Sunday, December 16, 2012

Library History Buff Holiday Letter 2012

Exhibit at the Minnesota Stamp Show
It's holiday letter writing time and I thought I would continue a tradition that I started last year and review some of the highlights of 2012 as it relates to my involvement in promoting and preserving library history.

The Library History Buff Blog is, of course ,a major part of my efforts to promote library history. I will have written about 100 blog posts by the end of the year. The blog celebrated its 4th anniversary this year. I also maintain the Library History Buff website which receives less of my attention these days.

My volunteer job as Chair of the Steering Committee of the Wisconsin Library Heritage Center (WLHC) is a major activity for me. I'm webmaster for the WLHC website which transitioned to a new software platform this year. I coordinated the selection and induction of seven more individuals into the Wisconsin Library Hall of Fame which is a component of the WLHC. The WLHC is the official sponsor of exhibits of library memorabilia from my personal collection in libraries around the state. I was the curator for exhibits in nine Wisconsin public libraries this year. I also set up a booth display about the WLHC at the WLA Annual Conference in La Crosse. I'm helping to dispose of the Dan Lester Collection of Librariana which was donated to the Wisconsin Library Association Foundation, the home of the WLHC. That collection includes the world's largest collection of souvenir library spoons.

I displayed a philatelic 10 frame exhibit titled "America's Public Libraries and Their Forerunners 1731-1956" at four national level stamp shows (Denver, Minneapolis, Milwaukee, & Chicago) this year. The exhibit was a major revision of an exhibit that I had last shown three years ago. It won a gold medal at all four of the shows plus the Reserve Grand (second best exhibit in the show) in Minneapolis. It also won several other special awards including the American Philatelic Society's Research Medal at Milwaukee. I plan another major revision of the exhibit in 2013. My one frame exhibit "Melvil Dewey's Postal Card" received a silver medal at the St. Louis Stamp Expo and a vermeil medal (the medal level between gold and silver) at the Denver stamp show.

A major part of my library history activity is the collecting of librariana and memorabilia. Collecting postal librariana including library postcards is the focus of this activity. However, I also collect other paper items and some three dimensional artifacts. EBay is the best friend of today's collector of librariana. The trick is to focus your collecting. I particularly look for items that I can display in my exhibits or feature on the Library History Buff Blog and website.

In July I was interviewed by the University of Missouri School of Information Science and Learning Technologies. The interview was webscast for Dr. Jenny Bossaler's Library History course.

As a result of displaying my exhibits of library memorabilia and my other travels, I got to see and visit a number of historic library buildings in Wisconsin this year. Included were the Carnegie libraries in Tomah, Bayfield, and Durand (now an office building). Alslo the Matheson Memorial Library in Elkorn.

I'm looking forward to 2013 and the library history opportunities it holds.

Happy holidays to all!

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