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MCPL's Highlights of 2018!

Collage of 2018 photos made by Dan R.

January 5, 2019

Earlier this week, the world celebrated the end of 2018 and the start of a new year, and we’re already nearly a full week into January! While everyone here at the Marathon County Public Library is excited to see what 2019 will bring, we can’t help but reflect back on the past year and all of the events, milestones and innovations that we experienced over the past 12 months.

While the following isn’t a complete list of all of our accomplishments from 2018, we’ve compiled some of the highlights. Now, we can’t wait to see all that 2019 brings!

First LENA Start sessions in Wisconsin held

Beginning in February, MCPL Wausau hosted the first two LENA Start sessions in the state of Wisconsin. The program is offered to parents of children ages 0-32 months who have their child wear a “talk pedometer” one day a week to analyze how often the child is spoken to, read to, or sang to. Parents get to see their progress analyzed from week-to-week and learn tips for increasing their verbal interactions with their child.

Two LENA Start sessions were held from February-May at MCPL Wausau, with a total of 18 families graduating from the program in May. A second “semester” was held from September-December, with 13 families graduating from the program at MCPL Wausau (in addition to the families that graduated from LENA Start sessions held at three other locations around the Wausau area).

MCPL Wausau will continue to offer LENA Start in 2019, with the next session set to start in February. For more information, call 715-261-7220.

Early Literacy Center unveiled at MCPL Wausau

Speaking of small children and learning, MCPL Wausau also had a big moment in June when it unveiled the new Early Literacy Center (ELC) in its children’s area. The ELC is designed especially for children ages 0-5 and their families, and contains books, puzzles, whimsical furniture and fixtures, a forest canopy reading nook and wall manipulatives to help children develop their fine motor skills.

In addition, the ELC also features rotating themes and activities that change every two months, with past themes including a pet/veterinary theme and a jungle safari theme, complete with learning toys, costumes and other role playing tools.

A new fish and ocean-themed theme will be installed in the ELC soon. Stop in later this month to check it out!

Second annual Central Wisconsin Book Festival is held

In September, MCPL hosted numerous events that made up the second annual Central Wisconsin Book Festival. This year’s festival was a collaboration between MCPL and many other community partners, including UW-Stevens Point at Wausau’s Lecture & Fine Arts Series, Barnes & Noble, Janke Book Store, and more.

Nearly 20 events were held at various locations around Wausau and central Wisconsin, including a poetry-and-art exhibit at the Center for the Visual Arts, a UW faculty reading at Sconni’s Alehouse & Eatery and author visits to Janke Book Store and Barnes & Noble. 12 of the festival’s events were held at MCPL Wausau, turning the library into an even busier literary hub than it normally is!

The third annual Central Wisconsin Book Festival is slated to return this fall, with planning currently underway. For updates and details later in the year, check out

Writing competition organized by Marathon City Branch

From January through May, our Marathon City Branch solicited entries for its first ever Community Writing Competition. Open to ages 13 and older, over 25 entries in the categories of Fiction, Nonfiction and Poetry were received. Winners were Marathon City resident Cindy Meyering for her fiction work “I’m There for You;” Wausau resident Laura Lee, for her nonfiction piece “Seen Not Said;” and “The Two Faces of Spring,” a poem written by Edgar resident Amy Pangborn.

The winning pieces in each category were then published throughout the summer in The Record Review newspaper, which covers much of western Marathon County. After the competition, Meyering self-published her work into a book, and will visit our Marathon City Branch this month to discuss her writing. To read the winning entries, read our blog post about the competition.

Spencer Branch honors Vietnam War vets

Our Spencer Branch honored veterans with a piece of American history last fall when it hosted a traveling Vietnam War memorial wall. From September 24 through September 28, the branch was home to Wisconsin Remembers: A Face for Every Name, which featured the name and photo of over 1,600 Wisconsin veterans who served in the Vietnam War.

In addition to the memorial wall, the Spencer Branch also held an opening ceremony, complete with a visit from the Spencer High School choir and veterans from the Loyal American Legion.

MCPL’s TV ad hits the airwaves

This fall, MCPL was broadcast onto the small screen with its first-ever television ad! In an effort to promote library our materials and services after Library Card Sign-Up Month in September, we ran TV ads on various local channels throughout the fall (a series of catchy radio ads were aired on local radio, too!) The commercial highlighted the artwork, electronics, video games and DVDs that patrons can check out (items that many people were not aware we have), and we made sure to drive home the fact that “it’s free!” If you haven’t seen the ad, check it out below!

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image credit: made by Dan R.