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.

Celebrating Anniversaries

Celebrating significant library anniversaries is a great way to promote libraries and library history.  It's feasible to celebrate anniversaries as often as every five years and certainly every ten years.  A significant celebration should take place every 25 years. Of course, fiftieth anniversaries and centennials call for  even more elaborate celebrations.

Celebrations can occur for a variety of library anniversaries.  These include the legal founding date of the library or organization, the founding date of a predecessor library with a direct connection to the current library, the anniversary of the library's building or one of the library's buildings, or the celebration of a significant event in the history of the library such as the start of bookmobile service.

Tips on celebrating anniversaries

  • Validate and document the date of the event on which the anniversary is based.
  • Link your anniversary to what was going on in your community during the year on which your anniversary is based.
  • Start planning early! The more significant the anniversary the earlier you should start. Three to five years for a centennial celebration is not too early.  Why not make it a multi-year event with a count down to the centennial year.
  • Establish a planning committee made up of enthusiastic members.  The committee should include community members as well as library staff and board members.
  • Get your Friends of the Library organization involved.
  • Involve outside groups and organizations such as the local historical society and the municipal government.
  • Establish an overall plan with a timeline. 
  • The plan should include a strong public relations/marketing component.
  • Some ideas for celebrating anniversaries
  • Conduct a variety of events and programs throughout the anniversary year.
  • Designate one day as the date for the "birthday party" or key special event. Have an open house.  Invite dignitaries. Arrange for entertainment. Have staff where historic clothing. Heavily publicize the event. Prepare a printed event program.
  • Develop and utilize a special logo for the anniversary.
  • Establish an anniversary blog and seek stories from people in the community about the library's past and their involvement with the library.
  • Create a special page on the library's Web site for all anniversary related information.
  • Develop an exhibit of historical artifacts related to the library or to the community. Use old library photos.
  • Arrange for regular stories in the local media.
  • Arrange to have a history of the library written and place a version of it on the library's Web site.
  • Work with the local post office to create a pictorial postmark related to the library's anniversary.  Create a souvenir envelope to go with the postmark and include an insert with the history of the library. 

The Wisconsin State Law Library, Wisconsin's oldest library, celebrated its 175th anniversary in 2011. It undertook a year long schedule of activities to celebrate this important milestone.

To help celebrate its centennial in 1997 the Appleton Public Library created a "I Remember" scrapbook in which library patrons could write down their special remembrances of using the library. The scrapbook was cataloged and placed permanently in the library's Wisconsin collection. 

In 2000 the Madison Public Library celebrated its 125th anniversary. In collaboration with storyteller Dr. Bob Kann the library created a website on which Kann told a different story from the library's history for 125 days. These stories led to a more comprehensive online history of the library which is located at Madison Public Library History

Resources to Help You Celebrate

LHRT Guidelines for Writing Local Library Histories

http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/rts/lhrt/governance/lhrtpositions/guidelineswriting.cfm

The Hippest History by Bernadette A. Lear (Library Journal article)
http://lj.libraryjournal.com/2005/05/ljarchives/the-hippest-history/

Wisconsin Library History Links on the Web (includes examples of of local library histories)
http://heritage.wisconsinlibraries.org/wlas-125th/links

Library Exhibits

http://heritage.wisconsinlibraries.org/history/library-history-exhibits

http://www.libraryhistorybuff.org/exhibits.htm

Categories

Popular Tags

Delia Ovitz Wisconsin Library Association Pinback buttons Pewaukee Public Library Academic Librarians Library celebrations caly film WHCLIS Ripon Public Library Clinton Public Library Cam Clarence Brown Lester membership libraries Campaign for Wisconsin Libraries Capitol Fire 1904 Meter mail slogans Campaign Publications Campaign for Wisconsin Libraries traveling libraries Suring Area Public Library library legislation Hall of Fame 2009 Wisconsin Historical Society Appleton Public Library DeForest Area Public Library Milwaukee Public Library Beloit Public Library Governor's Conference on Library and Information Services campaign Library Buidlings Increase A. Lapham Wisconsin State Law Library WWI Library War Service Louise S. Robbins Campaign Postcards trav state historical society Gilbert H. Doane Campaign for Wisconsin Libraries Hall of Fame 2008 Library Artifacts Cooperative Children's Book Center Council on Library and Network Development Hall of Fame 2012 Richard E. Krug Hall of Fame 2015 Hall of Fame 2013 library memorabilia Milwaukee Art Museum White House Conference on Library and Information Services Milwaukee Public Library Lutie Stearns Wayne A. Wiegand UW-Madison school of library and information studies Carl Spitzweg Wisconsin Rapids Wisconsin State Normal School-Milwaukee Beaver Dam Public Library Digital Collections People Rusk County Community Library School of Library and Information Studies Wisconsin Library Heritage Center library education presentations Katharine MacDonald Jones campaign Sarah Janice Kee Postcards Library e William J. Wilson Campaign James Huff Stout J. D. Witter Hall fo Fame 2012 Special libraries Superior Carnegie Libraries Amer Ruth Ann Montgomery Hall of Fame 2010 Buttons Orrilla Blackshear National Bookmobile Day Centennial Uncategorized Hall of Fame 2016 Charles Bunge 27 WLA 125 School libraries World War I Sandra Friedman Dolnick Matthew S. Dudgeon Hall of Fame 2018 Portage Public Library bookworm 20 Academic Libraries Wisconsin Association of Academic Librarians Soughton Public Library caly film Hartford Public Library State Law Library Library people Postcards Brown County Library Lowell W. Wilson Exhibits Events hall of Library Trustees Black River Falls Public Library Brown Deer Public Library Parcel post WLA 125 Eratus Swift Wilcox Hall library exhibit Black River Falls Gerald A. Somers James Duane Doty Edward Asahel Birge 24 Hall of Fame 2015 Cornelia Marving Pierce Events & Meetings WAAL Library Buildings Campaign for Wisconsin Libraries caly film Public libraries Jane K. Billings Wisconsin Free Library Commission Library Systems Wisconsin Literary Travel Guide Middleton Public Library 14 Lutie Eugenia Stearns Ice Storm Zona Gale CCBC American Library Association Library War Service Wisconsin Library Trustees and Friends Postcards Public library systems Inform Wisconsin Frank Avery Hutchins Wisconsin Free Library Commission Elroy Public Library Irene W. Newman cam Tower Hill Wisconsin Association of Library Trustees Advocates and Friends Oshkosh Public Library Campaign for Wisconsin Libraries Events & Meetings Hall of Fame 2012 Helen Adams 22 21 Hall of Fame 2011 John J. Jax WLA 125 Robert Bocher Library people Woman's Congress UW-Milwaukee Libraries Hall of Fame 2014 Nolan I. Neds Dianne McAfee Hopkins Marketing-Publicity 11 campaign I Love Libraries campa Marjorie Sornson Malmberg WLA 125 Campaing for Wisconsin Libraries Gertrude Thurow COLAND McMillan Memorial Library Wisconsin Federation of Women's Clubs Dorothea M. Krause anniversaries Anniversaries Kimberly-Little Chute Public Library Historical Register Wisconsin Library Bulletin bed and breakfast Brown Deer Public Library Hall of Fame 2017 buil Lucy E. Smith Morris National Library Week 28 Bernard Schwab American Library Association Wilbur Lyle Eberhart Public libraries archives Peter G. Hamon Manitowoc Public Library ca 10 Jerome P. Daniels UW-Milwaukee School of Information Studies Hall of Fame 2015 background Hall of Fame 2012 Larry T. Nix Library People Madison Public Library 23 John Miller Chancellor Hall of Fame 2015 books-by-mail Library History Carnegie libraries Hall of Fame 2018 Klaus Linderfelt T. B. Scott Free Public Library Anniversaries Eager Free Public Library S. Janice Kee Bookmobiles Ruby Roeder Evansville Wisconsin Bob Bochfer Hall of Fame 2015

Wisconsin Library Association Foundation Logo