Library History

Hartford's public library started in 1904 and was staffed by a volunteer, Juno Goetz, until 1906 when the City agreed to give the library a $100 contribution. To read more about the history through 2018, please visit the following link: History of the Hartford Public Library: The Road to Park Avenue

The Jack Russell Memorial Library provides the opportunity to expand and enhance Library services to the City of Hartford and surrounding communities. The current location at 100 Park Ave. opened to the public in October of 2011. 
Your community library offers:
  • A separate teen area appealing to reading and musical interests, featuring special programming, book clubs, and gaming sessions.
  • A community room, designed to hold various library programs and community meetings.
  • Consolidation of circulation, Interlibrary Loan, cataloging, and processing operations enabling these tasks to be completed away from the primary service desk.
  • Expanded adult programming in cooperation with the Friends of the Library including book clubs, literacy projects, computer assistance, book discussions, consumer information programs, and adult/children sessions.
  • Expanded Hartford History Room offering genealogical research materials, local history collections, and displays of community interest.
  • Special quiet reading areas overlooking the Mill Pond, complete with comfortable chairs, magazines, and newspapers.
  • Three small study rooms for small group meetings, one-on-one tutoring, and quiet study.
  • Seventeen Internet workstations throughout the facility.
  • WI-FI capability to enabling owners of laptops and other mobile devices to use the Library.
  • Design codes that comply with current standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act for entrances, restrooms, and public service stations, including wider aisles and shorter shelves.
  • A 24-hour drive through materials return.
  • Customer service desks in all departments.
  • Over 100 public parking spaces to increase accessibility to the downtown
The Jack Russell Memorial Library  
    John (Jack) Russell was born in Hartford, Wisconsin on November 27, 1916, the son of Attorney John and Pearl Russell. Jack graduated from St. Killian's grade school and from Hartford High School in 1934. He enrolled at Marquette University and received a Bachelor's Degree in Education in 1940. Jack was a proud veteran of World War II, serving in the 45th Division of the Army in the European Theatre. He was wounded three times and was awarded two Purple Hearts and the Bronze Star. Jack married Emilie Wiebeck in 1944. After the war, he began working in the Milwaukee Public School system as an elementary teacher. He received his Master's Degree in Education from Marquette University in 1955. The Russells raised three children: Marilee, John, and Maureen. Emilie passed away in 1962.
Jack Russell and Geraldine Taubert Kelly originally met while both were working at the Forest Home Avenue School. They were married in 1966, and moved to a home they built on Druid Lake in the Town of Erin in 1969. Jack continued his teaching career in the Milwaukee School System and retired as the principal of the Doerfler Elementary School in 1978. Jack was active in the Hartford area after his retirement, including membership in the Courtney-Car-Milner American Legion Post #19 and Hartford VFW Post #8834. He passed away on November 17, 2005, at the age of 88. Gerry remained active in the Hartford community and was able to attend the groundbreaking ceremony for the new library. She passed away on April 7, 2010.
The Russells had a history of philanthropic giving to the Hartford area, including two endowed BEST scholarships for Hartford Union High School students, support for the various Hartford Memorial Hospital Campaigns, plus donations to the 1022 Adult Day Care Center, Senior Friends, the Chandelier Ballroom, the Schauer Arts & Activities Center and the Basilica at Holy Hill. It was their dedication to the education of children that inspired Gerry to make the tremendous two-million-dollar donation for the new library facility in memory of her husband in August of 2007. This donation served as the catalyst for the planning process and the Capital campaign for a new building at 100 Park Avenue on the Mill Pond. In recognition of this extremely generous gift, the Library Board voted to name the new facility the Jack Russell Memorial Library.