Tuesday, April 6, 2010

New York School Libraries and School Library Month


April is School Library Month and in recognition of that occasion I have compiled this post which features two pieces of New York school library ephemera. The first piece is a letter written on October 31, 1844 from a County School Superintendent in Epex, New York to Samuel S. Randall, the General Deputy Superintendent of Common Schools for the State of New York. The County Superintendent writes: "My Annual Returns are ready for transmission with the exception of the Library Returns required of the Town Superintendents. They have been slow to forward the necessary catalogues and I have just written to nine delinquents urging speedy compliance ... . Shall I be permitted to delay a few days to secure the complete returns? Or shall I forward my own Returns without them?" Those darn Town Superintendents! Governor De Witt Clinton of New York advocated collections of books attached to common schools as early as 1827 but it was not until 1835 that legislation implementing this requirement was passed. Samuel S. Randall wrote a history of the New York common school system in 1871.

The second piece is a small Library Catalogue of Public School No. 19 in Buffalo, New York dated 1885. The catalogue is 4 1/4 inches by 6 inches and has 18 pages. The catalogue is organized by topic/subject but the books are labeled in consecutive order going from 1 to 449.

The American Association of School Libraries (AASL) is celebrating the 25th anniversary of School Library Month. Originally the celebration was titled School Library Media Month, but in an interesting development the AASL Board decided this year to readopt the professional title of "school librarian" to replace "school library media specialist" and also decided to change the name of the monthly celebration to School Library Month. A decision that I heartedly applaud.

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