The mission of the Public Library is "to create a community of learners by providing access to services and materials in a variety of formats that meet the informational, educational, and recreational needs of a community." The DeForest Public Library is a nationally recognized innovator of family literacy and childrens services. The library has been the Recipient of many grants and the incubator of many new ideas in materials and service.
The DeForest Public Library moved into its current quarters at 605 S. Main Street in 1992 in the Plaza mall. The 9,000 square foot facility houses 42,000 volumes of fiction, non-fiction, and reference books, 4,000 videos, 2,000 audio compact discs, over 150 software programs, and 166 magazines and newspaper titles. The library provides public Internet access on 5 computers and is part of a shared circulation system which provides access to all the materials held in each of the member libraries. This access when combined with a daily delivery service between the member libraries guarantees that if the material or information wanted is available in any library in the South Central Library System, it can be in DeForest in a matter of days. The library sponsors a summer and winter reading program that is aimed at all age groups in the community as well as offering community concerts, special events, speakers, and an outreach program to over 25 local child care providers.
DeForest is home to the DeForest Area Historical Society and Museum whose mission is to preserve and conserve the historical heritage of the area and to make available to local patrons educational and informational materials relating to this heritage. It relies on a group of dedicated volunteers from the area who have an abiding interest in local history.
The museum of the society, the Hansen-Newell-Bennett House, located at 119 East Elm Street in DeForest, is the primary repository in the area for a growing collection of historical manuscripts, photographs, and artifacts. Displays in the museum include a parlor, kitchen, and bedroom interpreted from the late 1800s and early 1900s, and photographic and text information on the schools, churches, and businesses from the area. Plans are in progress to expand museum space at a second location in the village.
DeForest area residents enjoy a full schedule of cultural events at a variety of venues in nearby Madison, including performances by the Madison Repertory Theater, Madison Opera, and Madison Symphony. Touring companies and musical entertainers take the stage at the Madison Civic Center and at the University of Wisconsin. The Alliant Energy Center hosts conventions, fairs, and music fests. Madisons Museum Mile, running along State Street and on the UW campus, is home to six museums, including the Madison Art Center, the Madison Childrens Museum, the State Historical Museum, the Wisconsin Veterans Museum, the Elvehjem Museum of Art, and the UW Geology Museum.
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