Waunakee, Wisconsin, touts itself as “the only Waunakee in the world,” which is most likely true. The name, which might be from the Ojibwe language and might be translated as “beautiful place,” has an unknown derivation. The village was built in 1871 on Ho-Chunk land, near Six Mile Creek and in the path of the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad.
The formerly rural community is now a northern suburb of Madison and is home to nearly 14,000 people. The new library, which opened in August of 2019, was over a decade in the planning and is the result of much hard work and cooperation by community members and local government.
We visited the library on a sunny day in September and had a guided tour of the staff workspaces and public spaces. It’s a beautiful, functional, community-focused building and the perfect place to start our journey of library buildings in Wisconsin.
Music in the episode:
- Barn Board Fire by Esmerine
- Eon by Meredith Monk
- Weird Fishes by Christopher O’Reilly
- Chinchilla by TTNG