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.

Libraries and World War I

Posted by Larry Nix
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on Wednesday, April 05, 2017 in Exhibits
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April 6 marks the centennial of the U.S. entry into World War I.  The American Library Association through its Library War Service was actively involved in providing books and magazines to the armed forces during the war.  Library service was provided through 41 camp library buildings and many more library stations.  Library service was also provided at military hospitals and in France and Germany. Wisconsin libraries actively cooperated with the American Library Association in its efforts to provide books for soldiers and sailors during World War I. This included participation in nationwide fundraising efforts. Matthew S. Dudgeon, Secretary of the Wisconsin Free Library Commission and a member of the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame, took a leave of absence to serve in the Library War Service. He was in charge of all camp libraries in the U. S., and later served in France. For the month of April the Middleton Public Library has an exhibit on display about ALA’s Library War Service (see photo above). Many organizations will be commemorating the U.S. involvement in WWI in the months ahead. The American Library Association Archives which has an outstanding collection of archival materials related to the Library War Service will be doing a number of things to commemorate ALA’s involvement in the war.  The Archives has already posted several outstanding articles on its blog. I have also written a number of articles about the Library War Service on The Library History Buff Blog. If you would be interested in hosting an exhibit at your library, contact me at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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