The Theresa Public Library had its humble beginnings in 1962 as a summer library started by Jack and Ruth Burns. They arranged to use a room rent free in the Russ Bandlow building which is now the laundromat. There was no heat in the room, therefore it was only open in the summertime. Jack and Ruth’s two daughters, Jackie and Peggy ran the library for a couple of summers. Laura and Carolyn Smith continued the library in 1964. Suzanne Erdmann and Marlene Adelmeyer also were involved in the early years of the library.
Books were obtained for the library on a rotating basis due to limited space from Ruth Bodden who worked as a UW-Extension representative in Juneau. All of the librarians were volunteers until the library was moved to the old St. Theresa’s Catholic School for more room and accessibility. At that location it was open year round with very limited hours and run by Marlene Adelmeyer. Funding was provided by the Village of Theresa. After a time, the old Catholic school was slated for demolition and the library was moved to the Theresa Public School. When the public school eventually needed more room, it was moved to an upstairs room in what is now the Village Garage. It remained there and became a regular library in 1985. Before this time the library had been an outlet of the Dodge County Library Service, but funded by the Village of Theresa.
A new library was built in 1989 and opened in January of 1990 on the current site. It was built as a joint venture between the Village of Theresa and the Town of Theresa. It is currently funded as a joint library by both municipalities.
The library was first automated in 1997. In May 2003, the WAVE shared library circulation system was created with seven other libraries in Dodge County along with libraries in Racine and Walworth counties. The S.H.A.R.E. consortium was formed in January 2007 to include all the libraries in Dodge, Jefferson, Racine, Walworth, and Washington Counties. “trio” was formed November 21, 2014 and included Dodge, Jefferson, and Washington Counties.
The Current consortium Monarch Library System was formed December of 2016 and includes Dodge, Ozaukee, Sheboygan, and Washington Counties.
The first board members were:
- Betty Bodden, President
- Sandra Merchant, Secretary
- Ralph Widmer, Treasurer
- Peggy Langenfeld
- John Mason
The first library director was Nancy Koll who served until the mid 1990’s. Nancy Wiedmeyer then managed the library until May 2004 when Mary Alice Bodden the current director took over.
Current library board members include:
- Diane Steger, President — Town of Theresa Board Representative
- Kris Groeschel, Secretary
- Angie Anderson, Treasurer
- Jody Steger — Village of Theresa Board Representative
- Bob Lloyd — School District Administrater
- Betty Schmidt
- Al Norem
The Library Board meets quarterly on the second Tuesday in January, April, July, and October.
Thanks to Betty Bodden for compiling the library’s history.