Books in a Box: Lutie Stearns and the Traveling Libraries of Wisconsin
July 01, 2005
Big Valley Press is pleased to announce the publication of Books In a Box: Lutie Stearns and the Traveling Libraries of Wisconsin. Lutie Stearns established hundreds of traveling libraries in Wisconsin between 1895 and 1914. A founder, and later employee, of the Wisconsin Free Library Commission, Lutie’s mission of sharing books and opportunity brought her to North Woods lumber camps, to farming communities, and to industrial centers throughout the state. Despite a devastating stutter, she gave thousands of book talks and, later in her life, became a famous public speaker. Along the way, she met and worked with such historical luminaries as State Senator Joseph Stout, Zona Gale, Jane Addams, and Robert LaFollete. Books in a Box is a fictionalized biography for children aged 8-14. It is drawn from Lutie’s correspondence, magazine articles, and other historical accounts. Turn of the century Wisconsin is the backdrop for her story, and period photographs illustrate both the character of the state at the time and the particulars of traveling libraries. Lutie emerges as a passionate advocate for literacy, as a Progressive political activist, as a women’s rights advocate, and as an astute community organizer. People of that time said that Lutie Stearns proclaimed the Gospel of the Village Library with the same conviction as a revival preacher. Books in a Box brings Lutie Stearns to life in an accessible story that students and adults will savor and remember.
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