Wayne Bassett was inducted into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame on November 4, 2010 at the Wisconsin Library Association Conference in Wisconsin Dells. He served as Director of the Wausau Public Library from 1965 to 1974. When the Wausau Public Library merged with the Marathon County Library in 1974 to become the Marathon County Public Library, he served as Director of the merged library until his retirement in 1983. Concurrently (1965-1983), he served as the Director of what is now the Wisconsin Valley Library Service. Serving as the Wisconsin Library Association’s first Legislative Advocate from 1971 to 1979 he played an important role in the enactment of Wisconsin’s public library system law. Bassett received WLA’s Special Service Award in 1971 and served as President of WLA in 1976. He was named WLA’s Librarian of the Year in 1979. His life and service to the Wisconsin library community were recognized with a WLA Special Memorial Citation in 1988.
Under his leadership, the Wausau Public Library was named as WLA’s Library of the year in 1965. Bassett was instrumental in the establishment of the System and Resource Library Administrators’ Association of Wisconsin. He served as leader and/or member of numerous WLA and other statewide committees including the Library Development and Legislation Committee; the Library Services and Construction Act Review Committee; and the Legislative Council’s Special Committee on Library Laws. He was a member of the American Library Association.
Prior to coming to Wausau, Bassett graduated from the University of Minnesota (UM) with degrees in Political Science and Public Administration. He served in the U.S. Army in France during WWII. Returning home, he earned a library science degree from UM. After beginning his library career at the Fond du Lac (WI) Public Library, he served as the Director of the Worthington (MN) City Library, later the Nobles County Library, from 1949 to 1965. From 1954 to 1962 Bassett served in the Minnesota House of Representatives.