The Women Who Went West

Under the leadership of its first Dean, Katharine Sharp, Illinois’ Graduate School of Library and Information Science sent the first librarians west.

As pioneers immigrated to the western towns of Wyoming, New Mexico and Oregon, graduates of Illinois set up libraries to educate the growing population. Often the only women for miles, these librarians created literacy programs with very little resources. –Here & Now: Videos

The video, The Women Who Went West, features Betsy Hearne, re-telling some of the stories of these early librarians. These early librarians showed courage and resourcefulness in spreading books and literacy. As Betsy says, “democracy depends on an informed population,” and they clearly did more than most to make that happen.


Des Garennes, Christine (2008, November 23). Video shows UI librarians’ quest to settle the West in 1908. The News-Gazette.

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