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

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

Wisconsin Library Association Foundation Logo