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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Charles A. Bunge (1936 - )

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on Tuesday, September 22, 2009
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bunge.jpgCharles A. Bunge was inducted into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame at the Wisconsin Library Association Conference in Appleton on October 22, 2009. Bunge is Professor Emeritus in the School of Library and Information Studies (SLIS) at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. He became part of the SLIS faculty in 1967 after receiving his Ph.D at the University of Illinois. He served as director of the library school from 1971 to 1981. He returned to full-time teaching in 1981 and continued teaching until his retirement in 1997. Bunge has contributed significantly to the improvement of reference service in libraries Wisconsin and the nation through teaching and writing. Bunge was active and played a leadership role in the Wisconsin Library Association (WLA). He served as Chair of WLA’s Library Development and Legislation Committee in 1969-70 which made a significant contribution to advancing library legislation which resulted in the creation of public library systems in 1971. Bunge served as president of WLA in 1972-73. He was selected as WLA Librarian of the Year in 1983. Bunge was also active in the American Library Association (ALA). He chaired the Committee on Accreditation from 1990 and 1992. He was nominated as a candidate for the presidency of ALA in 1990 and 1993. Bunge was awarded ALA’s Isadore Gilbert Mudge Award in 1983 for distinguished contributions to reference librarianship. Bunge served as president of the Association for Library and Information Science Education (ALISE) in 1980-1981. ALISE presented Bunge with its Professional Contributions to Library and Information Science Education award in 1982. He also received the UMI Excellence in Writing award in 1982. Bunge was born in Kimball, Nebraska on March 18, 1936. He received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Missouri in 1959, a master’s degree in library science from the University of Illinois in 1960, and a Ph.D from the University of Illinois in 1967. He worked as a reference librarian at the Daniel Boone Regional Library System in Columbia, Missouri and at Ball State Teachers College Library in Indiana.
 

 

2009 Hall of Fame Inductees

Posted by Larry Nix
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The Wisconsin Library Heritage Center Steering Committee has selected seven individuals to be inducted into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame in 2009. The induction ceremony will take place at the Awards Banquet on October 22 at the Wisconsin Library Association Conference in Appleton. The seven inductees are Charles A. Bunge (1936- ), Matthew Simpson Dudgeon (1871-1949), Sarah Janice Kee (1908 -1998), Henry Eduard Legler (1861-1917), Klas August Linderfelt (1847-1900), Charles R. McCarthy (1873-1921), and Margaret Ellen Monroe (1914-2004).  Bunge will be the first living individual to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Brief biographical information about the 2009 inductees is located on the Hall of Fame page of this website. Lengthier biographies can be seen by clicking on the names of the inductees above. The first ten individuals were inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2008. The Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame is a project of the Wisconsin Library Heritage Center which is in turn a program of the Wisconsin Library Association Foundation.

Eastern Shores 30th Anniversary

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in Exhibits
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easternshores5-72.jpgThe Eastern Shores Library System headquartered in Sheboygan is celebrating its 30th anniversary on Sunday with an open house. To help celebrate this occasion I put together a special exhibit on behalf of the Wisconsin Library Heritage Center. The main Wisconsin Library Memorabilia exhibit is on display at the Door County Library in Sturgeon Bay for September and October, so some improvisation was required. Where possible artifacts with a connection to ESLS and its member libraries were used, but these were supplemented with a variety of other items. The exhibit includes library postcards, library souvenirs, library mail, library buttons, and a framed collection of artifacts relating to the 1971 passage of the Wisconsin public library system law. The 1971 system law display is normally located in meeting room C of the Wisconsin Library Association offices. The Eastern Shores Library System began as the Sheboygan County Library System but was renamed when Ozaukee County joined the system in 1987.
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  • David Weinhold says #
    Larry, We received many comments on the display and people were very impressed by the artifacts you have that connect to our libra...

Evansville History Book Published

Posted by Larry Nix
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Congratulations to WLHC Steering Committee member Ruth Ann Montgomery on the publication of her new book on the history of Evansville, Wisconsin. The book is part of the Images of America series published by Arcadia Publishing. Ruth Ann is Director of the Arrowhead Library System in Janesville and is a longtime Evansville historian. Many of the images in the book are from her personal collection assembled over many years. Ruth Ann also has also written a history of the Eager Free Library Public Library which is on the web. The Janesville Gazette has written an article about Ruth Ann and the publication of the book.


 


 


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  • Gordon Glass says #
    Congratulations to Ruth Ann for her new book. Ruth, I am proud to say is a high school classmate an an old friend of mine....

Library Memorabilia Exhibit in Door County

Posted by Larry Nix
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in Carnegie libraries
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The Wisconsin Library Memorabilia exhibit will be on display at the Door County Library in Sturgeon Bay for September and most of October. Displaying the exhibit in libraries around the state is a project of the Wisconsin Library Heritage Center. The exhibit is curated by Larry Nix, Chair of the WLHC Steering Committee. The display cases at the Sturgeon Bay library are conveniently located immediately adjacent to the entrance and right in front of the computer lab. Sturgeon Bay is one of  sixty communities in Wisconsin that received a grant from Andrew Carnegie for a new library building. The Carnegie building in Sturgeon Bay, which is one block north of the current library, is shown below.  The building which is covered with ivy serves as the office building for an accounting firm. For more information about the exhibit click here.



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Oakley and Baker at Work

Posted by Larry Nix
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in Library artifacts
whs-id23281-oakley-baker-large-72.jpgThis image above shows Minnie Oakley and Florence Baker at work in the State Historical Society Library when it was located in Wisconsin's third Capitol. Baker is the one standing precariously on a shelf reaching for a book. Oakley served as Librarian of the Madison Public Library from 1884 to 1889 before going to work for the the State Historical Society Library. Oakley was one of the founders of the Wisconsin Library Association in 1891. She was one of two librarians from Wisconsin who joined the American Library Association in 1886 (only the second and third to do so) when ALA met in Milwaukee. Oakley became Cataloger and Assistant Librarian at the State Historical Society. She later became Cataloger for the Seattle Public Library (1909 or 1910) and Supervisor of Branches for the Los Angeles Public Libraries (1911). Baker became head of the Reading Room of the Historical Society Library. She later married James A. Hayes and moved to the West Coast where she became a noted clubwoman. Clio's Servant: The State Historical Society of Wisconsin 1846-1954 by Cliffford L. Lord and Carl Ubbelohde (State Historical Society of Wisconsin, 1967) is an excellent history of the society and the library. The image is part of the Historical Society's image collection (ID. 23281).

Wisconsin's Package Libraries

Posted by Larry Nix
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in WLA 125
Package libraries were an innovation conceived by Frank A. Hutchins while serving as Secretary of the Department of Debating and Public Discussion in the newly created Extension Division of the University of Wisconsin. Hutchins resigned as Secretary of the Wisconsin Free Library Commission (WFLC) in 1904 because of ill health. After his health recovered he joined the University's Extension Division in 1906. Interestingly, Henry Legler, Hutchins successor at the WFLC, was serving in an unpaid capacity as the first Secretary of the Extension Division in addition to his duties at the WFLC.

Package libraries were collections of pamphlets, pictures, magazine articles, and newspaper clippings on topics of current interest. These were mailed out upon request to individuals, women's clubs, debating groups, business people, rural schools, and libraries.  Borrowers paid the return express charge for the package libraries. In 1913-1914, the Department of Debating and Public Discussion mailed 3,741 package libraries, consisting of almost 150,000 articles on 1,460 subjects to over 450 communities in Wisconsin. Package libraries, like Wisconsin's traveling libraries, were intended to supplement public libraries and to serve rural areas which were not convenient to public libraries. Package libraries were also one component of "The Wisconsin Idea" which was to make the boundaries of the state the boundaries of the University of Wisconsin.

Hutchins health continued to decline and he died in 1914. His work at the Extension Division was taken up by his able assistant Almere Scott who served as Secretary of the Department of Debating and Public Discussion from 1914 to 1946. The concept of package libraries was implemented in other states including Indiana
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Phebe Swan's Reference by Mail Lending Library

Posted by Larry Nix
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in Special libraries
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In developing the blog entry on the 1905 meeting of the Wisconsin Library Association in Beloit I came across a reference to the Gleaner's Library operated by Phebe Swan. A brief article in the Wisconsin Library Bulletin for January, 1905 had this to say about Swan's library: "The Gleaner's library at Beloit has proved so invaluable for many a perplexed librarian that a visit to it will be one of the features of the coming meeting of the Wisconsin Library Association. The unique venture has been so successful that Miss Phebe Swan, the proprietor, now has patrons in all parts of the country. She rents magazine articles, newspaper clippings and copies of articles from standard works of reference, on a required subject, to clubwomen, debaters, authors and students for a very small fee." Mame B. Griffin in an April 8, 1911 article for La Follett's Weekly Magazine provides more background on this unusual library. According to Griffin, Swan started out small but her enterprise was so successful that she bought a fourteen room home in Beloit in 1908 to house her growing business. She employed six workers to assist her in organizing and classifying a hundred different magazines. Swan actively marketed her library with ads in magazines and wide distribution of a flyer about the library's services. The image above is a partial scan of a copy of one of the flyer's that is in the collection of the Wisconsin Historical Society. The flyer indicates that articles will cost the requester five cents each along with both outgoing and return postage. This is a remarkable story of success by a woman who had an idea for a business model and made it work. I'm not clear about who the "Gleaners" were or how long the library lasted. It's certainly a subject that is worthy of further study.


More about Phebe Swan.


Further digging around in Google has resulted in more information about Phebe Swan. The Semi-Centennial History of the Illinois State Normal University, 1857-1907 which was published in 1907 has the best information. She was a member of the class of 1881 at ISNU, now Illinois State University. She is listed as Lizzie Phebe Swan and her occupation is given as Librarian and Proprietor of a Reference Library in Beloit, Wisconsin. According to the ISNU history, she was an assistant (library ?) at ISNU from 1886 to 1892. She was a student of the Library Department of Armour Institute (predecessor of the University of Illinois Library School), 1893-94 and worked as a librarian at the University of Wisconsin from 1894 to 1902. She became Librarian of the Gleaners' Library in Beloit in 1902, a library which she evidently founded.  Handbooks of the American Library Association list her as member number 1,507. She evidently became a life member of the National Education Association in 1897.


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  • Rick says #
    "I'm not clear about who the "Gleaners" were..." According to my dictionary to glean is to gather grain or other produce left by r...
  • Larry Nix says #
    That certainly makes sense.

One Year Anniversary of WLHC Website

Posted by Larry Nix
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It's hard to believe that it has been a year since the WLHC Website was launched. Since that time over 95 posts have been made to the blog portion of the website. To see a list of blog posts including several recent posts click here. The website was launched with a large amount of content that had been developed for "The Library History Buff" website. During the last year much of this content has been updated and expanded. Thanks to the Outagamie Waupaca Library System for hosting the website and for the work of Beth Carpenter, formerly with OWLS and now director of  the public library in Little Chute, in designing and setting up the site. Beth continues to serve as the technical advisor for the website while I (Larry Nix) serve as the webmaster. We are also appreciative of the assistance of Evan Bend at OWLS for keeping track of our website statistics. The website averages just under 5,000 visits each month by around 1,300 unique visitors. We are always eager to get feedback about the website and each blog post and web page allows for comment.

The Wisconsin Library Heritage Center is a program of the Wisconsin Library Association Foundation.

 

WLA 1905 Conference

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The postcard above was mailed to the Public Library in Galena, Illinois on February 14, 1905. The picture side of the postcard shows the Beloit Public Library and has the written message: "You are cordially invited to attend the meetings of the Wis State Lib. Asst. on Feb. 22-23 -". It is signed  M. W. Bell.  The postcard is part of a postcard collection that was collected by Anna Felt, a trustee and benefactor of the Galena Public Library.  "M. W. Bell" was Martha W. Bell, the Library Director of the Beloit Public Library. The Wisconsin Library Association meeting was the 15th annual meeting of the association which was established in 1891, and it took place in Beloit on February 22 and 23, 1905. The announcement of the meeting was made in the first issue of the Wisconsin Library Bulletin which was published in January, 1905. A report of the meeting was included in the second issue of the bulletin. Attending the conference were 29 representatives of free public libraries which included both trustees and librarians, four representatives of school and college libraries, one representative of a subscription library, and one representative of a traveling library. H. P. Bird, President of the Association, made the following opening statement: "The one purpose in view friends is to enlarge the understanding, widen the intellectual view, and so increase the happiness, the usefulness and the capacity of our citizens, one and all."  H. P. Bird was a State Senator and had incorporated a library in the recreational center which he had built in Wausaukee for lumberjacks. All the sessions of the conference were held in the new Beloit Public Library which had received a grant from Andrew Carnegie. Conference attendees were also able to visit two other Carnegie financed libraries in Rock County - the Beloit College Library and the Janesville Public Library.


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  • Joan Goertz says #
    I have a postcard of the Beloit College Library, Beloit, Wis. dated November 9, 1905, sent to a Mrs. J.S. Campbell in New Have Con...

Milwaukee Public Library Postcards

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As might be expected, there is a direct correlation between the grandeur of a library building and the number of postcards that have depicted the library building. So it is not surprising that the Central Library of the Milwaukee Public Library which was completed in 1898 is depicted on a great many picture postcards. In my personal collection, I have over 20 different Milwaukee Public Library postcards. The year 1898 is significant in the world of postcards since this is the year that Congress authorized Private Mailing Cards that could be mailed at the one cent rate. Previously postcards required postage of two cents. This was the beginning of what is considered to be the golden age of picture postcards which lasted until the beginning of World War I.  There is nothing special about the view of the Milwaukee Public Library on the postcard which is shown above. However, the address side of the postcard shows that this card was carried on the LZ127 Zeppelin air ship from Lakehurst, N. J. to Friedrichshafen, Germany and back. This make the postcard very special to philatelist who collect mail that has been flown on Zeppelins. The postcard below is an unusual double postcard which is twice the size of a standard postcard.

 


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Carnegie Library Bed & Breakfasts

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ladysmith4b-72.jpgI previously wrote a post on Carnegie library buildings that have been converted to bed and breakfasts. The Library Hall Bed and Breakfast in Ladysmith, Wisconsin is one of only two such arrangements that I am aware of in the United States. The other is in Sterling, Colorado. Recently, I had the opportunity to visit Ladysmith and see the Library Hall Bed and Breakfast and have included some photos above.
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  • Marva Deines says #
    Jennifer is my sister and I really enjoyed your presentation! I did not realize there was another Carnegie Library B&B....
  • Larry Nix says #
    I'm glad you found my blog entry about the Carnegie B & B. My wife and I hope to stay there one of these days on our way to see my...

Log Cabin Library Visit

Posted by Larry Nix
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On a recent trip "Up North", I had a chance to visit one of Wisconsin's log cabin libraries. In this instance it was the Forest Lodge Library in Cable, Wisconsin. I have an old postcard of the library and I originally wrote about the library on the Wisconsin Library Heritage Center website thinking it was the only, or at least the oldest, such library in the state. I was quickly informed that there was another older log cabin library in Wabeno, Wisconsin which is the Wabeno Public Library. I then posted an additional entry on the WLHC website.  Both libraries are on the National Register of Historic Places. The Wisconsin Historical Society maintains a listing of buildings on the State and National Registers of Historical Places. The entry for the Forest Lodge Library indicates that the library was donated in 1925 by Mary Livingston Griggs, a prominent member of society in Minneapolis/St. Paul. Griggs who also designed the library dedicated it to her mother in memory of their family lodge and estate at nearby Lake Namekagon. A short vacation on Lake Namekagon was the purpose of my recent trip. The Wisconsin Historical Society entry for the Wabeno log cabin library indicates that it was originally built as the Chicago and North Western Railroad Land Office in 1875. It was evidently turned over to the City of Wabeno to be used as a public library in 1923. Both Libraries are on the Wisconsin Library Heritage Trail.

Note: To find other Wisconsin libraries on the Wisconsin Historical Society's listing of buildings on the State and National Registers of Historical Places, choose Education as the Historic Function and Libraries as the Historic Subfunction. Select "All Counties" if you want to see historic libraries in the whole state.

Henry Eduard Legler 1861-1917

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legler-ideals-72.jpgHenry E. Legler was inducted into the Wisconsin Library of Fame on October 22, 2009. He served as Secretary of the Wisconsin Free Library Commission (WFLC) from 1904 to 1909. During his  tenure in that capacity he left an important legacy to the state's libraries. He established the Wisconsin Library Bulletin in 1905 which played a major role in conveying information and knowledge to the Wisconsin library community. Under his leadership the library school which later became the School of Library and Information Studies of the University of Wisconsin - Madison was founded as part of the WFLC. He continued the  public library development of his predecessor Frank A. Hutchins and the expansion of the traveling library system. While Secretary of the WFLC he also served without salary as the first secretary of the University of Wisconsin Extension Division. He became actively involved in the national library activities and was elected as the first chair of the League of Library Commissions in 1905. Building on booklists established by the WFLC, he founded the Booklist of the American Library Association (ALA) in 1904 and served as its editor until 1916. He was a member and chair of the ALA Publishing Board. He served as ALA President in 1912-13. After leaving Wisconsin in 1909 he became Director of the Chicago Public Library, a post he served in until his death in 1917. Legler was instrumental in the relocation of the headquarters of the American Library Association from Boston to Chicago in 1909.  Legler was born in Palermo, Sicily on February 22, 1861. His family immigrated to the United States where they settled in La Crosse, Wisconsin, in 1873. After completing his education in La Crosse, he worked as a newspaper reporter in both La Crosse and Milwaukee. He served for one term as a member of the Wisconsin Assembly in 1888-1890. He became Secretary of the Milwaukee Board of Education (superintendent of schools) in 1890. Legler wrote several books including Library Ideals which was edited by his son and published in 1918 after his death.

A report of Legler's resignation from the WLHC is included in the Wisconsin Library Bulletin issue of Sept.-Oct. 1909. A report of his death appears in the October 1917 issue of the Wisconsin Library Bulletin. Legler is included in the Dictionary of American Library Biography and the Wisconsin Dictionary of History.  He was also one of eighteen library leaders included in the publication Pioneering Leaders in Librarianship (ALA, 1953). He is also included in Wisconsin Authors and Their Works by Charles Rounds (1918).

 

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  • Eric novotny says #
    great to see Legler inducted into the Wisconsin library of Fame - I've been looking at his contributions to the Chicago Public Lib...
  • Larry Nix says #
    Eric, thanks for your comments. I have corrected the date typo.

Wisconsin Library Bulletin

Posted by Larry Nix
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The Wisconsin Library Bulletin was begun in 1905 by the Wisconsin Free Library Commission under the leadership of Henry E. Legler. It continued publication through 1984. It is the most comprehensive account of Wisconsin’s library history for that period. It includes a wealth of information which can be utilized by libraries and those interested in local and state history to tell the story of Wisconsin’s libraries. Although the primary focus of the bulletin was initially public library development, the magazine includes information about libraries of all types. It documents a wide variety of library related activities and events which occurred during that period including staff appointments and changes, building projects, library association meetings, library education and continuing education events, legislation, gifts and appropriations, and grant programs including the Library Services Act and the Library Services and Construction Act. Through the involvement of the University of Wisconsin - Madison General Libraries in the Google Books project, the Wisconsin Library Bulletin has been scanned and many early issues of the magazine are now appearing in Google Books.  Locating and accessing periodicals through Google Books is often a difficult process. I have been able to locate the compilations for 19051907, 1908, 1909, 1910, 1917, and 1922. You can search these compilations by keyword and an interesting exercise would be to search for your library in them. I will continue to keep looking for additional yearly compilations.


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  • John DeBacher says #
    thanks, Larry--I hope they get 1911-16 done soon, since it's a good way for libraries to track centennial information. And I found...

I Love My Library's History

Posted by Larry Nix
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in Marketing-Publicity
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I just became aware of a list of "50 Reasons to Love Your Local Library". I like number 33 which states: "Your local library is a part of your heritage; your parents likely went there, and perhaps their parents before them." It's not clear to me how you can love libraries and not love library history. People who use libraries, people who like libraries, people who value libraries, and people who appreciate libraries can be and often are oblivious to the history of libraries, but if you love libraries you ought to love their history. I think the "I Love Libraries" campaign and website of the American Library Association is a good approach to promoting America's libraries. It should have a library history component, however. A few years ago, the Wisconsin Library Association launched the campaign "I Love Libraries and I Vote" to demonstrate to decision makers that people who feel strongly about libraries are active in the political process. Part of that campaign involved mailing postcards similar to the one above from the Beloit (WI) Public Library to elected officials. On the back of the card, the sender provided a personal message on why the library was important to him or her. One of those reasons could have and should have been that the library has a legacy of making a difference and changing lives in the community. That legacy is worth acknowledging and celebrating.


Note: This blog entry also appeared in The Library History Buff Blog


Governor Doty's Public Library

Posted by Larry Nix
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doty-72.jpgOne of Wisconsin's earliest and most unusual libraries was that of Territorial Governor James Duane Doty (1799-1865). While serving as Territorial Governor (1841-1844) in Madison, Doty made his own personal library of about 500 volumes available for use by the general public. Colonel George W. Bird writing in the August 1907 issue of the Wisconsin Library Bulletin described the library. He noted that there were only two regulations for its use, and these were:


"1. Any white resident between the lakes, the Catfish and the westerly hills, his wife and children, may have the privileges of this library so long as they do not soil or injure the books, and properly return them.
2. Any such resident, his wife or children, may take from the library one book at a time and retain it not to exceed two weeks, and then return it, and on failue to return promptly, he or she shall be considered, and published as an outcast in the community."


Obviously the restriction to "any white resident" was considerably less than praiseworthy,but allowing access by children was noteworthy. The image of Governor Doty is image #2617 in the Wisconsin Historical Society's Digital Collections.


Hall of Fame Nominations Sought

Posted by Larry Nix
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The Wisconsin Library Heritage Center Steering Committee invites your nominations for the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame for 2009. Nominations are due by August 10, 2009. In 2008 the first group of individuals were inducted into the Hall of Fame. They are indicative of the kind of individuals which the WLHC Steering Committee feels should be included in the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame.

This will be the first year that living individuals will be considered for the Hall of Fame. In lieu of multiple testimonials, the WLHC Steering Committee seeks documentation and supporting information of :
1) An individual's record of leadership in the Wisconsin Library Association and/or other statewide library organizations/institutions.
2) The overall importance and impact of an individual's contribution to the improvement of library service in Wisconsin.
3) An individual's contributions to the improvement of library service at the national level.
Once an individual has been nominated, he or she will continue to be considered in future years even if not selected for induction in 2009.

Induction of those individuals selected for 2009 will take place at the WLA Awards Banquet at the WLA Conference on October 22.

Please send your completed nomination forms (or questions about the process) to Larry T. Nix, Chair, Wisconsin Library Heritage Center Steering Committee, 608-836-5616, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Historical Society Building Rennovation

Posted by Larry Nix
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As reported previously the Wisconsin Historical Society is rennovating parts of its main building on State Street including it magnificent reading room. The Society recently updated information about the rennovation in the "Highlights Archives" section of its website. A previous post told about the visit to the Wisconsin Historical Society Library by attendees of the 1901 American Library Association Coference in Waukesha.


Library Liquor Fee

Posted by Larry Nix
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in Public libraries

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The Janesville Young Men's Association Library (a membership library) was founded in 1865. An amendment to the City of Janesville charter was enacted which provided one half of the liquor license fee for the purchase of books for the library. The Board of Supervisors for Rock County lobbied its state legislators to repeal that amendment. In the letter above written on January 8, 1872, W. S. Bowen of the Janesville Gazette asks state legislator D. S. Cheever not to support legislation that would repeal the amendment. He makes the case that the amendment "is not so great a hardship as the board of supervisors imagine". Bowen indicates his considerable interest in the library and notes that : "We have a fair start toward something which in time will be a benefit not only the city but to the county. Money is scarce and it has for a year or two past been almost impossible to maintain our library without outside aid." Bowen's effort to prevent the repeal of the library liquor license fee amendment was unsuccessful and it was repealed in 1873.  In July 1881 the Janesville Young Men's Association went bankrupt. The Janesville Public Library under the Public Library Law of 1872 was established in 1884. Another blog entry on Wisconsin's membership libraries can be found here.


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