Forest Lodge Library Expansion Story
The Forest Lodge Library was founded in 1925 by Mary Livingston Griggs in memory of her mother, Mary Steele Livingston. First called The Community House, Mrs. Griggs envisioned and executed a downtown Cable facility that would combine the functions of library, community meeting center and public rest room.

While the size of the library, at just over 1,000 square feet, has remained unchanged since 1925, the library’s collection of audio/visual and print materials has increased by nearly 2,000 items since 2008. The number of programs offered has doubled in that time frame and the library averages 13,000 visits annually with an average annual circulation of 16,550 library items. Given the space constraints, some library items are stored across the street at the Cable United Church of Christ.

To meet evolving community needs and provide a greater variety of resources and service for patrons, the Forest Lodge Library Board of Trustees has been exploring the possibility of a library expansion and considering possible options for more than 15 years.

When the property adjacent to the library became available in 2016 the Board moved to approve and effect purchase to enable a facility expansion project that could and would include the log cabin. The title to the acquisition property is jointly held by the Towns of Cable and Namakagon on behalf of the Forest Lodge Library.

The library expansion plan development has been a lengthy, thoughtful and inclusive process. The Library Board along with personnel from the Cable Natural History Museum, the Towns of Cable and Namakagon as well as other community members conducted extensive community surveys and were active participants in 2017 Cable Tomorrow Visioning Sessions. Library Board members also interviewed a number of architectural and design/built firms and consulted and visited with other libraries.

In the summer of 2018, the Board of Trustees made the determination to work with Keller Builds out of the Fox Valley, a construction management firm with an on-staff architect. After several detailed meetings with Keller a design that met the major expectations of the Board, Committees and the public was developed. The proposed facility expansion design features a connection between the new expansion and the log cabin. The design concept was presented at two public input sessions in June, 2019, one in Cable, one in Namakagon. The feedback collected was shared with Keller Builds and resulted in revised concept designs.  A civil engineering survey addressed drainage and parking issues.

A Needs Projection Study for 2019–2039 completed by the Northern Waters Library Service recommended a facility of nearly 7,000 square feet to adequately serve the population, service needs and circulation volume of the Forest Lodge Library. The initial concept plan was within 300 square feet of this recommendation.

The Forest Lodge Library Board of Trustees and the Katie Flowers Endowment, the fundraising arm of the library, determined, towards the end of 2019, to work with fundraising consultant Baker Street on developing a fundraising plan. Baker Street worked with our Board to develop a fundraising structure with an Executive Board and a Campaign Committee of individuals it was felt could help us reach potential donors in the Cable/Namakagon community. Marketing materials were developed to share with potential donors in what was expected to be the “silent phase” of the campaign; a search for major donors in an effort to secure half of the initial fundraising goal of $2.5 million before a public campaign was launched.

Then came March 2020. The pandemic. Worldwide shut down. The campaign did proceed as planned although it was not possible to schedule in person visits with prospective donors or to offer presentations on the project to assembled groups. Over the next several years the Capital Campaign accrued $600,000 in purchased Naming Opportunities, pledges and outright donations.

As the pandemic years progressed it also came to pass that, with supply chain and associated difficulties, building costs began to spiral upwards and yet show no sign of returning to pre-pandemic levels. In 2022 a Library Expansion Sub-Committee was formed to reconsider the site and floorplan and identify areas and concepts that could be down-sized or re-sized to create a more affordable and, some thought, more sustainable facility for the future of the Forest Lodge Library and the communities it serves. Every aspect of the existing plan was reviewed.

While it was always part of the plan that the existing log cabin library remain an essential and integral part of the library, it was also considered that it might be made available for reservation a portion of the day, so that library could hold its own programming events in that which was once known as The Community House, as well as making that space available to other area non-profits as meeting/presentation space. This decision made it possible to eliminate the community room from the expansion facility plan. The Board spent many hours determining which spaces were essential, how much collection space was required and how best to meet community needs in a considerably smaller facility.

The current plan is approximately 3600 square feet and the newly identified fundraising goal is $1.7 million. The hope is to raise these funds by the end of 2024 and to commence construction in 2025 or as soon as it can be scheduled.

The Forest Lodge Library building is owned by the Cable Natural History Museum. The maintenance of the structure and grounds is supported by a fund bestowed by the Mary Livingston Griggs and Mary Griggs Burke Foundation which is held and managed by the Cable Natural History Museum. The Forest Lodge Library currently leases the space from the Cable Natural History Museum on an annual basis. Mary Livingston Griggs and Mary Griggs Burke Foundation Endowment funds are not available to the Library Expansion Project.

The Forest Lodge Library’s Facility Expansion plan was developed with the cooperation and support of the Cable Natural History Museum. The ongoing intention is to create a cultural campus that will be an educational and entertainment locus of the Cable community.

What Can You Do? Donate Today!
Currently the capital campaign remains in a silent solicitation phase – pursuing foundation grants, major gifts and naming opportunities. There will be a campaign kick-off in mid to late 2023 that will include a mass mailing, special events and more.

The Forest Lodge Library Fundraising Goal of $1.7  million includes excavation, storm water and site development; data, communication and technology; building costs, architecture and management; fixtures, furnishings and equipment. The property for the expansion has already been paid for.

As the fund-raising arm of the Forest Lodge Library, The Katie Flowers Endowment, a 501(c)3 organization, will be the recipient of and hold donations to the facility expansion project until such time as they need to be expended.

Please contact the Forest Lodge Library at or call 715-798-3189 with questions or input.

To be kept up to date on the library expansion project, new library acquisitions, upcoming programs and more please visit and subscribe to email updates (scroll down far right of home page).