Creating a legacy
Hayward residents have enjoyed the benefits of a community library since the 1880s. It all started when a group of interested citizens developed a collection of Norwegian and Swedish classics, plus some American themes, and housed them in what was called Clapperton Hall on Main Street. Later, this collection and more helped establish the Hayward Free Library above what is now the Hayward Bakery.
In 1903, fortunes changed in this logging community when the Andrew Carnegie Foundation offered the Free Library organization $10,000 to build its own structure. Positioned at the front end of Main Street, this stately brick structure served the community for more than 100 years.
While this 5,000-sq. ft. landmark served Hayward area well for that period, the growing needs of the community, plus requirements for disability/accessibility, led to research, lots of dialogue and a fundraising campaign in 2001 to build a new library. Years passed with some, but limited success, until Larry Weiss, the son of a former Sawyer County agricultural agent, recognized gifting as a unique opportunity to honor his parents, the late Sherman and Ruth Weiss. Larry and his wife Amy also wanted to give back something to the community where he spent his childhood.
Their philanthropic gifts in 2006 totaling $500,000 proved to be the needed catalyst for the building project. Other contributors stepped forward, showing evidence of the community’s commitment, which, combined with a Community Block Grant, the sale of the existing library building and many in-kind donations, put the campaign over the top. The modern new facility opened its doors in 2007, providing a valuable community resource for generations to come.