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.

WI State Law Library 175th Anniversary Celebration

Posted by Larry T. Nix
Larry T. Nix
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on Friday, September 16, 2011 in Special libraries




wsll-bookmark-metal-72.jpgEarlier in the week I was privileged to participate in the culminating event of a year long celebration of the 175th anniversary of the founding of what is now the Wisconsin State Law Library (WSLL). As I indicated in my presentation at the event, it doesn't get any better than that for a library history buff. The WSLL's approach to its 175th anniversary could be used as a model by other libraries approaching a significant anniversary.  The WSLL's 175th anniversary activities are recorder on its website.  The library, originally designated as the State Library, was established as part of the Congressional act which established the Territory of Wisconsin.  A $5,000 appropriation was made to purchase books for use by the Territorial Legislature.  This set a precedent for later territorial legislation that followed.  The library narrowly escaped a disastrous fire in the Capitol where it was located in 1904. The WSLL's long serving librarian Gilson Glasier will be inducted into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame in November. The WSLL staff has put together a very nice timeline of the library's history. At the reception this week the staff had assimilated a number on neat artifacts from their history that were displayed for the guests. I'm the proud owner of five sections of iron shelving that were in the library when it was located in the Capitol (it moved out in 1999). Before most of the iron shelving was discarded, the library managed to salvage some very nice label holders that were reused on the attractive shelving the library has now.  Their 175th anniversary logo is based on these label holders.

This article is being jointly posted on the Library History Buff Blog and the Wisconsin Library Heritage Center blog.

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