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Bragg-Hurlburt: Colfax Public Library is full of surprises

By LeAnn R. Ralph

COLFAX  —  Lisa Bragg-Hurlburt is amazed at some of things she is finding around the library.

Bragg-Hurlburt is the interim director of the Colfax Public Library who was appointed to the position following the retirement of Lisa Ludwig in December.

One of the items she has found is a white ceramic bust of a child reading a book.

And guess what is inscribed on the book?

The names of the members of the Colfax Woman’s Club in 1952.

The Colfax Woman’s Club donated the bust to the library.

And one of those names on the book is Jennie Chase.

So who is Jennie Chase, you’re wondering?

A.C. Chase and his wife, Jennie, started the Colfax Messenger in 1897.

Bragg-Hurlburt, who has been the circulation librarian at Colfax for the past two years, said she took the bust down off the shelf where it had been sitting in order to dust it.

She was surprised and delighted to find the names of the Colfax Woman’s Club members.

Some of the last names are familiar names of current library patrons — the children and grandchildren of those 1952 Woman’s Club members, Bragg-Hurlburt said.

Page one of the ceramic book contains 16 names, and page two of the book contains 19 names.

Some of the names on the book’s pages include Helga Rosenberg, Minda Burling, Marilyn Larson, Adina Felland, Florence Rosenberg, Jo Iverson, Gladys Iverson, Edna Hill, Doris Haugle, Nora Bremer, Ruth DeSoto and Emma Turner.

Bragg-Hurlburt has placed the ceramic bust in a prominent location in the library so people will be able to see it better.

Other surprises she has found include a treasure trove of old books stored upstairs.

The type of books that look as if they could be valuable — with maybe even a first edition, perhaps.

Bragg-Hurlburt says one of her tasks will be to research the books to find out if any of them are, indeed, valuable.

Other items she has discovered  include collections of old papers.

“I haven’t gone through them yet, so I don’t know what I will find. But I’m guessing they will be important to the history of Colfax,” Bragg-Hurlburt said.

At the Colfax Public Library Board’s January 13 meeting, Bragg-Hurlburt told the library board she would like to set up some local history displays in the library as well as displays on researching family trees and genealogy, along with artwork by local students.

Bragg-Hurlburt said she plans to have the displays be set up on a rotating basis and to focus on community interests and local relevance.

Bragg-Hurlburt moved to the Colfax area eight years ago from Eau Claire. She is originally from Rhinelander and has three children who attend school at Colfax. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Comparative Religious Studies and Philosophy from UW-Eau Claire.

The Colfax Public Library Board is currently reviewing applications for the director’s position and will most likely conduct interviews in the next month.

The library board met in closed session for two hours January 13 to review applications.

The Colfax Public Library Board planned to meet in closed session again January 21 to formulate interview questions for the candidates.

The next regular meeting of the Colfax library board will be February 10 at 5:30 p.m. in the library. Except for closed sessions, of course, the library board meetings are open to the public.