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.

2012 Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame Inductees Selected

Posted by Larry T. Nix
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on Thursday, September 13, 2012 in Hall of Fame

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.
 

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