Friday, December 19, 2014

Library Brand Canned Foods - Champaign, IL


Librariana comes in multiple varieties and formats. One of the more unusual examples of librariana is the label from a can of sweet corn which is shown above. Library Brand Canned Foods was a label for the Eisner Grocery Co. of Champaign, Illinois. Eisner Food Stores was a chain of stores headquartered in Champaign, but located throughout central Illinois. The chain was acquired by the Jewel Companies in 1957. The building shown on the label is the library building of the University of Illinois completed in 1897 now known as Altgeld Hall. It now houses the Mathematics Library of the University of Illinois. 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Library History Buff Holiday Letter 2014

Exhibit at Hales Corners Public Library, 1 of 10 month long exhibits in 2014
Seasons Greetings from the Library History Buff!

This holiday letter focuses on my library history promotional activities in 2014.

One of the more interesting activities for me this year was facilitating the transfer of the Daniel W. Lester Library Postcard Collection to the American Library Association Archives at the Universisty of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana.

A number of my activities revolved aroung the Wisconsin Library Heritage Center (WLHC), a program of the Wisconsin Library Association Foundation. I am completing my sixth and final year as Chair of the Steering Committee for the WLHC. I am particularly proud of my involvement with the selection of inductees into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame which is a project of the WLHC. This year five additional individuals were inducted.

Another project of the WLHC is the sponsorship of an exhibit of Wisconsin library memorabilia. This year my wife and I set up the exhibit at ten different libraries around the state for a one month period at each. To do this we traveled almost 3,000 miles.

The WLHC sponsored a booth in the exhibits area at the WLA Annual Conference in Wisconsin Dells, and I set up and staffed the booth.

I entered exhibits related to postal librariana at stampshows in Denver, St. Louis, and Milwaukee this year. My one frame exhibit on the American Library Association in World War I won gold medals at all three. My ten frame exhibit on libraries and the mail in 20th century American won vermeil medals (the level between gold and silver) at all three stampshows.

Of course, I continued to blog on The Library History Buff Blog by posting more than 50 articles. I also continued to maintain the Library History Buff website.

All in all a good year for promoting library history.

Happy holidays to all!

Monday, December 15, 2014

A New Library for Bellows Falls, VT 1908


Laying the corner stone is a ceremonial highlight in the building process for a new library building. This occasion for the library building in Bellows Falls, VT was captured in a photograph on October 8, 1908. The photograph was printed on the Real Photo Postcard (RPPC) which is shown above, and is part of my library postcard collection. The postcard was mailed on December 29, 1908. The library is named the Rockingham Free Public Library for the Town of Rockingham which it serves along with the Village of Bellows Falls. The library's website has a brief history of the library and includes the same image as the postcard. The building was made possible by a $15,000 grant from Andrew Carnegie. It was dedicated on November 23, 1909.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Season's Greetings from Libraries and Librarians


I've already started receiving this year's cards extending season's greetings from friends and family. I've recently greatly expanded my collection of these cards sent by libraries and librarians to other libraries and librarians in years past. The expansion occurred as a result of a donation from fellow librariana collector Norman D. Stevens. Thanks Norman. Sometimes the cards are sent by a library institution, sometimes by a library's staff collectively, and sometimes by the library director or other library administrator. Some library vendors also routinely send out cards of the season. Below are a few from my collection. 

Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine on a Winter's Eve
Harvard Medical School
Library Staff, 1964
Painting by William Commerford 
Palmer Library, Connecticut College
Director and staff
Bessemer (AL) Public Library
Holiday card and report for years (1945-1946 & 1946-1947)
Library of Congress, Winston Tabb, Assoc. Librarian, 1999
Detail from painting of home of Longfellow, 1904
Entire painting is shown on interior of card
Sent by Director of the National Central Library, Taipei
Republic of China


       And season's greetings from the Library History Buff to all my followers.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Viroqua (WI) Public Library Postcard




Clara Glenn
Librarian
The postcard above shows the interior of the public library in Viroqua, WI. It's one of my favorites in that it features a Wisconsin library, shows people inside a library, and has an interesting message on the address side of the postcard. The interior view is particularly interesting because of the people it depicts. There are library users at tables and a group of people standing in the background. I'm going to guess that the people standing are library trustees who were on hand for the photograph. I know for sure that the person behind the circulation desk is the librarian, Clara Abigail Glenn. I know this because I came across another copy of this postcard on eBay and the message on that postcard was from Glenn who wrote to the recipient, "Here is where you see me at work." Both postcards were mailed in 1910, and Glenn was listed in a directory I found online as being the Viroqua librarian at that time.  The Viroqua public library (now the McIntosh Memorial Library) is still located in the same building as depicted on the postcard. The building which was completed in 1905 was initially financed with a grant from Andrew Carnegie. A major renovation of the building occurred in 1975 which resulted in a new facade that obscures its Carnegie origin. In 2004 shortly after I retired from my position as Director of Public Library Development at the WI Dept. of Public Instruction, I conducted a space needs study of the library. It was greatly in need of additional space. More than ten years later, there is now a good chance that a new facility will be built to house the library. The interesting message on the postcard has no connection to the library. It reads, "My dear son, your father is dead. Died last night at 10 o'clock. The funeral will be Sunday. Your Mother." The postcard was mailed on Sept. 30th which was a Friday. Hopefully it reached the sender's son who lived in Aurora, IL in time for him to attend the funeral.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

St. Lucia's Carnegie Library on Carnegie's Birthday


Happy birthday to Andrew Carnegie who was born on November 25, 1835 in Dunfermline, Scotland. In addition to grants for libraries in the United Kingdom and the United States, Carnegie gave money for public libraries in a number of other English speaking countries including six in the Caribbean. The postcard above shows the Carnegie library in Castries, St. Lucia. According to Beverly Hinds in a paper presented at IFLA 2011 in Puerto Rico, St. Lucia was offered a Carnegie grant as early as 1904, but a grant was not awarded until 1916. The library building was completed in 1924 and opened on December 1, 1924. A fire in 1948 gutted the building and destroyed 20,000 books. The building was rebuilt within the existing walls, and continues to serve as a library. The library is celebrating its 90th anniversary this year. See a recent article about the library HERE.  Other Carnegie libraries in the Caribbean (Barbados, Saint Vincent, and Trinidad) have been honored on postage stamps.

Monday, November 24, 2014

More Libraries in the Winter on Postcards


The recent huge snow storm in the Buffalo, NY area prompted me to go through my postcards to find more views of libraries in the snow. I came up with these four postcards. I published previous posts on this topic on February 24, 2013 and on December 21, 2013. The first postcard shows a hardly recognizable Seattle Public Library on February 2, 1916. More snow fell in Seattle in the 24 hour period Feb. 1-2, 1916 than any comparable time period in its history (21.5 inches).
Everett, MA Public Library on postcard mailed May 12, 1916
Sanatorium Library, Saranac, Adirondack Mts., 1905

Library of Congress on postcard mailed on Sept. 1, 1909


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Six Years of Blogging

Today is the sixth anniversary of the Library History Buff Blog. This post is number 653. In the six years, the blog has received 351,000 page views. The blog has 278 regular followers. All of this is, of course, very modest in the overall blogging world, but it is impressive in the library history blogging world which is extremely limited. The mission/purpose/reason for the blog was given in the first blog post on Nov. 19, 2008:

This blog is a companion to my static website The Library History Buff. It has a similar mission - to promote the appreciation, enjoyment, and preservation of our library heritage. The blog format, however, lends itself better to personal commentary and offers the possibility of interactive communication with others with a similar interest in library history. I often post to the listserv of the Library History Round Table of the American Library Association but the audience for that listserv is restricted to members of LHRT. Another downside to posting to the LHRT listserv is that all members of the listserv are involuntarily subjected to my posts, something I occasionally feel guilty about. It puzzles and saddens me that so few in the library community seem to appreciate or even to be aware of the legacy of those who preceded them in the enterprise of managing and facilitating access to library and information services. This blog is my small attempt to increase the appreciation and awareness of our library heritage.

A Library Postcard With Multiple Personal Connections


As I have mentioned in previous posts about my library postcard collecting interests, I am particularly interested in the message side of postcards especially if the message relates to libraries or library postcard collecting. One such postcard in my collection has multiple personal and library related connections. The postcard (shown above) depicts the interior of the Greenville County (SC) Library. I served as Director of the library from 1974 to 1980, and I have a number of these postcards which are unused. This postcard was mailed on Dec. 5, 1983 by Martha Jane Zachert from Columbia, SC to Dan Lester in Durango, CO. At the time Martha Jane was on the faculty of the University of South Carolina Library School and Dan was Director of the Fort Lewis College Library in Durango. I've shared an interest in collecting librariana with Dan for a number of years and I recently wrote about his library postcard collection. Although our careers overlapped in South Carolina, it has only been recently that I have connected with Martha Jane and discovered out shared interest in library history and philately. My final connection to this postcard is the America's Libraries stamp. I'm an avid collector of first day covers and other postal items with this stamp, and have even created an exhibit of those items. It's use on a postcard during this time period is unusual in that it is a first class postage stamp and overpays the postcard rate. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Water - the enemy of books and libraries

Detail of postcard showing library

I previously wrote a post about a book titled The Enemies of Books by William Blades (Trubner, London, 1880) with an emphasis on the portion of the book dealing with fire. In his book Blades wrote: "Next to Fire we must rank Water in its two forms, liquid and vapour, as the greatest destroyer of books." I was reminded of the danger of water to books and libraries by a recent article by Bernadette Lear titled "Pennsylvania Public Libraries and the Great Flood of 1936" which is available in digital form HERE. I also wrote a post about Ohio libraries and the flood of 1913. I have a postcard (shown above) depicting the impact of the Vermont flood of 1927 on Montpelier, VT and its library. That flood, "took out 1285 bridges, miles and miles of roads and railroads, and countless homes and buildings. Eighty-four people died in the flood, including Lt. Governor S. Hollister Jackson." Libraries in the United States have been damaged in recent years by water from major weather events including hurricanes Katrina and Sandy. Some individual libraries experiencing water based disasters include the University of Wisconsin - Superior Library, Stanford University Libraries, Washington County Library (St. George, UT, to name only a few. Fortunately there are now procedures in place to recover damaged library materials in many instances.