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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Wisconsin Library Heritage Center Changes

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Larry T. Nix who has served as Chair of the Wisconsin Library Heritage Center (WLHC) Steering Committee since its establishment in 2008 is leaving the committee. Committee member Paul Nelson will take over as Chair. Also leaving the committee after completing three terms on the committee are Peter Gilbert and Lori Belongia. Continuing members on the committee in addition to Nelson are Ruth Ann Montgomery, James Gollata, and Louise Robbins. New members joining the committee are Janis Berg, Mary Clark, and Steve Platteter. The WLHC is a program of the Wisconsin Library Association Foundation. Activities of the WLHC include maintaining a website and blog [http://heritage.wisconsinlibraries.org/], sponsoring exhibits, and administering the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame.

Miriam Downing Tompkins (1892-1954)

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Miriam TompkinsMiriam Downing Tompkins was inducted into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame on October 23, 2013 at the annual conference of the Wisconsin Library Association in Green Bay, WI. Tomkins was a national leader in advancing the role of the public library in adult education. She was a pioneer in library work with labor unions. She served as Director of the Training Class of the Milwaukee Public Library 1919-1921 and Chief of Adult Education 1923-1929. Under her leadership the adult education department of the Milwaukee Public Library provided a national model for adult education in public libraries that included information service, group service, and readers’ advisory service. She later served on the faculties of the library schools at Emory University and Columbia University. She was a delegate to the International Conference on Adult Education in Cambridge, England in 1929. She was born in Kalispell, MT, and received B.A. and M.A. degrees from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. She is included in the Dictionary of American Library Biography

 

The Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame is a project of the Wisconsin Library Heritage Center which is a program of the Wisconsin Library Association Foundation.

Bernard Schwab (1920-1990)

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Bernard SchwabBernard (Bernie) Schwab was inducted into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame on October 23, 2013 at the annual conference of the Wisconsin Library Association in Green Bay, WI. Schwab served as Director of the Madison Public Library from 1957 to 1981. Under his leadership the library built a new central library and five branch libraries were added. He established the Dane County Historical Records Center, the Municipal Reference Service, and the Madison Area Library Council. He helped to create the first Friends of the Library group in Wisconsin. The Madison Public Library was named Library of the Year in 1966. He served as President of the Wisconsin Library Association in 1966-67 and was named Librarian of the Year in 1970. Schwab was chair of the Wisconsin Council for Library Development in 1973-74. Schwab was WLA’s representative to the American Library Association (ALA) and served on ALA’s joint committee on library service to labor. Schwab was born in Brooklyn, NY. He received a Bachelor’s degree from the College of the City of New York in 1943 and a Library Science degree from the Pratt Institute. Prior to coming to Madison he held several positions at the District of Columbia Public Library in Washington, DC. Before becoming Director he served as Assistant Director of the Madison Public Library from 1954 to 1957. After his death in 1990, the City Council changed the name of the central library to the Bernard Schwab Library.

The Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame is a project of the Wisconsin Library Heritage Center which is a program of the Wisconsin Library Association Foundation.

Katharine MacDonald Jones (1866-?)

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Katharine MacDonald Jones was inducted into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame on October 23, 2013 at the annual conference of the Wisconsin Library Association in Green Bay, WI. Jones was a national authority on the selection of materials for small public libraries. She joined the staff of the Wisconsin Free Library Commission (WFLC) in 1899, and served as Assistant Secretary of the Commission from 1901 to 1907. She became head of the Traveling Libraries Department of the WFLC when it was established in 1903. From 1906 until 1908 she was editor of the Booklist of the American Library Association. She was identified in 1936 by Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame member Matthew S. Dudgeon as one of ten individuals on “Wisconsin’s long library Roll of Honor.” Dudgeon said this about Jones: “the talented appraiser of books who for years, with little enough support, carried on here in Wisconsin the splendid beginnings of the American Library Association Booklist.” Jones graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1886. She was author of the publication Magazines for Small Libraries (WI Free Library Commission, 1908).

The Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame is a project of the Wisconsin Library Heritage Center which is a program of the Wisconsin Library Association Foundation.

Leonard B. Archer (1913-2003)

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Leonard ArcherLeonard B. Archer was inducted into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame on October 23, 2013 at the annual conference of the Wisconsin Library Association in Green Bay, WI. Archer served as Director of the Oshkosh Public Library (1958 to 1978) and held as joint appointment as Director of the Winnefox Library System. He initiated bookmobile service for Winnebago County and was instrumental in establishing the Winnefox Library System. He was an advocate for intellectual freedom and served as chair of the Wisconsin Library Association’s (WLA) Intellectual Freedom Committee (1963-65). He was named Librarian of the Year by WLA in 1975. He was awarded the Chancellor’s Medal for work with the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh in developing a “people’s university” in the public library. After retirement he moved to Middleton, WI in 1978 where he became active with the Middleton Public Library as a member of the library board and the Friends of the Library. He also served on the board of the South Central Library System. Archer was born in Petersburg, VA. He received a BA degree from the University of Richmond and a library degree from Emory University. Prior to coming to Wisconsin he worked in libraries in the District of Columbia, Detroit, MI, Plainfield, VT, and Rutland, VT. Archer was married to Marion Fuller Archer, who was a children's librarian, author, and faculty member at the University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh. Meeting rooms at the Middleton Public Library are named for Leonard Archer and Marion Archer.

The Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame is a project of the Wisconsin Library Heritage Center which is a program of the Wisconsin Library Association Foundation.

 

WI Library Hall of Fame Inductees for 2013

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The Steering Committee of the Wisconsin Library Heritage Center, a program of the Wisconsin Library Association Foundation, has selected four individuals to be inducted into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame in 2013. They will join thirty-six other individuals who have previously been inducted into the Hall of Fame. The 2013 inductions will take place at the WLA Annual Conference in Green Bay on October 23 at the WLA/WLAF Business Meeting.  The inductees are:  
 
Leonard B. Archer (1913-2003) Archer served as Director of the Oshkosh Public Library (1958 to 1978) and held a joint appointment as Director of the Winnefox Library System. He was an advocate for intellectual freedom and was named Librarian of the Year by WLA in 1975.

Katharine MacDonald Jones (1866-?) Jones was a national authority on the selection of materials for small public libraries. She joined the staff of the Wisconsin Free Library Commission in 1899, and served as Assistant Secretary of the Commission from 1901 to 1907.

Bernard Schwab (1920-1990) Bernard Schwab served as Director of the Madison Public Library from 1957 to 1981. He was President of the Wisconsin Library Association in 1966-67 and was named Librarian of the Year in 1970.

Miriam Downing Tompkins (1892-1954) Tompkins was a national leader in advancing the role of the public library in adult education. She served as Director of the Training Class (1919-1921) and Chief of Adult Education (1923-1929) for the Milwaukee Public Library. 

More extensive coverage of the accomplishments of these four individuals and previous inductees can be found at the Library Hall of Fame website.

Janice Kee and a Librarian's Travelogue

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This entry was also posted on The Library History Buff Blog on March 4, 2012.

kee-72Sarah Janice Kee (1908 -1998) was inducted into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame in 2009 primarily because of her work as Secretary of the Wisconsin Free Library Commission from 1956 to 1965. During Kee's tenure at the Commission, Wisconsin established the foundation for its current seventeen federated public library systems.  In seeking to find out more about Kee a number of years ago, I was able to obtain a copy of a travelogue written by Kee titled Around the World in 80 Years: A Travelogue Interspersed with Anecdotes (unpublished, 1997). As the title suggests it is a record of Kee's travels around the world during her lifetime, but it also chronicles a remarkable library career. Kee was a native Texan and ended her library career in Texas. In regard to her travels, Kee writes: "It has been my privilege to see much of the world in my life time. My methods of travel have been in a swing seat in a covered wagon, a buggy, surrey, the back seat of a Model T - Ford car, both slow and fast trains, the driver's seat in a Ford, Chevrolet, Frazier and Oldsmobile, both slow and fast airplanes and a Cruiser in the Mediterranean sea."  From her rural Texas roots, Kee embarked on a library career with her first library position in the Library Service of the Air Force during World War II. She did so well that she was eventually promoted to Command Librarian supervising 35 post libraries. She went to work for the Missouri State Library in 1947, and again did so well that she was designated Acting State Librarian when State Librarian Katherine Mier retired in 1948. Unfortunately, it was only "until a man could be found for the job". According to Kee the man they found "knew nothing - I mean nothing about State Library work". Lucky for Wisconsin she left Missouri and came to Wisconsin for her first stint at the Wisconsin Free Library Commission. She entered the national library arena in 1952 as Executive Secretary of the Public Library Division of the American Library Association, a position she held until she assumed leadership of the Wisconsin Free Library Commission in 1956. Kee concluded her library career as Library Program Officer (classified as a GS-14) with the U.S. Department of Education at the regional office in Dallas, Texas. At her interview for the position in Dallas with the Head of the Regional Office, according to Kee "a political appointee - one of those good-ol-boys who was retired from a Superintendent's position", she was told "'Miss Kee, do you realize I have MEN on my staff who are not GS-14s?'" She reminded him that she would be taking a pay cut if she took the job. She got the job anyway. Although Janice Kee wrote her travelogue primarily for her family, I feel fortunate to have shared via the travelogue in her travel and library career experiences. I wish more people could do the same. The original manuscript is located at the School of Library and Information Studies at Texan Woman's University where Kee established the S. Janice Kee Library Scholarship Fund.

Lutie Stearns and the Woman's Congress at Tower Hill, WI

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This article was also posted on The Library History Buff Blog.   

For Women's History Month I thought I would post a story about Lutie Stearns, one of Wisconsin's greatest library pioneers. As often happens, a piece of postal librariana was the stimulus for my engaging in some library history research. I was delighted when I researched a picture postcard depicting the Ann Mitchell Library at Tower Hill, Wisconsin (shown above) to find that there was a link between Tower Hill and Lutie Stearns. Tower Hill is now the Tower Hill State Park, but was originally the summer retreat of Jenkin Lloyd Jones, a prominent Unitarian minister. As is explained in the first issue of La Follette's Weekly Magazine (January 9, 1909), Jones sponsored an annual Woman's Congress at Tower Hill. The guests at the Woman's Congress were limited to twenty-five invited individuals, and the speakers and topics for the Congress were selected by a committee which Lutie Stearns chaired for several years. Stearns at the time was on the staff of the Wisconsin Free Library Commission which she helped to found in 1891. In addition to her advocacy for free public libraries and traveling libraries, Stearns was an outspoken advocate for women and their role in society. Library Journal (October, 1916) reported on on a Library Congress held at Tower Hill in August of 1916. This Congress was also chaired by Lutie Stearns. Librarians from Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, and North Dakota participated in this informal gathering to discuss library issues and to relax. It is in that Library Journal article which was written by Stearns that mention is made of the Ann Mitchell Library.  It notes that: "The afternoons during the week were given over to informal conferences and visits to the Ann Mitchell Library building on the Tower Hill grounds, which was found to be well supplied with the classics as well as the better part of latter-day literature." I have been unable to determine the identity of Ann Mitchell. Jones was a promoter of women in the ministry so perhaps she was a minister. The library and the building that housed it no longer exist. I also have a blog post about Lutie's speech impediment and her proposal for a book wagon. I highly recommend a book about Lutie for young people titled Books in a Box.

Ginny Moore Kruse (1934- )

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kruse-final-72.JPGGinny Moore Kruse is one of seven individuals who will be inducted into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame on November 3, 2011 at the Awards and Honors Banquet during the Wisconsin Library Association Conference in Milwaukee.  Kruse is Director Emerita of the Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC) in the School of Education at the University of Wisconsin - Madison, an examination, study and research library devoted to children's and young adult literature. She served as director of the CCBC between 1976 and 2002. While director, she founded the award-winning CCBC Intellectual Freedom Information Services. With CCBC colleagues she wrote and taught about book evaluation, especially multicultural literature and also international books for children & young adults. As an active member of the Wisconsin Library Association and the American Library Association, she chaired and also served on many book award committees. She co-founded the annual CCBC Charlotte Zolotow Award & Lecture. Ginny's formal honors include election into Beta Phi Mu (1977); Member of the Year, Society of Children’s Book Writers (1977); Librarian of the Year, Wisconsin Library Association (1978); Alumna Honor, College of Education & Human Services, UW-Oshkosh (1985); Christopher Latham Sholes Award, Council for Wisconsin Writers (1988); Award for Outstanding Contributions to Children’s Books, Children’s Reading Round Table of Chicago (1988); Award of Excellence, Wisconsin Educational Media Association (1996); Alumna of the Year, School of Library & Information Studies, UW-Madison (1996); Distinguished Service Award, Association for Library Services to Children, American Library Association (1996); Hope S. Dean Award, Foundation for Children’s Books (1997); and the Distinguished Achievement Award, School of Education (1998). In 2003 Ginny was awarded the second Rabin Youth Arts Award for Individual Achievement given by the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras. She was named a Distinguished Alumna of the University of Wisconsin – Oshkosh in 2006. In 2008 Ginny was named a “Backyard Hero” by Community Shares of Wisconsin for her leadership in the 2007 “Public Reading of Banned Books” event sponsored by ALCU/Wisconsin. 
 
Prior to taking the position as Director at the CCBC, Ginny received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education from Wisconsin State University – Oshkosh in 1956 and a Masters Degree in Library Science from the University of Wisconsin – Madison in 1976. She taught English and Speech at Lincoln Junior High School, 1956-1958. Between 1967 and 1969, served as Library Director at Central Junior High School in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, followed by five years during which she was the Resource Center Director at Weeks Junior High School in Newton Centre, Massachusetts. In 1974 she taught the Children’s Literature course in the Education Department at Simmons College, Boston. Between 1974 and 1975 Ginny coordinated special programs for children and families for the Children’s Department of the Brown County Public Library, Green Bay, Wisconsin. 


Ginny is grateful for the mentoring and support of two previous Library Hall of Fame inductees - Elizabeth Burr and Muriel Fuller. Burr as Children's Consultant at the Wisconsin Free Library Commission (WFLC) helped found the CCBC in 1963 as a cooperative venture between the WFLC, the UW Library School, and the UW School of Education.
 

Daniel Steele Durrie (1819-1892)

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durrie-3-72.jpgDaniel Steele Durrie is one of seven individuals who will be inducted into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame on November 3, 2011 at the Awards and Honors Banquet during the Wisconsin Library Association Conference in Milwaukee. Durrie held the elected position of Librarian of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin (now the Wisconsin Historical Society) from 1856 until his death in 1892. Durrie and Lyman C. Draper, the first Secretary of the Historical Society, worked together to build the foundation of the Society’s nationally acclaimed collection. Leslie Fishel had this to say about Durrie and Draper in a 1995 Wisconsin History Magazine article: “Daniel Steele Durrie was a knowledge-seeker with a penchant for detail, a dedication to hard work, an ambition to build enduring monuments, and an imaginative drive which undergirded all of those impulses. Reserved and respectful but not reticent, he assisted and complemented the expansive and egocentric Lyman Copeland Draper, who, as the institution’s first “corresponding secretary,” energized a fragile State Historical Society of Wisconsin in its early years. Working in tandem, these two men helped to create the foundations of a dynamic research institution which came to rank with the best of the breed around the globe.” In an 1892 tribute to Durrie, James Davie Butler indicates that Durrie is justly classed among the founders of the Historical Society. Durrie was largely responsible for organizing and indexing the library’s monograph and periodical collection prior to the development of a library profession in America. Durrie was born on January 2, 1819 in Albany, New York. Prior to his work in the Society’s library he was a bookseller. During Lyman Draper’s tenure as Superintendent of the Department of Public Instruction, Durrie served as his assistant. 


The image of Durrie is from the Wisconsin Historical Society's Digital Image Collection. Image ID: WHi-47868.


Walter Mcmynn Smith (1869 – 1938)

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smith-walter-80.jpgWalter Mcmynn Smith is one of seven individuals who will be inducted into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame on November 3, 2011 at the Awards and Honors Banquet during the Wisconsin Library Association Conference in Milwaukee. Smith became the first full time Librarian of the University of Wisconsin in Madison in 1891 and served in that capacity until 1937. During his tenure the library grew from a staff of one to a staff of 35 and the library increased its holdings from 18,000 to 475,000 volumes. Smith was one of the founders of the Wisconsin Library Association in 1891, and he was the first academic librarian to serve as President of WLA (1908-1909). Smith oversaw the move of the University library from Library Hall to the new building of the Historical Society of Wisconsin in 1900 where it shared space with the Society’s library. Starting in 1893 Smith gave a series of lectures about the library to students, one of the early examples of library instruction in the nation. Smith was born in Janesville, Wisconsin. He was listed in Who’s Who in America (1936) and is included in the Dictionary of Wisconsin History. Smith was one of 67 American librarians elected to the prestigious American Library Institute when it was organized in 1905. 
 

Ella T. Veslak (1897-1996)

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veslak-small.jpgElla T. Veslak is one of seven individuals who will be inducted into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame on November 3, 2011 at the Awards and Honors Banquet during the Wisconsin Library Association Conference in Milwaukee. Veslak was a leader in the development of county library service in Wisconsin. She began serving as Director of the Shawano Public Library in 1926 and served simultaneously as Director of the Shawano County Library starting in 1934. She was a proponent of bookmobile service and participated in the first federal demonstration of bookmobile service in Wisconsin. She was a strong advocate of the role of the public library in adult education. In 1939 Veslak was presented with the Theodora Youmans Citizenship Award of the Wisconsin Federation of Women’s Clubs for her service in uniquely combining local, county and federal resources in providing library service to rural people. She served as a citizen member of the Wisconsin Free Library Commission 1946-1948. According to Benton H. Wilcox, Veslak was one of the most respected members of WLA when she was appointed to the WFLC. She became a staff member of the Wisconsin Free Library Commission in 1948. She received the Citation of Merit from the Wisconsin Library Association in 1960. She received the 1967 Honorary Recognition Award from UW College of Agriculture & Life Sciences which honors individuals who have demonstrated outstanding leadership and made significant contributions in the areas of agriculture, life sciences, natural resources and social science. 
 

Norman D. Bassett (1891-1980)

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bassett-small-96.JPGNorman D. "Smiley" Bassett is one of seven individuals who will be inducted into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame on November 3, 2011 at the Awards and Honors Banquet during the Wisconsin Library Association Conference in Milwaukee. Bassett became the owner and first president of Demco Library Supplies, Inc. (now DEMCO) in 1931 after the former Library Supplies Department separated from the Democrat Printing Company in Madison, Wisconsin. Bassett had been in charge of the Library Supplies Department at the Democrat Printing Company starting in 1925. A hallmark of Bassett’s leadership of one of the nation’s premier library supply companies was his close relationship with the library community and his commitment to helping libraries carry out their mission more effectively. Bassett was an active member of both the Wisconsin Library Association and the American Library Association. He was Chair of WLA’s Scholarship Committee. In that capacity he instituted an auction of books autographed by prominent authors to raise funds for WLA’s Scholarship Fund. At Demco, Bassett started a free magazine for librarians named Demcourier which existed from 1931 to 1943. Bassett stepped down from the presidency of Demco in 1959 but continued to play an important role in the company until 1968. He launched the Bassett Foundation in 1954 and left $4.5 million to charities when he died in 1980.


Reference: Olderman, Raymond M. Honoring A Century of Service: The Story of Librarians & DEMCO 1905-2005 (DEMCO, 2005).

Gilson G. Glasier (1873-1972)

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glasier.jpgGilson G. Glasier is one of seven individuals who will be inducted into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame on November 3, 2011 at the Awards and Honors Banquet during the Wisconsin Library Association Conference in Milwaukee. The information about Glasier which is given below is from an article by Amy Crowder in the "WSLL @ Your Service" newsletter of the Wisconsin State Law Library. It is reprinted with permission.


Gilson Glasier: Fifty Years of Faithful Public Service


With 50 years of service to his name, Gilson Glasier is the longest serving State (Law) Librarian to date in Wisconsin history. Glasier came to Madison in 1896 to study law at the University of Wisconsin. While still in school he was appointed as private secretary to Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice R.D. Marshall and would eventually serve in that position for eight years. Following two years of private practice in Milwaukee, Glasier returned to Madison in 1906 when the Supreme Court offered him the State Librarian position.


During his tenure, Glasier actively served the legal and law library communities at both state and national levels. It was stated that he "was a quiet, soft-spoken person, meticulous in his work and completely dedicated to serving the bar in addition to his full-time position as librarian." Glasier was secretary-treasurer of the State Bar of Wisconsin from 1920 to 1949 and editor of the bar association's Bulletin, which he founded, for 22 years. He also edited Callaghan's Wisconsin Digest from 1909 to 1920.


Glasier was a charter member of the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL), and held the office of president in 1921-1922. He also served on the executive board and held numerous chairmanships over several decades. In addition, he served as managing editor of the Index to Legal Periodicals and the Law Library Journal. A 1952 Law Library Journal article called Glasier "one of the most active and useful members" of AALL. In 2010 Glasier was posthumously inducted into the AALL Hall of Fame as a Pioneer member, for his dedication and service to the association.


Upon his retirement in 1956, Glasier was honored by the Legislature with a joint resolution commemorating his 50 years of faithful public service to the State of Wisconsin. In it, the Legislature opined, "His leaving will be repined in all corners of the state."


2011 Library Hall of Fame Selections

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The Steering Committee of the Wisconsin Library Heritage Center, a program of the Wisconsin Library Association Foundation, has selected seven individuals to be inducted into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame (WLHF) in 2011. They are Norman D. Bassett (1891-1980), Orilla Thompson Blackshear (1904-1994), Daniel Steele Durrie (1819-1892), Gilson G. Glasier (1873-1972), Ginny Moore Kruse (1934- ), Walter Mcmynn Smith (1869 – 1938), and Ella T. Veslak (1897-1996). Their induction into the WLHF will take place during the Awards & Honors Banquet at the Wisconsin Library Association Conference in Milwaukee on November 3. These seven inductees will join twenty-two other individuals who have previously been inducted into the WLHF.


Norman Bassett became the owner and first president of Demco Library Supplies, Inc. (now DEMCO) in 1931. He served in that capacity until 1959. A hallmark of Bassett’s leadership of one of the nation’s premier library supply companies was his close relationship with the library community and his commitment to helping libraries carry out their mission more effectively. Bassett was an active member of both the Wisconsin Library Association and the American Library Association. He was Chair of WLA’s Scholarship Committee.


Orrilla Blackshear was a public library leader and a major promoter of Wisconsin’s literary heritage. She served as President of the Wisconsin Library Association in 1960-61 and was designated as WLA Librarian of the Year in 1962. She held important administrative positions at the Wisconsin Free Library Commission and the Madison Public Library. She was the compiler of Wisconsin Authors and Their Books 1836-1975 published in 1976 which was a landmark literary publication.


Daniel Durrie served as librarian of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin (now the Wisconsin Historical Society) from 1856 until his death in 1892. Durrie is considered one of the founders of the Historical Society. He along with the first Secretary of the Historical Society, Lyman C. Draper (Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame inductee), established the foundation of one of America's great historical libraries. Durrie played a major role in indexing and organizing the Society's collection.


Gilson G. Glasier served as Wisconsin’s state law librarian from 1906 to 1956.  During this period the Wisconsin State Law Library (formerly the Wisconsin State Library) grew from 30,000 volumes to 125,000 volumes and was ranked as one of the best law libraries in the country. Glasier was one of the founders of the American Association of Law Libraries and was inducted into its Hall of Fame in 2010.


Ginny Moore Kruse, Director Emerita of the Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC) at the University of Wisconsin - Madison, served as director of the CCBC from 1976 to 2002. In that capacity she was a state and national champion of quality library literature for children and of intellectual freedom. While Director she founded the CCBC Intellectual Freedom Information Services.  She is an advocate for children’s literature that reflects the multi-cultural nature of our society.


Walter Smith became the first full time head librarian of the University of Wisconsin in Madison in 1891and served in that capacity until 1937. During his tenure the library grew from a staff of one to a staff of 35 and the library increased its holdings from 18,000 to 475,000 volumes. He oversaw the move of the library from Library Hall to the new building of the Historical Society of Wisconsin in 1900 where it shared space with the Society’s library.


Ella Veslak was a leader in the development of county library service in Wisconsin. She began serving as Director of the Shawano Public Library in 1926 and served as Director of the Shawano County Library starting in 1934. She was a proponent of bookmobile service and participated in the first demonstration of bookmobile service in Wisconsin. She served as a citizen member of the Wisconsin Free Library Commission in 1946-1948, and joined the WFLC staff in 1948. She received the Citation of Merit from the Wisconsin Library Association in 1960.


More extensive coverage of the accomplishments of these seven individuals will be forthcoming in later posts to the WLHC website.


Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame 2011 Nominations

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The Wisconsin Library Heritage Center Steering Committee is accepting nominations for individuals to be inducted into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame in 2011. Nominations must be submitted by August 15, 2011. Procedures and a nomination form are located HERE. Both the Wisconsin Library Heritage Center and the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame are programs of the Wisconsin Library Association Foundation. Induction into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame is granted to individuals who have made an exceptional contribution to the statewide improvement of library service in Wisconsin over a sustained period of time.  Individuals who have worked in and/or advocated for Wisconsin libraries will be considered.  Both living and deceased individuals will be considered. Final selection of inductees into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame will be made by the Wisconsin Library Heritage Center Steering Committee. Nominations should be submitted to Larry T. Nix (Chair of the WLHC Steering Committee) as email attachments at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by August 15.  For additonal information please feel free to contact Larry T. Nix.

Happy 160th Birthday Frank Hutchins

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hutchins-72.jpgToday is the 160th anniversary of the birth of Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame member
Frank Avery Hutchins (1851-1914). Hutchins was a leader in the free public library movement in Wisconsin and the United States. Hutchins' entry in the Dictionary of American Library Biography (Libraries Unlimited, 1978) written by Helen Huguenor Lyman has this to say about him: "Frank Hutchins, a brilliant man of rare vision and modesty, a pioneer librarian and active leader in the library world of Wisconsin, was born on March 8, 1851, in Norfolk, Ohio.  During his lifetime he was teacher, bookseller, newspaper man, library trustee, and librarian.  Again and again his friends described him as a humanitarian, public servant, scholar, and practical idealist.  he helped to gain legislative, financial, and professional support for both the educational work of school and public libraries and the extension of library services throughout the state of Wisconsin.  An initiator who would take no credit for the events he helped to set in motion, he recognized the abilities of others and encouraged them to carry out new ideas." Hutchins was a founder of the Wisconsin Library Association in 1891and the first paid secretary of the Wisconsin Free Library Commission. Hutchins close partner in the development of public library service in Wisconsin was fellow Hall of Fame member Lutie Stearns.

Wayne Wiegand's Library Trading Card

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on Thursday, November 04, 2010
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wiegand-card-front-72.jpgDuring the Library History Seminar XII, a national meeting of library historians, which was held in Madison, WI, in September. Wayne Wiegand was surprised after his keynote presentation when he was presented with his own library trading card.  Wiegand is the F. William Summers Professor of Library and Information Studies at Florida State University, and is considered to be the dean of current library historians in the United States.  Wiegand is also a native of Manitowoc, Wisconsin and a former Professor at the UW-Madison School of Library and Information Studies. The trading card which is shown above is supposedly #64 in a set of 100 famous librarian trading cards.  The card is accompanied by a list of the 100 famous librarians as selected by by the Wayne Wiegand Library Trading Card Coordinating Committee (Jim Danky, Karen Krueger, Doug Zweizig, and Larry Nix).  Using a partially tongue-in-cheek baseball metaphor the back of the card begins "Wayne's first sand lot tryouts with a library team, the Manitowoc (WI) Library Mirros, showed the promise his subsequent career demonstrated."  Wiegand is perhaps best known for his biography of Melvil Dewey, Irrepressible Reformer.  In his presentations he often mentions that there are more public library outlets than McDonalds restaurants.  He is a strong advocate of approaching library history from the viewpoint of the "library in the life of the user" in contrast to the "user in the life of the library".  Wiegand plans to retire next year. The list of famous librarians includes, among others, Melvil Dewey, Herbert Putnam, Peggy Sullivan, John Cotton Dana, Margaret Monroe, Arna Bontemps, Benjamin Franklin, Lutie Stearns, Fred Glazer, Pope Pius XI, E. J. Josey, S. R. Ranganathan, Augusta Baker, and Callimachus. It also includes former librarians at the Manitowoc Public Library.


You can obtain a copy of the Wiegand trading card and the list of the 100 famous librarians by sending $5 (check or cash) to Larry T. Nix, 3605 Niebler Ln., Middleton, WI 53562.  All proceeds from the sale of the cards will go to the Center for the History of Print Culture in Modern America at UW-SLIS which Wiegand, along with Jim Danky, founded.


Calvin (Cal) Potter (1945- )

Posted by Larry Nix
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on Wednesday, October 20, 2010
in Hall of Fame

potter-recent-72.jpgCalvin (Cal) Potter was inducted into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame on November 4 at the Wisconsin Library Association (WLA) Conference in Wisconsin Dells. Potter was a consistent and effective legislative supporter for Wisconsin libraries of all types during his 23 year career as a member of the State legislature and during his almost five years of service as Assistant State Superintendent, Division for Libraries, Technology, and Community Learning (DLTCL). Potter was a member of the Wisconsin Assembly from 1975-90 and a member of the Senate from January 1991 to May 1998. He served on the Assembly Education Committee and the Senate Education Committee and served as Chair of both committees. He served as Chair of the 1977 Legislative Council Committee on Library Laws which resulted in major revision to state legislation on libraries. He also served as Chair of the Legislative Council Committee on Public Libraries (1997) which resulted in favorable changes to library public library legislation. Potter was a delegate to the White House Conference on Libraries and Information Science. Potter served as Assistant State Superintendent and administrator of DLTCL from May, 1998 to January, 2003. During this period extensive technology planning and implementation took place for both public and school libraries. The transition from federal to state funding for BadgerLink also took place during this period. He chaired the State Superintendent's Task Force on Public Library Funding and Legislation. For his advocacy for libraries, Potter received WLA’s Citation of Merit in 1981 and again in 1985. Based on nominations from WLA and the Wisconsin Educational Media Association, Potter was selected in 2000 for the American Library Association's National Advocacy Honor Roll which included those individuals and organizations who had most actively advocated for libraries in the United States over the last 100 years. Potter is currently a member of the Council on Library and Network Development (COLAND). 
 
Potter was born and raised in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. He received his Bachelor's Degree from Lakeland College and did graduate work at the University of Wisconsin. He taught Social Studies at Plymouth High School (1968-1975) before his legislative career. In May 1998, he received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Lakeland College in "recognition of his many contributions to quality education as a State Senator and State Representative". He has received more than 50 other awards for his legislative efforts in behalf of education, libraries, and environmental protection. He is listed in the Dictionary of Wisconsin History
 
Potter and his wife, Dr. Elizabeth Potter, a former instructor at Silver Lake College, currently reside in the Town of Sheboygan Falls.

Julia Wright Merrill (1881-1961)

Posted by Larry Nix
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on Friday, October 15, 2010
in Hall of Fame
merrill2-72.jpgJulia Wright Merrill was inducted into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame on November 4 at the WLA Conference in Wisconsin Dells. Merrill worked for the Wisconsin Free Library Commission on two occasions. From 1903 to 1906 she taught in the WFLC’s library school during the summer and served as a field agent the rest of the year.  She also served as a field agent and instructed part time at the library school from 1917 to 1922.  From 1925 to 1946 she worked at the American Library Association serving in a variety of capacities. She was the first Executive Secretary of the Public Library Association of ALA.  She was a national leader in the extension of public library service. She is included in the Dictionary of American Library Biography, a highly selective compilation of those who have made the greatest contribution to library development in the United States.  Merrill has also been inducted into the Ohio Library Hall of Fame (1975).  Joyce Latham, Assistant Professor, UW-Milwaukee will be presented a program at the WLA Conference in Wisconsin Dells on November 5 entitled “’Circuit Rider’: Julia Wright Merrill and Public Library Extensi0n, 1926 -1944”.  Latham writes about Merrill: “She had a reputation as a quiet but committed advocate for libraries, was well-liked and well respected, but was consistently overshadowed by Carl Milam, the executive secretary of the association.  Given the financial limitations on the ALA during this time, she often functioned as his number two, serving as the Acting Executive Secretary while he was away. However, the lists of great women in librarianship fail to include her and her listing in the Dictionary of American Library Biography is minimal. Hopefully, induction into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame will provide greater exposure to the contributions to this public library extension pioneer.

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