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.

Wisconsin’s First Public Library (WLA 125)

Posted by Larry Nix
Larry Nix
Larry Nix has not set their biography yet
User is currently offline
on Friday, January 29, 2016 in WLA 125
The first public library established under Wisconsin’s 1872 public library law was the Black River Falls Public Library which was established in the fall of 1872.  This library met the three criteria for being defined as a public library under Wisconsin law: 1) it was established by a governmental unit (the Village of Black River Falls); 2) it was free to the users of the library; and it was supported by public taxation. The newly established public library was preceded by an association or membership library established in 1868 that was supported by fees that were paid by members. The Black River Falls Public Library was housed in a number of locations in its early years. In 1882 the library was moved to Mrs. P. H. Howell’s dress making and millinery shop when she became librarian. The photograph above shows the library at this location. Black River Falls was one of sixty Wisconsin communities that received a grant from Andrew Carnegie. It received its grant on March 11, 1914 for $10,000.  The Carnegie building which is now houses a historical museum is shown in the photograph below.  The library moved into a new building where it is now housed in 1995.


No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment

Leave your comment

Guest Wednesday, March 29, 2017


Popular Tags

Hall of Fame 2013 ca Black River Falls Public Library Orrilla Blackshear 24 Nolan I. Neds People 22 Woman's Congress Charles Bunge Hall of Fame 2015 Library people WWI Library War Service Meter mail slogans Gilbert H. Doane Library people Postcards Publications Campaign Cam State Law Library Eratus Swift Wilcox American Library Association Library Buidlings campaign Hall of Fame 2012 UW-Madison school of library and information studies Library celebrations Library Artifacts Beloit Public Library Pewaukee Public Library library legislation Wisconsin Association of Academic Librarians Marjorie Sornson Malmberg Association of Library Trustees Advocates and Friends cam 21 books-by-mail UW-Milwaukee School of Information Studies John Miller Chancellor Postcards WHCLIS campa background Manitowoc Public Library Soughton Public Library Suring Area Public Library Wisconsin State Normal School-Milwaukee Peter G. Hamon Buttons Irene W. Newman Pinback buttons archives Jerome P. Daniels Hall of Fame 2016 11 Hall of Fame 2011 Library Systems Gertrude Thurow Postcards library education Brown County Library Library Trustees Hall of Fame 2009 Milwaukee Public Library Council on Library and Network Development Superior Carnegie Libraries Campaign 28 Richard E. Krug Campaign for Wisconsin Libraries Hall of Fame 2012 Public library systems Clinton Public Library COLAND Hall of Fame 2015 Campaign for Wisconsin Libraries Dianne McAfee Hopkins Wayne A. Wiegand CCBC Ice Storm Oshkosh Public Library membership libraries Events & Meetings Inform Wisconsin Lutie Eugenia Stearns caly film 20 School libraries Portage Public Library WLA 125 Dorothea M. Krause Frank Avery Hutchins caly film Carl Spitzweg Hall of Fame 2015 buil American Library Association Library War Service Sarah Janice Kee Katharine MacDonald Jones Historical Register Hall of Fame 2014 S. Janice Kee Academic Librarians Postcards Klaus Linderfelt state historical society Middleton Public Library WLA 125 bed and breakfast Library History Marketing-Publicity Cooperative Children's Book Center Milwaukee Art Museum J. D. Witter Events & Meetings Elroy Public Library Capitol Fire 1904 Hall of Fame 2015 Digital Collections National Bookmobile Day Hall of Fame 2010 Hall Wisconsin Library Association Wisconsin Rapids Black River Falls Ripon Public Library Lutie Stearns bookworm Kimberly-Little Chute Public Library Campaign Appleton Public Library Bookmobiles Campaing for Wisconsin Libraries Governor's Conference on Library and Information Services Public libraries Wilbur Lyle Eberhart White House Conference on Library and Information Services Hall of Fame 2012 Library People Matthew S. Dudgeon Wisconsin Free Library Commission Events Public libraries Anniversaries Campaign for Wisconsin Libraries campaign I Love Libraries Centennial Parcel post UW-Milwaukee Libraries Anniversaries Increase A. Lapham Wisconsin Library Bulletin Uncategorized Milwaukee Public Library Hall fo Fame 2012 Delia Ovitz Library Buildings Edward Asahel Birge Bernard Schwab WLA 125 Clarence Brown Lester trav Hall of Fame 2015 School of Library and Information Studies National Library Week Wisconsin Library Heritage Center Ruth Ann Montgomery hall of T. B. Scott Free Public Library anniversaries WLA 125 Jane K. Billings Hartford Public Library presentations Evansville Wisconsin 14 James Huff Stout Tower Hill Wisconsin library exhibit William J. Wilson World War I Hall of Fame 2008 Wisconsin Historical Society traveling libraries Exhibits Beaver Dam Public Library Wisconsin Library Trustees and Friends 27 Brown Deer Public Library 23 10 Campaign for Wisconsin Libraries Eager Free Public Library Brown Deer Public Library Gerald A. Somers Larry T. Nix Academic Libraries Cornelia Marving Pierce caly film Special libraries Amer campaign Wisconsin State Law Library Wisconsin Free Library Commission Campaign for Wisconsin Libraries Carnegie libraries Zona Gale DeForest Area Public Library James Duane Doty Rusk County Community Library WAAL Madison Public Library McMillan Memorial Library Wisconsin Literary Travel Guide library memorabilia

Wisconsin Library Association Foundation Logo