The quaint Dresser Library was filled with visitors Jan. 4 for a renaming of the library in Geraldine E. Anderson’s memory. Anderson’s commitment to the library lasted decades before her passing in January 2019. In keeping her legacy alive, the Dresser Village Library Board recognized her dedication with a celebration among friends, family and colleagues.
“Welcome to the new Geraldine E. Anderson Village Library!” said Library Director Leann M. French. “Geraldine E. Anderson was dedicated to literacy throughout her life. She was one of the first librarians when her mother was part of the group that formed the library.”
“For decades, she was ardent supporter of the Dresser Library. She volunteered in numerous capacities, including fundraising and serving on the board as a trustee and as president. In 2016, she was Wisconsin Library Trustee of the year. I never met Geraldine, but I am told she was a catalyst for this library, an outgoing, positive and amicable individual.”
At the open house, the library revealed a new sign that reads, “Geraldine E. Anderson Village Library” at the entrance of the library. After the renaming, visitors gathered inside for some refreshments and conversation including Anderson’s co-worker, Lisa Richert, and her sons, Mark and Paul Anderson.
“Her love for literature was contagious to every age group whether it was reading aloud to her first graders, being read to, or sharing what she learned from something she had read,” said Richert. “I admired her knowledge, strength and experience. She took me under her arm and helped me with valuable insights that I still use today. Geraldine was so respected by colleagues and families in our community she knew and remembered so many people. She left quite a legacy and I am so happy to hear the library named for her.”
“I know that she would have really been honored,” said Paul Anderson. “This place was something special to her, so the family is really appreciative to see that her legacy will live on. She had such an impact on the community and on the youth, and to see the library named after her just cements that legacy.”
The newly named library also announced a fine-free policy and the addition a small meeting space after requests from the community were made for a safe, private place to meet at the open house.
“It’s really a social equity issue,” says French. “In order to be able to provide goods and services to all the socioeconomic groups we really need to be fine free. Even very small fines to the socially disadvantaged have a big impact. We’re so happy to be able to do this and help people out that way.”
In this policy change, the library board also waived all existing fines for current cardholders of nearly $1000 dollars with the exception of replacement fees of which the library will still hold renters accountable.
During the open house, Mark and Paul Anderson signed up for their own Geraldine E. Anderson Village Library cards. In recognition of Geraldine’s dedication to the library and community, the new name seemed to be the best way to honor her legacy, to which those who knew her all agreed.
“This is a big honor for me, and for my brother,” said Mark Anderson. “She’s been associated here for over 60 years. Over the years, she gave up a lot of her activities due to her health, but this is the one thing she held onto right to the end. This library is very near and dear to her heart. I know she would have been honored.”