Thomas J. Hennen Jr.

6014 Spring Street
Racine, Wisconsin 53406


Hennen has been a librarian for over 40 years. In 2013 he retired as the director of Waukesha County Federated Library System in Wisconsin. He previously directed library systems elsewhere in Wisconsin and Minnesota. Library periodicals such as Library Journal and American Libraries have published more than 40 of his articles on a wide range of topics, including library futures, standards, and accounting. His book, Hennen’s Public Library Planner, was published in April 2004. Hennen has addressed professional library associations in 15 U.S. states, five Canadian provinces, and in Australia. He developed the now discontinued Hennen’s American Public Library Ratings (HAPLR). It used data provided by 9,000 public libraries in the United States to create comparative rankings. Thousands of libraries ordered reports on their libraries from 1999 to 2010. He is a library leader internationally known for his work on library planning, governance options, and statistical comparison of libraries. During his career, he has addressed library groups on library evaluation, planning, and services in a dozen U.S. states, 3 Canadian provinces, and Australia. He played a leading role in legislative development in the Wisconsin Library Association. Since 2000, he has provided consulting to libraries on library planning and evaluation. He is skilled at presenting statistical and demographic data in graphic formats as well as interpreting what large amounts of data mean about library service.

Consulting Experience

2004 – present: Hennen Library Consulting

  • Provide independent library evaluation and planning to libraries, governments, and other organizations using the methods outlined in his book, Hennen’s Public Library Planner. Work has included clients throughout the U.S. Provides statistical data to decision makers that is combined with professional judgement for library evaluation and planning.

Work Experience 

1999-2013: Administrator, Waukesha County Federated Library System.

  • Waukesha County Federated Library System is a single county federated library system serving 345,000 residents through 16 independent libraries in Waukesha County.
  • Brought substantial peace to what was nearly open warfare among the system’s 16 independent libraries. The libraries voted unanimously to recommend to the Board a revised plan for funding and services. Prior to that there had been threats to dissolve the system and the state library agency had been called in to conduct a performance audit demanded by the local library boards.
  • Led Waukesha County to become only the second county in the state to adopt required public library standards for its 16 libraries.
  • County received 9 National Association of Counties (NACO) Achievement Awards during his tenure.

 1983–1999: Administrator, Lakeshores Library System, Racine, WI

  • Led a two-county federated library system serving 243,000 residents through 15 independent libraries in Racine and Walworth counties.
  • Organized this new system when it was founded in 1983, overcoming severe animosities between some of the library participants.
  • Increased county funding to make counties better partners with city and village libraries.

1975–1982 – Director, Watonwan County Library, St. James, MN

  • Managed consolidated county library system with a headquarters and four branches in a county with 13,000 population.
  • Achieved the highest per capita circulation in the state, increased funding substantially, but retained low cost per circulation and high staff output.
  • The library’s successful service to farmers program was nationally recognized during his tenure there.


1983-2013 Wisconsin Librarian Certification

  • Renewed library certification every 5 years by earning the state required Continuing Education Units required for all Wisconsin library directors.

1966–1975, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. 

Master of Library Science, 1975. Beta Phi Mu, Library Science Honor Society Bachelor of Arts, Sociology, 1972

1962-66, Marquette University High School, Milwaukee, Wisconsin  Graduated 1966. 

Attended competitive college prep school on partial work-study scholarship.


  • Hennen’s Public Library Planner: A Manual and Interactive CD-ROM. Neal-Schuman Publisher (now American Library Association) ISBN: 1-55570-487-5 . 2004 . 8 1/2 x 11 . 300 pp. Available at:
  • Hennen’s American Public Library Ratings Published annually in American Libraries magazine from 1999 to 2008
  • Making Book: A Kansas City Consensus Study. Jennifer Wilding and Thomas J. Hennen Jr.  In 2003 Tom Hennen assisted Jennifer Wilding of Consensus in a project to investigate the need for wider units of service in the greater Kansas City area. The results were published in spring of 2004. Stable URL:
  • Libraries Together.   In January 2006 Hennen Library Consulting finished working with a team headed by Jennifer Wilding of KC Consensus on forms of library governance in the Quad Cities area of Iowa.
  • “Building Bridges through Consensus,” in American Libraries. August 2006. pg. 34-35
  • “Trends and Issues in State Libraries: Balancing Books and Bytes” in Book of the States. Pg 489-494. Council of State Governments. 2005.
  • “Is There a Library Consolidation in Your Future?” in American Libraries, October 2005, pg 49-51.
  • “Best (and Worst) Averages in the Library Majors,” in American Libraries, October 2005, pg 52-53.
  • “Stand Up for Libraries,” in American Libraries, June/July 2005, pg 46- 48.
  • “The Challenge of Wider Library Units,” in Library Journal. September 15, 2004. Pg. 36-38.
  • “Library Impact Fees,” in Public Libraries, May/June 2005, pg. 169- 175.
  • “The Normative Data Project: Just What We Need?” in American Libraries, Apr2005, Vol. 36 Issue 4, p81, 1/2p
  • “The Challenge of Wider Library Units,” in Library Journal. September 15, 2004. Pg. 36-38.
  • “Restore Our Destiny: Full not Plural Funding,” in American Libraries, August 2004. Pages 43-45.
  • “Performing Triage on Library Budgets in the Red,” in American Libraries. March 2003, pg. 36.
  • “Are Wider Library Units Wiser?” in American Libraries. June/July 2002, pg. 65+
  • “Do You Know the Real Value of Your Library?” in Library Journal, 6/15/2001, Vol. 126 Issue 11, p48, 3p
  • “Catalog as Community: A Metadata Meditation” by Thomas J. Hennen Jr. in Library Computing (Formerly Library Software Review) March/June 2000; v 18, n 1/2.
  •  “Why We Should Establish a National System of Standards,” in American Libraries, March 2000. Page 43+
  • Essay Adjunct to “Why We Should Establish a National System of Standards,” in American Libraries, March 2000. Page 43+
  • “Index Rates Wisconsin Libraries Highly,” in Communique, a publication of the Wisconsin Library Association. Spring 1999. Page 5.
  • “Building Benchmarks to Craft a Better Library Future,” in APLIS (Australasian Public Libraries and Information Services) June 1999, pages 52 to 59.
  • Invited Introductory Testimony to the Wisconsin Legislative Study Committee on Libraries – October 3, 1996.
  • OCLC Invitational Conference on the Future of the Public Library: Public Librarians Take Cool View of Future, in American Libraries magazine. Volume 19, Number 5, May 1988. Pages 390-392.
  • “Seeds of Power,” Self-published pamphlet, 1980, 1981. 1985. Sold to over 3,000 libraries in 50 states and 6 Canadian provinces.
  • Bylined Book Review Column: Quarterly column in American Library Association’s Booklist magazine from 1980 to 1986.
  • “Attacking the Myths of Small Libraries,” in American Libraries magazine. Volume 17, Number 11, December 1986. Pages 830834.
  • “The Effect of Publisher’s Book Promotions on Interlibrary Loan,” in Research & Reality: Library Services to Rural Populations. Published by the American Library Association, 1982. Pages 48- 57.
  • “Library Services to Farmers.” American Library Trustee’s Association Publication Number 3. Published in 1981 by the American Library Association. 6-page pamphlet.
  • “Catalog Stores, Smoky the Bear, Stone Soup and Libraries,” the main paper in Occasional Papers of the Minnesota Library Association 1981. Pages 1-6.
  • “Popular Farm Magazines,” in Serials Review. Volume 7, Number 3. July/September 1981. Pages 12-14.
  • “Publicity for Rural Areas,” in Library P.R. News. Volume 13, Number 6. November/ December 1980.
  • “Using the Minnesota Statutes, Code of Agency Rules, and State Register,” in Minnesota Libraries magazine. Spring 1980. Pages 48-56.
  • “Serving the Last Minority,+ in Library Journal Special Report Number 6. 1978. Pages 46 to 50.
  • “Let There Be Peace in Children’s Literature,” in Language Arts. Volume 54, Number 1. January 1977.

Conference Presentations

  • Is there a Consolidation in Your Library’s Future? Rhode Island Library Association, June 6, 2008. Salve Regina University, Newport, RI
  • An Explanation of HAPLR Ratings. Cuyahoga County Library System and area libraries. June, 2008.
  • Panel Discussion on Library Governance Options and Wider Units
  • Hennen and Wilding were panel members in this Wisconsin Library Association Annual Conference program in November of 2006
  • HAPLR Rating System and Ohio Libraries. Ohio Library Council, October 6, 2005.
  • Wisconsin Library Association, Fall, 2003, 2004, 2005. Legislative Updates.
  • HAPLR Library Rating System, Tennessee Perspective. Tennessee Library Association Conference March 26-28, 2002 Nashville Convention Center Nashville, TN
  • The Great GASB 34 Auditing Challenge. Tennessee Library Association Conference March 26-28, 2002 Nashville Convention Center Nashville, TN
  • Presentation on HAPLR Ratings to the Long Island Library Conference, May 2001.
  • The Best Libraries in America? An Explanation of the HAPLR Index, at the Public Library Association Annual Conference April, 2000 in Charlotte, NC USA
  • Presentation on HAPLR Ratings to North Suburban Library System (Illinois, USA). February 15, 2000.
  • Online Library Computing Consortium (OCLC) Awards Luncheon in Columbus, Ohio, USA. Tribute to the five libraries in Ohio that finished number one in their respective population categories in the HAPLR Index   Explaining the HAPLR Index. Wisconsin Library Association Annual Conference. October 1999.
  • Getting Library Help from Local, County, and State Legislators – Wisconsin Library Association Annual Conference. Wednesday, October 28, 1999.
  • To Count or not to Count: Measuring Library Use in a Wired Age. Wisconsin Library Association Presentation. October 30, 1998.
  • Invited Introductory Testimony to the Wisconsin Legislative Council Study Committee on Libraries – October 3, 1996. The committee wrote the biggest revision to Wisconsin Library Law in 25 years.
  • Public Library Association Annual Conference, St. Louis, MO, USA. 1986. Main speaker for program titled “Positively Main Street; library services to retail businesses.”
  • American Library Association Annual Conference, Philadelphia, PA, USA. 1982. Panel member for program titled “Library Services to Rural Populations.”
  • American Library Association Annual Conference, New York, NY, USA. 1980.  Speaker for program titled “Publicizing Rural Library Services.”
  • “Sowing the Seeds of Power” workshops. 1979-87. Conducted a total of 22 sessions of this continuing education workshop for library associations and systems in twelve U.S. states and three Canadian provinces.
  • University of Wisconsin Extension Lecturer 1981-83. Conducted two “Focus on the Small Library” courses for a total of 16 hours.


Honors, Awards, and Professional Activity

  • Chair of Wisconsin Library Association Library Development & Legislation Committee, 2004. Member 2001-13.
  • Served on the 2002 Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction Library Legislative Task Force.
  • Authored the HAPLR Index. It was featured annual issues of American Libraries magazine from 1999 to 2008. Thousands of libraries ordered reports for their libraries during this period. It received newspaper, magazine, and television coverage all over the country.
  • Appointed in 2000 by State Superintendent of Public Instruction to chair the Library Services and Technology Act Advisory Committee.
  • Dr. Alan Bundy, the 2001 president of the Australian Library and Information Association, called for the creation of an Australasian index similar to the HAPLR Index in his address, “How Far They Have Come – How Far They Must Go: Australian Public Libraries at Century’s End,” at the National Public Library Conference, Perth 14-17 November 1999.
  • John Berry, III in his April 15, 1999 Library Journal Editorial entitled “On the Uses of Recognition,” citing the author’s HAPLR Index, says that whenever any library is honored, every library benefits.
  • Elected President of the System and Resource Library Administrators’ Association of Wisconsin (SRLAAW) for an unprecedented four terms, 1992 to 1996. Worked on numerous SRLAAW committees, including the one that revised state aid formula proposal for 2000-01.
  • Invited to provide keynote testimony to the Wisconsin Legislature’s Legislative Council Study Committee on Libraries in 1996.  Frequently provide testimony on other bills as well.
  • 1988 OCLC Invitational Conference on the Future of the Public Library in the 21st Century. — One of 50 national library leaders selected.
  • Article on “Attacking the Myths of Small Libraries,” selected by peer jury for annual publication in Best of Library Literature: 1986.
  • April 15, 1986 Library Journal Editor Karl Nyren cited him as one of three national leaders in rural library service development.
  • 1980 Library Public Relations Council Award received at American Library Association Annual conference for innovative services to library users.
  • Elected in 1977  to Beta Phi Mu International Library Science Honor Society.