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The Racine Public Library is turning another page in its own story as it turns 125 years old. The public is invited to celebrate this milestone with a blowout block party on July 16 at the Racine Public Library, 75 7th St.

A variety of entertainment will be provided including live music, dance performances, food trucks, a vendor market, classic car show, fun activities for all ages, and the chance to explore the many services provided by the Racine Public Library.

“Throughout the anniversary, we’ve been trying to emphasize the theme of how libraries are transforming,” said Shay King, the head of business development at the Racine Public Library.

This block party gives an opportunity for the Racine community to embrace these advancements.

Event time & closures

The celebration block party will take place from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. on Lake Avenue between 7th and 8th Streets as well as on Library Drive and the walkway connecting the two streets. These areas will be closed off from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. on the day of the event.

During the block party, the library and Bookmobile will be open from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. The book drops in the circle of Library Drive will not be reachable during the block party. However, books can still be returned inside of the library.

Not your parent’s library

A library card doesn’t just get you access to books these days; it opens up a whole new world.

The kids’ computer work stations have recently been reopened and have a fresh new look. – Credit: Loren Lamoreaux
Outside of the brand-new Sensory Room. – Credit: Loren Lamoreaux

The 125th-anniversary celebration will showcase the library’s transformations and offer people opportunities to test the library’s new tech which includes a 3D printer and laser engraving services. People are also welcome to check out the robots and dabble with the rest of the Beyond Books Collection.

“We find these resources for everybody,” said King. “The Beyond Books Collection is such a great chance to get your start with a new hobby without having to invest all the money into it.”

So come play with Connect Four, giant Jenga and Chess. No matter your age or residency, this event is for everyone.

To remain true to literacy, the library’s Book Bike and Bookmobile will be on site for attendees to explore. Guests will be able to explore what reading materials and resources the library has to offer inside the Racine Public Library. It’s not too late to pick up something to read this summer.

Careful planning went into this space for neurodivergent library patrons. – Credit: Loren Lamoreaux
Inside the new Sensory Room offers several options for those who are seeking a safe space. – Credit: Loren Lamoreaux

Fundraiser

Not only is this a celebration, but also a fundraiser for the place that grew from a single reading room to what it is now. The block party will help raise funds that will continue to sustain the efforts of the library. There will be a 50/50 raffle. Likewise, the Friends of the Racine Public Library are hosting an opportunity that will give everyone the chance to enter for their Taste of Racine basket.

Block Party Scheduled events

Stage schedule

The block party will have a full-size stage that will showcase the talents of performers:

  • Duke Otherwise, 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. — Children’s performance
  • The Racine International Folk Dancers, 11 a.m. — Dance performance
  • Sweatshop Movement, 1:30 p.m. — Dance performance
  • Georgia Rae, 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. — Live music
  • The Spirit Shakers, 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. — Live music
  • Indigo Canyon, 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. — Live music

Other Activities

  • “The Library We Remember,” from noon until 2 p.m — presented by local historians Carol Burrow Gianforte and Jim Mercier
  • Classic car show, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. — Presented by Game Changers Car Club
    • The Racine Heritage Museum’s 1929 vintage Case car will be on display among other amazing classic cars from the community

In addition to the scheduled events, there will also be a dunk tank. Attendees will have the opportunity to dunk Trevor Jung, Nick Demske and other community members. Kids can go on the bounce house obstacle courses and play carnival games. There will be prizes, face painting, and more available throughout the day.

“It’s definitely a family-centric event” commented King. With the fun of different activities, you’re bound to find something that you enjoy.

Block Party shopping

There will be a vendor market on-site and operating during the block party. Multiple vendors, organizations and businesses will be in attendance at the event helping to celebrate the 125th anniversary. The market is good for anyone looking to learn about resources in Racine, purchase locally-made goods, or connect with other community members.

Vendors

  • HolmesStyle And Co
  • Mystical Baubles and Flames
  • Busias XOXO
  • Sweet GoodHESS Bakery
  • Lilybelle Bows
  • Shakeeus Graves Candle Making
  • Olympia Brown UU Church Social Justice Committee & Kenosha/Racine Quakers
  • Racine Theatre Guild / Racine Children’s Theatre
  • The Meditative Groomer Academy
  • Summit Credit Union
  • Maggie’s Paper Crafts
  • Root-Pike Watershed Initiative Network
  • Christina Sanchez
  • Deborah Lema
  • Olympia Brown UU Church
  • Shell’s Hues
  • Vicious Vintage
  • Lilac and Lavender Art
  • Doses of Reality LLC
  • Big Sisters of Racine
  • Racine Heritage Museum
  • Any Glass Designs
  • S.E.W.P.I.T.
  • Racine Dominicans
  • Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin
  • City of Racine

Food trucks at the event

With everything planned for the 125th celebration, you’ll work up an appetite. Racine business will be at the event serving up something for patrons attending.

  • Pico’s Tacos, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Jaramillo’s Home Cook’n, 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Dragon Pit BBQ, all-day
  • The Corn King, all-day
  • Dr. Dawg, all-day
  • Friends of the Library beer tent, noon to 8 p.m.

Read More

Not only does the Racine Public Library want community members to embrace their historic milestone, but they also want the library to be a space for people to learn, grow and expand. The Racine Public Library will officially turn 125 on September 7, 2022. There will be additional information coming out about what to expect this fall as the library officially turns 125 years old.

Until then, explore more on the Racine County Eye. Stay tuned to learn more about the Techmobile that soon will debut by RPL.

Construction update!

Here is a little sneak peek at what’s been happening inside the library’s construction zones on the second floor.


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