WLA's Library Legislative Day for 2016 will occur next week on February 9th. Library legislation like everything else connected to Wisconsin libraries also has a heritage. In his 1966 history of the Wisconsin Library Association Benton H. Wilcox wrote about WLA's first legislative victory. Lutie Stearns attended the American Library Association meeting in Lake Placid New York in 1894 where she was introduced to the idea of a state library commission. Stearns brought back copies of legislation establishing such commissions in New Hampshire and Massachuttes and was enthusiastic about establishing such a commission in Wisconsin. Wisconsin's first library legislative champion Senator James Huff Stout introduced the necessary legislation early in the 1895 legislative session. According to Wilcox this legislation was the principal subject of discussion at WLA's conference in Madison on February 13 and 14, 1895. At that conference, WLA enorsed the legislation and appointed a committee to work for its enactment. Wilcox writes: "The legislature was less than enthusiastic but by holding the requested appropriation to only $500 per annum for expenses, Senator Stout was able to bring it through, and it became law late in April, 1895. The Association had achieved its first notable victory." So WLA has been involved in library legislation for 121 years. The result of that early success was the creation of the Wisconsin Free Library Commission which is now the Division for Libraries and Technology. Both Stearns and Stout were inducted into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame in 2008.
Information about this year's legislative day can be found HERE. An important feature of this year's legislative day will be the kickoff of WLA's 125th Anniversary Celebration in the rotunda of the State Capitol at 12:00 noon.
Bill Wilson has provided leadership in the improvement of library services to the people of Wisconsin for more than forty years. He has worked at all levels of public library service - local, regional and state. His past library positions include serving as Institutional Consultant for the Buffalo and Erie County (New York) Public Library; Assistant Administrator, Winding Rivers Library System, La Crosse; Director, McMillan Memorial Library, Wisconsin Rapids (1984 - 1991) ; Director, Milwaukee County Federated Library System (1991-1993); Adjunct Faculty, University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee School of Information and Library Science; and Administrator (State Librarian), Wisconsin Division for Libraries and Community Learning in Madison (1993-1996). He has worked as a partner in his own firm, Himmel & Wilson Library Consultants since 1987. For most of his career Wilson has served as an advocate for and an innovator in library service to special needs populations. Wilson served president of the Wisconsin Library Association in 1987 and recieved WLA's Special Service Award in 1990. He has served as President of the Wisconsin Center for the Book. He currently serves as President of the board of trustees of the Milton Public Library and as Vice President of the Arrowhead Library System board of trustees.
Wayne A. Wiegand, a native of Manitowoc, WI, is called the “dean of American library historians.” He is the F. William Summers Professor of Library and Information Studies and Professor of American Studies emeritus at Florida State University. While in Wisconsin Wiegand served as a professor in the School of Library and Information Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison from 1987 to 2002. Wiegand is an outstanding teacher who influenced numerous Wisconsin librarians and an innovative researcher who utilizes qualitative and flexible strategies from the broader fields of the social sciences and humanities in his research. At UW-SLIS Wiegand was a co-founder and director of the Center for the History of Print Culture in Modern America (now the Center for the History of Print and Digital Culture), a nationally respected print history research institution. He is the author of numerous books and scholarly articles about the history of libraries and librarianship, a number of which have included significant aspects of the history of Wisconsin libraries. His latest book, published in October 2015, is Part of Our Lives: A People’s History of the American Public Library.
Oakley served as Librarian of the Madison Public Library from 1884 to 1889 before going to work for 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 where she worked for 19 years. She served as Secretary-Treasurer of the National Association of State Libraries. She later became Cataloger for the Seattle Public Library and Supervisor of Branches for the Los Angeles Public Libraries.
Marjorie Sornson Malmberg was the first official legislative advocate and paid employee for the Wisconsin Library Association. Taking a leave of absence from her job as Director of the Appleton Public Library, she served as WLA's executive secretary and legislative representative at a salary of $150 per month. She played a pivotal role in the legislative battle for a bill to provide state aid for a bookmobile demonstration project during the 1949 Wisconsin legislative session. According to Benton H. Wilcox in his 1966 history of the Wisconsin Library Association, "... Mrs. Malmberg, without any previous experience, almost by her own efforts ... secured passage of the bill through both houses of the legislature ... ." She later became one of the early directors of the Washington Office of the American Library Association (1950), where she again played a major role in securing funding for libraries. Prior to her work for WLA, she served as director of the Chippewa Falls and Viroqua public libraries.
Malmberg was born in Cushing, WI on October 28, 1914. She attended Superior Teacher’s College (1932-34), received her B.A. from the University of Wisconsin in 1936, and a B.S. (in library science) from the University of Minnesota in 1938. She served as director of the Viroqua Public Library (1938-1942), the Chippewa Public Library (1942-1946), and the Appleton Public Library (1946-1949). After her service to the Wisconsin Library Association she and her husband moved to Big Island, Virginia. In 1950 she became Director of the Washington Office of the American Library Association. The Malmbergs moved to Toledo, Ohio in 1960 where Margie went to work for the Public Library of Toledo and Lucas County. She retired there in 1976. She is listed in Who’s Who in Library Service 2nd Edition, 1943.
For more on Malmberg and WLA's finest hour Click Here.
Dorothea Marie Krause served as director of the Wausau Public Library from 1943 until 1965 and then as head of technical processes and acquisitions until her retirement in 1973. The reason for the change? "I wanted to be back with people and books," she explained to a Merrill Daily Herald reporter on the occasion of her retirement. In 1960, more than a decade before the passage of public library system legislation, she was instrumental in setting up a prototype of the Wisconsin Valley Library Service. Krause served as President of the Wisconsin Library Association (WLA) in 1949-1950 and was selected as the Librarian of the Year in 1957, the second honoree and first public librarian to receive the award. In addition, the Wausau Public Library was selected as the 1965 WLA Library of the Year. In her later years at the Wausau Public Library, she coordinated services to older adults and the visually impaired. She actively participated in a wide variety of community activities and was among the founding members of the Marathon County Historical Society and the Inter Agency Council, a group that coordinated programs among community groups. Prior to her move to Wausau, she worked at West Allis Public Library and was the director of the Blue Island (Illinois) Public Library.
Krause retired to the Plymouth Village retirement community in Redlands, California in 1976 where she led an active life of civic service. She served as chair of both the Vespers Committee and Library Committee of Plymouth Village. Krause was a volunteer at the San Bernardino County Museum in Redlands, assisting docents with school classes. She received an award and her name appears in the Court of Honor Wall at the museum. She was also active in the Friends of the A.K. Smiley Public Library of Redlands, CA. Krause died July 17, 2003 at the age of 94.
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.