About Us

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Hedberg Public Library is a service of the City of Janesville and part of the Prairie Lakes Library System.

Mission, Vision & Values


Hedberg Public Library builds community by providing inviting spaces to discover, share, create, and connect.


To create an informed, connected, and engaged community through library services.


  • Inclusion We welcome and serve all.
  • Respect We treat each other, our space, and our community with kindness and respect.
  • Access We provide information, programs, services, technology, and a diverse collection for all.
  • Innovation We encourage open and creative thinking to meet changing community needs.
  • Service We strive to deliver exceptional experiences.
  • Excellence We hold ourselves to the highest possible standards in everything we do.

Diversity & Inclusion Statement

Hedberg Public Library serves a diverse community - diverse in race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, religious affiliation, literacy level, citizenship, age, socio-economic status, experience, and thought. Diversity and inclusion at Hedberg Public Library strengthen our ability to achieve our mission by creating an environment where our patrons and employees can fully participate and realize their potential. Diverse perspectives and backgrounds create a stronger and more creative environment that delivers better results for those we serve.

We strive to build community and nurture a culture where inclusiveness is the norm, not an initiative. Every member of the Janesville community benefits from the talents and experiences of our peers, from the mutual respect we exercise, and from the responsibility we take for our actions. Each of us deserves an equal opportunity to contribute, read, learn, explore, and grow.

Adopted by the Hedberg Public Library Executive Board, 3/16/2021

Library History

According to documents found in our Local History Database, the public library dates
back to 1865, when a group of Janesville businessmen formed the Young Men's Association (YMA) to furnish entertainment and education. They commenced the acquisition of a library which was circulated among the members at a small cost per year. The library then was located in the Lappin Building, called the post office building, at the end of Milwaukee Street bridge.

In 1874, the Janesville Ladies Temperance Union (LTU) organized a free library and reading room with the help of some YMA members; by January 1875, the LTU Library was opened to the public as one instrument of prohibition that received support and recognition of varying degrees. In 1883, it was moved to the Bennett Block on West Milwaukee Street and, through the efforts of the Women's Clubs of Janesville, was made a free library. In January 1884, the city adopted it as a city library and undertook its support.

The library's first permanent home was built at 64 S. Main. Key financial support came from the Carnegie Corporation, the philanthropic foundation established by Andrew Carnegie, and the estate of F.S. Eldred of Janesville. General contractor J.P. Cullen & Sons Construction and Brother of Janesville was paid $35,000 to construct the library, which opened in 1903. This building was remodeled in 1927 and again in 1932.

The library outgrew its quarters in the early sixties and a new library was built in April of 1968 at 316 S. Main at a cost of $939,000. Funding included a $142,000 federal grant and a $780,000 city bond issue. Frelich-Angus Associates and Severson-Schlintz, both of Janesville, were selected as architect and general contractor, respectively.

The new 41,000-square-foot building reached its intended capacity by 1979, but further expansion would wait until 1993, when a $3 million gift from Don and Gerry Hedberg put the topic back on the table. The expansion would eventually cost $8 million, including furnishings and automation. The Hedbergs, former owners of Lab Safety Supply in Janesville, increased their donation to $4.66 million. Other funders were city taxpayers ($1.49 million), the library's capital campaign ($1.1 million), Grainger and Janesville Foundations ($625,000) and the Friends of Janesville Public Library ($25,000).

In May 1994, library operations moved to temporary quarters in a former K-mart store on the city's south side. Major expansion began at 316 S. Main. To save money, the original elevator shaft, the lower level, and some structural elements remained intact, but the look was all new. The library reopened on Main Street in June 1996.

With the expansion, the Janesville Public Library was renamed Hedberg Public Library in honor of primary donors Don and Gerry Hedberg.

Architect: Meyer, Scherer and Rockcastle, Minneapolis, MN
General Contractor: Miron Construction, Menasha
Square footage: 63,000

In August 2016, a fundraising campaign was launched for the Hedberg Public Library Transformation Project. The Transformation was a remodel of the main public area of the library, including adult and teen services, to update and redefine the space and bring it into the 21st century. Remodel work began in March of 2019 and the Transformation was completed in January, 2020 at a cost of $2.8 million. Approximately $1,100,000 was provided by the city and its taxpayers, and approximately $1,700,000 was raised from private donations and grants. 

Architect: OPN Architects, Madison, WI                                                                     
General Contractor: PCS-Progressive Construction Services, LLC, Janesville, WI

Library Information