Wisconsin Catholic Library Association
Historical Note/Scope and Content

Abstract: Correspondence, minutes, newsletters, press clippings, and other records of the Wisconsin Catholic Library Association, including its sections and committees.

Donated by the Wisconsin Catholic Library Association, 1971; additions donated by the association in 1993-2007. Printed finding aid converted to html, 2011.

Historical Note

Founded in 1936, the Milwaukee Unit of the national Catholic Libraries Association (CLA) gathered local Catholic librarians at meetings which focused on practical problems facing librarians. Interest within the state grew to the point that in 1939 the Wisconsin Unit of the Catholic Library Association (WCLA) was formed. The purpose of the association, which dissolved in 2017 due to a sharp decline in membership, was to encourage development in the fields of Catholic literature and Catholic library work. Membership was open to anyone interested in this development.

The WCLA Executive Board was comprised of a Chairman, Vice-Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer, Past-Chairman, Section Directors, Diocesan Directors, Archivist, Membership Chairman, and Reading Program Chairman. The Chairman, Vice-Chairman, Secretary, and Treasurer were elected by the membership-at-large, while the remaining board members were appointed by the Chairman. The officers served a two-year term beginning at the end of the fall conference in an odd-numbered year.

The WCLA was divided into the following sections: Seminaries; Colleges and Universities; Hospitals; Parish; and Dioceses (Green Bay, La Crosse, Madison, Milwaukee, and Superior). Each section participated at the annual fall conference with speakers and exhibits. The Wisconsin Catholic Student Library Assistants Guild (WCSLAG) began under the auspices of the WCLA in 1956 and continued so until its merger with Student Library Assistants of Wisconsin (SLAW) in 1971.

Activities of the WCLA included coordination of Catholic Library Week; publication of a triannual (initially semi-annual) newsletter, started in 1941; occasionally hosting annual conferences of the national CLA; coordinating sectional workshops; sponsoring an annual state-wide conference; and the collection and contribution of books for foreign Catholic missions.

See also: "Histories of the Unit, 1936-1973," Series 2, Box 1, Folder 7.

Scope and Content

Series 1, Executive Board Records, 1945-2007, is composed of meeting minutes, constitutions and bylaws for the Executive Board of the WCLA. Only reports from the treasurer are available from 1999-2007. This series is arranged chronologically.

Series 2, Administrative and General Subject Files, 1938-2009, includes forms, manuals, membership lists, reports, lists of officers, photos, press clippings, and other miscellaneous files of the association. Of particular interest to researchers are several histories of the unit from 1936 to 1973. The series is arranged alphabetically by title and thereunder chronologically.

Series 3, Sections and Committees, 1938-1979, consists of records from the sections of WCLA. Especially well represented is the WCSLAG, including three extensive scrapbooks for this student association. It is arranged alphabetically and thereunder chronologically.

Series 4, Conferences, Exhibits and Projects, 1936-2009, contains the minutes, addresses, and programs for the WCLA annual fall conferences. A few documents related to section workshops and the national CLA convention are also included. This series is arranged chronologically.

Series 5, Newsletters, 1941-2012, documents the newsletters for both the WCLA and the WCSLAG. The Kaleidoscope was published three times a year, though it was originally a semi-annual newsletter. The series is divided according to organization and arranged chronologically.

Series 6, Curated Website Captures, 2011-2016, provides access to versions of the WCLA's website.


Related Collections

Catholic Library Association Records