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

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

Wisconsin Library Association Foundation Logo