What’s old is new again
Carnegie entrance to library to reopen
BY EILEEN PERSIKE
Plans are underway to have the Carnegie entrance of the Rhinelander District Library reopened. The library’s board of trustees decided the doors, which haven’t been used since the early 1980s, should be reopened rather than spend the money to repair and replace the atrium doors currently used by library patrons.
“The atrium doors are metal framed, set in concrete, and they freeze every winter,” said Library Director Virginia Roberts. “The concrete heaves, buckles and shifts – only one of the doors currently opens.”
The Carnegie entrance doors, which Roberts noted were not original, will need to be replaced and reframed. The stone stairs are limestone and are in excellent shape, she said.
“This is a great entrance – with the cornice above it, the beautiful columns,” said Roberts. “It screams Carnegie Library and screams beauty, history and culture.” There is also a mosaic under a rug at the top of the stairs that will remain, but needs to have some sort of protective covering.
Inside the library, book shelves, the main desk, magazine racks and some book collections will need to be reconfigured to accommodate the new entrance. Roberts puts late fall, early winter as expected phase one completion.
Though the dollar amount is lower than is required for a request for bids (RFP), the board is seeking bids. Funding is expected from the Rhinelander Kiwanis Club, and Roberts said they are talking to other community groups such as Rotary and the library’s founding mothers, the Womans Club. “We’re happy with whatever they can help us with either now, or in the future, because this project doesn’t end,” Roberts said.
A phase two project would include expanding the upper and lower floors of the library near the current main entrance that faces Stevens Street, adding about 300 square feet on each floor. The Library was founded in 1897, but by 1902 had already become too small. Construction on the new library began in 1903 thanks to a grant from philanthropist Andrew Carnegie.