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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Lowell W. Wilson, 2017 Library Hall of Fame Inductee

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Lowell W. Wilson was inducted into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame at the Wisconsin Library Association annual meeting in Wisconsin Dells on October 19, 2017.  
l wilson-trustee-blog-72Lowell W. Wilson (1916-2015) contributed to advancing library service in Wisconsin as a library professional and library trustee for nearly 70 years. He was instrumental in forming statewide professional organizations for audio-visual professionals and served as president of the Wisconsin Audio-Visual Association from 1973-1976. In 1975, Lowell became active in WLA as a member of the division for trustees, chairing the group in 1991.  He remained an active member of WLA and other organizations until the end of his life.  He also served as a trustee of the Lakeshores Library System for nearly 30 years.   Wilson was selected as the 2007 WLA Library Trustee of the Year.  Around the same time, the Wisconsin Educational Media and Technology Association (WEMTA) established the Lowell Wilson Scholarship for individuals wishing to pursue certification as a Library Media or Instructional Technology Specialist.
As a library trustee, Wilson was constantly learning and encouraging other trustees to participate in library association conferences and leadership opportunities. He has attended most, if not all, Library Legislative Days in Madison, and took his advocacy responsibilities very seriously. He was a consistent protector of intellectual freedom, adamantly opposed censorship and Internet filtering, while defending a library patron’s right to privacy and freedom of access to information.  He was described as a man in motion, always going forward.
  
Wilson retired in 1980 from the Janesville School District where he had taught Physics and was the Library Media Coordinator. In addition to his membership in professional organizations, Wilson was a pilot and member of the Experimental Aircraft Association. He was born in Union Grove on Nov. 11, 1916, and died at his home in Whitewater on June 30, 2015 at the age of 98.
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  • Bill McBride says #
    I knew Lowell as a friend and a brilliant Renaissance man. My father taught with Lowell in the Janesville school system. Lowell ha...

Sandra (Sandy) Friedman Dolnick, 2017 Library Hall of Fame Inductee

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Sandy Dolnick was inducted into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame at the Wisconsin Library Association annual meeting in Wisconsin Dells on October 19, 2017.  
dolnick-blog-72Sandra (Sandy) Friedman Dolnick (1936-2016), a Milwaukee native, became an extraordinarily effective advocate for libraries during the last quarter of the 20th century.  Her efforts started out unassumingly as a member of the Friends of the Whitefish Bay Public Library. She was actively involved in the Friends of Wisconsin Libraries (FOWL) which was founded on April 21, 1963. FOWL was dedicated to promoting the formation of local chapters in support of local libraries and to working on the state level to improve statewide library services.  FOWL later merged with the Wisconsin Library Association Trustees Division to form the Library Trustees & Friends Division.  Building on the friends of libraries experience in Wisconsin Dolnick proposed in 1975 the idea of uniting library friends groups throughout the United States with the publication of a newsletter to share best practices. At that time, she served on a Friends Committee within the Library Leadership and Management Association of the American Library Association (ALA).  With the assistance of ALA, she subsequently surveyed all known library friends groups in the U.S.  Her newsletter became so successful that it led to the founding of Friends of Libraries USA (FOLUSA) in 1979. Dolnick served as the executive director of FOLUSA for 23 years, during which time she established strong partnerships with publishers and corporate sponsors.  She retired as executive director in 2002.  In 2009 FOLUSA merged with the American Library Association and became United for Libraries: Association of Trustees, Advocates, Friends and Foundations. Dolnick was also a member of the Milwaukee Booksellers, now the Friends of the Milwaukee Public Library, and served as its president.  
Sandra Friedman Dolnick was born Nov. 26, 1936 in Milwaukee. A first generation American, she was brought up with a strong work ethic and sense of community service. She attended Campus School, Riverside High School and the University of Wisconsin. In 1957 she married Lee Dolnick, a young media executive, and raised four daughters while volunteering for school and local library functions. She later remarried and relocated to Philadelphia, PA. She died on Dec. 11, 2016 at the age of 80.
This Hall of Fame entry has been adapted from an article in “The Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle” dated Dec. 23, 2016.

Ruby Roeder, 2017 Library Hall of Fame Inductee

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Ruby Roeder was inducted into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame at the Wisconsin Library Association annual meeting in Wisconsin Dells on October 19, 2017.
ruby roeder-blog-72Ruby Roeder (1913-2017) was a highly respected member of the Wisconsin library community. A dedicated Library Director of the Williams Free Library in Beaver Dam, she always thought in terms of library cooperation and extending library service to the unserved.  She worked diligently for countywide service in Dodge County, and then for County membership in the Mid-Wisconsin Federated Library System.  She served on numerous District and Wisconsin Library Association (WLA) committees.  Roeder was twice elected an Officer on the WLA Board, serving a one-year term as Secretary in 1956-57, and a two-year term as Treasurer in 1976-77.
Roeder received a Bachelor of Education degree from Oshkosh State Teachers College in 1936, worked in Chicago, and taught at Thorp High School before assuming her library career.  She received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Library Science from the University of Illinois School of Library Science in June 1947.  Roeder began work as Assistant Librarian at the Williams Free Library in Beaver Dam on July 14, 1947, and as Director on September 1, 1947.  She retired as Library Director in January 1979, and resided in Beaver Dam until her death in August 2017.
Her work toward extending library service began at the same time as her library career.  County librarians and trustees organized a Dodge County Library Association in September 1947 for the purpose of promoting better library service.  Upon the recommendation of a Library Study Committee, the Dodge County Library Service was established and began operation on July 1, 1964, with the Williams Free Library serving as headquarters and Ruby Roeder, Williams Free Library Director, serving as Administrator.  Roeder remained Administrator of the Dodge County Library Service until September 1970 when a full-time position of Dodge County Library Director was established.  Roeder continued to strive for improved library service for the people of Beaver Dam and Dodge County, and she championed membership in Wisconsin’s state funded public library systems. On January 1, 1975 Dodge County joined with the Fond du Lac County Library System to form the Mid-Wisconsin Federated Library System.
During Roeder’s working years, District Library Associations held Spring meetings around the state to keep librarians informed about modern library practices, the work of the Wisconsin Free Library Commission, later the Division for Library Services, and the Wisconsin Library Association.  Ruby served as Chairman of the Second Congressional District Library Association in 1956.  The Second Congressional District Library Association evolved into the Capitol District Library Association, and Roeder served as Chairman in 1966 and 1973.  
Shortly after beginning her library career, Roeder became an active member of the Wisconsin Library Association.  She began her commitment to the Association as a member of the 1950 Membership Committee.  She went on to serve additional terms on the Membership Committee, as well as the Nominating Committee (member and chairman), Awards and Honors Committee, Committee on Work with Senior Citizens (member and chairman), Scholarship Committee, Adult Services Section (Vice-Chairman/Chairman-Elect and Chairman), National Library Week Committee, and Wisconsin Association of Public Librarians (Secretary-Treasurer).  Roeder was twice elected to a position on the Wisconsin Library Association Board, serving one year as Secretary and two years as Treasurer.  In 1956 total membership of WLA reached the 500 mark.  Roeder’s roll as Secretary in 1956-57 and the work of the Membership Committee were credited with helping to reach this mark. The 1959-60 WLA Committee on Work with Senior Citizens was chaired by Roeder and played a statewide role.  The Committee sent out a questionnaire to libraries called “How Do the Public Libraries of Wisconsin Serve the Aging?”  The results were tabulated and presented at the Third Governor’s Conference on Aging. The Conference was in preparation for a 1961 White House Conference on Aging.
Roeder’s unflagging leadership responsibilities in the Wisconsin Library Association span nearly three decades make her a welcome member of the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame.
This Hall of Fame entry in adapted from content provided by Pat Pawl.

John (Joe) J. Jax, 2017 Library Hall of Fame Inductee

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John (Joe) J. Jax was inducted into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame at the Wisconsin Library Association annual meeting in Wisconsin Dells on October 19, 2017.  
Joe JaxJohn (Joe) J. Jax made major contributions to academic librarianship in Wisconsin and to the Wisconsin Library Association (WLA).  As Director of the Library Learning Center and Associate Professor at the University of Wisconsin – Stout for 32 years he was a leader on campus, in the academic community, and in WLA. He put the library at UW-Stout at the forefront of new technology, was a strong voice for the UW System, and a major player in the development of library cooperation and resource sharing both within the academic world and across all types of libraries.
 
During Jax’s tenure as director at the UW-Stout Library the first online catalog in the UW System was installed at the library amid opposition from those who wanted to retain the card catalog.  Jax was the lead planner for a new library building at UW-Stout, and became an ALA Registered, Certified Library Building Consultant. UW- Stout pioneered new technology for users with disabilities.  In addition to writing articles on the topic, Joe served as a reviewer of publications covering Adaptive Technologies for users (“Library Services for Students with Disabilities at the University of Wisconsin-Stout,” Journal of Academic Librarianship, July 1993).  He was well-known for nurturing his staff and supporting their involvement in WLA and other professional associations. The library was designated as WLA Library of the Year in 1983.
Jax served in leadership positions at every level of WLA including President (1982), WAAL Chairperson (1980), WLA Annual Conference Chairperson, and WLA Committee on Organization Chairperson. He served on the WLA Board during one of the most challenging periods – when school librarians split from WLA to form WEMA.  Jax was named WLA Librarian of the Year in 1986.
 
Other library leadership positions included serving as: Chairperson of the Council of Wisconsin Libraries (COWL); Chairperson of the Council of UW Libraries (CUWL); Wisconsin Delegate to the OCLC Users Council; and Wisconsin delegate to the White House Conference for Libraries in 1979.
Besides his work with libraries, Joe was an eleven year member of the UW-Stout men's basketball coaching staff and was inducted into the UW Stout Athletic Hall of Fame in 2004.  He also served on the Menomonie City Council, including a stint as president.
Jax was born on June 17, 1935 in Cazenovia, WI. He received a B. A. degree from UW-LaCrosse in 1958, and a MS in Library Science at UW-Madison in 1959.  He is a life member of both WLA and ALA. 
This Hall of Fame entry was adapted from content provided by Kathy Schneider Michaelis.

Louise S. Robbins, 2017 Library Hall of Fame Inductee

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Louise S. Robbins was inducted into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame at the Wisconsin Library Association annual meeting in Wisconsin Dells on October 19, 2017.
 
louise-robbins-blog-72Louise S. Robbins has been a force in and for Wisconsin libraries since she became Assistant Professor and Faculty Administrator at the UW-Madison School of Library and Information Studies in 1991.  She joined SLIS after being a reading specialist, teacher, and librarian in Oklahoma where she also served as Ada, Oklahoma’s first woman council member and then mayor.  Her work in Oklahoma resulted in being named an Oklahoma “Library Legend” in 2007. In her initial capacity at SLIS she was director of the School’s Laboratory Library.  While at SLIS she built a distinguished record of teaching, service, and research along her way to becoming a full professor and serving as director of the School from 1997 to 2009.  Robbins’ record of activity made an exceptional contribution to Wisconsin libraries that did not stop with her retirement in 2011.  She remains active in the Wisconsin library community through her work with the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa and their effort to rebuild a community library as well as her work with the wider Tribal Libraries, Archives and Museums project and the IMLS funded “Convening Great Lake Culture Keepers,” projects she was instrumental in getting going.  
 
Louise Robbins has had an impact on library service at the state, national, and international level. As a library and information studies (LIS) educator as well as practitioner she has mentored many librarians in Wisconsin and beyond. At various times Robbins’ teaching load included the required field-practice, or practicum, course as well as the introductory course, meaning virtually every student who came through SLIS for many years had the opportunity to study with her. Besides her teaching/mentoring, Robbins was a force for the profession in Wisconsin by among other things: raising the profile of the School at the University; working on Wisconsin Library Association (WLA) committees; advocating for libraries at the local and state levels; contributing to a report in 2004 on Wisconsin library system organization; and was co-lead for an IMLS grant which provided scholarships and other support to increase diversity among students and the profession. Notably, WLA recognized Louise Robbins’ many contributions in 2001 with their Wisconsin Librarian of the Year award. 
 
Louise Robbins’ influence on library service goes well beyond the state.  She was actively involved with the Association for Library and Information Science Education, including being president in 2003 and 2004.  She was active in the American Library Association (ALA) and a member of the Committee on Accreditation, meaning she provided feedback to LIS programs in other places.  She was the external reviewer for numerous LIS faculty at other universities. And she was a member of the National Board for Beta Pi Mu, the librarian honor society which raises scholarship money and published a scholarly monograph series (for which she served as a member of the editorial board from 1996-2003). On the international level, she has consulted with librarians in Kazahkstan to help develop the Nazarbayev University Library and in China through her work with the Evergreen Education Foundation.    
 
Louise Robbins has made important and lasting contributions to the profession through her scholarship.  Robbins’ main research stream investigated the development of Intellectual Freedom as it contributes to the understanding of librarianship as a profession and the library as an institution. Her best known work is The Dismissal of Miss Ruth Brown: Civil Rights, Censorship, and the American Library, published by the University of Oklahoma Press in 2000.  The book won several awards including the Eliza Atkins Gleason Book Award of the Library History Round Table of ALA and a WILLA Award (named for Willa Cather).  She is author of several other books including Censorship and the American Library: The American Library Association’s response to Threats to Intellectual Freedom, 1939-1969, which was published by Greenwood Press in 1996.  In 1994 she published one of many articles in library publications titled “Loyalty Investigations in the Library of Congress: 1947-1956 : No ‘Communists or Cocksuckers’” in Library Quarterly.  The article helped launch the ALA conference program, “Hidden from History: Lesbigays in Libraryland” which led to a book edited by James Carmichael, Daring to Find Our Name: The Search for Lesbigay Library History that came out from Greenwood in 1998.  Robbins’ work was timely and part of the work which helped create a professional tide improving climate for GLBT users and employees.  Robbins’ research also contributed to LIS pedagogy through her “action research” on the laboratory library.  Along with her work with ALISE, she has contributed to the profession by influencing the notion of LIS education itself. 
 
Robbins received a B.A. with honors at Mary Washington College in Fredericksburg, VA in 1965; a M.Ed. from East Central University in Ada, OK in 1973; a M.L.S. from Texas Woman’s University in Denton, TX in 1984; and a Ph.D. from Texas Woman’s University in Denton, TX in 1991.
 
Robbins professional positions prior to coming to Wisconsin included serving as Assistant Professor and Librarian at Linscheid Library, East Central University, Ada, OK and Elementary School Library Media Specialist, Byng School, Ada, OK.
 
This Hall of Fame entry was adapted from content provided by Michele Besant.

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