The Wisconsin Free Library Commission and Books-by-mail


“Do You Want a Book?” A pamphlet published by the WFLC explains how residents can receive books by parcel post. 

On January 1st, 1913, Congress approved parcel post, meaning that
packages could be sent via US Mail anywhere in the U.S. In 1914 the Wisconsin Free Library Commission took advantage of the new law to send materials by mail. The books came from the combined libraries of the WFLC, the State Historical Society Library, the University of Wisconsin, and the Wisconsin Academy of Arts and Sciences.  The grand total of books came out to over 442,000 volumes. Wisconsin residents only had to mail a simple letter to the WFLC, clearly stating titles, authors, or subject matter. Ben Logan wrote in his memoir The Land Remembers; “Each year, just before Christmas, she (mother) sent off a letter to the State Lending Library, asking them to send us about thirty books for three adults and four boys…Then someone in the library in far off Madison would read the letter and would, we like to think, close their eyes, see us, and decide what books to send.”

Ben Logan. The Land Remembers; The Story of a Farm and its People. (Minnetonka, MI, Northword Press, 1999. 254, 263)


A boy receives a book by parcel post

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