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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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.


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