I was pleased to be present when five individuals were inducted into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame during the Awards and Honors Banquet of the Wisconsin Library Association (WLA) on Thursday evening, November 4, 2010 at the Association’s annual conference in Wisconsin Dells. Former State Senator and Assistant State Superintendent of Public Instruction Calvin (Cal) Potter of Sheboygan Falls was the only living person inducted into the Hall of Fame. Potter was selected for his consistent and effective legislative support for Wisconsin libraries of all types during his 23 year career as a member of the State legislature and for his leadership during his almost five years of service as Assistant State Superintendent, Division for Libraries, Technology, and Community Learning, Department of Public Instruction (Wisconsin's state library agency).
Among the posthumous inductees was Julia Wright Merrill (1881-1961) (See photo). Merrill was a national leader in the extension of public library service. Early in her career she worked for the Wisconsin Free Library Commission. Her national prominence was derived from her work at the American Library Association from 1925 to 1946. At ALA she served in a variety of capacities, and was the first Executive Secretary of the Public Library Association of ALA. Merrill, a native of Ohio, was previously inducted into the Ohio Library Hall of Fame. Other posthumous inductees were Wayne Bassett (1915-1988), H. Vail Deale (1915-2004), and Leah Gruber (1906-1996).
The Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame is a project of the Wisconsin Library Heritage Center which is a program of the Wisconsin Library Association Foundation.