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.

Katharine MacDonald Jones (1866-?)

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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).

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.

Leonard B. Archer (1913-2003)

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

 

WI Library Hall of Fame Inductees for 2013

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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.

Rachel Katherine Schenk (1899-1973)

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Rachel SchenkRachel 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).

Cornelia Marvin Pierce (1873-1957)

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Cornelia Marvin PierceCornelia Marvin Pierce (then Cornelia Marvin) served as head of the Wisconsin Free Library Commission Summer School of Library Training during the summers of 1897 and 1898. In 1899 she became a full-time employee of the Wisconsin Library Commission as library instructor and director of the Summer School of Library Training. It was due largely to the success of the summer training sessions that the Commission established a permanent library school that is now the School of Library and Information Studies of the University of Wisconsin – Madison. In 1905 she left Wisconsin to become the first secretary of the Oregon Library Commission which became the Oregon State Library in 1913. She served as Oregon State Librarian until 1928. She married Walter M. Pierce in 1928. She is listed in the Dictionary of American Library Biography. She was included on the National Advocacy Honor Roll by the American Library Association in 2000 for her contribution as an advocate for library services in the 20th century.  Pierce was inducted into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame on October 25, 2012.

Further reading: Brisley, Melissa Ann. "Cornelia Marvin Pierce: Pioneer In Library Extension" The Library Quarterly, vol. 38, no. 3, April 1968: 125-153.

Clarence Brown Lester (1877-1951)

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Clarence LesterClarence Brown Lester served as Secretary of the Wisconsin Free Library Commission from 1920 to 1949, the longest tenure for any Secretary of the Commission. Prior to becoming Secretary he was chief of the Commission's special training course for reference librarians (1913-1920). The Wisconsin Library Association’s Clarence B. Lester Library of the Year award (now just the Library of the Year Award) was established in his honor in 1955. He served as President of the National Association of State Libraries and also of the League of Library Commissions. Lester was a native of Providence, RI and a graduate of Brown University.  Lester was inducted into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame on October 25, 2012.
 

Zona Gale (1874-1938)

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Zona GaleZona Gale, a Portage (WI) native and Pulitzer Prize winning author, was a lifelong friend and champion of Wisconsin's libraries. She used her celebrity to promote libraries wherever possible. She was a member of the Wisconsin Free Library Commission (1921-1932) and served as its Chair in 1921-1924 and 1926-1929. She also served as a member of the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents. She won the Pulitzer Prize for drama in 1921 for her play "Miss LuLu Bett". Her home was donated to the City of Portage in 1946 to house the Portage Public Library. She is a member of the Wisconsin Writers Hall of Fame. She received both a Bachelor's degree and a Master's degree from the University of Wisconsin - Madison. Gale was inducted into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame on October 25, 2012.

Photo: Wisconsin Historical Society Digital Collection.
 

John Miller Chancellor (1896-1980)

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John Miller Chancellor had a distinguished career at the national level where he was an authority and proponent on adult eduction in public libraries. He served as the Adult Education Specialist for the American Library Association from 1934-1942. He resigned from ALA and moved to Wisconsin in 1943 where he became a farmer in Mount Horeb. He was appointed to the Wisconsin Free Library Commission at a critical point in the development of public libraries in Wisconsin. He served on the Commission from 1947-1951 and was its Chair in 1949-1951. He was a major contributor to the publication “The Wisconsin-Wide Library Idea for voluntary Education through Reading” (1948).  On the Commission he defended intellectual freedom during the McCarthy era. He was made an Honorary Member of the American Library Association in 1962. Honorary membership in ALA is conferred on individuals whose contribution to librarianship is "so outstanding that it is of lasting importance to the advancement of the whole field of library service".  Earlier positions included: reference assistant at the New York Public Library; readers advisor at the New Haven (CT) Public Library; and supervising librarian at the U. S. Bureau of Prisons. Chancellor was inducted into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame on October 25, 2012. Chancellor was inducted into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame on October 25, 2012.

Richard E. Krug (1905 -1983)

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Richard KrugRichard E. Krug served as city librarian of the Milwaukee Public Library from 1941 to 1974. During his long tenure as city librarian he transformed the library system. His accomplishments included construction of a major addition to the central library and a reorganization of the system’s branch libraries. Under his leadership the library began the use of data processing in 1947. As city librarian he strongly defended intellectual freedom. He was instrumental in developing the Charles Allis Art Library. He served as President of the Wisconsin Library Association in 1946-1947. He received WLA’s Special Service Award in 1974. The Krug Rare Book Room in the Central Library of the Milwaukee Public Library is named in honor of Krug and his wife Lucile. Krug received both his bachelor's degree (1927) and his law degree (1929) from the University of Wisconsin - Madison. He started as the municipal reference librarian at the Milwaukee Public Library in 1930 and became assistant City librarian in 1939. Krug was inducted into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame on October 25, 2012.

Further reading: Ring, Daniel F. "Richard Krug: The Bookman as a Librarian" Libraries & Culture, vol. 29, no. 3 (1994: 257-272.

Gerald A. Somers, (1921-2003)

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Gerald SomersGerald A. Somers served as Director of the Green Bay Public Library (later the Brown County Library) from 1961 to 1987. He played a leadership role in the development of legislation that established Wisconsin’s public library systems. Somers was President of WLA in 1965-1966, and was WLA Librarian of the Year in 1972. He was instrumental in establishing the Brown County Library, the first consolidated county library in the state. Somers served in the U.S. Air Force from 1941 until his discharge in 1945. He later attended Knox College and the University of Chicago where he earned a Bachelor of Library Science Degree in 1948. Somers was employed as a Director of the Norris Branch of the Milwaukee Public Library from 1950-1956; Director of the Eau Claire Public Library from 1956-1961; Director of Kellogg Public Library in Green Bay from 1961-1968, and the Brown County Library from 1968 until his retirement in 1987. Somers was inducted into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame on October 25, 2012.

2012 Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame Inductees Selected

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The Steering Committee of the Wisconsin Library Heritage Center, a program of the Wisconsin Library Association Foundation, has selected seven individuals to be inducted into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame (WLHF) in 2012. They are: John Miller Chancellor (1896-1980); Zona Gale (1874-1938); Richard E. Krug (1905-1983); Clarence Brown Lester (1877-1951); Cornelia Marvin Pierce (1873-1957); Rachel Katherine Schenk (1899-1973); and Gerald A. Somers (1921-2003). These seven inductees will join twenty-nine other individuals who have previously been inducted into the WLHF. The 2012 inductions will take place at the WLA Annual Conference in La Crosse, WI at the Awards & Honors Banquet on October 25. 
 
After a distinguished library career at the national level concluding as the Adult Education Specialist for the American Library Association, John Miller Chancellor moved to Wisconsin. He was appointed to the Wisconsin Free Library Commission at a critical point in the history of public library development in Wisconsin. He served on the Commission from 1947-1951 and was its Chair in 1949-1951. He was made an Honorary Member of the American Library Association in 1962. 
 
Noted Wisconsin author Zona Gale was a lifelong friend and champion of libraries. She used her celebrity to promote libraries wherever possible. She was a member of the Wisconsin Free Library Commission (1921-1932) and served as its Chair in 1921-1924 and 1926-1929.
 
Richard E. Krug was an important figure in U.S. public librarianship. He served as director of the Milwaukee Public Library from 1941 to 1974. During his tenure he transformed the library system including the construction of a major addition to the central library and a reorganization of the system’s branch libraries. He served as President of the Wisconsin Library Association in 1946-1947. He received WLA’s Special Service Award in 1974.
 
Clarence Brown Lester served as Secretary of the Wisconsin Free Library Commission from 1920 to 1949. The Wisconsin Library Association’s Clarence B. Lester Librarian of the Year award (now the WLAA/DEMCO Librarian of the Year Award) was established in his honor in 1955. He served as President of the National Association of State Libraries and also of the League of Library Commissions. 
 
Cornelia Marvin Pierce was head of the Wisconsin Free Library Commission Summer School of Library Training during the summers of 1897 and 1898. In 1899 she became a full-time employee of the Wisconsin Library Commission as library instructor and director of the Summer School of Library Training. In 1905 she left Wisconsin to become the first secretary of the Oregon Library Commission which became the Oregon State Library in 1913. She served as Oregon State Librarian until 1928.
 
Rachel Katherine Schenk was Director of the Wisconsin Library School (now the School of Library and Information Studies of the University of Wisconsin – Madison) from 1951 to 1963. While Director she was responsible for the implementation of the master’s program at the library school. She received the WLA Citation of Merit in 1960.
 
Gerald A. Somers was Director of the Green Bay Public Library (later the Brown County Library) from 1961 to 1987. He played a leadership role in the development of legislation that established Wisconsin’s public library systems. Somers was President of WLA in 1965-1966, and was WLA Librarian of the Year in 1972. 
 
More extensive coverage of the accomplishments of these seven individuals will be forthcoming in later posts to the WLHC website.
 

WI Library Hall of Fame Nominations for 2012

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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 2012. Nominations must be submitted by August 1, 2012. Procedures and a nomination form are located HERE. 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. 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 August 1.  For additional information please feel free to contact Nix.

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Janice Kee and a Librarian's Travelogue

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This entry was also posted on The Library History Buff Blog on March 4, 2012.

kee-72Sarah Janice Kee (1908 -1998) was inducted into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame in 2009 primarily because of her work as Secretary of the Wisconsin Free Library Commission from 1956 to 1965. During Kee's tenure at the Commission, Wisconsin established the foundation for its current seventeen federated public library systems.  In seeking to find out more about Kee a number of years ago, I was able to obtain a copy of a travelogue written by Kee titled Around the World in 80 Years: A Travelogue Interspersed with Anecdotes (unpublished, 1997). As the title suggests it is a record of Kee's travels around the world during her lifetime, but it also chronicles a remarkable library career. Kee was a native Texan and ended her library career in Texas. In regard to her travels, Kee writes: "It has been my privilege to see much of the world in my life time. My methods of travel have been in a swing seat in a covered wagon, a buggy, surrey, the back seat of a Model T - Ford car, both slow and fast trains, the driver's seat in a Ford, Chevrolet, Frazier and Oldsmobile, both slow and fast airplanes and a Cruiser in the Mediterranean sea."  From her rural Texas roots, Kee embarked on a library career with her first library position in the Library Service of the Air Force during World War II. She did so well that she was eventually promoted to Command Librarian supervising 35 post libraries. She went to work for the Missouri State Library in 1947, and again did so well that she was designated Acting State Librarian when State Librarian Katherine Mier retired in 1948. Unfortunately, it was only "until a man could be found for the job". According to Kee the man they found "knew nothing - I mean nothing about State Library work". Lucky for Wisconsin she left Missouri and came to Wisconsin for her first stint at the Wisconsin Free Library Commission. She entered the national library arena in 1952 as Executive Secretary of the Public Library Division of the American Library Association, a position she held until she assumed leadership of the Wisconsin Free Library Commission in 1956. Kee concluded her library career as Library Program Officer (classified as a GS-14) with the U.S. Department of Education at the regional office in Dallas, Texas. At her interview for the position in Dallas with the Head of the Regional Office, according to Kee "a political appointee - one of those good-ol-boys who was retired from a Superintendent's position", she was told "'Miss Kee, do you realize I have MEN on my staff who are not GS-14s?'" She reminded him that she would be taking a pay cut if she took the job. She got the job anyway. Although Janice Kee wrote her travelogue primarily for her family, I feel fortunate to have shared via the travelogue in her travel and library career experiences. I wish more people could do the same. The original manuscript is located at the School of Library and Information Studies at Texan Woman's University where Kee established the S. Janice Kee Library Scholarship Fund.

Ginny Moore Kruse (1934- )

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kruse-final-72.JPGGinny Moore Kruse is one of seven individuals who will be inducted into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame on November 3, 2011 at the Awards and Honors Banquet during the Wisconsin Library Association Conference in Milwaukee.  Kruse is Director Emerita of the Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC) in the School of Education at the University of Wisconsin - Madison, an examination, study and research library devoted to children's and young adult literature. She served as director of the CCBC between 1976 and 2002. While director, she founded the award-winning CCBC Intellectual Freedom Information Services. With CCBC colleagues she wrote and taught about book evaluation, especially multicultural literature and also international books for children & young adults. As an active member of the Wisconsin Library Association and the American Library Association, she chaired and also served on many book award committees. She co-founded the annual CCBC Charlotte Zolotow Award & Lecture. Ginny's formal honors include election into Beta Phi Mu (1977); Member of the Year, Society of Children’s Book Writers (1977); Librarian of the Year, Wisconsin Library Association (1978); Alumna Honor, College of Education & Human Services, UW-Oshkosh (1985); Christopher Latham Sholes Award, Council for Wisconsin Writers (1988); Award for Outstanding Contributions to Children’s Books, Children’s Reading Round Table of Chicago (1988); Award of Excellence, Wisconsin Educational Media Association (1996); Alumna of the Year, School of Library & Information Studies, UW-Madison (1996); Distinguished Service Award, Association for Library Services to Children, American Library Association (1996); Hope S. Dean Award, Foundation for Children’s Books (1997); and the Distinguished Achievement Award, School of Education (1998). In 2003 Ginny was awarded the second Rabin Youth Arts Award for Individual Achievement given by the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras. She was named a Distinguished Alumna of the University of Wisconsin – Oshkosh in 2006. In 2008 Ginny was named a “Backyard Hero” by Community Shares of Wisconsin for her leadership in the 2007 “Public Reading of Banned Books” event sponsored by ALCU/Wisconsin. 
 
Prior to taking the position as Director at the CCBC, Ginny received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education from Wisconsin State University – Oshkosh in 1956 and a Masters Degree in Library Science from the University of Wisconsin – Madison in 1976. She taught English and Speech at Lincoln Junior High School, 1956-1958. Between 1967 and 1969, served as Library Director at Central Junior High School in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, followed by five years during which she was the Resource Center Director at Weeks Junior High School in Newton Centre, Massachusetts. In 1974 she taught the Children’s Literature course in the Education Department at Simmons College, Boston. Between 1974 and 1975 Ginny coordinated special programs for children and families for the Children’s Department of the Brown County Public Library, Green Bay, Wisconsin. 


Ginny is grateful for the mentoring and support of two previous Library Hall of Fame inductees - Elizabeth Burr and Muriel Fuller. Burr as Children's Consultant at the Wisconsin Free Library Commission (WFLC) helped found the CCBC in 1963 as a cooperative venture between the WFLC, the UW Library School, and the UW School of Education.
 

Daniel Steele Durrie (1819-1892)

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durrie-3-72.jpgDaniel Steele Durrie is one of seven individuals who will be inducted into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame on November 3, 2011 at the Awards and Honors Banquet during the Wisconsin Library Association Conference in Milwaukee. Durrie held the elected position of Librarian of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin (now the Wisconsin Historical Society) from 1856 until his death in 1892. Durrie and Lyman C. Draper, the first Secretary of the Historical Society, worked together to build the foundation of the Society’s nationally acclaimed collection. Leslie Fishel had this to say about Durrie and Draper in a 1995 Wisconsin History Magazine article: “Daniel Steele Durrie was a knowledge-seeker with a penchant for detail, a dedication to hard work, an ambition to build enduring monuments, and an imaginative drive which undergirded all of those impulses. Reserved and respectful but not reticent, he assisted and complemented the expansive and egocentric Lyman Copeland Draper, who, as the institution’s first “corresponding secretary,” energized a fragile State Historical Society of Wisconsin in its early years. Working in tandem, these two men helped to create the foundations of a dynamic research institution which came to rank with the best of the breed around the globe.” In an 1892 tribute to Durrie, James Davie Butler indicates that Durrie is justly classed among the founders of the Historical Society. Durrie was largely responsible for organizing and indexing the library’s monograph and periodical collection prior to the development of a library profession in America. Durrie was born on January 2, 1819 in Albany, New York. Prior to his work in the Society’s library he was a bookseller. During Lyman Draper’s tenure as Superintendent of the Department of Public Instruction, Durrie served as his assistant. 


The image of Durrie is from the Wisconsin Historical Society's Digital Image Collection. Image ID: WHi-47868.


Walter Mcmynn Smith (1869 – 1938)

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smith-walter-80.jpgWalter Mcmynn Smith is one of seven individuals who will be inducted into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame on November 3, 2011 at the Awards and Honors Banquet during the Wisconsin Library Association Conference in Milwaukee. Smith became the first full time Librarian of the University of Wisconsin in Madison in 1891 and served in that capacity until 1937. During his tenure the library grew from a staff of one to a staff of 35 and the library increased its holdings from 18,000 to 475,000 volumes. Smith was one of the founders of the Wisconsin Library Association in 1891, and he was the first academic librarian to serve as President of WLA (1908-1909). Smith oversaw the move of the University library from Library Hall to the new building of the Historical Society of Wisconsin in 1900 where it shared space with the Society’s library. Starting in 1893 Smith gave a series of lectures about the library to students, one of the early examples of library instruction in the nation. Smith was born in Janesville, Wisconsin. He was listed in Who’s Who in America (1936) and is included in the Dictionary of Wisconsin History. Smith was one of 67 American librarians elected to the prestigious American Library Institute when it was organized in 1905. 
 

Ella T. Veslak (1897-1996)

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veslak-small.jpgElla T. Veslak is one of seven individuals who will be inducted into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame on November 3, 2011 at the Awards and Honors Banquet during the Wisconsin Library Association Conference in Milwaukee. Veslak was a leader in the development of county library service in Wisconsin. She began serving as Director of the Shawano Public Library in 1926 and served simultaneously as Director of the Shawano County Library starting in 1934. She was a proponent of bookmobile service and participated in the first federal demonstration of bookmobile service in Wisconsin. She was a strong advocate of the role of the public library in adult education. In 1939 Veslak was presented with the Theodora Youmans Citizenship Award of the Wisconsin Federation of Women’s Clubs for her service in uniquely combining local, county and federal resources in providing library service to rural people. She served as a citizen member of the Wisconsin Free Library Commission 1946-1948. According to Benton H. Wilcox, Veslak was one of the most respected members of WLA when she was appointed to the WFLC. She became a staff member of the Wisconsin Free Library Commission in 1948. She received the Citation of Merit from the Wisconsin Library Association in 1960. She received the 1967 Honorary Recognition Award from UW College of Agriculture & Life Sciences which honors individuals who have demonstrated outstanding leadership and made significant contributions in the areas of agriculture, life sciences, natural resources and social science. 
 

Orrilla Thompson Blackshear (1904- 1994)

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blackshear-72.jpgOrrilla T. Blackshear is one of seven individuals who will be inducted into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame on November 3, 2011 at the Awards and Honors Banquet during the Wisconsin Library Association Conference in Milwaukee. Blackshear was a public library leader and a major promoter of Wisconsin’s literary heritage. She held important administrative positions at the Wisconsin Free Library Commission and the Madison Public Library. She was the compiler of Wisconsin Authors and Their Books 1836-1975, a landmark publication about Wisconsin’s literary heritage. Blackshear served as President of the Wisconsin Library Association in 1960-61 and was designated as WLA Librarian of the Year in 1962. Blackshear was a high school teacher and librarian in Ripon, Wisconsin (1937-40), Librarian of the Ripon Public Library (1940-45), and Librarian of the Beaver Dam Public Library (1945-47). From 1947 to 1957 she was a public library consultant and later head of the Traveling Library for the Wisconsin Free Library Commission. Simultaneous with those jobs at the WFLC she was editor of the Wisconsin Library Bulletin. In 1957 she became Assistant Director of the Madison Public Library, a position she held until 1967. She was then hired by the University of Wisconsin Library School to work on a special grant project. Blackshear was born in Otsego, WI in 1904. She received her BS in Library Science from the University of Illinois in 1943.
 

Norman D. Bassett (1891-1980)

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bassett-small-96.JPGNorman D. "Smiley" Bassett is one of seven individuals who will be inducted into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame on November 3, 2011 at the Awards and Honors Banquet during the Wisconsin Library Association Conference in Milwaukee. Bassett became the owner and first president of Demco Library Supplies, Inc. (now DEMCO) in 1931 after the former Library Supplies Department separated from the Democrat Printing Company in Madison, Wisconsin. Bassett had been in charge of the Library Supplies Department at the Democrat Printing Company starting in 1925. A hallmark of Bassett’s leadership of one of the nation’s premier library supply companies was his close relationship with the library community and his commitment to helping libraries carry out their mission more effectively. Bassett was an active member of both the Wisconsin Library Association and the American Library Association. He was Chair of WLA’s Scholarship Committee. In that capacity he instituted an auction of books autographed by prominent authors to raise funds for WLA’s Scholarship Fund. At Demco, Bassett started a free magazine for librarians named Demcourier which existed from 1931 to 1943. Bassett stepped down from the presidency of Demco in 1959 but continued to play an important role in the company until 1968. He launched the Bassett Foundation in 1954 and left $4.5 million to charities when he died in 1980.


Reference: Olderman, Raymond M. Honoring A Century of Service: The Story of Librarians & DEMCO 1905-2005 (DEMCO, 2005).

Gilson G. Glasier (1873-1972)

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glasier.jpgGilson G. Glasier is one of seven individuals who will be inducted into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame on November 3, 2011 at the Awards and Honors Banquet during the Wisconsin Library Association Conference in Milwaukee. The information about Glasier which is given below is from an article by Amy Crowder in the "WSLL @ Your Service" newsletter of the Wisconsin State Law Library. It is reprinted with permission.


Gilson Glasier: Fifty Years of Faithful Public Service


With 50 years of service to his name, Gilson Glasier is the longest serving State (Law) Librarian to date in Wisconsin history. Glasier came to Madison in 1896 to study law at the University of Wisconsin. While still in school he was appointed as private secretary to Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice R.D. Marshall and would eventually serve in that position for eight years. Following two years of private practice in Milwaukee, Glasier returned to Madison in 1906 when the Supreme Court offered him the State Librarian position.


During his tenure, Glasier actively served the legal and law library communities at both state and national levels. It was stated that he "was a quiet, soft-spoken person, meticulous in his work and completely dedicated to serving the bar in addition to his full-time position as librarian." Glasier was secretary-treasurer of the State Bar of Wisconsin from 1920 to 1949 and editor of the bar association's Bulletin, which he founded, for 22 years. He also edited Callaghan's Wisconsin Digest from 1909 to 1920.


Glasier was a charter member of the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL), and held the office of president in 1921-1922. He also served on the executive board and held numerous chairmanships over several decades. In addition, he served as managing editor of the Index to Legal Periodicals and the Law Library Journal. A 1952 Law Library Journal article called Glasier "one of the most active and useful members" of AALL. In 2010 Glasier was posthumously inducted into the AALL Hall of Fame as a Pioneer member, for his dedication and service to the association.


Upon his retirement in 1956, Glasier was honored by the Legislature with a joint resolution commemorating his 50 years of faithful public service to the State of Wisconsin. In it, the Legislature opined, "His leaving will be repined in all corners of the state."


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