The library began as a few bookshelves in the Village Hall on Main St. In 1930, Miss Anna Hoaglund became the first Librarian, and remained the librarian until Ruth Clarke took over in 1954.

The library was located in the Village Hall until Katharine Patterson passed away, leaving $10,000 to the Village of Wild Rose to build a library. A spot was found, 1 block over on the point where Wisconsin Avenue and Division St. meet, (the point later became named Clarke Park, after Ruth Clarke the librarian, who also tended the rose garden there).

Nearly the entire village helped build, clean or move books to the new library. There was a parade of children and adults all carrying or pulling a wagon full of books the block from the Village Hall to the new Library! On August 11, 1957 there was a grand ceremony to welcome the little library building into the world!

Ruth Served as Library Director for 25 years, from 1954 until 1980, when Linda Steffen took over. Linda saw the need to expand the little library and embarked upon a building expansion campaign – one of two she would be in charge of! Funds were raised, and the middle of the present building, the first edition was added on in 1988, doubling the space in the library.

After only a few years, it became apparent that more room was needed and Linda set about fundraising, this time Jerry Apps put his name on the project, and once again, the job got done! This time securing a block grant which added the Community Center, kitchen, and restrooms. The former entrance was changed and the restrooms there were converted, one to a Director’s office, and one for use as the staff bathroom (the ladies room). In 2005 the project was finished and in 2006 the new library/community center was christened.

Linda served as Library Director for 32 years, from 1980 to 2012, when Kent Barnard, the fourth Library Director was hired. (Fun Fact: Kent was born 8 days after the little library was dedicated in August, 1957!) Her accomplishments over the years have been impressive, two major expansions, overseeing the move from hand stamped cards to computers and joining the Winnefox Library System!

Kent has been busy digitizing the collection of Family Histories and other ephemera of local history, such as scrapbooks and historical plays written by Mrs. Pearl Dopp. With grant money secured from the Wisconsin Humanities, WiLS, the Community Foundation of Central Wisconsin and Donations from the Friends of The Patterson Memorial Library, Kent has also been equipping the library with an area for personal online meetings, a digital conversion area (for converting analog items such as VHS, VHS-C, 8mm, Super 8 mm, 126, 110 and 35mm film negatives, and cassette tapes to digital formats), and a recording area for family histories, both a/v and audio. This area is now open and the digitized local histories may be found online – just use the tab above!

In 2023, our great friend Jerry Apps contributed monies and memorabilia to be used in the creation of the Jerry Apps Reading Room. Most of the South wall of the original library was reconstructed, housing a “secret door” for the kidddos to come through to Storytime (and also used as an excuse to have grownupscome through for escape rooms). Walls were repainted, and new window dressings were put in. A picture rail was hung to eliminate the need to put holes in the walls to display Jerry’s memorabilia and honors, and this allows us to easily swap out items to keep the room fresh.

In addition, an Archives room was built to keep our ephemera safe from peoples hands, as much of it has become brittle. Since it is now online (see above!), there is no need for anyone to look at the physical relics.

Interested in more history about Wild Rose?

We have recordings of locals talking about early years in and around this community.

We’ve also put together a historical trail for your enjoyment.

Wild Rose Historical Trail