Archive for December, 2011

Sleepy Eye (MN) Public Library Trio

December 30th, 2011

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.

1956, A Big Year for Public Libraries

December 29th, 2011
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.

Louis Round Wilson, Library Educator

December 28th, 2011
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."

Library of Congress Ornament

December 25th, 2011

For those who put up and decorate Christmas trees, there are tens of thousands of ornaments to choose from. Libraries on occasion arrange for an ornament to commemorate a special occasion. The one highlighted in this post is from the Library of Congress and it incorporates some of the copper from the original 1897 roof of what is now the Thomas Jefferson Building. A nice keepsake even if you don't put it on a tree. Happy holidays!

William Frederick Poole, Great American Librarian

December 25th, 2011
There are few American librarians with a more stellar resume than William Frederick Poole (1821-1894), and today is the 190th anniversary of his birth. His professional library career spanned 47 years. He was the head librarian for the Boston Mercantile Library, the Boston Athenaeum, the Cincinnati Public Library, the Chicago Public Library, and the Newberry Library in Chicago. He was recognized for his innovative index to periodicals at the 1853 conference of American librarians, and in 1876 at the library conference in Philadelphia he proposed a plan for making a new edition of that important index even more comprehensive. An active member of ALA, Poole served for ten years as the first Vice-President of ALA and then two terms as President. There is an excellent entry about Poole by William Landram Williamson in the Dictionary of American Library Biography (Libraries Unlimited, 1978). Williamson had this to say about Poole: "An imaginative thinker and inspiring leader, William Frederick Poole was one of the great founding librarians of the United States. To his contemporary librarians, one of his outstanding achievements was his contribution in making librarianship a recognized and respected profession. He could make this contribution because he was a man of strength, scholarship, warmth, and dedication." One of the more interesting artifacts in my collection related to Poole is an 1854 membership payment receipt for the Mercantile Library Association of Boston signed by Poole (shown above). I wrote a previous post about another Poole artifact in my collection.