Happy Birthday, Maude!
Many of you may remember Maude (Schlaefer) Shunk from the library when it was located where the current village hall is located or when it was above the Fire Station on Appleton (where the Hot House Tavern is now located). Born July 1, 1883, we celebrate what would be her 139th birthday this year. Happy Birthday, Maude!
In 1906, at the age of 23, she was hired as the receptionist for Dr. William Campbell, a well-known dentist in Menomonee Falls. As well as her duties helping Dr. Campbell in his practice, she was also responsible for overseeing the Library.
At the time, the Library was open 20 hours per week, and her salary was $2.00 per week. The Library was a traveling library of about 100 books. The traveling library was kept for three to six months, after which the box was swapped out for a new one. The Maude Shunk Local History Room at the Library has a replica of the Traveling Library Box on display. The Wisconsin Library Association website has more information on Traveling Libraries.
Maude retired after 50 years of service in 1956. To honor her, the Village renamed the library, Maude Shunk Library. Maude agreed to continue her work as head librarian until a replacement could be found. In 1958, at the age of 75, she finally fully retired. She made her last visit to the Library during April’s National Library Week in 1973. She passed away in 1976.
In 2003, the Library was moved to the brand new building it is currently in. A resolution was passed to name the building back to its original name, Menomonee Falls Public Library. In order to continue to honor Maude, a room inside the new library was dedicated to Maude. The Maude Shunk Local History Room houses history from Menomonee Falls, Fussville, and surrounding areas. The room was recently moved to a bigger, brighter space in 2020 as part of the Phase 1 Library Renovations Project. The room is a repository of historical information about Menomonee Falls including photos and articles. It also contains a Digital History Lab which the public can reserve to scan your photos, negatives, and slides.