Miriam Downing Tompkins (1892-1954)
Miriam Downing Tompkins will be inducted into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame on October 23, 2013 at the annual conference of the Wisconsin Library Association in Green Bay, WI. Tomkins was a national leader in advancing the role of the public library in adult education. She was a pioneer in library work with labor unions. She served as Director of the Training Class of the Milwaukee Public Library 1919-1921 and Chief of Adult Education 1923-1929. Under her leadership the adult education department of the Milwaukee Public Library provided a national model for adult education in public libraries that included information service, group service, and readers’ advisory service. She later served on the faculties of the library schools at Emory University and Columbia University. She was a delegate to the International Conference on Adult Education in Cambridge, England in 1929. She was born in Kalispell, MT, and received B.A. and M.A. degrees from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. She is included in the Dictionary of American Library Biography.