Milton Public Library

Milton Public Library

The Milton Public Library is located in Milton, Wisconsin. It is one of the seven libraries that make up the Arrowhead Library System, which also includes the libraries of Janesville, Edgerton, Clinton, Evansville, Beloit, and Orfordville. The library occupies the first floor of the Shaw Municipal Building, which also houses the Milton School District offices and City Hall Council Chambers.


Mission and Goal Statements [1]

The mission of the Milton Public Library is to provide quality materials and services which fulfill educational, informational, cultural, and recreational needs of the entire community in an atmosphere that is welcoming, respectful, and businesslike.

The general goals shall be.

  1. To serve all residents of the community and the surrounding region
  2. To acquire and make available to all residents of the above area such books, computer services, magazines, audio-visual materials, and other services as will address their needs to a) become well informed, b) locate answers to important questions, c) cultivate the imagination and creative expression, d) develop skills for career and vocational advancement, and e) enjoy leisure by means of reading and other media services.
  3. To acquire the means to provide the most frequently requested material locally and upon demand.
  4. To maintain a program of service which locates information, guides reading, organizes and interprets material for people of various backgrounds, and stimulates thinking and intellectual development in individuals of any age.
  5. To strive consistently to discover new methods and improvements for better service for the library's customers.
  6. To review regularly these goals of the Milton Public Library and, if necessary, revise them in light of new developments.


The history of the current public library goes back to when the City of Milton was two towns: Milton and Milton Junction. Each town, originally, had its own library.

Library of Milton (Village)

The first library in Milton was part of Milton College, which was founded in 1844. Individual libraries from various societies, that contributed to both community and student life, made up the first library at Milton College. A gift of books and $1,000 from Dr. Daniel C. Babcock further helped to establish the library. Named after Babcock, the Daniel Babcock Library was initially located on the first floor of Main Hall and further funding issued from Babcock's will continued to support the library.

On November 12, 1904, The Woman's Village Improvement Club, organized by Mrs. J.G. Carr, set out to raise funding for Whitford Memorial Hall. They ultimately raised over $900, and when the hall was completed around 1907, the library was relocated to the new building.

By 1916, the library held about 10,000 volumes[3]

In 1967, the library moved from Whitford Hall to the Shaw Memorial Library, which was dedicated to Dr. Edwin Ben Shaw and Professor Leland C. Shaw, father and son professors of the college.

The Shaw Memorial Library ceased operations when the Milton College closed in 1982.

Library of Milton Junction

The Ladies Club of Milton Junction was organized on September 24, 1904, for the purpose of systematic study. Soon known as the Fortnightly Club, they held their first literary meeting on October 21, 1904 at 3:30 p.m. Two years after its creation, on May 18, 1906, the club voted to pursue the project of organizing a public library. In October of that year, they purchased $10 worth of books to be used for the following year's literary discussions. But most importantly, the books were bought with the hope that they might serve as a nucleus for a public library. In early November, the ladies voted to sponsor a lecture course to raise funds for more books.

The first library occupied a small space in a bakery operated by Russell Frink, which was located on the first floor of P. of H. Hall. Mrs. F.R. Morris was the first librarian. The library was moved several times before occupying a room in the Milton Junction grade school. It was opened two afternoons a week, and the Fortnightly Club used its own funds to equip the room. The library, however, was forced to close for a number of reasons. The main reason being that the school itself was becoming too crowded, and the library needed to be used for additional classroom space. Additionally, questions arose concerning who was responsible for financing the library with the incorporation of the village of Milton Junction within the Town of Milton. At its closing, according to an article printed at the time, "Miss Mildred Conkey, who has served as librarian, and a few volunteers packed the 2,000 volumes and stored them in the basement of the grade school. It is the fond hope of those most interested in the continuance of the library for the village and the township and the grade school, that a place can be found after the smoke of incorporation settles this fall."[4] In September 1952, it moved to the Municipal Building on First Street.

On April 10, 1967, the Fortnightly Club voted to relinquish all books and properties to the Village of Milton Junction, therefore making it a public library. With this move, the library became eligible for funds from Rock County, Wisconsin.

In August 1969, the library was moved to 501 Vernal Avenue. It was opened Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 6:30 to 8:20 p.m. and on Saturdays from 2 to 5 p.m. Furthermore, the library began to issue library cards that would be honored at any library in Rock County. Mrs. Russell Burdick was head librarian.[5]

The Two Merge

On April 18, 1967, Milton and Milton Junction merged.

In 1982, it became clear that the library needed more space. From 1969 to 1982, the number of cardholders increased 1800%, circulation had increased 954%, and the hours had tripled. The then-empty Shaw Memorial College building was seriously considered, as it had the space for library growth.[6]

In July 1982, the city put a bid in for the 60,000+ books that were previously a part of the college library.[7]

It wasn't until 1985 that the deed for the Shaw Library was turned over to the city, and in 1986, the Shaw Memorial Community Center was dedicated, which now houses the city's library.

Summary of Policies[1]

Library policies are created by library administration and approved by the Library Board for guidance of library operations.

Library Bill of Rights

The American Library Association affirms that all libraries are forums for information and ideas, and that the following basic policies should guide their services.

  1. Books and other library resources should be provided for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all people of the community the library serves. Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or view of those contributing to their creation.
  2. Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues. Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.
  3. Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.
  4. Libraries should cooperate with all persons and groups concerned with resisting abridgement of free expression and free access to ideas.
  5. A person’s right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views.
  6. Libraries which make exhibit spaces and meeting rooms available to the public they serve should make such facilities available on an equitable basis, regardless of the beliefs or affiliations of individuals or groups requesting their use.

Who May Use the Library

The library will serve all residents of the community and the public library system area. Service will not be denied or abridged because of religious, racial, social, economic, or political status; or because of mental, emotional, or physical condition; age; or sexual orientation.

The use of the Library and/or its services may be denied for due cause:

  1. Circulation privileges may be revoked for failing to return library materials or pay fines.
  2. The Library Director (or staff in absence of the Director) can deny access to the library under these circumstances: destruction of library property, disturbance of other patrons, or any other illegal, disruptive, or objectionable conduct occurring on library premises.

Persons who fail to follow the library's rules may be excluded from the library and/or face legal action which includes a possible charge of violation of municipal ordinances. Repetitive violations could mean permanent exclusion from the library.


A primary overall objected of the Milton Public Library is to provide its users with a safe and pleasant atmosphere. The Library Board is responsible for determining the rules of behavior necessary to protect the rights of individuals to use library materials and services, to protect the rights of employees to conduct library business without interference, and to preserve library materials and facilities. Library users have a right to use materials and services without being disturbed or impeded by other library users. Any misconduct that disturbs library users or staff is prohibited. Wisconsin Statutes Chapter 43.52(2), states: "Every public library shall be free for the use of the inhabitants of the municipality by which it is established and maintained, subject to such reasonable regulations as the library board prescribes in order to render its use most beneficial to the greatest number. The library board may exclude from the use of the public library all persons who willfully violate such regulations." Such exclusion from this library shall occur on the order of the director or her/his designated staff.

Patron Responsibilities and Conduct

It is a patron’s responsibility to maintain necessary and proper standards of behavior in order to protect his/her individual rights and the rights and privileges of other patrons. If a patron creates a public nuisance or shows unacceptable behavior that patron may be restricted from the library and from the use of the library facilities. Those who are unwilling to leave, or do not leave within a reasonable amount of time after being instructed to do so by the staff, will be subject to the law.

Examples of unacceptable behavior include, but are not limited to:

  1. Engaging in loud conversation or disorderly behavior.
  2. Tampering with or intentionally damaging computer hardware, software, printer, operation systems, or other associated equipment.
  3. Using offensive, threatening, harassing, or abusive language or gestures to customers or staff.
  4. Damaging, defacing, or misusing library materials, equipment, or facilities.
  5. Eating in the library, unless involved in a supervised library function.
  6. The inappropriate use of bicycles, skateboards, rollerblades, scooters, and so forth on library property. Bicycles are not allowed inside the library building. Skateboards, rollerblades, and scooters may be permitted in the building, but must be stored in a safe and non-obtrusive manner.
  7. Animals, except those which have been trained to perform tasks to aid persons with disabilities, are not allowed in the public part of the library except as part of a library-sponsored program. Animals may not be left unattended on library premises.
  • Young Children

The Milton Public Library encourages visits by young children, and it is our desire to make this visit both memorable and enjoyable for the child. Library staff are not expected to assume responsibility for the care of unsupervised children in the library.

Therefore, it is library policy that all children under eight (8) must be accompanied by a parent or designated responsible person while in the library. Also, if the young child is attending a library program, it is required that the parent/responsible person remain in the library throughout the program.

Parents are responsible for ensuring their children will be picked up before or at closing of the library. Library staff will not stay after closing and oversee children not yet picked up. The City of Milton Police will be contacted when young children are left unattended at closing.

  • Disruptive Children

Children of all ages are encouraged to use the library for homework, recreational reading, and program attendance. The library staff realizes that the library will be noisier at busy times and that children by nature can cause more commotion. However, children (whether with parents or not) who are being continually disruptive will be give a warning that he/she must settle down or will be asked to leave the library. If after a second warning the child continues to be disruptive, he/she will be asked to leave the library. If the child needs to contact a person, he/she may do so and then wait with a staff person until he/she is picked up.

Policy of Library Records

The Milton Public Library protects the privacy of library records and the confidentiality of patron use of the library as required by relevant laws. In addition, the Milton Public Library Board supports the principle of freedom of inquiry for library patrons, and has adopted this policy to protect against the unwarranted invasion of the personal privacy of library users.

Under Wisconsin Statutes Section 43.30 library records which indicate the identity of any individual who borrows or uses the library's documents or other materials, resources, or services may only be disclosed:

  1. With the consent of the individual library user.
  2. By court order.
  3. To custodial parents or guardians of children under the age of 16.
  4. To persons acting within the scope of their duties in administration of the library or library stems.
  5. To other libraries (under certain circumstances) for interlibrary loan purposes.

Internet Use

The Milton Public Library is dedicated to providing a wide range of materials and access to other materials that will enrich, enhance, promote, and strengthen the community. As part of the overall collection development policy, the library includes access to information on the Internet.

All users on any public access Internet workstation are expected to use these resources in a responsible, ethical manner consistent with the educational and informational purposes of the library.

Children under the age of 18 must have parental permission to use the Internet

Children under the age of 14 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian the entire time they are using the Internet. Children under 14 without parental supervision may use only the filtered Children's computers. The Milton Public Library assumes no responsibility for Internet use by children.

Library staff can demonstrate the basic use of the Library catalog, but because of the many Internet applications, library staff cannot provide technical support of sites on the Internet.

Reference Service

The Milton Public Library:

  • Will provide information in the form of short answers to specific questions and guidance in locating material for patrons who appear in person, call on the telephone, or request information through correspondence.
  • Will assist patrons in the use of the library and teach basic research methodology, when appropriate.
  • Will provide bibliographic verification of items both in the Library and not owned by the library and will assist patrons in obtaining materials through interlibrary loan, when appropriate.
  • May refer library users to other agencies and libraries in pursuit of needed information.
  • May use not only the library's resources in printed form, but consult appropriate digital resources as well as the regional resource library and other agencies by telephone in pursuit of "ready reference" information.
  • All reference requests are handled as time permits.
  • All library transactions are confidential under Wisconsin Statute 43.30.

Materials Selection/Collection Development


  • The purpose of the Milton Public Library is to provide all individuals in the community with carefully selected books and other materials to aid the individual in the pursuit of education, information, pleasure, and the creative use of leisure time.
  • Because of the volume of publishing, as well as the limitations of budget and space, the library must have a selection policy with which to meet the community's interests and needs.
  1. Responsibility of Selection

The final responsibility for selection of library materials rests with the Library Director who operates within the framework of the polices determined by the Milton Public Library Board of Trustees. This responsibility may be shared with other members of the library staff; however, because the director must be available to answer to the Library Board and the general public for actual selections made, the director has the authority to reject or select any item contrary to the recommendations of the staff.

Criteria for Selection

  • The main points considered in the selection of materials are:
  • Individual merit of each item
  • Popular appeal/demand
  • Suitability of material for the clientele
  • Existing library holdings
  • Budget
  • Reviews of booklists are the major source of information about new materials.
  • The lack of a review or an unfavorable review shall not be the sole reason for rejecting a title that is in demand. Consideration is given to requests from library patrons and books discussed on public media. Materials are not judged on the basis of the work as a whole, nor on parts taken out of context.

Interlibrary Loan

Because of the limited budgets and space, the library cannot provide all materials that are requested. Therefore, interlibrary loan is used to obtain from other libraries those materials that are beyond the scope of Milton Public Library's collection.

Gifts and Donations

The library accepts gifts and other materials with the understanding that they will be added to the collection only if appropriate and needed. If they are not needed because of duplication, or dated materials, the Director can dispose of them as he/she sees fit.


An up-to-date, attractive, and useful collection is maintained through a continual withdrawal and replacement process. Replacement of worn volumes is dependent upon current demand, usefulness, more recent acquisitions, and availability of newer editions. This ongoing process of weeding is the responsibility of the library director and is authorized by the Board of Trustees. Withdrawn materials will be handled in a similar manner and under the same authority as donated materials.

Challenged Materials

Although Materials are carefully selected, there can arise differences of opinion regarding suitable materials. Patrons requesting that material be withdrawn or restricted within the collection may complete a "Statement of Concern About Library Resources" form, which is available in the library. The inquiry will be placed on the agenda of the next regular meeting of the Milton Public Library Board of Trustees.

Procedure for Responding to "Statement of Concern About Library Materials"

Those responding with a Statement of Concern About Library Materials must know that their objections will be given serious consideration and that interest in the library is always welcome. A courteous and calm approach is essential.

  1. A written “Statement of Concern About Library Materials” will be given a prompt response by the library director in the form of a letter, acknowledging that the “Statement” is being reviewed.
  2. The director, in consultation with the library board president, will seek reviews from the professional journals and additional information about the material(s) in the Statement of Concern.
  3. If the material meets selection criteria, it is the responsibility of the library board president or the library director to contact the patron over the phone and/or respond in writing, stating what decision has been made.
  4. If the challenged item does not meet the library’s criteria for selection, the library should be ready to acknowledge this. The director should be prepared to withdraw the material. The patron should be contacted in writing stating what decision has been made.
  5. If the patron still feels that the Statement of Concern has been dealt with inadequately, a final appeal to the library board can be made. The board must decide upon an appropriate course of action

Adapted in part from the “Intellectual Freedom Manual”, compiled by the Office for Intellectual Freedom of the American Library Association, 4th edition.

Bulletin Board & Brochure Rack

The Milton Public Library maintains a bulletin board and brochure rack intended for disseminating current information about local area non-profit events and community information.The bulletin board and brochure rack are intended to serve as vehicles of information for non-commercial organizations and government affairs. Items of propaganda that are considered are those which spread ideas for the purpose of helping or injuring a cause or a person (for example, campaign literature, religious tracts). The Library Board adopts article six of the American Library Association’s “Library Bill of Rights” that maintains that exhibit space be “available to the public on an equitable basis, regardless of the beliefs or affiliations of individuals or groups requesting their use.”

  • General Guidelines:
  1. Priority is given to announcements and information from the Milton Public Library and local organizations.
  2. Non-profit groups may promote awareness of community and national events, such as National Infant Immunization Week or Hazardous Materials Awareness Week. Due to space limitations, general posters that do not advertise a specific date or event will be removed when space for other announcements is no longer available. Very large posters may be rejected.
  3. Any exceptions to these guidelines must be approved by the Library Director or her/his designated staff.
  • Posting Guidelines
  1. Only one copy of a notice is permitted.
  2. Maximum size is 11” x 14”.
  3. Approved notices may be posted for up to one month.
  4. Notices of events should be removed after the event has taken place.
  5. Approved notices must be placed so they do not obscure other notices.
  6. No materials may be placed in areas designated for library postings.
  7. Posting of notices does not imply library endorsement.
  8. Notices advocating fraud or unlawful actions or notices the library considers to be inappropriate are not permitted.

Notices not complying with any of these guidelines will be removed.

  • Review and Appeal:

Any group or individual who is refused permission to use the bulletin board or who has other objections may appeal to the Library Board by filing the appeal in writing with the Library Director within 10 days of refusal or the grounds of appeal. The Library Board will hear the appeal at its next regularly scheduled meeting.

  • Disclaimer:

Application of these guidelines will be based on the judgment of the Library Director. Requests that do not fall clearly within these guidelines may be authorized by the Director only if they are in the best interests of the Library.

Meeting Room

A public meeting room is available for use to an individual or organized group in the back area of the Milton Public Library, behind the circulation desk. Scheduling will be limited, when necessary, to ensure equitable access to the facilities for the entire community. The Library Board may make exceptions to any part of the policy if the Board deems extenuating circumstances are involved.

  • The face that a group is permitted to meet at the Library does not in any way constitute an endorsement of the group’s policies or beliefs by the Library staff or Board.
  • The room may be reserved up to three months in advance.
  • Library programming has first priority in room use.
  • There will be no charge for the use of the meeting room. Donations are always accepted.
  • The group may not charge admission for their meeting or event.
  • Refreshments may be served and shall be provided by the group. A microwave is available. No refrigerator is available for use. The people using the room shall leave it in a neat, clean, orderly condition. If not, the group/individual will be given notice that continued offense will result in denied access to the meeting room.
  • The Library is not responsible for any equipment, supplies, materials, clothing, or other items brought to the Library by any group or individual attending a meeting.
  • The Library Board and staff do not assume any liability for groups or individuals attending a meeting at the Library.
  • Meeting rooms are available during the library’s normal hours of operation for free. Users must vacate the meeting room five (5) minutes prior to closing.
  • Meetings that interfere with normal library functions will not be permitted.

User Responsibilities

  • Chairs and tables will be provided, but must be set up by each group.
  • Users are responsible for returning furniture and equipment to the proper locations within the room.
  • Users are responsible for cleaning up after themselves, and for any damage resulting from their use.
  • Lights and equipment are to be turned off.
  • Smoking, drugs, and alcoholic beverages are not permitted.

Code of Conduct

  • Users of any of the meeting rooms are required to comply with the Library Rules of Conduct as well as the following:
  • Each group shall designate an adult (18+) who will be responsible for the behavior of the participants.
  • Normal operation of the library is not to be disrupted by users of the meeting rooms.
  • Materials are not to be attached to walls, windows, doors, or furnishings except at the direction of authorized staff.

City of Milton Fire Department’s posted occupancy limits (69) will be observed at all times. The Director (or designee) is responsible for the administration of this policy, for establishing administrative procedures for its implementation, and for making it available to the public.


A “program” is a planned presentation or interaction between the library staff and/or a library-sponsored presenter and program participants for the purpose of promoting library materials, facilities, or services, as well as offering the community an informational, entertaining, or cultural experience. Programming includes such activities as storytimes, activities on no-school days, summer library programs for children, speakers for various ages, and presentations on a variety of topics. The board, in conjunction with the library director, will establish a library budget and goals for programming to facilitate the effective implementation of this service.

Annual Programs

  • Summer Reading Program
  • Winter Reading Program
  • Friends of the Library book sale
  • Big Read (Sponsored by the National Endowment of the Arts)

Other Programs and Activities

  • Free computer classes
  • After-hours Runescape nights
  • Lapsit Storytime
  • Preschool Storytime

2008 circulation statistics [8]

In 2008, the library had 26,718 volumes, 1,262 audio materials, and 2,022 video materials, having added 2,752, 129, and 544 pieces to each category, respectively.

The total circulation for the year was 112,637, with 36,242 in children's material and 76,213 in adult material. There were a total of 5,590 registered borrowers from the city and surrounding townships. There were approximately 1,250 reference transactions out of 75,330 library visits. The library put on a total of 139 programs, both children and adult. The total program attendance was 3,309.

Comparing Libraries in the Arrowhead Library System
Library # of Materials Circulation
Beliot 140,665 449,562
Clinton 28,860 36,684
Edgerton 36,737 100,077
Evansville 40,160 87,270
Janesville 273,635 1,176,691
Milton 30,003 112,637
Orfordville 16,247 38,895


  1. ^ a b Milton Public Library Policy Manual, updated June 2009
  2. ^ The Milton Bicentennial Committee. The Bicentennial History of Milton. Milton, WI: Milton Historical Society, 1977. Print.
  3. ^ Witford, Albert. A Historical Sketch of Milton College. Milton, WI: Milton College Alumni Association, 1916. Print.
  4. ^ "Junction library was forced to close." The Milton Courier. [Milton, WI]. 22 July 2010: 16. Print.
  5. ^ "Milton's public library to open at new location." The Milton Courier [Milton, WI] 28 August 1969. Print.
  6. ^ "College library termed a bargain." The Milton Courier [Milton, WI] 24 June 1982: 1, 7. Print.
  7. ^ "City will bid on library and books." The Milton Courier [Milton, WI] 15 July 1982: 1, 20. Print.
  8. ^ Wisconsin Public Library Statistics: 1996-2008. Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. 11 November 2009. Web. 8 April 2010

External links

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