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.
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.
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 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.
Bernard (Bernie) Schwab 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. Schwab served as Director of the Madison Public Library from 1957 to 1981. Under his leadership the library built a new central library and five branch libraries were added. He established the Dane County Historical Records Center, the Municipal Reference Service, and the Madison Area Library Council. He helped to create the first Friends of the Library group in Wisconsin. The Madison Public Library was named Library of the Year in 1966. He served as President of the Wisconsin Library Association in 1966-67 and was named Librarian of the Year in 1970. Schwab was chair of the Wisconsin Council for Library Development in 1973-74. Schwab was WLA’s representative to the American Library Association (ALA) and served on ALA’s joint committee on library service to labor. Schwab was born in Brooklyn, NY. He received a Bachelor’s degree from the College of the City of New York in 1943 and a Library Science degree from the Pratt Institute. Prior to coming to Madison he held several positions at the District of Columbia Public Library in Washington, DC. Before becoming Director he served as Assistant Director of the Madison Public Library from 1954 to 1957. After his death in 1990, the City Council changed the name of the central library to the Bernard Schwab Library.
Katharine MacDonald Jones 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. Jones was a national authority on the selection of materials for small public libraries. She joined the staff of the Wisconsin Free Library Commission (WFLC) in 1899, and served as Assistant Secretary of the Commission from 1901 to 1907. She became head of the Traveling Libraries Department of the WFLC when it was established in 1903. From 1906 until 1908 she was editor of the Booklist of the American Library Association. She was identified in 1936 by Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame member Matthew S. Dudgeon as one of ten individuals on “Wisconsin’s long library Roll of Honor.” Dudgeon said this about Jones: “the talented appraiser of books who for years, with little enough support, carried on here in Wisconsin the splendid beginnings of the American Library Association Booklist.” Jones graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1886. She was author of the publication Magazines for Small Libraries (WI Free Library Commission, 1908).
Leonard B. Archer 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. Archer served as Director of the Oshkosh Public Library (1958 to 1978) and held as joint appointment as Director of the Winnefox Library System. He initiated bookmobile service for Winnebago County and was instrumental in establishing the Winnefox Library System. He was an advocate for intellectual freedom and served as chair of the Wisconsin Library Association’s (WLA) Intellectual Freedom Committee (1963-65). He was named Librarian of the Year by WLA in 1975. He was awarded the Chancellor’s Medal for work with the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh in developing a “people’s university” in the public library. After retirement he moved to Middleton, WI in 1978 where he became active with the Middleton Public Library as a member of the library board and the Friends of the Library. He also served on the board of the South Central Library System. Archer was born in Petersburg, VA. He received a BA degree from the University of Richmond and a library degree from Emory University. Prior to coming to Wisconsin he worked in libraries in the District of Columbia, Detroit, MI, Plainfield, VT, and Rutland, VT. Archer was married to Marion Fuller Archer, who was a children's librarian, author, and faculty member at the University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh. Meeting rooms at the Middleton Public Library are named for Leonard Archer and Marion Archer.
The Steering Committee of the Wisconsin Library Heritage Center, a program of the Wisconsin Library Association Foundation, has selected four individuals to be inducted into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame in 2013. They will join thirty-six other individuals who have previously been inducted into the Hall of Fame. The 2013 inductions will take place at the WLA Annual Conference in Green Bay on October 23 at the WLA/WLAF Business Meeting. The inductees are:
Leonard B. Archer (1913-2003) Archer served as Director of the Oshkosh Public Library (1958 to 1978) and held a joint appointment as Director of the Winnefox Library System. He was an advocate for intellectual freedom and was named Librarian of the Year by WLA in 1975.
Katharine MacDonald Jones (1866-?) Jones was a national authority on the selection of materials for small public libraries. She joined the staff of the Wisconsin Free Library Commission in 1899, and served as Assistant Secretary of the Commission from 1901 to 1907.
Bernard Schwab (1920-1990) Bernard Schwab served as Director of the Madison Public Library from 1957 to 1981. He was President of the Wisconsin Library Association in 1966-67 and was named Librarian of the Year in 1970.
Miriam Downing Tompkins (1892-1954) Tompkins was a national leader in advancing the role of the public library in adult education. She served as Director of the Training Class (1919-1921) and Chief of Adult Education (1923-1929) for the Milwaukee Public Library.
More extensive coverage of the accomplishments of these four individuals and previous inductees can be found at the Library Hall of Fame website.
The Madison Public Library's new central library was dedicated today. The new central library is a substantial remake of the central library building which was built in 1965. For all practical purposes it is a new building. The first separate library building for the City of Madison was a building built with assistance from Andrew Carnegie. That building which was located at 206 N. Carroll Street opened to the public on February 23, 1906. One of the most unusual aspects of the building was that the Library School of the Wisconsin Free Library Commission (the predecessor of the UW-Madison School of Library and Information Studies) was housed on its second floor. The Carnegie building was razed after the completion of the 1965 building to make way for a parking lot. The 1965 central library building was named the Bernard Schwab Library in 1990 in honor of Schwab who retired as the Madison Public Library's Director in 1981. He played a major role in the design of the building which was built during his tenure.
1906 Carnegie Building
1965 Building, Named the Bernard Schwab Library in 1990
New Central Library 2013
By far the most famous library lions are those that grace the front entrance of the New York Public Library's building at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street. The Oshkosh Public Library in Wisconsin also has a pair of library lions and, like those in New York, they have provided an important visual symbol of the public library. Also like the lions of the New York Public Library, the library lions in Oshkosh are named. They were named Harris and Sawyer in 1977 for two of the prominent early donors to the library. Earlier this month the Oshkosh Public Library celebrated the 100th anniversary of the installation of the lions in front of the library in 1912. The celebration included a variety of activities including a "Lion's Pride" mini sculpture contest. The lions sit in front of the library that was built in 1900. A major expansion and renovation of the building took place in 1994. The Oshkosh Public Library has a commemorative history of the lions as well as an overall history of the library on its website. The website of the New York Public Library has a page on its lions. There is also a good printed history of the New York Public Library lions titled Top Cats: The Life and Times of The New York Public Library Lions by Susan G. Larkin (Pomegranate, 2006).
This post was previously published in The Library History Buff Blog.
Rachel Katherine Schenk served as Director of the Wisconsin Library School (now the School of Library and Information Studies of the University of Wisconsin – Madison) from 1951 to 1963. Prior to becoming Director she was a faculty member at the school. While Director she was responsible for the implementation of the master’s program at the library school. After her retirement from the Madison library school she helped implement the library science program at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee. She received the WLA Citation of Merit in 1960. She was inducted into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame on October 25, 2012.
Further reading: Robbins, Louise S. "Chapter 4 Leave It to Rachel: The Schenk Years 1951-1963" in Tradition and Vision: Library and Information Studies at the University of Wisconsin, A Centennial History (Univ. of Wisconsin, 2006).