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

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

Wisconsin Library Association Foundation Logo