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

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

Wisconsin Library Association Foundation Logo