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.