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.

Library Fact Sheet

  • The Hayward Free Library was founded in 1887 on the second floor of what is now the Hayward Bakery. In 1904, with funds from Andrew Carnegie, the Carnegie Library was built at the corner of Main and Highway 63. It contained 3,000 volumes and a reading room with 14 different newspapers and periodicals. The building stands today and is fondly remembered and revered by many.
  • The new library, located on Highway 77, opened in May 2007, expanding from 4,000 to over 14,000 square feet with 11 internet stations, two study rooms, a community meeting room, Friends of the Library Used Book Shop, the Hayward Seed Savers’ Library, and a nature park trail and pond.
  • The library has an inventory of over 35,000 books in print form, 125,000 eBooks, 2,000 audio books, 4,000 DVD movies, 100 magazine and newspaper subscriptions, and countless other resources, including puzzles, audio/book kits, educational toys/games, CliffsNotes packs, energy meters, and new collections such as novelty cake pans and video games.
  • The library is also home to a growing, estimable art collection, which features sculptures and paintings by regional and nationally known artists, including Sara Balbin, the late Peter Ringheim, Peter Toth, Catherine Sebek and more.
  • The library serves well over 2,000 people every week from at least 30 communities. With a part-time staff of only nine and a full-time director, along with 17 volunteers who donate 88 hours per week, the library has an average waiting time for checkout services of less than one minute.
  • Funding for the library is through Sawyer County, grants and donations from individuals, businesses and foundations. Friends of the Library and the Hayward Library Foundation also provide critical funds, most notably the Used Book Shop revenues and the Annual Library Bike Tour.
  • Townships and several other counties also donate annually to help support their residents’ use of the library.
Hayward Community Library