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.

ALA Madison Day 1901

Posted by Larry T. Nix
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on Monday, December 15, 2008 in Library buildings

The 1901 Conference of the American Library Association took place in Waukesha. In the early Monday morning hours of July 8, 1901 the entire group of attendees went by train to Madison. As reported in the magazine Pulic Libraries, "They were met on their arrival by a local committee, carriages were provided and the party was taken to various points of interest about the city and through the beautiful drives adjoining the university grounds."  Later that afternoon "... the party was led through the new Historical library building... There was but one opinion of the entire party in regard to the beauty and arrangement of the building, and that was satisfactory to the highest degree. The beautiful reading-room was greatly admired by everyone, and even those who are wont to think that Bates hall [in the Boston Public Library] and the halls of the Congressional library at Washington are beyond compare, were willing to admit that the enthusiasm and praise of the room were merited." Madison Day ended with a group picture on the steps of the Historical library. "The party returned to Waukesha well pleased with its trip and delighted with the hospitality of the Madison people."

Plans are underway to restore the Reading Room of the State Historical Society to its original grandeur.

The image of those attending Madison Day is from the Wisconsin Historical Image collection of the Wisconsin Historical Society. Image ID: 45544.


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