Leonard B. Archer was inducted into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame on October 23, 2013 at the annual conference of the Wisconsin Library Association in Green Bay, WI. Archer served as Director of the Oshkosh Public Library (1958 to 1978) and held as joint appointment as Director of the Winnefox Library System. He initiated bookmobile service for Winnebago County and was instrumental in establishing the Winnefox Library System. He was an advocate for intellectual freedom and served as chair of the Wisconsin Library Association’s (WLA) Intellectual Freedom Committee (1963-65). He was named Librarian of the Year by WLA in 1975. He was awarded the Chancellor’s Medal for work with the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh in developing a “people’s university” in the public library. After retirement he moved to Middleton, WI in 1978 where he became active with the Middleton Public Library as a member of the library board and the Friends of the Library. He also served on the board of the South Central Library System. Archer was born in Petersburg, VA. He received a BA degree from the University of Richmond and a library degree from Emory University. Prior to coming to Wisconsin he worked in libraries in the District of Columbia, Detroit, MI, Plainfield, VT, and Rutland, VT. Archer was married to Marion Fuller Archer, who was a children's librarian, author, and faculty member at the University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh. Meeting rooms at the Middleton Public Library are named for Leonard Archer and Marion Archer.
By far the most famous library lions are those that grace the front entrance of the New York Public Library's building at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street. The Oshkosh Public Library in Wisconsin also has a pair of library lions and, like those in New York, they have provided an important visual symbol of the public library. Also like the lions of the New York Public Library, the library lions in Oshkosh are named. They were named Harris and Sawyer in 1977 for two of the prominent early donors to the library. Earlier this month the Oshkosh Public Library celebrated the 100th anniversary of the installation of the lions in front of the library in 1912. The celebration included a variety of activities including a "Lion's Pride" mini sculpture contest. The lions sit in front of the library that was built in 1900. A major expansion and renovation of the building took place in 1994. The Oshkosh Public Library has a commemorative history of the lions as well as an overall history of the library on its website. The website of the New York Public Library has a page on its lions. There is also a good printed history of the New York Public Library lions titled Top Cats: The Life and Times of The New York Public Library Lions by Susan G. Larkin (Pomegranate, 2006).
This post was previously published in The Library History Buff Blog.