Monday, August 17, 2009
Following up on the theme of reference/information by mail discussed in the previous two entries, here is another approach to this activity. Package libraries were collections of pamphlets, pictures, magazine articles, and newspaper clippings on topics of current interest. These were mailed out (usually by university extension departments) upon request to individuals, women's clubs, debating groups, business people, rural schools, and libraries. Borrowers usually paid the return express charge for the package libraries. Package libraries were an innovation conceived by Frank A. Hutchins while serving as Secretary of the Department of Debating and Public Discussion in the newly created Extension Division of the University of Wisconsin in 1906. More on Wisconsin's package libraries can be found here. The concept of package libraries was implemented in other states including Indiana.