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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Richard (Dick) J. Sorensen, 2019 Library Hall of Fame Inductee

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Richard SorensenRichard (Dick) J. Sorensen was inducted into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame at the Wisconsin Library Association Conference in Wisconsin Dells on October 10, 2019.
Sorensen was the school library media consultant/supervisor at the
Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) from 1972 until his retirement in 2001. He
was a member of the Instructional Media and Technology Team, Division for Libraries,
Technology, and Community Learning. In his capacity as consultant for almost three decades,
Sorensen provided leadership for many aspects of librarianship, including the certification of
library media specialists, the role of school libraries in library networks, funding for school
libraries, facilities planning, the collaborative role of library media specialists in instruction, and
school/public library relationships.
Particularly noteworthy was Sorensen’s leadership in the certification of school library
media specialists. The separate school library and audiovisual fields evolved/overlapped during
the 1970s and 1980s, creating a particularly difficult and challenging period for the profession in
terms of roles and appropriate licenses. Sorensen provided leadership for the taskforce that was
appointed by the State Superintendent of Public Instruction. The instructional media certification
requirements resulting from this work continue to form a foundation for library/media licensing.
Sorensen was recognized in 1981 when he was awarded the Wisconsin Library Association’s
Special Service Award for “exceptional service to the library profession.”
Sorensen served as the DPI liaison to the Wisconsin Library Association’s School
Library Division for decades. In this capacity, he attended division board meetings, sharing
insights relating to the status and needs of the school library media professional. He was a
presenter at numerous library and education conferences in the state, including the Wisconsin
Library Association, the Wisconsin Educational Media Association, and the Governor’s
Wisconsin Educational Technology Conference. Sorensen also provided many workshops for
schools, school districts, and Cooperative Educational Service Agencies (CESAs).
Sorensen’s school library media influence could be seen at the national level as well. He
served as a member of the National Commision Task Force on the Role of the School Library
Media Program in Library Networks. He authored “The Place of School Libraries/Media Centers
in Library Networks,” published in Library Acquisitions: Practice and Theory. Sorensen served
as a member of the Board of Directors, American Association for School Librarians and was one
of its regional directors. He also chaired the American Library Association’s Interdivisional
Committee on the Role of School Library Media Programs in Networking.
Sorensen was an active contributor to the professional literature of librarianship. He
regularly published in DPI publications, Wisconsin Library Bulletin (former journal of the library
division) and Channel (newsletter of the Division for Libraries, Technology, and Community
Learning). He wrote articles for state library media and technology newsletters and journals in
Wisconsin and elsewhere. Sorensen provided special DPI publications over the years such as
the status of school library media programs, designing schools to accommodate technology,
and he contributed to guidelines on combined school and public libraries for decision-making.
Sorensen spent many years traveling Wisconsin, visiting school libraries all over the
state. He was a familiar, welcome face in northern Wisconsin, where he regularly traveled,
visiting K-12 districts where library media programs were often headed by a single library media
specialist. He impacted school library programs throughout the state, often working with just one
librarian at a time. Alice Sturzl, school/public librarian in Laona, Wisconsin recalls: “I was in awe
of the fact that this DPI consultant was interested in what was happening here in the North
Woods, in addition to being willing to work with us to make sure that we had the access that
other parts of the state had.” Sturzl, former WLA president and WLA multi-award winner, also
credits Sorensen with being instrumental in her WLA leadership development.
Sorensen contributed to higher education certification programs throughout the state,
interpreting certification requirements and providing lectures in school library media
administration courses.
Sorensen was born in 1935 in Madison, WI. He was an English teacher at Verona High
School from 1960 - 69. He was librarian at the high school from 1969 - 72 until he joined the
Department of Public Instruction. Sorensen received his master’s degree in librarianship from
the University of Wisconsin - Madison in 1970.
Sorensen was always a highly committed, caring professional who was well known for
his knowledge, dedication, and quiet diplomacy. In 2000, Sorensen was selected for the Award
of Excellence by the Wisconsin Educational Media Association for “lifetime accomplishments
and significant contributions to the media profession.”

Nancy Marshall, 2019 Library Hall of Fame Inductee

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nancy marshallNancy Marshall (1935-2018) was inducted into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame at the Wisconsin Library Association Conference in Wisconsin Dells on October, 10, 2019.
Following her graduation from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a master’s degree in Library Science at the age of 39, Nancy Marshall quickly made a name for herself both statewide and nationally.  Throughout her career, Marshall was a leader in the library community, particularly in the area of library cooperation, resource sharing, and copyright. 
From 1972 until 1979, she served as founding director of the Wisconsin InterLibrary Services (WiLS), a cooperative organization for resource sharing, guiding it through its first years of operation.  In 1976, she was appointed to the newly established position of Director of the Wisconsin Library Consortium. During this time, she was a member of the OCLC Board of Trustees and served as president of the OCLC User’s Council. During the mid-1970s, she worked on the development of a statewide union list of serials as a member of an ad hoc committee of the Council of Wisconsin Libraries.  She also served on the board of directors of MIDLNET, the Midwest Library Network, an academic consortium representing 9 states.  According to Charles Bunge, a  contemporary of Nancy’s and a 2009 Hall of Fame inductee, “Nancy had great interpersonal and organizational skills, and she made WILS work.  Networking and resource sharing were growing in importance in Wisconsin at that time, and WILS was a key component.”
From 1979 until 1986, Nancy was the Associate Director of Libraries for Public Service at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  During her tenure, she continued to focus on copyright and resource sharing.  She served on the working group of the Wisconsin Library Network Plan and was a member of the Statewide Committee on Interlibrary Loan and Reference Referral.  In regard to her continuing work with the American Library Association, she became an expert on copyright, especially fair use issues and the rights of libraries and library users to copy and use copyrighted materials. During this time, she also served as president of the American Library Association’s Reference and Adult Services Division.  In 1982, she was honored as the Wisconsin Library Association’s Librarian of the Year.
In 1986, Marshall accepted the position of Dean of the University Libraries at the College of William and Mary, where she remained throughout the rest of her professional career.  Her many accomplishments include the growth and modernization of Swem Library, planning and fundraising for two separate renovations and expansions, which more than doubled its size and transformed the 1965 building into a state-of-the-art facility.   During her years as Dean and continuing thereafter, Swem has been ranked among the best college libraries in the nation by the Princeton Review.  In addition, Marshall played a key role in the formation of the Virtual Library of Virginia, a statewide academic consortium that facilitated the collective purchase of online resources to serve the state’s higher education students.  Marshall retired in 1997, the same year that she was diagnosed with stage 3 lung cancer.  Two years earlier, she received the Distinguished Alumna Award from the UW-Madison School of Library and Information Studies for her outstanding leadership in library service.
A two-time cancer survivor, Marshall went on to enjoy a productive retirement, which was spent, for the most part, in Maine.  She had always had a fascination with Clement Moore’s poem, “Night Before Christmas”.  As she described it to a Portland Press-Herald reporter, ““I started out buying Little Golden Books, the 29-cent versions, and then I began collecting other copies from around the world with different illustrators. I got obsessed.”  Starting in the 1960s, this obsession grew to include more than 1000 books, manuscripts, memorabilia, and realia in her personal library and inspired her to write the book, “The Night Before Christmas:  A Descriptive Bibliography of Clement Moore’s Immortal Poem”, published in 2002.  She donated her collection to the Swem Library in 2005, and each year since then items from her collection are put display during December and January.  A gallery on the library’s first floor, adjacent to the Special Collections Research Center, was named in her honor.


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