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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Traveling Libraries Publication

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traveling-libraries-wi-1897-72.jpgIn 1897 the Wisconsin Free Library Commission published a 39 page booklet entitled Free Traveling Libraries in Wisconsin: The Story of Their Growth, Purposes, and Development; With Accounts of a Few Kindred Movements. The cover of the publication is shown here. The cover includes the statement: "It is after all, not the few great libraries, but the thousand small ones, that may do most for the people". This philosophy is consistent with that which is discussed in the previous post. Also on the cover is an illustration of a traveling library bookcase similar to the one used by the Stout traveling libraries in Dunn County. The booklet has been digitized by the Wisconsin Historical Society and can be viewed here. Many of the images of traveling libraries in the booklet are also part of the Digital Images Collection of the Wisconsin Historical Society and can be seen here. There is also a page on this site devoted to traveling libraries.
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Scattering Libraries Over the Whole Land

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in Library artifacts

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The early philosophy and work of the Wisconsin Free Library Commission is aptly communicated by the logo and and quotation on this library envelope mailed in 1901. The quotation "Had I the power I would scatter libraries over the whole land, as a sower sows his wheat field" is from Horace Mann. The logo shows a farmer scattering seed with Wisconsin Free Library Commission across the top. Later envelopes used by the WFLC have the logo but not the quotation and eventually the logo was dropped. Either Frank Hutchins or Lutie Stearns could have been responsible for the design of the stationery used by the WFLC. They jointly led the WFLC in its early years and they certainly did all they could to scatter libraries and library services throughout Wisconsin. In her tenure at the WFLC, Stearns helped establish 150 free public libraries and 1,400 traveling libraries.


Wisconsin's State Librarian

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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.


Community Advertising Envelopes

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on Saturday, November 21, 2009
in Library artifacts

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One way that communities in the first two decades of the 20th century sought to attract new businesses was through advertising on envelopes.  These envelopes typically included pictures on the front of the envelope that depicted significant buildings and attractions in the community.  The back of these envelopes included written text which made the case for locating in a particular community. During this same period new public library buildings were being built in communities across the country, many as the result of grants from philanthropists such as Andrew Carnegie.  So it is not surprising that libraries are often one of the buildings being depicted on the front of the envelope. The envelope above is for the community of Stoughton and it has an image of the building that housed the city hall, the library, and the opera house. This envelope was mailed in September of 1905. In December of 1905 Stoughton received a grant from Andrew Carnegie to build a separate public library building. Both buildings are still in existence in Stoughton and the Carnegie building has been incorporated into an expanded public library. A previous post shows postcards depicting both buildings. A community advertising envelope for Sheboygan can be seen here. In 1992 the Postal History Foundati0n in Tucson, Arizona received a collection of 1,204 community advertising envelopes. An analysis of the envelopes found that Wisconsin communities had the second highest number of envelopes - 75. Only Michigan with 76 envelopes had more.


Public Relations Retrospective

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in Marketing-Publicity

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The unveiling of the Wisconsin Libraries Say Cheese! publicity promotion takes place today. The promotion is part of the Campaign for Wisconsin Libraries of the Wisconsin Library Association (WLA) Foundation. It is another in a long history of library public relations efforts in Wisconsin. In 1896, at the American Library Association Conference in Cleveland, Lutie Stearns, Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame member, said: “There is no stratum of society not reached and influenced by some form of advertising. 'Nine-tenths of the world would rather be interested than educated, and the other tenth likes to be interested too.' The librarian, then must first interest the masses, to bring them within her doors, and then attempt to educate. 'She must first capture the eye. The eye is the sentinel of the will. Capture the sentinel and you will capture the will. The feet follow the eyes.' It is the untiring, unremitting, keeping-everlastingly-at-it-and never-taking-no-for-an answer appeal to the eyes of the people that will bring them within your portals.”
 
 It was not until 1938 that the Wisconsin Library Association (WLA) got around to establishing its first formal Publicity Committee. In 1958 the National Book Committee and the American Library Association conducted the first annual National Library Week campaign with the theme “Wake Up and Read”. In 1964 under the leadership of Gerry Somers, Director of the Brown County Public Library, WLA was given the first $1,000 Grolier Award for most effective state National Library Week program in the nation.
 
As a spin off of the 1962 National Library Week campaign in Wisconsin, Mrs. Bruno Bitker of Milwaukee provided the leadership for founding in 1963, the Friends of Wisconsin Libraries or FOWL. That organization was the model for the national Friends of Libraries USA which was also founded in Wisconsin.
 
In 1961-62 the WLA public relations committee initiated a statewide effort to “spread the word of what good library service is and can be, with a special effort to reach persons of influence.” In this effort the PR committee worked with a television station in Wausau to develop TV slides and audios, it prepared and distributed flyers explaining regional library service, contacted clubs and other organizations about including free library advertisements and articles in their publications. It prepared an exhibit of public relations materials for the annual WLA conference, and conducted public relations workshops at all the district library association meetings.


The 1970s saw the creation of a multi-year library public relations effort in Wisconsin funded with grants from the Library Services and Construction Act. This public relations project was called the Cooperative Library Information Project or CLIP. It was directed by Meriam Edsall. A major outcome of this effort was the creation of Wisconsin’s annual summer library program which became a model for the nation.

In 1995, the Council on Wisconsin Libraries (COWL) put together an ambitious cooperative public relations effort involving COWL, WLA, and the Wisconsin Educational Media Association. It resulted in the theme “Wisconsin Libraries – More than books. More than ever.” This PR effort received support from a professional public relations firm and three years of LSTA funding totaling $55,000. A highlight of this campaign was several celebrity TV ads paid for by commercial sponsors.

In 2000, the WLA Public Relations Committee coordinated Wisconsin’s celebration of the bicentennial of the Library of Congress by promoting Second Day of Issue Events around the state in conjunction with the issuing of the Library of Congress postage stamp. The committee also promoted the involvement of Wisconsin libraries in the ALA @your library public relations campaign.

In 2004, the Library Advocacy Round Table of WLA came up with an idea to tie in library promotion with the local, state, and national elections for that year. This resulted in the “I Love Libraries and I Vote” campaign and the designation by the Governor of February as Library Lovers Month in Wisconsin.


In 2005 the WLA Foundation embarked on the Campaign for Wisconsin Libraries to promote a wider understanding of the value and importance of Wisconsin’s libraries.  This effort has utilized a variety of public relations materials and techniques to promote Wisconsin's libraries. The Wisconsin Libraries Say Cheese! public relations effort is just one more way that Wisconsin is following Lutie Stearn’s advice to “keep-everlastingly-at-it”. 


Note: Much of the content of this post was included in a presentation that I made at the Wisconsin Association of Public Libraries Conference in the Spring of 2006. 


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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on Wednesday, October 28, 2009
in Carnegie libraries

 



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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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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....

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