Library history room renamed for its founder
Nancy L. Hawkinson is credited with founding the history room at the Hudson Area Public Library, so it is only fitting that the room now bears her name.
Hawkinson, who died in December last year, had volunteered with the library for years, long before the new building opened on First Street.
A member of the St. Croix County Historical Society and an Octagon House Museum volunteer, Hawkinson was passionate about Hudson history.
"She was a vital resource for Hudson history," Library Director Tina Norris said.
In addition to her work at the library and historical society, Hawkinson was editor of the St. Croix Valley Genealogical Society journal "The PIPOST," indexed 15 years of articles by longtime Star-Observer editor Willis Miller, transcribed her own family's historical documents and helped others research their families.
Hawkinson was always willing to help, whether it was with library staff or people coming into the history room. She attended genealogy workshops at the library, and would make sure everybody had the information they needed if they missed the workshop.
"She was a great lady," said Norris, who worked with Hawkinson for the last few years. The two were planning to add more genealogy resources to the history room.
"But she won't be here for that," Norris said.
Her impact remains.
Hawkinson digitized many different types of records for the history room, including newspapers and postcards.
"I think all of the work that Nancy put into that room lays a foundation for going forward," Norris said.
It's a foundation that the library will continue to build on.
The renaming of the room, which has been open since 1984, was unanimously approved by the library board at its meeting Jan. 15.
Now the Nancy L. Hawkinson room offers digitized versions of the Hudson Star Times newspaper from 1890 to 1905 and the Hudson Star-Observer paper from 1909 to 2005, as well as current editions. A biographical index that covers the names and information of more than 56,000 Hudsonites is also available. Visitors to the room can also find any book that's ever been published on Hudson history, microfiche and a machine, slideshows, library history, architectural heritage, railroad slides and more.
"Nancy kind of coordinated getting all of that together," Norris said.
The room is open during library hours, with staff available to help.