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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Marjorie Sornson Malmberg (1914-2004) 2015 Hall of Fame Inductee

Posted by Larry Nix
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malmbergMarjorie Sornson Malmberg was the first official legislative advocate and paid employee for the Wisconsin Library Association.  Taking a leave of absence from her job as Director of the Appleton Public Library, she served as WLA's executive secretary and legislative representative at a salary of $150 per month.  She played a pivotal role in the legislative battle for a bill to provide state aid for a bookmobile demonstration project during the 1949 Wisconsin legislative session.  According to Benton H. Wilcox in his 1966 history of the Wisconsin Library Association, "... Mrs. Malmberg, without any previous experience, almost by her own efforts ... secured passage of the bill through both houses of the legislature ... ." She later became one of the early directors of the Washington Office of the American Library Association (1950), where she again played a major role in securing funding for libraries. Prior to her work for WLA, she served as director of the Chippewa Falls and Viroqua public libraries.

Malmberg was born in Cushing, WI on October 28, 1914. She attended Superior Teacher’s College (1932-34), received her B.A. from the University of Wisconsin in 1936, and a B.S. (in library science) from the University of Minnesota in 1938. She served as director of the Viroqua Public Library (1938-1942), the Chippewa Public Library (1942-1946), and the Appleton Public Library (1946-1949).  After her service to the Wisconsin Library Association she and her husband moved to Big Island, Virginia. In 1950 she became Director of the Washington Office of the American Library Association. The Malmbergs moved to Toledo, Ohio in 1960 where Margie went to work for the Public Library of Toledo and Lucas County. She retired there in 1976. She is listed in Who’s Who in Library Service 2nd Edition, 1943.

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