National Library Week started today with the theme “World’s Connect @ your library”. In 1958 the National Book Committee and the American Library Association conducted the first annual National Library Week campaign with the theme “Wake Up and Read”. Each state that participated in the effort was required to establish a statewide planning committee. The Wisconsin Library Association took the responsibility for designating a volunteer state executive director for Wisconsin. The executive director worked with the statewide committee under a lay chairperson and with significant lay membership. As a spin off of the 1962 National Library Week campaign in Wisconsin, Mrs. Bruno Bitker of Milwaukee provided the leadership for founding the Friends of Wisconsin Libraries(FOWL) in 1963. That organization was the model for the national Friends of Libraries USA (FOLUSA) which was also founded in Wisconsin. In 1964 under the leadership of Gerry Somers, Director of the Brown County Public Library, WLA was given the first $1,000 Grolier Award for most effective state National Library Week program in the nation. FOWL has been integrated into the new Wisconsin Library Trustees and Friends (WLTF) Division of WLA. On February 1, 2009 FOLUSA joined with the Asociation of Library Trustees and Advocates to form the Association of Library Trustees, Advocates, Friends and Foundations (ALTAFF).
For more on the history of National Library Week and previous themes click here.