Kiwanis children’s reading library opens
By Thom Gerretsen
MARSHFIELD – Marshfield’s newest children’s reading program has taken a big step forward with the opening of a mini-library.
Kiwanis ‘n Cops n’ Kids has been active for most of 2021, and youngsters can now pick up books at an orange-and-blue homestyle kiosk at Marshfield’s Wenzel Family Plaza. Members of the Kiwanis Club of Marshfield and Marshfield Police/School Resource Officer Matt Berres recently dedicated the new facility, located northeast of the plaza’s Splash Pad near the 100-block of East Second Street. It’s the community’s most visible part of this program, but there’s more.
“Some officers now have books to give out to children while on patrol duty,” said former Kiwanis Wisconsin-Upper Michigan District Governor Roger Krogstad of Marshfield. Also, books have been distributed through the Marshfield Area United Way’s Nutrition on Weekends program, and as part of the Soup or Socks pantry’s recent First Winter children’s clothing drive.
The program was inspired by the Cops ‘N Kids reading program started in 1997 in Racine by now-retired police officer Julia Witherspoon. Kiwanis extended it in 2020 as part of its response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s now among the Wisconsin-Upper Michigan District’s signature projects for the next 5 years. The goal is to get “free books into the hands and homes of kids, while also building connection and trust in the community.”
The new mini-library allows youngsters to take books with no reasonable limit. However – unlike a Little Free Library – book donors are asked not to place them directly into the structure. Instead, donations are accepted in a blue barrel in the entryway of the Marshfield Police Department at 110 W. First St. Krogstad says it allows books to be screened and categorized for certain age groups.
Donna Martin, the Kiwanis Club’s immediate past president, constructed the new mini-library along with employees from Sternweis & Sons Block Division – and city crews helped install it. Wenzel Family Plaza Director Nicki Anderson, also a Kiwanian, secured the site in addition to the plaza’s foundation. Krogstad also recognized Nutrition on Weekends program administrator Ali Luedtke as a “terrific liaison for the United Way opportunities.”