The Schwerdtfeger Library News - June 2005

By Jean Phillips, Librarian


National Library Week, 10-16 April 2005

Circulations in libraries are up, interlibrary loans are up, book purchases by individuals continue to rise, and readers have more and more tools at their disposal to find information. By that measure, the American Library Association's goal of promoting reading through National Library Week has been a great success.

Since 1958 the American Library Association (ALA) has sponsored National Library Week as a time to celebrate the contributions of our nation's libraries and librarians and to promote library use and support. All types of libraries – school, public, academic and special – participate.

In the mid-1950s, research showed that Americans were spending less on books and more on radios, televisions and musical instruments. Concerned that Americans were reading less, the American Library Association and the American Book Publishers formed a nonprofit citizens organization called the National Book Committee in 1954. The committee's goals were ambitious. They ranged from “encouraging people to read in their increasing leisure time” to “improving incomes and health” and “developing strong and happy family life.” In 1957, the committee developed a plan for National Library Week based on the idea that once people were motivated to read, they would support and use libraries. With the cooperation of ALA and with help from the Advertising Council, the first National Library Week was observed in 1958 with the theme “Wake Up and Read!” (ALA, National Library Week Factsheet)

National Library Week has been observed every year since. Here are just a few collections you can visit, all of them brought to you by libraries:


History of Science and Technology, University of Wisconsin-Madison

This collection presents writings about scientific research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and unique or valuable titles in science and technology held by the UW-Madison libraries.


Great Lakes Maritime History Project, University of Wisconsin-Superior, Jim Dan Hill Library

This site brings together the maritime collections of the UW-Superior, UW-La Crosse, The Door County Maritime Museum, the Wisconsin Marine Historical Society housed in the Milwaukee Public Library, and the State Historical Society of Wisconsin. Browsing the collection, you'll find over 7,000 files on ships that sailed since 1679. Vessels included are diesel-powered, sailing ships, river boats, barges, cargo vessels, passenger boats, military vessels, and pleasure craft.


Out of This World: The Golden Age of the Celestial Atlas
An Exhibition of Rare Books From the Collection of the Linda Hall Library

The exhibition features forty-three star atlases and maps, covering the period from 1482 to 1851. They capture the sweeping grandeur of the heavens, and are among the most beautiful scientific books ever made.


Recorded Sound Reference Center, Library of Congress

The Recorded Sound Reference Center provides access to the commercial and archival audio holdings of the Library of Congress. The collection dates from 1926 when Victor Records donated over 400 discs to the Library's Music Division to supplement its print and manuscript holdings. In the custody of the Motion Picture Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division since 1978, the collection has grown to include over 2 million items encompassing audio formats from cylinders to CDs. The holdings complement the field recordings of the American Folklife Center and the moving image collections served in the Motion Picture and Television Reading Room.


The Bentley Collection, The Schwerdtfeger Library, University of Wisconsin-Madison

A collection of 1200 photomicrographs of snow crystals, all taken by Wilson Alwyn Bentley (1865-1931).


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