Welcome to the

304 S. Fourth St., Stoughton, WI 53589

Library Hours : Monday -Thursday 9 to 9 and Friday & Saturday 9 to 5

Directions (Map)
About the Stoughton Public Library...

Stoughton Public Library will educate, enrich, empower, and engage our community.

The Stoughton Public Library
  • Will be welcoming, attractive, comfortable, and well-maintained.
  • Will employ a talented, customer service-oriented staff.
  • Will be well funded from a variety of reliable sources.
  • Will provide current, innovative services and programs for all ages.
  • Will support the community's economic development.
  • Will preserve the community's cultural heritage and include the diverse cultures of Stoughton.

Adopted: October 20, 2010
Revised: April 17, 2013

    Click her to view:    
The Stoughton Public Library Strategic Plan, 2011-2014

   Library Open Hours:  
Monday 9 am – 9 pm
Tuesday 9 am – 9 pm
Wednesday 9 am – 9 pm
Thursday 9 am – 9 pm
Friday 9 am – 5 pm
Saturday 9 am – 5 pm
Sunday closed


   Holidays / Closed  Dates:  
New Years' Day

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day           Monday, January 19, 2015
Memorial Day                     Monday, May 25, 2015
Independence Day                      

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Labor Day                               Monday, September 8, 2015
Staff In-Service                             To be announced
Thanksgiving Day                         Thursday, November 27, 2015
Christmas Eve                    Wednesday, December 26, 2015

Friday, December 25, 2015

New Year's Eve                  

Thursday, December 31, 2015

New Year's Day Friday, January 1, 2016



   Contact Information:  

Click here for options to contact the library.



   Library Cards:  

Library cards are available free of charge to Wisconsin residents. Your library card can be used at any public library in the South Central Library System.

Download a library card application or visit the library to pick one up. Bring your completed application to the library with a photo ID and proof of your current address (within the last 30 days). Please contact us for details about acceptable forms of ID and proof of address.

A valid library card must be presented to check out and use library computers. (See the Patron Registration policy for details).

Parents/custodial guardian must sign the application form for children under the age of 18.

Please inform the library about any change of address, phone number or email address.

If your library card is lost, report it as soon as possible. Call 608-873-6281.


  Loan Periods & Late Fees*  
Materials Loan Periods Fines Per Day
Adult / Young Adult

Fiction, Non-Fiction
         & New Non-Fiction Books

28 days .20
New Fiction Books 14 days .20
New Large Print Fiction Books 14 days .20
New Large Print Non-Fiction and Large Print Fiction Books 28 days .20
“Lucky Day” Books 14 days 1.00
"Lucky Day" DVDs 7 days 1.00
DVDs 7 days .20
Music CDs 14 days .20

Audio Books on CD

28 days .20
Digital Audio Players 28 days .20
Software 14 days .20

         Back Issues Only
         (Current Issues Do Not Check Out )

14 days .20
Inter-Library Loan As set by the
owning library


Books, Fiction
         & Non-Fiction

28 days .10
DVDs 7 days .10
Music CDs 14 days .10

Books on CD

28 days .10

         Back Issues Only
         (Current Issues Do Not Check Out )

14 days .10
Software 14 days .10

Busy Bags

14 days .10
*Late fees are subject to the policy of the library from which the material was checked out.
   Meeting Space:  

The Stoughton Public Library meeting room policies have been adopted by the Library Board and will govern use of the meeting rooms. For availability and , contact the library by email: Reference Desk or call 608-873-6281 for further details.

Meeting room reservations will not be final until the form is filled out, signed and approved at the library.



The Small Conference Room is located on the 2nd floor and will accomodate 1 - 2 people.

Conference room policy (approved 3/19/13)



The Large Conference Room is located on the 2nd floor and will accommodate 6 - 7 people.
This room is available on a walk-in basis or may be reserved.

Conference room policy (approved 6/19/13)



The Carnegie Meeting Room is a large, lower level meeting room and accommodates up to 50 people.

To reserve the Carnegie meeting room:

  1. Read the Carnegie meeting room policy (approved 6/19/13)
  2. Complete the appropriate meeting room use form
          (Appendix B : Not for profit
    or Appendix C : For profit)
  3. Submit the completed forms to the Library as noted below.

Forms can also be printed, signed and faxed or you can choose to email a scanned copy of the signed form to the library. Contact the library by email: Reference Desk or call 608-873-6281 for further details.

For profit use requires a fee be paid in advance.

Reservations should not be considered final until the Library staff confirms the reservation.
Call Adult Services at 608-873-6281 for additional information.


With prior notice, the library may be able to provide the following for use in the Carnegie Meeting Room:
  • Chairs
  • Screen
  • Tables
  • LCD projector
  • Whiteboard with markers
  • Lectern with or without microphone


Library History:
History of the Stoughton Public Library
( Stoughton, Wisconsin )

Beginning in 1898, pleased by the library in Pittsburgh he funded, Andrew Carnegie broadly offered grants for building construction to any community that would provide a site and agree to tax itself for support. A gift of $10,000 could finance a single-story structure over a raised basement, styled to local taste. When a town applied for a grant, a simple questionnaire was sent for completion, asking a few questions about the town name, population, site available, and taxes.

Stoughton had a library located in the basement of City Hall, and the first meeting of the board of Free Library Directors of the city of Stoughton was held on June 28, 1901 . When talk started about a “big, new building” the city was divided. The City Council at that time felt that the basement rooms would be adequate for many years, but the Library Board mustered enough civic enthusiasm and that, coupled with the promise of financial backing from Andrew Carnegie, to push through for a fitting monument to Stoughton ’s cultural life.

The Library Board asked Carnegie for $15,000, but he was reluctant to increase his standard grant from $10,000. After much correspondence about specific details, Carnegie reached a compromise of $13,000.

Ladies’ groups in town became avidly involved and the social scene boomed with one fundraising benefit after another, such as sponsoring 15 cent baked bean suppers, home talent plays, concerts by local musicians and whatever else might raise a few more dollars for the proposed library and its furnishings. The city purchased the corner lot on Main Street for $4,000 and hired architects Louis Claude and Edward Starck to design the building which was built by a local contractor, Fred Hill, with the dedication of the new library on March 6, 1908 . Total cost of the library and furnishings was $21,000. This included woodwork, shelving, tables and chairs, all of solid oak, plus light fixtures, card files, and a special “men’s room” where male members of the community could go, in their work clothes to read and have a smoke in peace, without offending ladies.

The library’s popularity quickly grew with one of the most popular attractions being a large selection of prose and poetry in Norwegian. Stoughton was not a wealthy community. The majority of the population was craftsmen and unskilled laborers employed at the Mandt Wagon Company, but they were solid people and must have had an unsatiable appetite for knowledge since more than 300 books were drawn on one Saturday alone. Popular books in the library covered history, travel, natural history, and science. Many books were contributions from local residents, women’s groups, and church organizations. One of the most popular attractions was the large collection of Norwegian language materials. By 1910, the new library was on firm ground with more than 3,500 volumes and an annual circulation of 17,000.

In 1917, the library became a center for the community’s war efforts. Donations far exceeded quotas for the National Library Fund and hundreds of books and magazines were collected, packed, and sent to army camps. The 1920s showed a growing use of the library by community groups. In 1932 the depression years saw a rapid rise in borrowers when people who formerly spent long hours on the job now found empty hours that could be filled with books to occupy their minds with education and pleasure instead of worry and dejection. Circulation declined in the 1940s and 1950s, probably due to the advent of television, but by 1979 circulation showed a dramatic increase.

The Carnegie building served the community well for many years, however, when space needs became severe, the Library Board initiated a referendum for the City to borrow $1 million to expand and renovate the Carnegie Library which passed by a healthy margin in November of 1988. Once again fundraising efforts took place to finish and furnish the addition and the remodeling of the original Carnegie area. The Stoughton community donated an additional $450,000. Designed by Architect Ross Potter, today, the Stoughton Public Library is a union of the old and new preserving the past, but also making a strong statement for the future.


Andrew Carnegie, one of the world’s greatest philanthropists, was born in Scotland in 1835. His father, a handloom weaver, found it increasingly difficult to get work as Scottish factories grew, so in 1848 he brought his family to Allegheny (now Pittsburgh), Pennsylvania.

Carnegie first began working at the age of 12. A turning point in his life came when Colonel James Anderson opened his personal library to working boys. Largely self-educated through access to this library, Carnegie, through study, hard work and shrewd investments, became one of the premier industrialists of his time.

By 1873, Andrew Carnegie had recognized America ’s need for steel, and, concentrating on steel production, he began his acquisition of firms which were later consolidated into the Carnegie Steel Company. By 1900, the Carnegie Steel Company produced one quarter of all the steel in the United States and controlled mines, ships and railroads. In 1901 the U.S. Steel Corporation was formed to buy Carnegie out. Carnegie had long been interested in selling and transferred the company for $250 million in bonds, and retired to devote himself to various philanthropic interests.

Andrew Carnegie took a keen interest in social and political issues and loved to promote his ideas and opinions in print. He was convinced that access to information was life’s key. He praised America ’s educational system, arguing that “Of all its boasts, of all its triumphs, this is at once its proudest and its best.” In 1889 he wrote an article which asserted that it was the duty of rich men and women to use their wealth to benefit the welfare of the community. He wrote that a “man who dies rich dies disgraced.”

Access to the private library of Colonel Anderson was fundamental to Carnegie’s own success in life—a success he wanted to see duplicated for everyone. His legacy lives on in the benefactions (totaling about $350 million), which established over 2,800 free public libraries in the United States, Great Britain, and Canada including the one in Stoughton, Wisconsin!