At the end of 2015 I thought I would reflect on some of my library history related activities this year.
I completed my seventh year of blogging on the Library History Buff Blog. It was not a great year for blogging, only 34 posts which was an all time low for me. My total posts during the seven years total over 700. My pageviews during this 7 year period total 425,000, and my official blog followers total 303 (thank you to all of my followers).
It was a disappointing this year for my Library History Buff website. It is basically a dead site at this point. The site is based on the Microsoft FrontPage software platform which Microsoft no longer supports and my Internet provider also stopped supporting it this year. The LHB website which I started in March 2005 evolved from a free website offered by my Internet provider which I began in October of 2002.The task of transferring all the content on the site to a new platform is daunting for someone of my limited Web skills. I am currently exploring options for the future of the content on the site.
I continue to be a collector of librariana with a special emphasis on postal librariana and have added many interesting items to my collection in 2015. I do, however, think a lot about the final disposition of my collection which has been assembled over a 20 year period of active collecting.
I am an exhibitor of postal librariana at national level stamp shows and this year I developed two new exhibits for exhibition. The larger exhibit was titled “America’s Membership Libraries” and it received gold awards at stamp shows in St. Louis, Minneapolis, Milwaukee, and Omaha. The smaller exhibit was titled “Hiram E. Deats – Philatelist & Collector Extraordinaire”. Although Deats was a world renowned philatelist, he had many library connections including serving as president of the New Jersey Library Association. It received Vermeil awards (the level just below gold) at several stamp shows, but ended the year with a gold award at the Chicago stamp show. At the Wisconsin state stamp show my exhibit “Libraries and the Mail in America 1900-1960” won the Champion of Champions award.
This year I stepped down as Chair of the Steering Committee of the Wisconsin Library Heritage Center, a position I have held for the last six years. I continue, however, to serve as webmaster for the Center’s website and blog, and to install exhibits of Wisconsin library memorabilia at public libraries around the state. I also help research potential nominees to the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame.
In a closely related activity I am a member of the Wisconsin Library Association’s 125th Anniversary Task Force. WLA will celebrate its 125th anniversary in 2016. To help kick of 125th activities, noted library historian Wayne A. Wiegand made a presentation at the annual WLA conference in November about his new book Part of Our Lives – A People’s History of the American Public Library.
I continued this year with assisting library postcard collector extraordinaire Dan Lester with the disposition of his 10,000 plus library postcard collection. Last year I helped move over 6,000 of his library postcards to the American Library Association Archives at the University of Illinois in Champaign – Urbana.
I’m looking forward to engaging in a number of library history related activities in 2016.
Happy holidays to all!