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 State Librarian

Posted by Larry Nix
Larry Nix
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on Wednesday, December 02, 2009 in Special libraries

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As I have written in a previous post, the Wisconsin State Law Library was Wisconsin's first library. Up until 1977 the library was named the Wisconsin State Library and the head of the library had the title of State Librarian. In reality, the library had been a state law library since 1866 when the focus of collection was narrowed by law to "law books of reference and works on political science and statistics".  In 1875 all books of a general nature were transferred to the State Historical Society's Library. This was not difficult since both libraries were located in the State Capitol. When the library's name changed in 1977, the head librarian became the State Law Librarian. The postal card above is addressed to John Berryman who served as State Librarian from 1876 to 1906. The card was mailed from Toronto in 1886 to acknowledge payment for books. A compete timeline of the history of the Wisconsin State Law Library including a list of the former State Librarians can be found here. Of course, Wisconsin's current "chief officer of the state library agency" also sometimes referred to as the state librarian is the Assistant State Superintendent for Libraries, Technology, and Community Learning in the Department of Public Instruction. Currently that person is Richard Grobschmidt.


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