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.

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Railroad car library

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on Saturday, March 28, 2009 in Library buildings


The Wisconsin Historical Society has many physical and digital resources of interest and value to the library history buff.  A fellow library history buff made me aware of an image (Image ID 4293) in the Historical Society's digital collection that pictured a railroad car library.  The location of the railroad car library was given as "probably in the Madison area".  However, in searching another digital collection of the Historical Society (Wisconsin Local History & Biography Articles), I came across an article in the October 30, 1938 issue of the Milwaukee Journal that told the story behind the railroad car library.  According to the article, the library was located in Adams, Wisconsin, and the car was donated by the North Western Railroad at the request of the Adams Library Association (a membership library) in 1929. By 1937, the library had 2,088 books that were supplemented with 2,000 more from the state library commission.  The city of Adams was only providing $314 a year to support the library. Today, Adams is home to the Adams County Public Library, a much more substantial library. Dan Calef, Director of the Adams County Public Library, is a Founding Contributor of the Wisconsin Library Heritage Center. Thanks Dan. 


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