Herber recognized for 50 years of service with Brown County Library
By The Press Times Staff
BROWN COUNTY – Brown County Library’s local historian and genealogist, Mary Jane Herber, received a commendation in recognition of her 50 years of service by the Brown County Board of Supervisors at its meeting last month.
Herber celebrated 50 years providing genealogical and historical research at the Brown County Library.
“The go-to person – we all know and enjoy and love Mary Jane for what she represents for this community,” County Executive Troy Streckenbach said.
Herber’s recognition didn’t stop there.
Streckenbach announced during the meeting, Herber was also being recognized by Gov. Tony Evers with an official proclamation.
“Normally, when we put this order in we need 30 to 40 days for a turnaround, the Governor of Wisconsin, Gov. Evers, felt your service to this community was warranted to put together a proclamation – it was done today,” Streckenbach said.
As the library’s local history and genealogy librarian, Herber’s commitment to history, genealogy and archives has made her a household name to almost anyone in the county interested in ancestral and historical research.
Herber possesses an encyclopedic knowledge of the resources at hand (more than 10,000 volumes) in the Local History and Genealogy Department, personally knows multitudes of people connected to important Green Bay and Brown County stories and is deeply engaged in community and state activities.
Herber has been a resource to researchers and authors whose mission is to preserve and share the stories of the state.
In addition, she represents what is valued about libraries as centers of information, learning and civic engagement.
Herber has been an enthusiastic and constant guide to discovery for the television producer researching a documentary, the writer working on a national book about the Packers, and the patron who walks up to the second floor of the Central Library with a vague notion that they would like to learn more about their genealogy.
All of these people are greeted with “What are you looking for?” and “Let me show you where you can start.”
Herber’s community involvement is extensive, including the Brown County Historical Society, De Pere Historical Society, Bay Area Genealogy Society, Heritage Hill Historical Park, Green Bay & De Pere Antiquarian Society, Leadership Green Bay, and Wisconsin Historical Society Board of Curators.
She has been the recipient of numerous awards over the years.
Recent recognition includes the Jean Nicolet Chapter DAR Community Service Award (2021) and the Greater Green Bay Chamber Daniel Whitney Award (2018).
Herber is host to the library’s award-winning Local History Series held each fall and the annual multi-week Genealogy 101 series.
In partnership with Wisconsin Public Television, Herber compiled and produced the “Paper Wall,” an exhibit honoring fallen Wisconsin Vietnam War soldiers that was on display at the Lambeau Field Atrium during the LZ Lambeau event in 2010.
Since then, the “Paper Wall” has been exhibited at the central library and throughout Wisconsin.
Herber’s half-century of providing guidance, support, research based on her knowledge and experience has been a gift to Brown County and all who have worked with her either on a personal or professional basis.
Herber said she’s proud of the work she’s accomplished over the last five decades, but said it isn’t work she accomplished alone.
“I don’t want anyone to ever think that I think I’m more special than anybody else,” she said. “The volunteers that I have been able to work with – that is what it’s about. It’s about all these people helping.”