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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Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts, and Letters

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The Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts, and Letters (the Academy) was chartered by the State Legislature in 1870. It is a membership organization devoted to the gathering and sharing of knowledge in the sciences, arts and letters. Members of the society were expected to do research on subjects of interest to them and to prepare papers on the results of their research. These papers were published in the Transactions of the Academy.  Copies of Transactions were exchanged with other academies and organizations with similar missions all over the world. The Transactions of the Academy have been digitized and are part of the University of Wisconsin Digital Collections. As a result of the exchanges with other organizations, the Academy built up a library of several thousand volumes. The postal card which is shown above was sent by Academy Librarian F. G. Hubbard to the Reale Academia de Scienze, Lettere e Belle Arti di Palermo in Italy in 1895 thanking them for a publication. A review of the annual report of the Academy for 1896 indicates that Hubbard was disbursed $10 for foreign postal cards on September 3, 1895. At two cents a card he had mailed 500 of the cards. The Academy no longer maintains a library. The library collection was transferred to University of Wisconsin - Madison Memorial Library.


COLAND Presentation

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middleton2-72.jpgOn Friday the 13th I made a presentation about the Wisconsin Library Heritage Center (WLHC) to the Council on Library and Network Development (COLAND) at their meeting at the Middleton Public Library. The legislation creating COLAND was passed in 1979 (30 years ago) and it began functioning in 1980. Although the 19 members of COLAND are appointed by the Governor, for administrative purposes it is located in the Department of Public Instruction.  COLAND makes recommendations about library and networking issues to the State Superintendent, the Governor, and the Legislature. The members of COLAND are divided into two categories - public members and members representing library and information organizations. Individuals representing all types of libraries serve on COLAND.

The legislation (AB 20) creating COLAND was controversial and divisive to the library community. In 1965 the former Wisconsin Free Library Commission was eliminated and this function was transferred to the Department of Public Instruction (DPI). The new entity became the Division for Library Services in DPI. The Secretary or administrative position of the Commission became a Division Administrator position in the Department of Public Instruction. Under the new arrangement the Division Administrator position was a non-political civil service appointment. In 1979 one faction of the Wisconsin library community wanted to create a new independent board to oversee state level library development and cooperation efforts and another faction wanted to preserve the Division for Library Services as a unit in DPI. The creation of COLAND was a compromise. As part of the COLAND legislation, the Administrator position for the Division for Library Services was removed from civil service and the appointment was to be made in the future at the pleasure of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction.

As part of my presentation I put together a small display similar to the one at the Wisconsin Library Association conference in Appleton. After my presentation COLAND went on record as endorsing the purposes of the WLHC and supporting efforts to digitize library history materials at the local and state levels.
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  • Rick says #
    Thank you for presenting the WLHC to COLAND, Larry. It's wonderful that COLAND has recognized and endorsed the importance of digi...

Plymouth's Carnegie

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plymouth-portrait-72.jpgTwo communities in Sheboygan County received grants from Andrew Carnegie for public library buildings. Unlike the City of Sheboygan, the City of Plymouth chose to preserve and incorporate its Carnegie building into a new expanded
Plymouth Public Library. The Carnegie building is preserved in its entirety with a major 1988 addition at the rear of the building. The City of Plymouth received its $10,000 Carnegie grant in 1908, but the building was not completed until 1915. The addition was added to the building in 1988. The main entrance to the expanded building is located at 130 Division Street but the Carnegie building faces E. North Main Street. The Wisconsin Historical Society has determined that the building is eligible to be added to the National Register of Historic Places. There is a Wisconsin Architecture and History Inventory (AHI) record for the building. Search under Sheboygan County for Plymouth Public Library. The building is listed on the Wisconsin Library Heritage Trail.


Razed Carnegies

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Of the 63 public library buildings and two academic library buildings built with assistance from Andrew Carnegie in Wisconsin, fourteen have been razed. The buildings were located in the following communities: Appleton (Lawrence University), Beloit, Chippewa Falls, Fond du Lac, Madison (Central Library), Manitowoc, Neenah, Rice Lake, Richland Center, Sheboygan, South Milwaukee, Stevens Point, Wausau, and Wauwatosa. When the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan razed the Carnegie  building for a garden, it kept part of the building's facade which is shown to the left. When Chippewa Falls razed its Carnegie building, it preserved the columns that were in front of the building. These columns now adorn the front of a furniture store. The Carnegie building in Superior has stood vacant for many years and is at risk.


WLHC Display at WLA

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on Tuesday, October 20, 2009
in Exhibits

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The Wisconsin Library Heritage Center has a display at the Wisconsin Library Association Conference in Appleton, Oct. 21-23.  The display is located in a prominent location across from the registration desk in the corridor to exhibits and meeting rooms.


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Public Library Photographs

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on Saturday, October 10, 2009
in Public libraries

 



broadhead-whi-63779-72.jpgThe Wisconsin Historical Society has recently created a new gallery in its Wisconsin Historical  Images collection featuring photographs of public libraries from the Wisconsin Free Library Commission. Thanks to Richard Wambold who assisted with this project for alerting us to this new image gallery.  Publications of the Wisconsin Free Library Commission, now the Wisconsin Division for Libraries, Technology, and Community Learning, often included photographs of library buildings. This is a great resource for those libraries which are included in the gallery. The Wisconsin Historical Society will sell copies of digital images in its collections.  These could be used in a permanent or temporary exhibit in the library or just for future reference purposes.  Other possible uses include an online or printed history of your library. The photograph above features an interior view of an early Brodhead Public Library. It is image WHI 63779 in the Wisconsin Historical Society collection.


Archives Month in Wisconsin

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October is American Archives Month and Wisconsin is joining in on the celebration.  The Wisconsin Historical Society is supporting the state theme "Scrapbook Wisconsin". The UW-Madison student chapter of the Society of American Archivists has established the Archives Month Blog to help promote Archives Month. Archives are essential in the preservation and understanding of library history and the Wisconsin Library Heritage Center is pleased to recognize the importance of archives this month. There are many possible ways that libraries could help celebrate Archives Month. High on the list are programs and exhibits. These could focus on the library's own history and archives or those of the community in which the library is located. If not this year, why not plan for next year.

Klas August Linderfelt (1847-1900)

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Klas LinderfeltKlas August Linderfelt was inducted into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame at the Wisconsin Library Association Conference in Appleton on October 22, 2009. Linderfelt served as the Director of the Milwaukee Public Library from 1880 to 1892. The construction of the new public library and museum building in Milwaukee in 1897 was due largely to Linderfelt’s initial planning efforts. He was one of the founders of the Wisconsin Library Association (WLA) and was elected its first president in 1891. Linderfelt was an authority on library charging/circulation systems and he implemented an innovative charging system at the Milwaukee Public Library.  He was also an authority on library cataloging and was the author of Eclectic Card Catalog Rules which was published in 1890. Linderfelt was active in the American Library Association (ALA) and served as a councilor from 1883 to 1891. He played a major role in the local arrangements for the ALA Conference which took place in Milwaukee in 1886. In 1890 he was elected vice-president of ALA and in 1891 he was elected president.

In 1892 Linderfelt was arrested in Milwaukee for embezzlement. At his trial he was found guilty, but his sentence was suspended. Under the threat of additional charges, he fled to Europe where he spent the rest of his life. As a result of Linderfelt’s conviction for embezzlement, ALA expunged his election from their official records. Linderfelt resigned as President of the Wisconsin Library Association leaving the Association leaderless. As a result WLA held no annual conferences in either 1892 or 1893. Linderfelt was born in Sweden in 1847.  He received a doctorate from Upsala University in Sweden.  In 1870 he immigrated to Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  He died in 1900.  He is listed in the Dictionary of American Library Biography.

There is an informal group of the past presidents of the Wisconsin Library Association that holds a breakfast meeting on the Wednesday morning of the Association's annual conference. An urn with ashes (not human) was created to represent Klas in absentia. The newest past president takes custody of the urn after the meeting and keeps it until the next meeting.

 

Margaret Ellen Monroe (1914-2004)

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monroe2.jpgMargaret E. Monroe was inducted into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame at the Wisconsin Library Association Conference in Appleton on October 22, 2009. Monroe served as Professor and Director of the Library School (now the School of Library and Information Studies) at the University of Wisconsin – Madison from 1963 until 1970. In 1970 she returned to full time teaching at the library school. She retired as Professor Emeritus in 1981. Monroe was a national leader in adult services in libraries and in 1985 the American Library Association (ALA) created the Margaret E. Monroe Library Adult Services Award to honor individuals who have made significant contributions to library adult services. While Monroe was Director of the UW Library School, it initiated the Ph. D degree and an Advanced Studies Certificate. Major outside funding was received by the Library School for research on library services to adults. She was active in the Wisconsin Library Association and served as chair of the Wisconsin Public Library Association and the Intellectual Freedom Committee. She served on the Council of ALA and was a president of the Adult Services Division of ALA. She served as president of the Association of American Library Schools and was chair of the Committee on Accreditation of ALA. In 1972 she received the Award for Distinguished Service to Education for Librarianship.
 
Monroe was born in New York City. She received a bachelor’s degree in English and a bachelor’s degree in librarianship from New York State College in Albany. She received a master’s degree in English and a doctorate from Columbia University. She served in various capacities at the New York Public Library for thirteen years. She was on the faculty of the Graduate School of Library Science at Rutgers University before coming to Madison, Wisconsin. She died in Madison on May 21, 2004.

Matthew Simpson Dudgeon (1871-1949)

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dudgeon.jpgMatthew S. Dudgeon was inducted into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame at the Wisconsin Library Association Conference in Appleton on October 22, 2009. Dudgeon served as Secretary of the Wisconsin Free Library Commission (WFLC) from 1909 until 1920. He implemented an innovative books by mail program in 1914 under new parcel post regulations of the Post Office Department. Dudgeon played an active role in the Library War Service of the American Library Association in World War I. He took a leave of absence from the WFLC to serve as director of domestic camp libraries for the Library War Service. In 1920 he was appointed director of the Milwaukee Public Library, a position he held for 21 years. Dudgeon served as President of the Wisconsin Library Association in 1921-1922. Prior to his library career he was an attorney and was elected to the office of district attorney for Dane County in 1898 and re-elected in 1900. He was elected to the Wisconsin Assembly in 1902. Dudgeon was born on June 15, 1871 in Madison, Wisconsin. He is included in the Dictionary of American Library Biography and the Wisconsin Dictionary of History.

Sarah Janice Kee (1908 -1998)

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kee-72.jpgS. Janice Kee was inducted into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame at the Wisconsin Library Association Conference in Appleton on October 22, 2009. Kee served as Secretary of the Wisconsin Free Library Commission 1956-1965. She provided the leadership for significant statewide planning during this period and for the implementation of the federal Library Services Act. This planning served as the foundation for Wisconsin’s public library systems. She received WLA's Special Service Award in 1965. Previously she was Executive Director of the Public Library Association of the American Library Association (1952-1956) and held a number of posts at the Missouri State Library including Acting State Librarian and Assistant State Librarian (1947-1950). She was an Army librarian during World War II. After her work in Wisconsin she taught at the Library School Kansas State Teachers College in Emporia and then became a Library Services Program Officer for the U.S. Dept. of Education in Dallas, Texas where she retired. She was included in the National Advocacy Honor Roll by the American Library Association in 2000 for her contribution as an advocate for library services in the 20th century.
 

Charles A. Bunge (1936 - )

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bunge.jpgCharles A. Bunge was inducted into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame at the Wisconsin Library Association Conference in Appleton on October 22, 2009. Bunge is Professor Emeritus in the School of Library and Information Studies (SLIS) at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. He became part of the SLIS faculty in 1967 after receiving his Ph.D at the University of Illinois. He served as director of the library school from 1971 to 1981. He returned to full-time teaching in 1981 and continued teaching until his retirement in 1997. Bunge has contributed significantly to the improvement of reference service in libraries Wisconsin and the nation through teaching and writing. Bunge was active and played a leadership role in the Wisconsin Library Association (WLA). He served as Chair of WLA’s Library Development and Legislation Committee in 1969-70 which made a significant contribution to advancing library legislation which resulted in the creation of public library systems in 1971. Bunge served as president of WLA in 1972-73. He was selected as WLA Librarian of the Year in 1983. Bunge was also active in the American Library Association (ALA). He chaired the Committee on Accreditation from 1990 and 1992. He was nominated as a candidate for the presidency of ALA in 1990 and 1993. Bunge was awarded ALA’s Isadore Gilbert Mudge Award in 1983 for distinguished contributions to reference librarianship. Bunge served as president of the Association for Library and Information Science Education (ALISE) in 1980-1981. ALISE presented Bunge with its Professional Contributions to Library and Information Science Education award in 1982. He also received the UMI Excellence in Writing award in 1982. Bunge was born in Kimball, Nebraska on March 18, 1936. He received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Missouri in 1959, a master’s degree in library science from the University of Illinois in 1960, and a Ph.D from the University of Illinois in 1967. He worked as a reference librarian at the Daniel Boone Regional Library System in Columbia, Missouri and at Ball State Teachers College Library in Indiana.
 

 

2009 Hall of Fame Inductees

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The Wisconsin Library Heritage Center Steering Committee has selected seven individuals to be inducted into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame in 2009. The induction ceremony will take place at the Awards Banquet on October 22 at the Wisconsin Library Association Conference in Appleton. The seven inductees are Charles A. Bunge (1936- ), Matthew Simpson Dudgeon (1871-1949), Sarah Janice Kee (1908 -1998), Henry Eduard Legler (1861-1917), Klas August Linderfelt (1847-1900), Charles R. McCarthy (1873-1921), and Margaret Ellen Monroe (1914-2004).  Bunge will be the first living individual to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Brief biographical information about the 2009 inductees is located on the Hall of Fame page of this website. Lengthier biographies can be seen by clicking on the names of the inductees above. The first ten individuals were inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2008. The Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame is a project of the Wisconsin Library Heritage Center which is in turn a program of the Wisconsin Library Association Foundation.

Eastern Shores 30th Anniversary

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easternshores5-72.jpgThe Eastern Shores Library System headquartered in Sheboygan is celebrating its 30th anniversary on Sunday with an open house. To help celebrate this occasion I put together a special exhibit on behalf of the Wisconsin Library Heritage Center. The main Wisconsin Library Memorabilia exhibit is on display at the Door County Library in Sturgeon Bay for September and October, so some improvisation was required. Where possible artifacts with a connection to ESLS and its member libraries were used, but these were supplemented with a variety of other items. The exhibit includes library postcards, library souvenirs, library mail, library buttons, and a framed collection of artifacts relating to the 1971 passage of the Wisconsin public library system law. The 1971 system law display is normally located in meeting room C of the Wisconsin Library Association offices. The Eastern Shores Library System began as the Sheboygan County Library System but was renamed when Ozaukee County joined the system in 1987.
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  • David Weinhold says #
    Larry, We received many comments on the display and people were very impressed by the artifacts you have that connect to our libra...

Evansville History Book Published

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Congratulations to WLHC Steering Committee member Ruth Ann Montgomery on the publication of her new book on the history of Evansville, Wisconsin. The book is part of the Images of America series published by Arcadia Publishing. Ruth Ann is Director of the Arrowhead Library System in Janesville and is a longtime Evansville historian. Many of the images in the book are from her personal collection assembled over many years. Ruth Ann also has also written a history of the Eager Free Library Public Library which is on the web. The Janesville Gazette has written an article about Ruth Ann and the publication of the book.


 


 


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  • Gordon Glass says #
    Congratulations to Ruth Ann for her new book. Ruth, I am proud to say is a high school classmate an an old friend of mine....

Library Memorabilia Exhibit in Door County

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The Wisconsin Library Memorabilia exhibit will be on display at the Door County Library in Sturgeon Bay for September and most of October. Displaying the exhibit in libraries around the state is a project of the Wisconsin Library Heritage Center. The exhibit is curated by Larry Nix, Chair of the WLHC Steering Committee. The display cases at the Sturgeon Bay library are conveniently located immediately adjacent to the entrance and right in front of the computer lab. Sturgeon Bay is one of  sixty communities in Wisconsin that received a grant from Andrew Carnegie for a new library building. The Carnegie building in Sturgeon Bay, which is one block north of the current library, is shown below.  The building which is covered with ivy serves as the office building for an accounting firm. For more information about the exhibit click here.



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Oakley and Baker at Work

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whs-id23281-oakley-baker-large-72.jpgThis image above shows Minnie Oakley and Florence Baker at work in the State Historical Society Library when it was located in Wisconsin's third Capitol. Baker is the one standing precariously on a shelf reaching for a book. Oakley served as Librarian of the Madison Public Library from 1884 to 1889 before going to work for the the State Historical Society Library. Oakley was one of the founders of the Wisconsin Library Association in 1891. She was one of two librarians from Wisconsin who joined the American Library Association in 1886 (only the second and third to do so) when ALA met in Milwaukee. Oakley became Cataloger and Assistant Librarian at the State Historical Society. She later became Cataloger for the Seattle Public Library (1909 or 1910) and Supervisor of Branches for the Los Angeles Public Libraries (1911). Baker became head of the Reading Room of the Historical Society Library. She later married James A. Hayes and moved to the West Coast where she became a noted clubwoman. Clio's Servant: The State Historical Society of Wisconsin 1846-1954 by Cliffford L. Lord and Carl Ubbelohde (State Historical Society of Wisconsin, 1967) is an excellent history of the society and the library. The image is part of the Historical Society's image collection (ID. 23281).

Wisconsin's Package Libraries

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Package libraries were an innovation conceived by Frank A. Hutchins while serving as Secretary of the Department of Debating and Public Discussion in the newly created Extension Division of the University of Wisconsin. Hutchins resigned as Secretary of the Wisconsin Free Library Commission (WFLC) in 1904 because of ill health. After his health recovered he joined the University's Extension Division in 1906. Interestingly, Henry Legler, Hutchins successor at the WFLC, was serving in an unpaid capacity as the first Secretary of the Extension Division in addition to his duties at the WFLC.

Package libraries were collections of pamphlets, pictures, magazine articles, and newspaper clippings on topics of current interest. These were mailed out upon request to individuals, women's clubs, debating groups, business people, rural schools, and libraries.  Borrowers paid the return express charge for the package libraries. In 1913-1914, the Department of Debating and Public Discussion mailed 3,741 package libraries, consisting of almost 150,000 articles on 1,460 subjects to over 450 communities in Wisconsin. Package libraries, like Wisconsin's traveling libraries, were intended to supplement public libraries and to serve rural areas which were not convenient to public libraries. Package libraries were also one component of "The Wisconsin Idea" which was to make the boundaries of the state the boundaries of the University of Wisconsin.

Hutchins health continued to decline and he died in 1914. His work at the Extension Division was taken up by his able assistant Almere Scott who served as Secretary of the Department of Debating and Public Discussion from 1914 to 1946. The concept of package libraries was implemented in other states including Indiana
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Phebe Swan's Reference by Mail Lending Library

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In developing the blog entry on the 1905 meeting of the Wisconsin Library Association in Beloit I came across a reference to the Gleaner's Library operated by Phebe Swan. A brief article in the Wisconsin Library Bulletin for January, 1905 had this to say about Swan's library: "The Gleaner's library at Beloit has proved so invaluable for many a perplexed librarian that a visit to it will be one of the features of the coming meeting of the Wisconsin Library Association. The unique venture has been so successful that Miss Phebe Swan, the proprietor, now has patrons in all parts of the country. She rents magazine articles, newspaper clippings and copies of articles from standard works of reference, on a required subject, to clubwomen, debaters, authors and students for a very small fee." Mame B. Griffin in an April 8, 1911 article for La Follett's Weekly Magazine provides more background on this unusual library. According to Griffin, Swan started out small but her enterprise was so successful that she bought a fourteen room home in Beloit in 1908 to house her growing business. She employed six workers to assist her in organizing and classifying a hundred different magazines. Swan actively marketed her library with ads in magazines and wide distribution of a flyer about the library's services. The image above is a partial scan of a copy of one of the flyer's that is in the collection of the Wisconsin Historical Society. The flyer indicates that articles will cost the requester five cents each along with both outgoing and return postage. This is a remarkable story of success by a woman who had an idea for a business model and made it work. I'm not clear about who the "Gleaners" were or how long the library lasted. It's certainly a subject that is worthy of further study.


More about Phebe Swan.


Further digging around in Google has resulted in more information about Phebe Swan. The Semi-Centennial History of the Illinois State Normal University, 1857-1907 which was published in 1907 has the best information. She was a member of the class of 1881 at ISNU, now Illinois State University. She is listed as Lizzie Phebe Swan and her occupation is given as Librarian and Proprietor of a Reference Library in Beloit, Wisconsin. According to the ISNU history, she was an assistant (library ?) at ISNU from 1886 to 1892. She was a student of the Library Department of Armour Institute (predecessor of the University of Illinois Library School), 1893-94 and worked as a librarian at the University of Wisconsin from 1894 to 1902. She became Librarian of the Gleaners' Library in Beloit in 1902, a library which she evidently founded.  Handbooks of the American Library Association list her as member number 1,507. She evidently became a life member of the National Education Association in 1897.


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  • Rick says #
    "I'm not clear about who the "Gleaners" were..." According to my dictionary to glean is to gather grain or other produce left by r...
  • Larry Nix says #
    That certainly makes sense.

One Year Anniversary of WLHC Website

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It's hard to believe that it has been a year since the WLHC Website was launched. Since that time over 95 posts have been made to the blog portion of the website. To see a list of blog posts including several recent posts click here. The website was launched with a large amount of content that had been developed for "The Library History Buff" website. During the last year much of this content has been updated and expanded. Thanks to the Outagamie Waupaca Library System for hosting the website and for the work of Beth Carpenter, formerly with OWLS and now director of  the public library in Little Chute, in designing and setting up the site. Beth continues to serve as the technical advisor for the website while I (Larry Nix) serve as the webmaster. We are also appreciative of the assistance of Evan Bend at OWLS for keeping track of our website statistics. The website averages just under 5,000 visits each month by around 1,300 unique visitors. We are always eager to get feedback about the website and each blog post and web page allows for comment.

The Wisconsin Library Heritage Center is a program of the Wisconsin Library Association Foundation.

 

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