APPLETON, Wis. (WFRV) – City officials in Appleton have announced that the Appleton Public Library’s temporary location will be relocating in the coming months due to new tenants moving in.

The Appleton Public Library is leasing the former Best Buy at 2441 South Kensington Drive through the end of the year, but the lease cannot be renewed due to new, market-rate national tenants moving into the space.

While returning retail facilities to their intended purpose is a positive for the Appleton community, it requires finding a new space for the library while construction of the permanent location is ongoing.

After evaluating several options for a new temporary site, the City of Appleton plans to partner with the Thompson Center on Lourdes, Appleton’s nonprofit senior center, on an innovative solution that leverages federal funds to benefit the community twice.

“The return of the space the library was temporarily in to long-term, market-rate retail is a good thing for the community, and we are thankful for the opportunity we have had to lease that space for as long and as reasonably priced, as we have,” stated Appleton Mayor Jake Woodford. “In considering where to go next, we looked for opportunities to not only meet the temporary needs of the library but to support the needs of the community moving forward, and with Thompson Center on Lourdes, we have found just such an opportunity.” 

Thompson Center on Lourdes is in the early stages of a plan to build a long-term home for its programming. Having selected the former Habitat ReStore site at 3000 East College Avenue and in need of support from the community to make the new building project a reality, the potential partnership with Appleton leveraging ARPA funds is a welcome idea.

In this proposed partnership, the Appleton Public Library would occupy the space at 3000 East College Avenue until the new library on Oneida Street is ready. In parallel, an ARPA grant will help Thompson Center meet its needs as it pursues a new senior center project.

To facilitate the move, the current temporary location of the Appleton Public Library will close in November. The library is expected to reopen at its new temporary location at 3000 East College Avenue in early January.

Additional details regarding the move will be shared by the Appleton Public Library as plans and schedules are finalized.

“We appreciate the community’s patience and support during our transition,” said Appleton Public Library Director Colleen Rortvedt. “We extend our sincere gratitude to Commercial Horizons for their unwavering support and to the Thompson Center on Lourdes for their exceptional partnership and commitment to [the] community. Collectively, we are setting the stage for a reinvigorated downtown library where the community can really come alive.” 

The monthly cost of the new lease is expected to be the same or slightly less than the current temporary location. Moving expenses will be incorporated into the existing library project budget, and build-out expenses will be provided by the Thompson Center on Lourdes as a part of the library’s lease of the space.