ACT Author | March 18, 2021

The proposal to build a new Library in the city of Appleton continues to generate interest among Appleton residents.   Appleton Concerned Taxpayers has taken the position that a better use of taxpayer money would be to remodel the existing library building.  Increased availability of downloadable materials since 2009 and the technology which makes them easily accessible has resulted in a significant reduction in library circulation of printed materials, number of printed books owned, and library visits. 

The library usage statistics below were generated by the Appleton Public Library.  References for the source of this information can be found at the end of the article.

Total Circulation for the APL (Appleton Public Library) has decreased 39% from 2009 to 2018. [1]

Library Visits at the APL have decreased 25% from 2009 to 2018. [1]

Printed books owned by the APL have decreased 40% from 2009 to 2018. [1]

E-books available at the APL have increased 1243% from 2009 to 2018. [1]

Use of Public Internet computers at the APL have decreased 71% from 2009 to 2018. [1]

State wide library usage has declined mirroring the decline at the APL. [2]

Current meeting rooms at the APL are underutilized, only 28% of the available time slots are being used for meetings [7], however the proposed library will increase meeting room space by 895%. [3]

Total Program Attendance for the APL has increased 2% from 2009 to 2018 1, which brings into question why we need to increase meeting room space by 895%. [3]

Condition of the current library – A 2009 engineering study described the condition of the current APL as excellent.  A subsequent 2014 engineering study reaffirmed that the library was in excellent condition. [4]

Size of the Current Library – When comparing total circulation relative to square footage the APL is approximately 10% undersized compared to other state libraries, however the proposed new library will increase square footage 40%. [3]

Expansion of the current library – A 2008 study found that 12,000 square feet (13.8% increase) could be added to the current library by adding a second floor to the east wing of the APL.[5]

Engineering Study – A $12,000 engineering study is needed to determine the feasibility of adding square footage to the second floor of the APL.  A request was made to the council in August of this year however the funds have still not been authorized. [6]


1 The data for this calculation can be found at the following website:

2 A summary of statewide library trends can be found at this website:…/files/imce/pld/pdf/wiplservicetrends

3 The APL building program summary for the 1995 expansion can be found on the second floor of the APL.  The sizes of the four conferences rooms in the current library are listed. Meeting room space for the proposed new library will increase to 15,840 square feet and will include: a 6420 SF lecture hall, a 2000 SF general purpose conference room, Three conference rooms:  460, 785, and 785 Square Feet and a 3360 square foot children’s program room.  This information can be found at the following link:…/APL%20Final%20Report%2008-25-14

4 Final Building assessment report, August 20, 2014 completed by Harwood Engineering Consultants.

5 2008 study completed by Durrant and Himmel Wilson

6 August 9, 2018 proposal submitted by Larson Engineering Incorporated, Appleton, WI.


Renovate, Don’t Replace, Appleton Public Library