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.

Subscribe to feed Viewing entries tagged Bookmobiles

Bookmobiles in Wisconsin Library History

Posted by Larry Nix
Larry Nix
Larry Nix has not set their biography yet
User is currently offline
on Wednesday, April 13, 2016
in WLA 125
bkm-wi-sw-72
Today is National Bookmobile Day and the focus of this blog post is bookmobiles in Wisconsin library history. Although there were some earlier uses of motor vehicles to deliver library service, bookmobile service as we know it today was first demonstrated in Wisconsin in 1940 using federal funding from the Works Progress Administration (WPA). Three bookmobiles were purchased by the Wisconsin Free Library Commission using WPA funds. One of the three bookmobiles was used for a demonstration in Shawano County. In March, 1942, following a successful demonstration, the first autonomous bookmobile service in the state was established in Shawano County. Bookmobile service in Shawano County continues today through the Shawno City-County Library. One of the three bookmobiles served Grant, Iowa, Crawford, and Rock counties. Operational funding for this demonstration which only served children was provided through contributions from 26 American Legion posts. The image above shows children using this bookmobile.  The first state funding for public library service in Wisconsin funded a bookmobile demonstration in Door and Kewaunee Counties in 1950-52. Although the demonstration was a success in terms of use by the residents of those counties, a referendum to continue the service failed in Kewaunee County. Although a similar referendum passed in Door County, both referendums were required to pass in order to continue the service.  In 1956 federal funding was made available to extend public library service to rural areas through the Library Services Act. The Wisconsin Free Library Commission developed a state plan for using this funding. It included the development of regional library systems, and bookmobiles were one component of that plan.  By 1993 there were 21 bookmobiles operating in Wisconsin.  Since then the number of bookmobiles has been reduced to eight. More about Wisconsin bookmobile history can be found HERE.
wla125logo-small

Happy National Bookmobile Day!

Posted by Larry Nix
Larry Nix
Larry Nix has not set their biography yet
User is currently offline
on Wednesday, April 15, 2015
in Events
 Southwest Wisconsin Bookmobile
This week is National Library Week and one day during the week (today April 15) is designated as National Bookmobile Day. Bookmobiles are a part of Wisconsin library history and the Wisconsin Library Heritage Center has developed a page on its website to highlight this aspect of our library heritage. Take a look.

Happy National Bookmobile Day

Posted by Larry Nix
Larry Nix
Larry Nix has not set their biography yet
User is currently offline
on Wednesday, April 11, 2012
in Events

librariana-wilson 007-72

badge-oshkosh-72Today is National Bookmobile Day. Check out our "Bookmobiles" page to see information about the history of bookmobiles in Wisconsin. Paul Nelson has a nice post on his blog about bookmobiles which has some Wisconsin bookmobile images and information. The Library History Buff Blog also has a list of the best bookmobile websites. The item shown above is a paper cutout assembled as a bookmobile.  It was given out to children by the Winding Rivers Library System in La Crosse, Wisconsin several years ago. The  badge to the left was worn by the bookmobile driver of the Oshkosh Public Library. The bookmobile service for the Oshkosh Public Library was discontinued in 2007 due to budget constraints. Based on the fastener on back of the badge, I think it was probably worn on the driver's hat. The vehicle shown on the badge appears to be a bus. It is likely that the company that made the badge supplied badges to bus drivers and they used the same basic design for the bookmobile badge.

National Bookmobile Day

Posted by Larry Nix
Larry Nix
Larry Nix has not set their biography yet
User is currently offline
on Wednesday, February 24, 2010
in Marketing-Publicity

bkm-wi-racine-72.jpg


As part of National Library Week this year there is going to be a National Bookmobile Day on April 14. On the Wisconsin Library Heritage Center website there is a bookmobile page which chronicles some of Wisconsin's bookmobile past.  National Bookmobile Day provides an opportunity for any library that has had bookmobile service in the past to communicate that legacy to the public. There are some wonderful photographs which show the heritage and contribution of the bookmobile to public library service in Wisconsin. Why not see if you have any of these and show them off on National Bookmobile Day. If you still have a bookmobile how about a bookmobile open house. The image above shows Racine Public Library Librarian Muriel Marchant with a vehicle that was referred to as the "library car". 


Door-Kewaunee Bookmobile Demonstration

Posted by Larry Nix
Larry Nix
Larry Nix has not set their biography yet
User is currently offline
on Wednesday, March 25, 2009
in Public libraries
bkm-wi-door-kewaunee-whs2.jpgThere is an article in today's Wisconsin State Journal  about the 1949 Door-Kewaunee Regional Library bookmobile demonstration.  Christine Pawley who has written extensively on the Door-Kewaunee Regional Library published an article in the Summer 2008 issue of the  Wisconsin Magazine of History entitled "The Wisconsin Idea in Action: Reading, Resistance & the Door-Kewaunee Regional Library, 1950-1952".  Pawley, a Professor at the University of Wisconsin Madison School of Library and Information Studies, serves on the Steering Committee of the Wisconsin Library Heritage Center.  We have recently completed a page on this site about Wisconsin's bookmobiles. The image above is from the Wisconsin Historical Society's digital collection.
Tags: Bookmobiles

Book Wagons and Crazy Socialists

Posted by Larry Nix
Larry Nix
Larry Nix has not set their biography yet
User is currently offline
on Wednesday, February 11, 2009
in Marketing-Publicity
The Machinists' Monthly Journal for July, 1904 wrote:"These crazy Socialists in Wisconsin are going too far. A book wagon, the first public library on wheels to be sent out in the United States, is contemplated in a plan just completed by the Wisconsin Free Library Commission. It will invade the State next October. As the wagon passes through the counties the farmers will be invited to select their winter's reading. There will be books for the old and young, and each family will be allowed to make as large a selection as is desired. The following Spring the wagon will make another trip through the same territory to gather up the books and return them to the central library." The proposed book wagon was the idea of Lutie Stearns, and as far as I can determine it was never implemented. Stearns first discussed the concept of a book wagon at the American Library Association conference at Niagra Falls in 1903. The idea was more fully explained in a letter reprinted in the July, 1904 issue of Public Libraries (p. 331). Stearns a major supporter of rotating or traveling libraries felt book wagons could provide more current material. The first book wagon to actually go forth in the United States was from the Washington County Free Library in Hagerstown, Maryland in April, 1905. Whether Mary Titcomb, the Librarian in Hagerstown in 1905, got her inspiration from Lutie Stearns is unknown. The first Hagerstown book wagon was destroyed in 1910 while crossing a railroad track. It was hit by a freight train leaving only fragments of the wagon.

Note: This entry was also posted on the Library History Buff Blog on Feb. 10, 2009. More on bookmobiles in Wisconsin can be found here.
Recent comment in this post Show all comments
  • Ian Hunter says #
    It should read: Niagara Falls

More on Lutie

Posted by Larry Nix
Larry Nix
Larry Nix has not set their biography yet
User is currently offline
on Friday, January 30, 2009
in Hall of Fame


stearns-standing-72.jpg

 

In Part I of her autobiography My Seventy-five Years, Lutie Stearns provided the following description of her work promoting traveling libraries:

 

"From 1895 through October, 1914, I traveled thousands of miles in Wisconsin by stage, sleigh, buggy, wagon, passenger coach, and caboose, wearing out five fur coats in succession in my efforts to reach all parts of the state.  In taking traveling libraries to the rural districts of Dunn and Wood Counties during the winter I would secure a black bearskin to wear over my fur-lined muskrat coat, which was inadequate for the frequent below zero weather. I would get a three-seated sleigh, remove the last two seats, and fill the space with books which I would locate in farmers' homes, rural post offices, schools, and other available stations.  On reaching what was then Grand Rapids--now Wisconsin Rapids--late one evening after a forty-mile drive, a long day's drive in those times, my black bearskin attracted the attention of Mrs. Anna W. Evans, Librarian, who wrote the following poem concerning my appearance:

 

 There is a woman named Stearns;
Her living she easily earns,
By driving 'round,
When the snow's on the ground.
Though the dangers she never discerns.

 

She dons a coat of black hair;
A cap is next put on with care;
She looks like a man,
But to tell you ne'er can
If the product be woman, or bear.

 

Now if in her drives through the brush,
A Bruin should come out with a rush,
Would the woman hug the bear,
Or the bear hug the hair?
Or which would be lost in the crush?

 

Would the bear barely hug the bold jade?
Or the bearskin propelled by the maid
Hug the bear? or the hair
Of the bear would she tear
Or her own, as the price to be paid?"

 

The image of Lutie Stearns is from the Wisconsin Historical Society’s Historical Image Collection, Image ID: 29372.

 

Digitizing our Library Heritage

Posted by Larry Nix
Larry Nix
Larry Nix has not set their biography yet
User is currently offline
on Tuesday, August 26, 2008
in Public libraries
marathon-bookmobile-400284r.jpg

Photograph of an early Marathon County Public Library bookmobile along with library trustees. Reproduced with permission of the library.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Many library institutions are digitizing a wide variety of printed resources which record our cultural heritage. Wisconsin has a number of major initiatives for digitizing such resources. As is often the case, libraries have a tendency to overlook their own unique heritage when pursuing digital projects. This is not the case with the Marathon County Public Library. One of the collections in the "State of Wisconsin Collection" of digital resources is the "Libraries and Schools of Marathon and Lincoln Counties" collection.  For this collection the Marathon County Public Library has contributed 96 images relating to the library's history. These images include photographs and historic documents.  Other libraries are encouraged to emulate the Marthon County Public Library and digitize similar resources related to your library's heritage.

 

Categories

Popular Tags

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

Wisconsin Library Association Foundation Logo