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 T. Nix
Larry T. Nix
Larry T. 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

Hall of Fame 2009 Parcel post Sarah Janice Kee 11 CCBC Sandra Friedman Dolnick Brown Deer Public Library WLA 125 Woman's Congress Council on Library and Network Development Richard E. Krug Wisconsin Association of Academic Librarians James Duane Doty Hall of Fame 2015 UW-Milwaukee School of Information Studies Postcards Orrilla Blackshear Inform Wisconsin Delia Ovitz Wilbur Lyle Eberhart Public library systems Hall of Fame 2008 Wisconsin Literary Travel Guide Events Portage Public Library Cornelia Marving Pierce Digital Collections Wisconsin State Normal School-Milwaukee Elroy Public Library UW-Milwaukee Libraries Ripon Public Library Gertrude Thurow Lutie Stearns Library Buidlings library exhibit Robert Bocher Lucy E. Smith Morris Hall of Fame 2015 ca Ruth Ann Montgomery Clinton Public Library Pinback buttons American Library Association Gilbert H. Doane Hall of Fame 2019 Beaver Dam Public Library Suring Area Public Library Carl Spitzweg S. Janice Kee Nolan I. Neds Campaign Manitowoc Public Library McMillan Memorial Library Rusk County Community Library J. D. Witter Larry T. Nix Publications library memorabilia Hall Soughton Public Library Milwaukee Public Library Campaign School of Library and Information Studies library education People 14 trav Jane K. Billings Wisconsin Library Heritage Center Hall of Fame 2010 Madison Public Library anniversaries Marjorie Sornson Malmberg Jerome P. Daniels Wisconsin State Law Library James Huff Stout background 28 Hartford Public Library Black River Falls Public Library Campaign for Wisconsin Libraries Superior Carnegie Libraries Library celebrations Wisconsin Historical Society Lutie Eugenia Stearns Postcards Oshkosh Public Library John J. Jax Katharine MacDonald Jones Events & Meetings Irene W. Newman Hall of Fame 2017 membership libraries Library people Postcards Postcards campaign campaign Nancy Marshall John Miller Chancellor bookworm COLAND Dick Sorensen library legislation National Bookmobile Day Campaign for Wisconsin Libraries Brown County Library American Library Association Library War Service William J. Wilson Gerald A. Somers Library Buildings Lowell W. Wilson Evansville Wisconsin World War I Middleton Public Library WLA 125 Wisconsin Free Library Commission Matthew S. Dudgeon hall of Wisconsin Federation of Women's Clubs Frank Avery Hutchins Zona Gale 27 Hall of Fame 2018 Library History Dorothea M. Krause 22 Hall of Fame 2012 Academic Librarians Hall of Fame 2016 WLA 125 Hall of Fame 2015 Ruby Roeder Special libraries 24 caly film Wisconsin Library Trustees and Friends T. B. Scott Free Public Library traveling libraries Black River Falls State Law Library Eratus Swift Wilcox books-by-mail bed and breakfast Campaign for Wisconsin Libraries Public libraries Wisconsin Rapids Hall of Fame 2015 Edward Asahel Birge Louise S. Robbins Marketing-Publicity Appleton Public Library Capitol Fire 1904 Hall of Fame 2012 Clarence Brown Lester Buttons Centennial Anniversaries I Love Libraries state historical society campa Campaing for Wisconsin Libraries WHCLIS Public libraries Wayne A. Wiegand DeForest Area Public Library Campaign for Wisconsin Libraries Ice Storm Hall of Fame 2018 Events & Meetings archives Hall of Fame 2013 buil National Library Week cam Milwaukee Public Library caly film Anniversaries Library People Helen Adams 23 Cooperative Children's Book Center Dick Sorensen White House Conference on Library and Information Services Peter G. Hamon Kimberly-Little Chute Public Library Wisconsin Library Bulletin Exhibits Library Artifacts Eager Free Public Library WLA 125 Hall of Fame 2014 Klaus Linderfelt 21 Amer Campaign for Wisconsin Libraries caly film presentations Wisconsin Library Association Tower Hill Wisconsin Library Systems campaign 10 Hall of Fame 2015 Library e Pewaukee Public Library School libraries UW-Madison school of library and information studies Hall of Fame 2011 Academic Libraries WAAL Richard J. Sorensen Milwaukee Art Museum WWI Library War Service Bookmobiles Increase A. Lapham Hall fo Fame 2012 Bob Bochfer Library people Uncategorized Dianne McAfee Hopkins Charles Bunge Association of Library Trustees Advocates and Friends Beloit Public Library Historical Register Cam Wisconsin Free Library Commission Library Trustees Brown Deer Public Library Carnegie libraries Hall of Fame 2012 Governor's Conference on Library and Information Services Bernard Schwab Meter mail slogans Campaign 20

Wisconsin Library Association Foundation Logo