All Their Ways are Helping Ways: Stories from the History of Madison Public Library

Appendix I: Firsts of the Library

Upon visiting the Madison Public Library today, it is easy to take for granted the existence of all the services, trained staff, works of arts, and other delightful features of the library. Of course, this all did not happen overnight but instead developed step-by-step. Below is a chronology identifying when many important events and acquisitions first appeared in the history of the library:

1875 - May 31- First day the Madison Free Library is open to the public; Madison becomes the 2nd public library to open in Wisconsin

1877 - First Catalog of the Madison Free Library published

1878 - First authorization of purchase of periodicals by Library Board: $100

1879 - First opening of library during the evening: Library Board authorizes library to be open three nights per week and pays a policeman $1 per week to attend

1889 - First electric lighting installed in library

1896 - First telephone installed in library

1900 - First request for help from the library in an industrial plant comes from the Gisholt Machine Co, in a request for a loan of books

1901 - First professionally trained librarian hired by Madison Free Library

1901 - First assistant for special children's work was hired

1902 - First children's room opened in library

1902 - First children's librarian hired by library

1902 - First typewriter in library

1903 - First deposit station opened

1906 - First building owned by the library opened at corner of Carroll Street and Dayton Street ("The Carnegie Building")

1908 - First male librarian hired

1908 - First woman appointed to library board

1908 -First stereopticon purchased for library

1908 - First bequest received by library- $1000 from Halle Steensland

1910 - First year Men's Reading Room opened (Also called "Smoking Room")

1910 - First library in Wisconsin to use moving pictures as an aid to the work of the public library is the Madison Free Library

1910 - First school library branch opened (Madison High School)

1913 - First branch library opens on 1249 Williamson Street

1918 - First celebration at library of "Children's Book Week"

1919 - First factory deposit station opened in the French Battery Company "in the care of a welfare worker and an educated woman"

1921 - First, and perhaps only, time Madison Free or Public Library receives no newspaper publicity during the year and the library "celebrates" this accomplishment

1924 - First book service to hospital patients offered (Madison General Hospital)

1944 - First radio program of Madison Free Library broadcast ("The Book News")

1948 - First year Madison Free Library has a record-lending service

1950 - First purchase of "ceiling book projectors" for use of hospital patients (gift from The Lions Club)

1953 - First Bookmobile service in Madison begins

1958 - First celebration of National Library Week in conjunction with national activities

1959 - First year Madison Public Library goes by this name (formerly Madison Free Library)

1959 - First overdue book case goes to small claims court

1960 - First Friends of Library group in Wisconsin formed at Madison Public Library

1961 - First Multilith (copy machine) machine in library

1968 - First city-county-historical society (Dane County Historical Records Center) historical center housed in Madison Public Library

1971 - First Municipal Reference Service serving both city and county established as part of Madison Public Library

1975 - First history of the Madison Public Library published: "Free and Public: One-Hundred Years with Madison Public Library"

1975 - First book theft detectors installed in library

1976 - First year Internal Revenue Service officials hold hours in the library to assist the public

1980 - First time in history of Madison Public Library a security guard position included in its budget

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