Thomas J. Hennen, Jr., 2021 Library Hall of Fame Inductee

Tom Hennen was nominated for the Library Heritage Hall of Fame for his significant contributions to the Wisconsin library community, as well as to the planning, evaluation, and development of public libraries throughout the United States during his 40-year career as a librarian.

Tom served as Director at both the Lakeshores Library System and Waukesha County Federated Library System (WCFLS). During his tenure, he successfully negotiated library system contracts that solved cross-county borrowing issues and saw to it that Waukesha County was an early adopter of countywide library standards.

Tom was a vocal advocate for the concept of a “statewide library card” and worked diligently to facilitate the legislation which became Act 150. Under the 1997 law, county library plans are required to provide for reimbursement to public libraries for service to non-residents and include minimum standards for public library operations to meet public library system membership requirements and qualify their municipality for exemption from the county library tax. It paved the way for Act 420 in 2005 which extended non-resident reimbursement across county lines.

Much of Tom’s notable library research work focused on the use of data for planning purposes. He launched the HAPLR (Hennen’s American Public Library Ratings) system in 1999 and continued to update the data until 2010. In addition to publishing data that used specific metrics for analysis of a library’s operational effectiveness, Tom provided individual data and consulting assistance on a case-by-case basis to libraries interested in using the tool for planning. The HAPLR Index was featured in annual issues of American Libraries magazine from 1999 to 2008 and received national media attention. In addition to HALPR-related writing, Tom published more than 40 articles on a wide range of topics, including library futures, standards, and accounting. He has addressed professional library associations in 15 U.S. states, five Canadian provinces and in Australia.

Tom was a member of WLA’s Library Association Library Development & Legislation Committee from 2003-2006, serving one year as committee chair. He was named to the 2002 Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction Library Legislative Task Force, Library Services and Technology Act Advisory Committee, and invited to provide keynote testimony to the Wisconsin Legislature’s 1996 Legislative Council Study Committee on Libraries. Tom was elected President of the System and Resource Library Administrators’ Association of Wisconsin (SRLAAW) for an unprecedented four terms from 1992 to 1996 and worked on numerous SRLAAW committees, including the one that revised the state aid formula proposal for 2000-01.

Carol L. Diehl, 2021 Library Hall of Fame Inductee

Carol Diehl was a school librarian, library administrator, and local, state, and national library advocate. She was a “big picture” person who understood the significance of state and national policies and their impact on local libraries. As a tireless worker for school and public libraries, she made significant contributions to improving library service at all levels.

At a local level, Carol began her career in 1951 as a teacher in Port Washington, followed by school librarian positions in Minocqua, Fredonia, and Manawa, head librarian at Vernon County Teachers College, and New London school district library media director. She provided leadership for K-12 media program long-range planning, created elementary school libraries and pursued appropriate levels of trained librarians and aides, while also aggressively advocating for new technologies. Carol wrote competitive grants that brought in thousands of dollars to support the school libraries and other district-wide programs.

At the regional level, Carol was a member of the Outagamie Waupaca Library System (OWLS) Board of Trustees, the Fox Valley Library Council, and the Northeastern Wisconsin In-School Telecommunications (NEWIST) Advisory Board.

At the state level, Carol was an active leader in the Wisconsin Library Association (WLA) including its school and trustee divisions, the Wisconsin Educational Media Association (WEMA), and the Association of Wisconsin School Administrators (AWSA). She represented school librarians as a member of WLA’s Library Development and Legislation Committee, as well as the WEMA Legislative Committee and testified for both organizations at many public hearings. A wily advocate, she was well known to state legislators on both sides of the aisle. For six years, Carol was WLA’s Federal Relations Coordinator and a frequent WLA delegate to National Library Legislative Day in Washington, D.C.

In 1989, State Superintendent of Schools Bert Grover named Carol to Wisconsin’s Advisory Committee for the State White House Conference on Library and Information Services. As a result, she was a delegate to Wisconsin’s Pre-White House Conference in Madison, a precursor to her work as a delegate-at-large to the 1991 White House Conference on Library and Information Services (WHCLIS) where she was instrumental in seeing the Youth Services Omnibus Bill endorsed as a top recommendation.

At the National Level, Carol was an active member of the American Library Association (ALA) and the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) where she took numerous leadership roles including AASL Legislative Committee Chair. She advocated for school library professionals and their libraries and used her state-level lobbying knowledge as a member of the ALA Legislative Assembly in 1989-90. Carol’s national advocacy work on behalf of libraries continued after retirement in 1995. In 2006, President George W. Bush appointed her to a five-year term as a member of the U.S. National Commission on Libraries and Information Science (NCLIS).

Carol Diehl was born in Milwaukee on August 10, 1929 and died in Neenah on June 14, 2020.

Paul Nelson, 2021 Library Hall of Fame Inductee

Paul Nelson’s contributions to Wisconsin librarianship include many years as a highly successful library administrator, dedicated Wisconsin Library Association leader, skilled legislative advocate, library educator and author.

Paul began his career as Head of Outreach Services/Assistant Director of the Oshkosh Public Library from 1978 to 1986 and served as Director of the Middleton Public Library from 1986 to 2008. Under his leadership, Middleton completed both a new library building project and remodeling project. Paul received WLA’s Librarian of the Year Award in 1991. The Middleton Public Library was named WLA’s Library of the Year in 2007.

Paul contributed more than three decades of participation and leadership to the Wisconsin Library Association which included being elected WLA President in 1998. He chaired the Wisconsin Library Heritage Center Steering Committee and stepped up to lead the WLA’s 125th Anniversary Committee in 2016.

Paul’s twenty-year involvement with the WLA Library Development & Legislation Committee, initially as WLA State Legislative Advocate and later as LD&L Chair, led to a highly effective legislative program. For his leadership in this area, Paul received the WLA President’s Award in 2003 and 2011. When he retired from LD&L, it was to mount a successful 2014 run to represent Dane County’s 9th District on the Board of Supervisors.

Paul has contributed to the future library leadership as a library educator at the UW-Madison School of Library & Information Studies. He taught courses required for Grade 3 Public Librarian certification and continued instruction in library reference services and library management after becoming an Adjunct Assistant Professor in 2009. He was also a frequent and popular presenter at library conferences and regional workshops which assisted library staff and supporters to become effective advocates. In 2012 Paul co-authored the book Small Public Library Management with Jane Pearlmutter for the American Library Association.

Alice A. Sturzl, 2021 Library Hall of Fame Inductee

Alice A. Sturzl has lived many lives within the Wisconsin library community, devoting her time and talents to library service and leadership as a school librarian, a library trustee, an active member of WLA and numerous other professional organizations, and a dedicated public servant. She was honored with a 2005 WLA Special Services Award, as 2007 WLA/DEMCO Librarian of the Year, and 2015 WLA Trustee of the Year. She was elected 1997 WLA President and provided additional leadership to the school and trustee divisions as well as the WLA Foundation and numerous committees over four decades.

Alice was employed nearly four decades as library media specialist for the Laona School District. She officially retired in 2011 yet continued to serve as a substitute librarian at the Edith Evans Community Library that is co-located with school library services inside the Laona High School. The successful joint operation depends mightily upon the collegial coexistence of the two librarians along with their ability to bridge political relationships, policies and budgeting between the school and library boards. Alice not only mastered this challenging environment, but its unique perspective also informed her prodigious contributions to both school and public library advancement on a county, regional and statewide level.

By stepping outside her comfort zone to connect her corner of Wisconsin to the statewide multitype librarian network, Alice served as both a conduit and an advocate for greater communication and collaboration. She brought a depth of experience across multiple levels to every meeting she attended, mentoring others at the table, taking on new challenges and providing valuable insights from a statewide perspective. And she accomplished all this with a humility and devotion that also won support within ever widening circles for the libraries, resources, and services that she, her professional colleagues and her fellow library trustees held in trust for residents of the communities they represented.

Nominate someone exceptional for the WI Library Hall of Fame!

2021 Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame

Nominations Requested

The Wisconsin Library Heritage Center Steering Committee is accepting nominations for individuals to be inducted into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame in 2021. Nominations must be submitted by Friday, September 10th, 2021. Procedures and nomination form may be found at

Both the Wisconsin Library Heritage Center and the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame are programs of the Wisconsin Library Association Foundation. Induction into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame is granted to individuals who have made an exceptional contribution to the statewide improvement of library service in Wisconsin over a sustained period of time.  Individuals who have worked in and/or advocated for Wisconsin libraries will be considered.  Both living and deceased individuals are eligible. Final selection of inductees into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame will be made by the Wisconsin Library Heritage Center Steering Committee and announced this fall at the Awards & Honors reception at the Wisconsin Library Association’s annual conference.

To see previous Hall of Fame inductees, go to Nominations should be submitted to Annie Bahringer (Chair of the WLHC Steering Committee) as email attachments at by Friday, September 10th, 2021.

Richard (Dick) J. Sorensen, 2019 Library Hall of Fame Inductee

Richard SorensenRichard (Dick) J. Sorensen was inducted into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame at the Wisconsin Library Association Conference in Wisconsin Dells on October 10, 2019.

Sorensen was the school library media consultant/supervisor at the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) from 1972 until his retirement in 2001. He
was a member of the Instructional Media and Technology Team, Division for Libraries, Technology, and Community Learning. In his capacity as consultant for almost three decades, Sorensen provided leadership for many aspects of librarianship, including the certification of library media specialists, the role of school libraries in library networks, funding for school libraries, facilities planning, the collaborative role of library media specialists in instruction, and
school/public library relationships.

Particularly noteworthy was Sorensen’s leadership in the certification of school library media specialists. The separate school library and audiovisual fields evolved/overlapped during the 1970s and 1980s, creating a particularly difficult and challenging period for the profession in terms of roles and appropriate licenses. Sorensen provided leadership for the taskforce that was
appointed by the State Superintendent of Public Instruction. The instructional media certification requirements resulting from this work continue to form a foundation for library/media licensing. Sorensen was recognized in 1981 when he was awarded the Wisconsin Library Association’s Special Service Award for “exceptional service to the library profession.”

Sorensen served as the DPI liaison to the Wisconsin Library Association’s School Library Division for decades. In this capacity, he attended division board meetings, sharing insights relating to the status and needs of the school library media professional. He was a presenter at numerous library and education conferences in the state, including the Wisconsin Library Association, the Wisconsin Educational Media Association, and the Governor’s Wisconsin Educational Technology Conference. Sorensen also provided many workshops for schools, school districts, and Cooperative Educational Service Agencies (CESAs).

Sorensen’s school library media influence could be seen at the national level as well. He served as a member of the National Commission Task Force on the Role of the School Library Media Program in Library Networks. He authored “The Place of School Libraries/Media Centers in Library Networks,” published in Library Acquisitions: Practice and Theory. Sorensen served as a member of the Board of Directors, American Association for School Librarians and was one of its regional directors. He also chaired the American Library Association’s Interdivisional Committee on the Role of School Library Media Programs in Networking.

Sorensen was an active contributor to the professional literature of librarianship. He regularly published in DPI publications, Wisconsin Library Bulletin (former journal of the library division) and Channel (newsletter of the Division for Libraries, Technology, and Community Learning). He wrote articles for state library media and technology newsletters and journals in Wisconsin and elsewhere. Sorensen provided special DPI publications over the years such as the status of school library media programs, designing schools to accommodate technology, and he contributed to guidelines on combined school and public libraries for decision-making. Sorensen spent many years traveling Wisconsin, visiting school libraries all over the state. He was a familiar, welcome face in northern Wisconsin, where he regularly traveled,
visiting K-12 districts where library media programs were often headed by a single library media specialist. He impacted school library programs throughout the state, often working with just one librarian at a time. Alice Sturzl, school/public librarian in Laona, Wisconsin recalls: “I was in awe
of the fact that this DPI consultant was interested in what was happening here in the North Woods, in addition to being willing to work with us to make sure that we had the access that other parts of the state had.” Sturzl, former WLA president and WLA multi-award winner, also credits Sorensen with being instrumental in her WLA leadership development. Sorensen contributed to higher education certification programs throughout the state, interpreting certification requirements and providing lectures in school library media
administration courses.

Sorensen was born in 1935 in Madison, WI. He was an English teacher at Verona High School from 1960 – 69. He was librarian at the high school from 1969 – 72 until he joined the Department of Public Instruction. Sorensen received his master’s degree in librarianship from the University of Wisconsin – Madison in 1970. Sorensen was always a highly committed, caring professional who was well known for his knowledge, dedication, and quiet diplomacy. In 2000, Sorensen was selected for the Award of Excellence by the Wisconsin Educational Media Association for “lifetime accomplishments
and significant contributions to the media profession.”

Nancy Marshall, 2019 Library Hall of Fame Inductee

Nancy Marshall (1935-2018) was inducted into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame at the Wisconsin Library Association Conference in Wisconsin Dells on October, 10, 2019.
Following her graduation from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a master’s degree in Library Science at the age of 39, Nancy Marshall quickly made a name for herself both statewide and nationally.  Throughout her career, Marshall was a leader in the library community, particularly in the area of library cooperation, resource sharing, and copyright. 
From 1972 until 1979, she served as founding director of the Wisconsin InterLibrary Services (WiLS), a cooperative organization for resource sharing, guiding it through its first years of operation.  In 1976, she was appointed to the newly established position of Director of the Wisconsin Library Consortium. During this time, she was a member of the OCLC Board of Trustees and served as president of the OCLC User’s Council. During the mid-1970s, she worked on the development of a statewide union list of serials as a member of an ad hoc committee of the Council of Wisconsin Libraries.  She also served on the board of directors of MIDLNET, the Midwest Library Network, an academic consortium representing 9 states.  According to Charles Bunge, a  contemporary of Nancy’s and a 2009 Hall of Fame inductee, “Nancy had great interpersonal and organizational skills, and she made WILS work.  Networking and resource sharing were growing in importance in Wisconsin at that time, and WILS was a key component.”
From 1979 until 1986, Nancy was the Associate Director of Libraries for Public Service at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  During her tenure, she continued to focus on copyright and resource sharing.  She served on the working group of the Wisconsin Library Network Plan and was a member of the Statewide Committee on Interlibrary Loan and Reference Referral.  In regard to her continuing work with the American Library Association, she became an expert on copyright, especially fair use issues and the rights of libraries and library users to copy and use copyrighted materials. During this time, she also served as president of the American Library Association’s Reference and Adult Services Division.  In 1982, she was honored as the Wisconsin Library Association’s Librarian of the Year.
In 1986, Marshall accepted the position of Dean of the University Libraries at the College of William and Mary, where she remained throughout the rest of her professional career.  Her many accomplishments include the growth and modernization of Swem Library, planning and fundraising for two separate renovations and expansions, which more than doubled its size and transformed the 1965 building into a state-of-the-art facility.   During her years as Dean and continuing thereafter, Swem has been ranked among the best college libraries in the nation by the Princeton Review.  In addition, Marshall played a key role in the formation of the Virtual Library of Virginia, a statewide academic consortium that facilitated the collective purchase of online resources to serve the state’s higher education students.  Marshall retired in 1997, the same year that she was diagnosed with stage 3 lung cancer.  Two years earlier, she received the Distinguished Alumna Award from the UW-Madison School of Library and Information Studies for her outstanding leadership in library service.
A two-time cancer survivor, Marshall went on to enjoy a productive retirement, which was spent, for the most part, in Maine.  She had always had a fascination with Clement Moore’s poem, “Night Before Christmas”.  As she described it to a Portland Press-Herald reporter, ““I started out buying Little Golden Books, the 29-cent versions, and then I began collecting other copies from around the world with different illustrators. I got obsessed.”  Starting in the 1960s, this obsession grew to include more than 1000 books, manuscripts, memorabilia, and realia in her personal library and inspired her to write the book, “The Night Before Christmas:  A Descriptive Bibliography of Clement Moore’s Immortal Poem”, published in 2002.  She donated her collection to the Swem Library in 2005, and each year since then items from her collection are put display during December and January.  A gallery on the library’s first floor, adjacent to the Special Collections Research Center, was named in her honor.

Robert (Bob) Bocher, 2018 Library Hall of Fame Inductee

Robert (Bob) Bocher dedicated his career to the use of technology to improve library service to the public, emerging as a state and national leader in this field.  He worked for decades to improve resource sharing throughout the state and saw the proliferation of library system and multi-system shared integrated library systems which helped make Wisconsin number one nationally in public library resource sharing per capita.

Bocher championed the development of library systems’ wide area networks through his tireless work with BadgerNet, WiscNet, TEACH and the federal e-rate programs to help bring fast and affordable advanced telecommunications to Wisconsin schools and libraries, including those in small and rural communities. Through this work, Bocher became both a state and national e-rate expert.
During his career with Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction and continuing on into retirement, Bocher lent his expertise to libraries nationally through his work with many information technology committees and as an ALA Fellow. He currently sits on the Board of Directors of the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) which administers the federal E-rate program and the Universal Service Fund (USF).

Locally and statewide he was always available to answer questions and provide consultation with both library system and public library information technology projects. He always provided assistance with never ending patience and a smile. Bob Bocher actually gave a true and sincere meaning to the old cynical, bureaucratic line, “I’m from the State and I’m here to help.”

Helen Adams, 2018 Library Hall of Fame Inductee

An exceptional library media specialist and role model for more than 50 years, Helen Adams distinguished herself as a powerful intellectual freedom advocate, particularly for children and youth.  Her career began as a school district reading instructor and by 1973, she was a school librarian, retiring in 2004 from Rosholt School District (Wisconsin) as District Library Media Director and Technology Coordinator.

During those years, Helen’s Wisconsin leadership was evident.  She served on the Wisconsin Library Association Executive Board, 1984-85, and in 1985 she served as president of the Wisconsin School Library Media Association, a division of WLA. Helen received the Special Service award from the Wisconsin Educational Media Association (WEMA) in 1986 as well as its Award of Excellence in 1993.  She also served as WEMA president 1996–1998. 

Under her leadership, the library media program in Rosholt was recognized to be among the best, and Helen gladly shared her expertise in Wisconsin and beyond.  Helen participated in Department of Public Instruction (DPI) library division activities including conference presentations, long range planning development, and WISCAT (statewide union catalog of library holdings) contributions.  She provided in-service programs for CESAs (Cooperative Educational Service Agencies) serving numerous school districts as well as workshops/presentations for Wisconsin Public Library Systems. She also taught adjunct graduate courses in automation, technology, and policy development at UW Stevens Point and UW Stout.  After retiring, Helen continued to teach online graduate courses focusing on legal and ethical school library issues for Drexel University (2005), Mansfield (PA) University (2005-2015) and continues to teach one course per year for Antioch University-Seattle (2016-).

In addition to conference presentations at state and national levels, Helen published books and journal articles.  She co-authored Privacy in the 21st Century: Issues for Public, School, and Academic Libraries (Libraries Unlimited, 2005) with (fellow Hall of Fame inductee) Bob Bocher, Carol Gordon and Elizabeth Barry-Kessler. She also wrote three books including School Media Policy Development: A Practical Process for Small Districts (Libraries Unlimited, 1986), Ensuring Intellectual Freedom and Access to Information in the School Library Media Program (Libraries Unlimited, 2008) and Protecting Intellectual Freedom and Privacy in Your School Library (Libraries Unlimited, 2013).

 Helen distinguished herself at the national level as well.  She served on the Board of the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) at various times between 1990 – 2003, and was AASL President 2001 – 2002.   In addition to volunteer work in AASL, she served as a trustee of the Freedom to Read Foundation (2011-2015) and multiple terms on the American Library Association’s Intellectual Freedom Committee, most recently serving as chairperson in 2017-2018.

Writing, teaching, and volunteering continue to be a large part of Helen’s life.

Helen was born and raised in Wisconsin.  She received a bachelor’s degree in English/Art from UW – Oshkosh in 1966.  She received a master’s degree in Library Science from Western Michigan University in 1971, and a master’s degree in media technology from UW – Stout in 1981.  Post-graduate work was completed at UW – Stout, UW – Eau Claire, and UW – Stevens Point.  Helen was inducted into Beta Phi Mu, the international library science honor society, in 1971.

Helen is an outstanding role model and mentor.  She has been a dedicated intellectual freedom and privacy advocate throughout her distinguished career.  Helen has fulfilled the promise of Beta Phi Mu, which, by inducting her nearly 50 years ago, recognized her scholastic achievements and leadership potential.   

Lucy E. Smith Morris, 2018 Library Hall of Fame Inductee

Lucy E. Smith Morris (1850-1935) was a native of Berlin, Wisconsin. She was a contemporary and colleague of charter Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame member Lutie Stearns. Lucy Morris advocated for the development of public libraries beginning in the late 19th century.  She worked to unite local women’s clubs under the umbrella of the Wisconsin Federation of Women’s Clubs.  At the group’s first meeting in 1896, the group determined that the establishment of public libraries would be their top priority.  Within a year, over 100 free public libraries were established throughout Wisconsin.

Lucy Morris’s efforts in promoting the expansion of public libraries resulted in her appointment as one of the founding members of the Wisconsin Free Library Commission.  Working closely with Lutie Stearns from 1897 to 1917, she supplemented the work of the Commission by recruiting volunteers from women’s clubs throughout the state. She was active in the initiative to develop traveling libraries throughout the state and served as president of the Wisconsin Library Association for the 1899-1900 term of office.

Lucy Morris’s contributions to libraries were recognized after her death by the Wisconsin Federation of Women’s Clubs with the Lucy Morris Memorial Membership to the American Library Association. This honor was presented on May 15, 1936, during the Friends of the Library luncheon.