For fifty years the Cooperative Children's Book Center (CCBC) in Madison, WI has been assisting librarians, teachers, and parents with the selection of the best books for children. The CCBC has been celebrating this milestone with a number of activities this year including a gala dinner on October 17th and a special display (see above) at the Center. The CCBC opened on the fourth floor of the State Capitol on June 23, 1963. The "Cooperative" in its name is based on its original establishment as a cooperative project of the Division of Library Services in the Department of Public Instruction, the School of Library & Information Studies (SLIS) of the University of Wisconsin, and the UW School of Education. Currently it is administered solely by the UW School of Education. It is now located at UW-SLIS. The CCBC was established for the following purposes: 1) provide a centralized children's book collection; 2) provide a historical collection of children's books; 3) provide training in evaluating children's literature; 4) aid libraries, teachers, parents in making wise and economical book selections; and 5) develop adult interest in children's literature. The CCBC's current vision also includes advocating for the First Amendment rights of children and young adults. The CCBC has been a national leader in promoting quality multi-cultural literature for children. Happy 50th birthday CCBC!
This article also appeared on The Library History Buff Blog.
By far the most famous library lions are those that grace the front entrance of the New York Public Library's building at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street. The Oshkosh Public Library in Wisconsin also has a pair of library lions and, like those in New York, they have provided an important visual symbol of the public library. Also like the lions of the New York Public Library, the library lions in Oshkosh are named. They were named Harris and Sawyer in 1977 for two of the prominent early donors to the library. Earlier this month the Oshkosh Public Library celebrated the 100th anniversary of the installation of the lions in front of the library in 1912. The celebration included a variety of activities including a "Lion's Pride" mini sculpture contest. The lions sit in front of the library that was built in 1900. A major expansion and renovation of the building took place in 1994. The Oshkosh Public Library has a commemorative history of the lions as well as an overall history of the library on its website. The website of the New York Public Library has a page on its lions. There is also a good printed history of the New York Public Library lions titled Top Cats: The Life and Times of The New York Public Library Lions by Susan G. Larkin (Pomegranate, 2006).
This post was previously published in The Library History Buff Blog.
Earlier in the week I was privileged to participate in the culminating event of a year long celebration of the 175th anniversary of the founding of what is now the Wisconsin State Law Library (WSLL). As I indicated in my presentation at the event, it doesn't get any better than that for a library history buff. The WSLL's approach to its 175th anniversary could be used as a model by other libraries approaching a significant anniversary. The WSLL's 175th anniversary activities are recorder on its website. The library, originally designated as the State Library, was established as part of the Congressional act which established the Territory of Wisconsin. A $5,000 appropriation was made to purchase books for use by the Territorial Legislature. This set a precedent for later territorial legislation that followed. The library narrowly escaped a disastrous fire in the Capitol where it was located in 1904. The WSLL's long serving librarian Gilson Glasier will be inducted into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame in November. The WSLL staff has put together a very nice timeline of the library's history. At the reception this week the staff had assimilated a number on neat artifacts from their history that were displayed for the guests. I'm the proud owner of five sections of iron shelving that were in the library when it was located in the Capitol (it moved out in 1999). Before most of the iron shelving was discarded, the library managed to salvage some very nice label holders that were reused on the attractive shelving the library has now. Their 175th anniversary logo is based on these label holders.
Today is the 160th anniversary of the birth of Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame member Frank Avery Hutchins (1851-1914). Hutchins was a leader in the free public library movement in Wisconsin and the United States. Hutchins' entry in the Dictionary of American Library Biography (Libraries Unlimited, 1978) written by Helen Huguenor Lyman has this to say about him: "Frank Hutchins, a brilliant man of rare vision and modesty, a pioneer librarian and active leader in the library world of Wisconsin, was born on March 8, 1851, in Norfolk, Ohio. During his lifetime he was teacher, bookseller, newspaper man, library trustee, and librarian. Again and again his friends described him as a humanitarian, public servant, scholar, and practical idealist. he helped to gain legislative, financial, and professional support for both the educational work of school and public libraries and the extension of library services throughout the state of Wisconsin. An initiator who would take no credit for the events he helped to set in motion, he recognized the abilities of others and encouraged them to carry out new ideas." Hutchins was a founder of the Wisconsin Library Association in 1891and the first paid secretary of the Wisconsin Free Library Commission. Hutchins close partner in the development of public library service in Wisconsin was fellow Hall of Fame member Lutie Stearns.
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.
The Wisconsin Library Heritage Center is a program of the Wisconsin Library Association Foundation.