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.

Subscribe to feed Viewing entries tagged membership libraries

Wisconsin's Membership Libraries

Posted by Larry Nix
Larry Nix
Larry Nix has not set their biography yet
User is currently offline
on Tuesday, March 08, 2016
in WLA 125

Milwaukee Young Men's AssociationMembership libraries, sometimes referred to as social libraries, were the predecessors of free public libraries. There were dozens of these libraries in Wisconsin before and after the passage of the 1872 public library law. Membership libraries originated in New England, and it was New Englanders who brought this concept to Wisconsin. Membership libraries were formed when a group of individuals pooled their resources to purchase books which could then be commonly shared. An annual fee was usually required to participate in the membership library. These libraries often struggled from lack of financial resources or strong leadership. Only about a dozen survived for more than ten years. Some of the membership libraries transitioned into public libraries. The oldest of the membership libraries was the Milwaukee Young Men's Association Library (see illustration at left) which turned its assets over to the newly created Milwaukee Public Library in 1878. The Madison Institute Library was formed in 1853 and was replaced by the Madison Public Library in 1875. The longest surviving membership library was the Waupun Library Association which existed from 1858 to 1904. This was largely the result of the efforts of one man - Edwin Hillyer, a Waupun attorney. The library was located in Hillyer's office and he served as Clerk and Librarian at least from 1859 to 1880. A comprehensive history of membership libraries in Wisconsin can be found in the 1973 University of Chicago dissertation of John C. Colson - The Public Library Movement in Wisconsin, 1836-1900.

 

wla125logo-small

Categories

Popular Tags

Exhibits James Huff Stout Manitowoc Public Library UW-Milwaukee School of Information Studies Brown County Library Brown Deer Public Library Kimberly-Little Chute Public Library Cornelia Marving Pierce Campaign Campaign for Wisconsin Libraries Hall of Fame 2010 anniversaries 22 Sarah Janice Kee caly film Academic Librarians Campaign for Wisconsin Libraries Library Systems Parcel post Hall of Fame 2015 Wilbur Lyle Eberhart Wisconsin Library Heritage Center bookworm Nolan I. Neds Hall of Fame 2008 27 library memorabilia S. Janice Kee Uncategorized Clinton Public Library Hall of Fame 2014 Governor's Conference on Library and Information Services Carnegie libraries McMillan Memorial Library Portage Public Library Beloit Public Library Cooperative Children's Book Center WWI Library War Service state historical society Wisconsin State Normal School-Milwaukee Campaing for Wisconsin Libraries COLAND Wisconsin Library Association 21 caly film WAAL 24 Digital Collections Meter mail slogans Amer Cam campaign campaign Black River Falls Public Library Madison Public Library Wayne A. Wiegand Black River Falls UW-Madison school of library and information studies Dianne McAfee Hopkins WLA 125 Gertrude Thurow Historical Register Wisconsin Free Library Commission School libraries WHCLIS J. D. Witter Ripon Public Library cam Wisconsin Rapids Hall of Fame 2012 11 traveling libraries books-by-mail 14 Wisconsin Historical Society Gerald A. Somers Eratus Swift Wilcox People Campaign Marketing-Publicity Wisconsin Literary Travel Guide Postcards Council on Library and Network Development Oshkosh Public Library Capitol Fire 1904 Klaus Linderfelt Charles Bunge Clarence Brown Lester Bookmobiles CCBC James Duane Doty Academic Libraries Dorothea M. Krause Hall fo Fame 2012 Anniversaries Milwaukee Public Library WLA 125 Suring Area Public Library Inform Wisconsin Hall of Fame 2009 Carl Spitzweg Public library systems White House Conference on Library and Information Services School of Library and Information Studies Rusk County Community Library Hall of Fame 2016 archives Milwaukee Public Library Gilbert H. Doane Library people Postcards Eager Free Public Library Campaign for Wisconsin Libraries campaign Publications library exhibit Library celebrations Middleton Public Library Brown Deer Public Library library education Hall of Fame 2012 Pinback buttons Library people background American Library Association 23 Campaign DeForest Area Public Library presentations Postcards Irene W. Newman Hall of Fame 2011 Jerome P. Daniels Appleton Public Library Lutie Eugenia Stearns Centennial Postcards Superior Carnegie Libraries Frank Avery Hutchins hall of T. B. Scott Free Public Library Association of Library Trustees Advocates and Friends membership libraries Soughton Public Library Increase A. Lapham 10 Pewaukee Public Library Delia Ovitz Orrilla Blackshear 20 Beaver Dam Public Library Matthew S. Dudgeon American Library Association Library War Service Hall of Fame 2015 Richard E. Krug library legislation Events & Meetings Wisconsin Association of Academic Librarians Marjorie Sornson Malmberg Campaign for Wisconsin Libraries Library Buildings State Law Library Library Buidlings Events & Meetings Katharine MacDonald Jones Buttons Library Artifacts caly film Wisconsin Free Library Commission WLA 125 National Library Week Elroy Public Library Events World War I Library History Special libraries Larry T. Nix Evansville Wisconsin Bernard Schwab Tower Hill Wisconsin bed and breakfast WLA 125 Hall of Fame 2015 Hartford Public Library Ruth Ann Montgomery Hall UW-Milwaukee Libraries Wisconsin State Law Library Lutie Stearns Peter G. Hamon 28 Campaign for Wisconsin Libraries trav Wisconsin Library Trustees and Friends Hall of Fame 2015 Library Trustees Library People Public libraries Public libraries I Love Libraries Milwaukee Art Museum Hall of Fame 2015 ca National Bookmobile Day buil Woman's Congress Zona Gale John Miller Chancellor William J. Wilson Edward Asahel Birge Wisconsin Library Bulletin Hall of Fame 2012 Anniversaries Jane K. Billings campa Ice Storm Hall of Fame 2013

Wisconsin Library Association Foundation Logo