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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Posted by Larry T. Nix
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on Thursday, January 06, 2011 in Events


The year 2011 is an important anniversary year in the history of libraries in Wisconsin.  This year marks the 120th anniversary of the founding of the Wisconsin Library Association. On February 11, 1891, a group of individuals gathered in the office of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction (located in Wisconsin's second Capitol, shown above) for the purpose of establishing a state library association.  At that meeting, a constitution (based on that of the New York Library Association) was adopted and officers were elected.  They included K. A. Linderfelt, president; R. G. Thwaites, vice-president; and F. A. Hutchins, secretary-treasurer. The first conference of the newly established association took place in Madison on March 11, 1891.  Although much of the focus of the early years of the Wisconsin Library Association was on the development of public libraries, twelve decades of library leadership and support by the association has had a positive impact on all types of Wisconsin libraries. As Wisconsin libraries face a tough year due to the economy, it is also a time to acknowledge the tremendous library growth and development that has occurred in the last 120 years. Through good times and hard times Wisconsin libraries have persevered in meeting the information and knowledge needs of the state's residents.  That's something to celebrate.

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