and teens alike to find hundreds of sources for school assignments or simply for their own delight but also a place for children to roam the endless amounts of books, whether they preferred the flipping of glossy pages in a hardcover picture book or the softly worn edges of a classic novel. Today the Oshkosh Public Library holds knowledge, history, beauty, even comfort. The genealogy section is truly a sight to behold, the marble floorings polished so finely that by the chance you glance down from a book you could practically see your own reflection, or how the carpeted balcony holds two large paintings of Mrs. Harris and Alberta Kimble, the balcony overlooking other readers and one of the iconic lion statues perched on a pile of literature.
Lions are such an important part of Oshkosh, the large brassy statues standing tall in the warmest of summers, their metal bodies gleaming in the rays of the golden sun; in the winter their broad figures standing tall, strong, frozen in the cool shocking wisps of winter. The Lions bring life to the library, immersing you in stories, making the building itself seem more vibrant- intriguing young and old readers alike.
Libraries are seen as silent places for study and strictly work, but the library we have holds so much more. The warm inviting lights, the ancient basements holding more than just books providing a place for events, even the quiet hush of the study rooms provided for anyone who may need it. Although we have studies and silent readers, there’s also event; during October you take a tour through the basement, an area of pure eeriness showing readers not only can literature be educational but also terrifying, transporting you to a whole new realm.
Written By: Madelynn Lebron
Historic Location: Oshkosh Public Library