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 Traveling Libraries

Posted by Larry Nix
Larry Nix
Larry Nix has not set their biography yet
User is currently offline
on Thursday, June 23, 2016 in WLA 125

traveling-libraries-wi-1897-72Under the leadership of Melvil Dewey, the State of New York initiated a state funded traveling library system in 1892.  Traveling libraries were small rotating collections that provided a method for extending library service to rural areas.  These small libraries usually from 30 to a hundred books were located in a post office or store with a volunteer acting as the caretaker of the collection.  In New York the collections stayed in one location for six months before they were rotated.  Michigan initiated a similar system in 1895 and Iowa in 1896.   

Traveling libraries began in Wisconsin in 1896, when Senator James Huff Stout of Menomonie, Wisconsin privately funded a system of these libraries for Dunn County.  He provided 500 books divided into collections of 30 volumes each.  He was assisted in the selection of titles to be included by the Wisconsin Free Library Commission which began in 1895.  Senator Stout along with Lutie Stearns and Frank Hutchins had been instrumental in starting the Commission.  More about Wisconsin's traveling libraries can be found HERE.  The image below shows a Stout Traveling Library bookcase at the Dunn County Historical Society



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

Leave your comment

Guest Wednesday, March 29, 2017


Popular Tags

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

Wisconsin Library Association Foundation Logo