Wisconsin State Law Library

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April 20, 2011

Wisconsin State Law Library Day

Governor Scott Walker issued a proclamation recognizing the library's 175 years of continuous service. April 20, 2011 has been proclaimed as Wisconsin State Law Library Day throughout the State of Wisconsin.

On April 20, 1836 then President Andrew Jackson signed an Act of Congress creating the Territory of Wisconsin, which included all of present day Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota and parts of North and South Dakota. The final provision in the act appropriated funds for the purchase of law books to support the new territorial government, and so the Wisconsin State Library, as it was first called, was established.

The initial collection consisted of congressional documents and debates and "books of a miscellaneous nature" acquired in Washington and Philadelphia. Its first home was a rented room in Burlington, Iowa. After its first legislative session in Belmont, Wisconsin, the territorial government moved to Burlington to await construction of a capitol building in the newly platted "Town of Madison," the site they chose for the permanent capital. The library moved into the new building at Madison in 1841 and resided there - and in each subsequent capitol building - until 1999, when it once again operated out of temporary quarters during the construction of its current home in the Risser Justice Center, completed in 2002.

"We are very proud and excited to celebrate this special milestone," said Jane Colwin, State Law Librarian.

To celebrate our history we have compiled historical information, photos, and articles in a special section of our website, Celebrating 175 Years of Service: 1836-2011.

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