Brief history of the Appleton Public Library / by Tom Roessler

Did you know that according the Appleton Public Library statistics the volumes of printed material owned by the APL has decreased 21% from 2009 to 2017?  At the same time the city is proposing an increase in library square footage of 39%.  Read on to learn more.  The current APL was built in 1981 and was 70,000 square feet.  The previous APL was 20,000 square feet.  The previous library held 157,000 volumes of printed material.  In 1981 the new APL held 167,000 volumes and it was designed to hold 300,000 volumes. It took approximately 15 years to reach 270,000 volumes which resulted in a request to expand the size of the library.  In 1995 a second floor was added to the west wing of the library bringing the APL to its current size of 86,600 square feet. From 1998 to 2009 the volumes of printed materials increased to a high of 326,000.  

In 2009 a request was made to increase the size of the library from 86,600 square feet to 140,000 square feet to meet the needs of Appleton residents for 20 additional years.  The design proposal projected the volumes of printed materials would increase 38% over that 20-year period.  However, from 2009 to 2017 the volumes of printed materials owned by the APL has decreased by 21% from 326,000 to 257,000.  This is a reduction of 13,000 volumes well below the 1998 pre-expansion level.  

Consider contacting your alderperson, preferably by phone to find out why we are planning to increase the size of the library by 39% in a time when online library usage is increasing and in-library usage is in decline. (alderperson contact information can be found under the resource tab of this website)

References:  Appleton Post Crescent article - 2/28/82; Wisconsin Public Library Service data 1996 – 2017 (; Engberg Anderson 2009 APL Program Design Study available at the APL; Additional statistical information obtained from the Appleton Public library staff.

Submitted by: Appleton Concerned Taxpayers