Gertrude Thurow was inducted into the WI Library Hall of Fame on November 6, 2014 at the Wisconsin Library Association Conference in Wisconsin Dells. Thurow served as Director of the La Crosse Public Library (1953-1975) and was instrumental in establishing the predecessors of the Winding Rivers Library System (1965-1975). She served as President of the Wisconsin Library (1955-56). Thurow was honored as WLA Librarian of the Year in 1959, and received WLA’s Special Service Award in1975. At the La Crosse Public Library she helped to establish an active Friends of the Library organization, and oversaw the construction of a new library building.
Thurow was born in La Crosse, WI in 1906 but moved frequently during her childhood. She received a Bachelors of Library Science degree from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. Before becoming a librarian she was a teacher. She worked as a reference librarian in Sheboygan before joining the La Crosse Public Library in November 1943. In June 1953 she became library director of the La Crosse Public Library. The new library building was dedicated on November 5, 1967. She retired on September 30, 1975.
Source: A Gift to La Crosse: A History of the La Crosse Public Library by Anita Taylor Doering and Bill Petersen (La Crosse Public Library, 1997). The photograph of Thurow is courtesy of the La Crosse Public Library.