Lutie Stearns, Patron Saint of Libraries

A biography of one of Wisconsin’s little known Progressive heroines, and a “patron saint” for librarians everywhere.

Audience: ages 8 and up. A great addition to any library or classroom.

Free curriculum guide available.

Books In a Box tells the story of Lutie Stearns, who established hundreds of traveling libraries in Wisconsin between 1895 and 1914. A founder and 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. Lutie emerges as a passionate advocate for literacy, a Progressive political activist, a campaigner for women’s rights, and an astute community organizer.

Books in a Box is a fictionalized biography, 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.

Books in a Box brings Lutie Stearns to life in an accessible story that students and adults will savor and remember.

Books in a Box is 96 pages, hardbound, smythe sewn and printed on acid-free paper.