James Bertram's signature of approval on Reedsburg plans.
Postcard of Carnegie library building in Reedsburg, WI
My wife and I drove up to Reedsburg, WI today to install an exhibit of Wisconsin Carnegie library memorabilia at the Reedsburg Public Library. It will remain there for the month of January. The exhibit is very appropriate since Reedsburg's Carnegie library building was dedicated 100 years ago this month. Although the public library now occupies a new building located across the street from the Carnegie building, the Carnegie is still used to house the library's archival collection. I was delighted to find that the library has preserved and framed the original plans for the Carnegie building which were approved by James Bertram of the Carnegie Corporation on March 11, 1911. Bertram who was Carnegie's personal secretary played an extremely important role in the Carnegie library grant program. Beginning in 1908 Bertram personally approved all plans for buildings built with the help of a Carnegie grant. It's great when a library has preserved such an important historic artifact.
Today is the 125th anniversary of the birth of John Boynton Kaiser (1887-1973), a librarian and a philatelist. Kaiser is one of many librarians who collect or have collected postage stamps. He was, however, one of the first to collect postage stamps which depict libraries and librarians. Kaiser had a successful career as a librarian which included serving as administrator of the Tacoma (WA) Public Library, the University of Iowa Libraries and Library School, and the Newark (NJ) Public Library. He served as librarian at Camp Knox, Kentucky during World War I. He was also a serious philatelist and received the Walter McCoy Award for Excellence in Philatelic Writing from the American Philatelic Congress in 1953. The award was for his article Bibliography: The Basis for Philatelic Research which was published in the 1953 Congress Book (note: this article was also reprinted as a separate publication by the Philatelic Library Association in 1953). In the July, 1955 issue of Library Journal, Kaiser wrote an article titled "Librarianship and Philately" in which he introduced the library community to the collecting of postage stamps related to libraries and librarians that has since been called "bibliophilately". Kaiser's article in the Library Journal also makes note of many "parallelisms" between librarianship and stamp collecting. As a bibliophilatelist myself, I appreciate Kaiser's early efforts to identify postage stamps related to libraries. A much broader approach to bibliophilately was written about by Leona Rostenberg in a series of articles in 1977 for the American Philatelist. Those articles were later published as a book titled Bibliately in 1978 by the American Philatelic Society (search for "Bibliately" in the APRL online union catalog to find philatelic libraries with this book). I discovered bibliophilately via a 1982 article by George Eberhart titled "Biblio-philately" in the magazine American Libraries. I have established a webpage on "Bibliophilately Resources" for those who would like to explore this topic further.
I took advantage of the opportunity to acquire a bookmark for the Dyckman Free Library in Sleepy Eye, MN recently primarily because I already had in my collection of librariana a souvenir china piece and a postcard for the library. I mostly collect library souvenir items for Wisconsin libraries, but a friend had picked up the small china basket which had an illustration of the Sleepy Eye library in an antique store and gave it to me as a gift. I added the postcard from a local postcard show. The bookmark illustration celebrates the 1972 centennial of the City of Sleepy Eye, MN which is named for Chief Sleepy Eye, a Dakota Sioux chief. The Dyckman Free Library is named for F. H. Dyckman, a local banker, who donated the library building to the city in 1900. The greatly expanded Dyckman Free Library incorporates the original building into its design.
As 2011 comes to a close, I wanted to mention a couple of events that occurred in 1956 that had a major impact on the development of public library service in the United States. The first was the publication of Public Library Service: A Guide to Evaluation With Minimum Standards (American Library Association, 1956). This was a landmark publication which basically made the case for larger units of public library service. As stated in the document: "Libraries working together, sharing their services and materials, can meet the full needs of their users. This co-operative approach on the part of libraries is the most important single recommendation of this document. Without joint action, most American libraries probably will never be ale to come up to the standard necessary to meet the needs of their constituencies." In the same year that this blueprint for better public library service was published, the first major federal aid program for public library service, the Library Services Act, was passed by the United States Congress and signed into law. The primary focus of the Library Services Act was to extend and improve library service to rural populations. Statewide plans for accomplishing this were required to receive the federal aid. A number of states including Wisconsin developed state plans that called for the creation of federated public library systems. In Wisconsin, demonstrations of county and regional library service using federal LSA funding led to the eventual passage of of the 1971 (40 years ago) Library Systems Law that has resulted in every citizen of Wisconsin having access to public library service. I have worked in two other states, Tennessee and South Carolina, where statewide public library service was also achieved primarily with the use of LSA and later LSCA funding. Today, the federal Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) under the direction of the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) continues the legacy of LSA started 55 years ago.
Although he was affiliated directly with only two American library institutions, Louis Round Wilson (1876-1979) had a significant impact on the entire library world. Today is the 135th anniversary of his birth. Wilson became Librarian of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1901 at the age of 25. While at UNC he founded their library school in 1931. His contribution at UNC was significant enough to have the library building at UNC which he helped build named for him. In 1932 he joined the library school at the University of Chicago as Dean. He retired from the University of Chicago in 1942, but returned to the University of North Carolina where he engaged in a variety of post-retirement activities for another 30 years. He died in December, 1979, just days shy of his 103rd birthday. Along the way, he helped found the North Carolina Library Association in which he served as President in 1909, 1920-21, and 1929-30. He was also active in the American Library Association and served as its President in 1935-36. Maurice F. Tauber is author of a biography about Wilson titled Louis Round Wilson, Librarian and Administrator (Columbia Univ. Press, 1967). In his biography Tauber referred to Wilson as the dean of American university librarianship, but indicated that he was concerned with librarianship in all types of institutions. He quoted Robert Burton House who said Wilson was "one of the most constructive persons of his generation in the entire university world."