Wisconsin Library Heritage Center

The Wisconsin Library Heritage Center is a program of the Wisconsin Library Association Foundation promoting understanding and appreciation of the history of libraries and librarianship in Wisconsin.

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Superior’s Carnegie Library Buildings

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Superior Carnegie Library - Central
 
superior-carnegies-2015 007-72
 
Superior, WI was one of three communities in Wisconsin to receive grants from Andrew Carnegie for two library buildings. The other two communities were Madison and Racine. Both of Superior’s Carnegie buildings are at risk. The old central library was abandoned in 1991 when the public library moved to new quarters, and is currently for sale. The sale price is $125,000 and it would probably cost a few hundred thousand more to restore. There was a recent article about the status of the central library which included a number of interior pictures. The branch library in Superior was converted to a private residence (also in 1991) and is still occupied by the owner.  However, it is overgrown with vegetation and looks like it could use some TLC. There is more information about both of the Carnegie buildings on the Library History Buff website.

 

Support for WLA 1898

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wflc-1898-handbook-1-72The Wisconsin Free Library Commission (WFLC) was created in 1895. A primary mission of the WFLC was providing support for the development and improvement of local public libraries. One of the tools that it used was an annual handbook full of ideas and useful information. The third edition of the handbook was published in 1898 and included a passage (see below) in support of the Wisconsin Library Association (WLA). WLA was created in 1891 and will celebrate its 125th anniversary in 2016. This passage in the 1898 handbooks shows that even in its early history WLA was a valuable asset to the Wisconsin library community. 

wflc 1898 handbook

Happy National Bookmobile Day!

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 Southwest Wisconsin Bookmobile
This week is National Library Week and one day during the week (today April 15) is designated as National Bookmobile Day. Bookmobiles are a part of Wisconsin library history and the Wisconsin Library Heritage Center has developed a page on its website to highlight this aspect of our library heritage. Take a look.

Some Libraries Sharing Municipal Facilities

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Appleton Public Library
In the previous blog post I discussed some newly completed “stand alone” library buildings in Wisconsin in 1904.  Libraries, however, often shared a facility with another part of municipal government. This often preceded a separate library building. For smaller communities this was more common.  One example of a larger community where this occurred is the public library in Appleton, WI (see postcard above). Appleton dedicated a new municipal building in 1900. The public library occupied the first floor of the building and the City Hall was located on the second floor. This arrangement continued until 1939 when the City Hall moved out of the building, and the library occupied the entire building. 
Clinton Public Library
The Clinton Public Library (above)shared a building with the city hall and the fire department. The library was located on the left side of the building and the fire department on the right side with the City Hall in the middle. Note the fire lookout tower behind the fire station.
Portage Public Library
The Portage Public Library (above) shared a building with the armory (for Company F) and the city hall. The library was on the left, the armory in the middle, and the city hall on the right.
Stoughton Public LibraryThe Stoughton Public Library shared a building with the city hall and an opera house. 
These are only a few examples of public libraries that shared a municipal facility.

Some WI Library Buildings 1904

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Wausaukee Free Library
In 1904 the Wisconsin Free Library Commission (WFLC) published a book titled Some Wisconsin Library Buildings. The book was comprised primarily of photographs of selected Wisconsin library buildings but also included a tabulation of all library building projects completed or in the process. The book notes that when the WFLC was organized in 1895 there were only three libraries in the state occupying their own buildings, but by 1904 there were 52 buildings either completed or provided for. Included in the tabulation were 29 buildings that had received Carnegie grants totaling $627,000. Other private individuals had made library building grants of $418,500 for a total of $1,045,500 from this source. By far the largest projects listed were the State Historical Society building which cost $620,000 from state funds and the Milwaukee Public Library building which cost $512,000 from municipal funds. The State Historical Society building was designed to house both the Historical Society’s library and the library of the University of Wisconsin. The most unusual library listed and pictured was the Wausaukee Free Library (see image above). The Wausaukee Free Library was established in 1901 and was part of a “social hall” that included the library and reading room, a lunch and dining room, and an amusement room. The building was donated by State Senator Harland P. Bird, a strong library supporter who served as President of the Wisconsin Library Association in 1904-1905. A digitized copy of this book can be found on the Hathi Trust website. 

Library Memorabilia Exhibit at Brown Deer Public Library

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Library Memorabilia Exhibit at Brown Deer Public Library

An exhibit of Wisconsin Library Memorabilia will be on display at the Brown Deer Public Library in Milwaukee County for the month of March.  The Wisconsin Library Memorabilia exhibit is sponsored by the Wisconsin Library Heritage Center and has been displayed at libraries around the state.  The exhibit includes souvenir items for many of Wisconsin's Carnegie libraries, the Milwaukee Public Library, other public libraries, and the Wisconsin Historical Society Library. A variety of souvenir items including china, spoons, paperweights, and picture postcards are part of the exhibit. More about the exhibit and how to schedule one for your library can be found HERE.

Library Postcards Revisited

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Manitowoc Public Library
 
Ripon Public Library
 
Postcards depicting libraries are wonderful souvenirs and also serious historical artifacts. The “golden age” of postcard production and collecting was from 1898 to 1918. That period coincided with the construction of large numbers of library buildings as a result of the philanthropy of Andrew Carnegie and others. These new libraries were the pride of their communities and were the frequent subject of postcards. This was certainly the case in Wisconsin and there are hundreds of different postcards depicting Wisconsin libraries. Many of these have been featured on this website. Pictured above are two of the more unusual postcards featuring Wisconsin libraries. The first depicts the Manitowoc Public Library and is made of aluminum. The second depicts the Ripon Public Library and is made of leather. Both libraries were Carnegie libraries and both postcards were mailed during the first decade of the 20th century. It was during this period that a variety of novelty materials were used for postcards.  Images of Wisconsin library postcards can also be found on Judy Aulik's website "Library Postcards: Civic Pride in a Lost America" and the website of Sharon McQueen and Richard Douglass.

Wisconsin Library Bulletin 1905-1984

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wi-lib-bulletin-1909-72In January, 1905, just over 110 years ago, the Wisconsin Free Library Commission (WFLC), the predecessor to the Wisconsin Division for Libraries and Technology, published the first issue of the Wisconsin Library Bulletin (WLB). The new monthly publication was described as "A Magazine of Suggestion and Information" and was devoted to the improvement of Wisconsin's libraries. It reported on library activities and development within the state and provided a wealth of  practical information primarily for public libraries. The WLB was edited by WFLC Secretary Henry E. Legler. The first issue of the magazine can be found on the Hathi Trust website. That issue contained a summary of library progress in Wisconsin and a variety of articles and news items written by leaders in public library development and extension in Wisconsin. These included Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame members Lutie Stearns and Cornelia Martin. The WLB ended with a special issue in 1984. A complete file of the WLB can be found on the Hathi Trust website but not all issues are available in "full view". Efforts are being made by the Division for Libraries and Technology to rectify that situation. The image to the left shows the cover of the Sept.-Oct. 1909 issue.

 

Wisconsin Library Heritage Center Changes

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Larry T. Nix who has served as Chair of the Wisconsin Library Heritage Center (WLHC) Steering Committee since its establishment in 2008 is leaving the committee. Committee member Paul Nelson will take over as Chair. Also leaving the committee after completing three terms on the committee are Peter Gilbert and Lori Belongia. Continuing members on the committee in addition to Nelson are Ruth Ann Montgomery, James Gollata, and Louise Robbins. New members joining the committee are Janis Berg, Mary Clark, and Steve Platteter. The WLHC is a program of the Wisconsin Library Association Foundation. Activities of the WLHC include maintaining a website and blog [http://heritage.wisconsinlibraries.org/], sponsoring exhibits, and administering the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame.

GERTRUDE THUROW (1906-1993), 2014 WI Library Hall of Fame Inductee

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Gertrude ThurowGertrude Thurow was inducted into the WI Library Hall of Fame on November 6, 2014 at the Wisconsin Library Association Conference in Wisconsin Dells. Thurow served as Director of the La Crosse Public Library (1953-1975) and was instrumental in establishing the predecessors of the Winding Rivers Library System (1965-1975). She served as President of the Wisconsin Library (1955-56). Thurow was honored as WLA Librarian of the Year in 1959, and received WLA’s Special Service Award in1975. At the La Crosse Public Library she helped to  establish an active Friends of the Library organization, and oversaw the construction of a new library building.
 
Thurow was born in La Crosse, WI in 1906 but moved frequently during her childhood. She received a Bachelors of Library Science degree from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. Before becoming a librarian she was a teacher. She worked as a reference librarian in Sheboygan before joining the La Crosse Public Library in November 1943. In June 1953 she became library director of the La Crosse Public Library. The new library building was dedicated on November 5, 1967. She retired on September 30, 1975.
Source: A Gift to La Crosse: A History of the La Crosse Public Library by Anita Taylor Doering and Bill Petersen (La Crosse Public Library, 1997). The photograph of Thurow is courtesy of the La Crosse Public Library.

Nolan I. Neds (1921-2006), 2014 WI Library Hall of Fame Inductee

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Nolan NedsNolan I. Neds was inducted into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame on November 6, 2014 at the Wisconsin Library Association Conference in Wisconsin Dells. Neds served as Supervisor of Neighborhood Libraries and Extension and as Deputy City Librarian of the Milwaukee Public Library (1965-1982).  He was a champion of library service to the underserved in Milwaukee County, the state, and the nation. He was active in the Wisconsin Library Association and served as President (1970-1971) during a critical period for state library legislation and funding. He implemented an innovative Community Librarian Program at the Milwaukee Public Library.
A native of Columbus, Ohio, Neds graduated from Ohio State University and received a Master’s degree in library science from Western Reserve University in Cleveland, OH. During World War II he served in the Army in India and Burma. He joined the Milwaukee Public Library in 1951. He served as a State Chairman of National Library Week. He received the Librarian of the Year award in 1971 from the Bookfellows, Friends of the Milwaukee Public Library. His WLA activities included service on the WLA Scholarship Committee and serving as Local Arrangements Chairperson for WLA Conferences. In an article in the Wisconsin Library Bulletin for Winter 1984 Neds reviewed the extensive outreach activities of the Milwaukee Public Library.

Wilbur Lyle Eberhart (1922-2010), 2014 WI Library Hall of Fame Inductee

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Lyle EberhartLyle Eberhart was inducted into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame on November 6, 2014 at the Wisconsin Library Association Conference in Wisconsin Dells. Eberhart was the first administrator of the Division for Library Services in the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction after the Wisconsin Free Library Commission was abolished. He served in this capacity from 1965 to 1981 which included the period when Wisconsin’s public library system legislation was passed and implemented.He was a founding member of the Chief Officers of State Library Agencies (COSLA), and served as its President (1980-81). He served as President of the Midwest Regional Library Network (1966-67). He was an active contributor to the professional literature of librarianship.
 
Eberhart was born on May 30, 1922, in Topeka, Kansas. He earned a bachelor’s degree with a joint major in history and English from Washburn College (Topeka) in 1945, followed by graduate study in American history at the University of Wisconsin from 1945 to 1949. He received a master’s degree in library science at the University of Wisconsin in 1951. From 1951 to 1959, he was a librarian at the Detroit Public Library, and was a branch library chief there until 1962. In 1962 he became a public library consultant in the Wisconsin Free Library Commission, a post he held until 1965 when he became administrator of the newly created Division for Library Services, Wisconsin's state library agency.  

Gilbert H. Doane (1897-1980), 2014 Library Hall of Fame Inductee

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Gilbert H. DoaneGilbert H. Doane was inducted into the Wiscsonsin Library Hall of Fame on November 6, 2014 at the Wisconsin Library Association Conference in Wisconsin Desll. Doane served as Director of the University of Wisconsin – Madison General Library (1937-1943 & 1945-1956) and as Director of the UW-Madison Library School (1938-1941). He was head of the UW-Madison Archives program (1956-1962). He served in the U.S. Army’s World War II Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives (“Monuments Men”) Project (1943-1945).  He left the Army as a major in 1945. He retired as Professor Emeritus from the University of Wisconsin in 1962. 
Doane was born in Fairfield, Vermont, January 28, 1897. He graduated from Colgate University (1918) and received graduate degrees from the University of Arizona (1922) and the University of Michigan (1924). From 1918 until 1920, Doane worked at the U.S. Naval Training Station with the Genealogy Society. After completing his graduate studies, he worked at the University of Nebraska as a librarian and professor from 1925 until 1937 when he began his career at the University of Wisconsin. In 1943 Doane was granted leave from the University of Wisconsin when he was recruited for MFAA service during World War II.
Doane is the author of numerous books and articles focusing on book collecting and genealogy. He was an ordained priest in the Episcopal Church and served as historiographer of the Diocese of Milwaukee between 1937 and 1967.
The primary source for the biographical information above is the Monuments Men Foundation website. The photograph of Doane is courtesy of the University of Wisconsin Archives & Records Management.

Peter G. Hamon (1945- ), 2014 Library Hall of Fame Inductee

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Peter G. HamonPeter G. Hamon was inducted into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame on November 6, 2014, at the Wisconsin Library Association Conference in Wisconsin Dells. Hamon was a leader in promoting statewide library legislation, funding and library cooperation. He was Director of the South Central Library System (SCLS) from 1981 to 2005. Under his leadership, SCLS developed a systemwide library automation system, established a statewide library delivery service and expanded from four counties to seven. He was an active member of the Wisconsin Library Association and served as President in 1991 and as Legislative Advocate for several years. He was active on the Council for Wisconsin Libraries (now WiLS) and served as treasurer, secretary and president of that organization. He was active in the American Library Association, and served as chair of the Public Library Systems Section of the Public Library Association. Hamon served on several state level legislative task forces, including the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Task Force on Library Service to Jails in 1972, the Legislative Council Study on Library Services in 1997, and the DPI State Superintendent’s Legislative Task Force in 2001. Hamon was honored as Co-WLA/DEMCO Librarian of the Year in 2004. He and his wife, Ann, received the SCLS Foundation Cornership Award in 2009. 
 
Hamon was born in Macomb, Illinois, in 1945, but grew up in Scottsbluff, Nebraska. He started working in the Scottsbluff Public Library as a page in 1960, when he was 15. He later drove and staffed the Scottsbluff Public Library bookmobile. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin, in 1967.  While attending Lawrence University, he worked in the University library in technical services and also at the Appleton Public Library. He received a Master of Arts in Anthropology in 1970 and a Master of Arts in Library Science in 1971, both at the University of Oklahoma in Norman, Oklahoma. While attending graduate school, he worked in the Interloan Department of the Library. He served as Head of Extension Services for the Oshkosh Public Library System from 1971 to 1975. He joined the Wisconsin State Division for Library Services as a Public Library Consultant in January 1976, and became Director of the State Reference and Loan Library in the Division in November 1976. He served in that capacity until 1981 when he became director of the South Central Library System.  
 
Hamon has contributed widely to the professional literature of librarianship, including: Public Library Service to Jails: Guidelines for Action by Ann and Peter Hamon. Madison Wisconsin, University of Wisconsin—Extension, 1975, and Budgeting and the Political Process in Libraries: Simulation Games by Peter Hamon, Darlene Weingand and Al Zimmerman, Englewood, Colorado: Libraries Unlimited, 1992.

WI Library Hall of Fame Inductees for 2014

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The Steering Committee of the Wisconsin Library Heritage Center, a program of the Wisconsin Library Association Foundation, has selected five individuals to be inducted into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame in 2014. They will join forty other individuals who have previously been inducted into the Hall of Fame. The 2014 inductions will take place at the WLA Annual Conference in Wisconsin Dells on November 6 at the Awards & Honors Reception .  The inductees are:

Gilbert Harry Doane (1897-1980) Doane served as Director of the University of Wisconsin – Madison General Library (1937-1943 & 1945-1956) and as Director of the UW-Madison Library School (1938-1941). He was head of the UW-Madison Archives program (1956-1962). He served in the U.S. Army’s World War II Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives (“Monuments Men”) Project (1943-1945).

Wilbur Lyle Eberhart (1922-2010) Eberhart was the first administrator of the Division for Library Services in the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction after the Wisconsin Free Library Commission was abolished. He served in this capacity from 1965 to 1981 which included the period when Wisconsin’s public library system legislation was passed and implemented.

Peter G. Hamon (1945- ) Hamon served as Director of the South Central Library System (1981-2005). He was active in promoting statewide library legislation and funding, and served as President (1991) and as Legislative Advocate for the Wisconsin Library Association. He was honored as WLA/DEMCO Librarian of the Year in 2004.

Nolan I. Neds (1921-2006) Neds served as Supervisor of Neighborhood Libraries and Extension and as Deputy City Librarian of the Milwaukee Public Library (1965-1982).  He was a champion of  library service to the underserved in Milwaukee County, the State, and the nation. He was active in the Wisconsin Library Association and served as President (1970-1971).

Gertrude Thurow (1906-1993) Thurow served as Director of the La Crosse Public Library (1953-1975) and was instrumental in establishing the predecessors of the Winding Rivers Library System (1965-1975). She served as President of the Wisconsin Library (1955-56). Thurow was honored as WLA Librarian of the Year in 1959, and received WLA’s Special Service Award in1975.
More information about the contributions of these individuals will be forthcoming on the Wisconsin Library Heritage Center Blog.

 

WI Library Hall of Fame Nominations Requested

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The Wisconsin Library Heritage Center Steering Committee is accepting nominations for individuals to be inducted into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame in 2014. Nominations must be submitted by September 15, 2014. Procedures and a nomination form are located at http://www.libraryhistorybuff.com/wlhc-hall-of-fame.htm . Both the Wisconsin Library Heritage Center and the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame are programs of the Wisconsin Library Association Foundation. Induction into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame is granted to individuals who have made an exceptional contribution to the statewide improvement of library service in Wisconsin over a sustained period of time.  Individuals who have worked in and/or advocated for Wisconsin libraries will be considered.  Both living and deceased individuals will be considered. Final selection of inductees into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame will be made by the Wisconsin Library Heritage Center Steering Committee. To see previous Hall of Fame inductees go to http://heritage.wisconsinlibraries.org/hall-of-fame/hall-of-fame/hall-of-fame .   Nominations should be submitted to Larry T. Nix (Chair of the WLHC Steering Committee) as email attachments at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  by September 15, 2014.  For additional information please feel free to contact Nix.

Exhibits for National Library Week

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hartford-loc-exhibit-72

The Wisconsin Library Heritage Center (WLHC), a program of the Wisconsin Library Association Foundation, sponsors library memorabilia exhibits at libraries throughout Wisconsin. In 2014 exhibits will be on display at fourteen different public libraries. National Library Week is held each year and this year it will run from April 13 to April 19. Exhibits from the WLHC will be on display at the Jack Russell Memorial Library in Hartford and the Suring Area Public Library for the month of April to help celebrate National Library Week at these libraries. The exhibit at the Hartford library features memorabilia and souvenirs for the Library of Congress (see image above).  The exhibit at the Suring library features memorabilia for Wisconsin libraries (see image below). Both exhibits include early library souvenir china, spoons, and postcards. The Wisconsin Library Memorabilia Exhibit will move to Hales Corners in May, Black River Falls in June, Brown Deer in July, Hayward in August, Mukwonago in September, Marshfield in October, Middleton in November, and Hartford in December. 

suring-memorabilia-exhibit-72

Library Memorabilia Exhibit in DeForest

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Library Memorabilia Exhibit

An exhibit of Wisconsin library memorabilia sponsored by the Wisconsin Library Heritage Center will be on display at the DeForest Area Public Library in November and December 2013 and in January 2014. In the last part of the 19th century and in the first two decades of the 20th century an explosion of library construction took place in communities throughout Wisconsin. This construction boom was fostered to a large extent by Andrew Carnegie and other philanthropists. The new library buildings were a source of civic pride and as such were represented on a variety of souvenir items including china, spoons, paperweights, and picture postcards. Examples of these souvenir items and others which reflect the library heritage of Wisconsin are included in the exhibit. The exhibit is located in the DeForest Area Historical Society space within the public library. The Wisconsin Library Heritage Center is a program of the Wisconsin Library Association Foundation. Larry T. Nix is the curator for the exhibit.

Library Memorabilia Exhibit

 

Children's Library for Adults Celebrates 50 Years

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Cooperative Children's Book Center

For fifty years the Cooperative Children's Book Center (CCBC) in Madison, WI has been assisting librarians, teachers, and parents with the selection of the best books for children. The CCBC has been celebrating this milestone with a number of activities this year including a gala dinner on October 17th and a special display (see above) at the Center. The CCBC opened on the fourth floor of the State Capitol on June 23, 1963. The "Cooperative" in its name is based on its original establishment as a cooperative project of the Division of Library Services in the Department of Public Instruction, the School of Library & Information Studies (SLIS) of the University of Wisconsin, and the UW School of Education. Currently it is administered solely by the UW School of Education. It is now located at UW-SLIS. The CCBC was established for the following purposes: 1) provide a centralized children's book collection; 2) provide a historical collection of children's books; 3) provide training in evaluating children's literature; 4) aid libraries, teachers, parents in making wise and economical book selections; and 5) develop adult interest in children's literature. The CCBC's current vision also includes advocating for the First Amendment rights of children and young adults. The CCBC has been a national leader in promoting quality multi-cultural literature for children. Happy 50th birthday CCBC!

This article also appeared on The Library History Buff Blog.

Miriam Downing Tompkins (1892-1954)

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Miriam TompkinsMiriam Downing Tompkins was inducted into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame on October 23, 2013 at the annual conference of the Wisconsin Library Association in Green Bay, WI. Tomkins was a national leader in advancing the role of the public library in adult education. She was a pioneer in library work with labor unions. She served as Director of the Training Class of the Milwaukee Public Library 1919-1921 and Chief of Adult Education 1923-1929. Under her leadership the adult education department of the Milwaukee Public Library provided a national model for adult education in public libraries that included information service, group service, and readers’ advisory service. She later served on the faculties of the library schools at Emory University and Columbia University. She was a delegate to the International Conference on Adult Education in Cambridge, England in 1929. She was born in Kalispell, MT, and received B.A. and M.A. degrees from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. She is included in the Dictionary of American Library Biography

 

The Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame is a project of the Wisconsin Library Heritage Center which is a program of the Wisconsin Library Association Foundation.

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