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.

Frank Avery Hutchins (1851-1914)

Posted by Larry T. Nix
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on Thursday, December 04, 2008 in Hall of Fame

hutchins-72.jpgFrank Avery Hutchins was inducted into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame on November 6, 2008. Hutchins was one of the founders of the Wisconsin Library Association in 1891.  He served as President of WLA from 1894 to 1897.  As President of WLA he was instrumental in starting the Summer School for Library Economy in 1895 which became the Wisconsin Library School in 1906.  He helped establish the Wisconsin Free Library Commission (WFLC) in 1895 and was its initial Chair until 1897.  In 1897 with the reorganization and increased funding of the WFLC he became its first paid Secretary, a post he held until 1904.  He originated the idea of the Wisconsin Legislative Reference Library which became a unit of the WFLC and served as a national model.  He was a national leader in public library development and extension.  Helen Lyman in the Dictionary of American Library Biography entry for Hutchins said, “He belongs to that small group of men and women who formed and developed the modern library movement and made the library profession what it has become.” Hutchins became interested in libraries while serving as editor of the weekly newspaper, the Beaver Dam Argus.  He helped organize the Beaver Dam Free Library Association which was established in 1884. He was featured in the "As it Was in The Beginning" series of the Public Libraries magazine (1925, volume 30, pages186-190).   He is listed in the Dictionary of American Library Biography and the Dictionary of Wisconsin History . The image of Hutchins is from the Wisconsin Historical Society’s Historical Image Collection  Image ID: 29375.



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