• McIntosh Memorial Library Project (photo: Hazel Media)

Photos by Hazel Media

Improvement Needed:

The Viroqua Library serves as a center for information, technology, community gathering and programming opportunities to better serve the needs of our area. Viroqua needed to build a new library because of the increased usage and disrepair of the existing building.

What Our Funding Provided:

The library was a $3.5 million dollar project.  The land was donated by Gundersen Healthcare Foundation.  The City of Viroqua contributed $1 million towards the project.  Western Technical College built the link connecting Western Technical College and the new McIntosh Memorial Library.  The remaining funds were contributed by individuals, businesses and a grant.

Viroqua Area Capital Campaign

The cost of the Library was $3.5 million and the size of the Library is 13,500 sq. ft.


View of the library looking Southeast:

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View of the library looking at the West entry from Rock Street:

Library_Rendering_7_30_2013 (2)

Library floor plan:


VAF donors along with the city of Viroqua helped to finance the building of a whole new library:

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“Chair Affair” Fundraiser:

We also coordinated a local fundraiser, called “Chair Affair” to raise money for the Library:


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  • The library has become the center of the Community
  • Increased attendance in library programs
  • Increased checkout volume (including in-person and online)


Type of Fund Utilized:

  • Designated/Restricted Fund

About the Library:

Viroqua’s public library has always been a place to explore, share, discover and dream. But the existing library, which has served us well since 1904, can no longer provide all that our community needs to move boldly into the future. The time has come for a new library, one that’s expansive enough to provide private reading spaces and public meeting places—a library that offers a warm, welcoming atmosphere and the latest resources and technology. It’s time for a library that offers toddlers, teens, seniors—and lifetime learners of every age in between—a home away from home.



Click on image below to view
the Library’s brochure (PDF):
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Photo credits: Richard Bock

A Bold New Beginning: Overview Before the Construction

The McIntosh Memorial Library has always been a place to learn, discover, explore, share and dream. The existing library building has served the Community well, since it was constructed in 1904. In 1974, my Great Aunt, Mary Margaret McIntosh, a former librarian herself, provided the resources necessary to renew the library and extend its life to its current condition. At that time our library was renamed the McIntosh Memorial Library. But after 109 years of service, this building can no longer provide all that our Community needs to move into the future.

Over the years, technology has become more available in homes.  However, libraries are more vital and necessary than ever.  Numerous studies reveal that public libraries have experienced a dramatic increase in usage, both in materials checked-out and program attendance.  Particularly in difficult economic times, libraries offer all people equal access to the tools they need to stay informed, educated and connected.  The need exists to expand the services that we are providing to the people in our area.

Today, more than ever, a library is the place people rely on for quick and easy access to information in all forms.  People use books, digital media, computer stations and good old-fashioned newspapers and magazines.  The new Viroqua library will provide our community with a vastly expanded offering of resources and services.  There’s never been a better or more important time to invest in our public library.

Our new library will be a community center where people of all ages will be able to access information, whether it’s from books, tablets, or the latest technology.  This information will allow our patrons to find jobs, to reach academic goals, to learn about something of interest, or to just read for the fun of it.  We’ve been working diligently to bring a new library to our community for a long time.  It is time to bring better services to everyone in our community.

A public library is often the first place a young child falls in love with reading.  These early experiences build a firm foundation for a lifetime of learning and discovery. Viroqua’s new library will inspire children of all ages to develop and grow.  Our new library will provide our family with an opportunity to enjoy a variety of children, family and teen programs in the new indoor youth program room and designated teen space.

Our community needs a special storytime area so that we can provide a colorful, creative place for toddlers, parents and grandparents to gather for a good story.   Our new library will offer a space for fun activities designed to stimulate and educate young minds.  Janet and I are excited about our new library.  It will serve the young people of our community for years to come.

Adults of all ages need a place where they can explore concepts, research ideas and develop the skills that pave the way to academic growth and achievement.  That’s why the new Viroqua library and Western Technical College have formed a partnership to serve the students in our area.  By sharing a campus and pooling resources, high school and technical college students will have access to tools and technology specifically geared toward their needs.  What better way to provide our residents with the skills, knowledge, and self-confidence needed to succeed in the highly skilled workforce required in our business community today.

Our new library will be located on the corner of Rock Avenue and Jefferson Street.  In the past this location was the Vig-Gundersen Clinic Building.  Gundersen Health donated this property for a library in 2012.  Western Technical College and the library will be connected by a shared lobby but will be operated separately. While the library is being constructed, the college will remodel their existing building.   Sharing resources such as parking, lobby space and landscaping creates opportunities for further cost savings.

The new public library will bring fresh energy and vitality to downtown Viroqua.  Designed with long-term sustainability, the structure and grounds will provide indoor and outdoor spaces that are light-filled, energetic and harmonious.  Our library will celebrate our region’s natural beauty.  At more than double the size of the existing library, the structure will house a much-expanded offering of books and other media.  It will also provide much needed public spaces, including: a larger youth program room, a senior center/community room, a conference room and both indoor and outdoor reading spaces.  Viroqua’s new library will truly be a place our community will be proud of for generations to come.

The new library will provide a public meeting space that’s large and flexible to accommodate groups of many sizes.  A separate outside entrance will permit community groups to gather even when the library itself is not open.  Homeschoolers, book clubs, civic organizations, school groups and many more organizations will be able to reserve the space on a first come, first served basis.

Local businesses will have a public space to use for meetings, receptions, or training needs.  The library will also be able to work with businesses to bring speakers, seminars and workshops to our community.  This will be a valuable resource for our entire area.

Business hasn’t really changed that much over the years, but the way we do business has changed dramatically.  Small business owners, like the businesses all along our Main Street community will use the library resources to grow and expand.  The new library will provide entrepreneurs and other business people with the resources they need to succeed.  The library will be a business center that’s wired for the 21st century and beyond, as well as space for meetings and training seminars.  Business leaders will also find excellent customer service and support from library staff.

The cost of constructing the new library is estimated at $3.5 million.  The project will be paid for with a combination of public and private funds and grants.  A fundraising campaign is underway to raise money for the construction of the new facility.  So far, over $2 million has been pledged or donated by visionary community leaders, demonstrating their commitment to the new library and positive progress of our community.  After hearing the Library’s story, the community’s response has confirmed the need for and support of a new library in Viroqua.  Please join us in this important endeavor.

Day-to-day operation of the library will continue to be funded by the City of Viroqua, Vernon County and the surrounding counties.  The new library will be a one-level structure, resulting in staff efficiencies and energy conservation.  This building is being designed so that it will be able to serve all of our community members.

The longtime dream of a new library is becoming a reality.  The timing is perfect, as the need for a new facility is greater than ever.  Library participation is at an all-time record level and our present structure is simply not adequate in terms of space and accessibility.  Our current library does not and will not be able to meet the growing needs of our community.  Our library serves as a center for information, technology and programming opportunities in these times of economic pressures.  A new facility will greatly expand our ability to serve the needs of our community and the surrounding area.

The Friends of the Library are great supporters of the new library project.  We have seen the lack of space in our current building and the negative impact this has had on the ability to serve our community’s needs today.  We are working with our members to raise money needed for this construction project. Please join us in our goal by making a donation to the Viroqua Area Foundation for construction of a new library in Viroqua.

The “Bold New Beginning” campaign is making a new library a reality.  Every gift to the library is an important step towards reaching our goal.  The McIntosh Memorial Library is working with the Viroqua Area Foundation for our fundraising campaign.  All donations for the new library are made out to the Viroqua Area Foundation and are tax-deductible.  We appreciate the years of service our old library has given to us, but it is now time to move forward.  Our vision is to continue to serve the growing needs of our community into the future by building a new library in Viroqua.

The time has come for a new McIntosh Memorial Library.  Our new library will be one that’s expansive enough to provide private reading spaces and public meeting places.  The library will continue to offer a warm and welcoming atmosphere while also offering the latest resources and technology.  It’s time for a library that offers toddlers, teens, seniors and lifetime learners of all ages a home away from home.

Please join me in this Bold New Beginning campaign to build a new McIntosh Memorial Library that will serve the needs of our community for years to come.

The library connects us with the insight and knowledge, painfully extracted from Nature, of the greatest minds that ever were, with the best teachers, drawn from the entire planet and from all our history, to instruct us without tiring and to inspire us to make our own contribution to the collective knowledge of the human species. I think the health of our civilization, the depth of our awareness about the underpinnings of our culture and our concern for the future can all be tested by how well we support our libraries. – Carl Sagan, Cosmos