Sunday, March 31, 2013

A Visit to the St. Louis Public Library

For a library history buff, it doesn't get much better than a visit to the newly renovated Central Library of the St. Louis Public Library. While visiting family last week in St. Louis, I took the hour long, volunteer docent led, tour of the renovated building. I made a previous post on the reopening of the building. Their website has a link to a great video about the reopening.  The renovation took place a hundred years after the Carnegie building opened in 1912. The building renovation is truly remarkable and they have done a wonderful job of integrating the old and the new. I highly recommend a visit if you get to St. Louis. Below are a few of the hundred plus photos I took of the building.

The Library History Buff in front of the Central Library
Great Hall of the Central Library
Fireplace in old children's room where storyhours were conducted

Giant two-sided card catalog. The last remaining.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Women on Library Postcards

Library, Washington Normal School, Ellensburg, WA
Library, Baptist Missionary Training School, Chicago
Guthrie (OK) Carnegie Library
I've put together a group of library postcards from my collection that include women. The first card shows the interior of the library at Washington Normal School in Ellensburg, WA. It was mailed in 1916. The second card shows the interior of the Harris Library of the Baptist Missionary Training School in Chicago. It was mailed in 1909. The third card features the "GUTHRIE BELLES" of Guthrie, OK along with the Carnegie Library. It was mailed in 1910 and is a Tuck's Postcard. Not surprisingly, Tuck's published postcards depicting pretty belles from towns and cities across the country, and they were all "most fair". The final postcard (to the left) depicts women as viewed by much of society in 1906 when the postcard was copyrighted. Check out the woman in Vol. 1. One of my most popular previous posts showed women on postcards for ALA's Library War Service. I also have a previous post that includes a postcard of women library workers at the Aurora (IL) Public Library and another post that includes a postcard showing women using the Milwaukee State Normal School Library.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Books in Chains

Hereford Cathedral Chained Library
Books in Chains is the title of a book originally published in London in 1892 that contains the writings of William Blades (1824-1890). Several copies of that edition have been scanned by Google and can be found in the Hathi Digital Library. The book was republished by the Gale Research Company in 1968. I have a copy of that book in my personal library. William Blades was also author of the book The Enemies of Books (Eliot Stock, 1902) which I have written about in a previous post. Blades was an authority on early printing and particularly the English printer William Caxton. In Books in Chains, Blades wrote this about the early practice of chaining books in libraries: "Why chain books? It is certainly a distressing as well as a suggestive sight to see books in chains. Distressing, because a good book is like a strong man, and when chained is as shorn Samson among the Philistines. No one nowadays would think of chaining books to desks or library shelves, for our ideas about such matters have indeed altered from those prevalent when such a custom obtained; ...". Blades compiled a list of all of the chained book collections in the United Kingdom at the time he wrote about them. One of those collections is the one at Hereford Cathedral. Of that collection, Blades wrote: "The collection of books in Hereford Cathedral is an exceptional instance of a genuine Monastic Library. It contains about 2000 volumes, of which about 1500 are chained, being probably the largest chained collection in existence." The vintage postcard above, from my collection, shows the chained library at Hereford Cathedral. A brief history of the Hereford Cathedral chained library can be found HERE.

Friday, March 1, 2013

German POW Camp Libraries in WWI

I have a special interest in military libraries during wartime. Most of the items in my collection on this topic are about U.S. libraries, but in this post I am featuring two items for German prisoner of war libraries during World War I. By the end of World War I the number of prisoners held in camps operated by Germany reached almost two and a half million prisoners. Dealing with this overwhelming number of prisoners led to some atrocious conditions in the camps. However, many of the camps had libraries by 1915. Most of the books came from donations by organizations set up to provide aid to prisoners. The postcard above shows prisoners using the library in the camp at Heuberg, Germany. The envelope shown above was mailed by the librarian of the library at the Parchim, Germany camp to Paris, France. The Wikipedia article on German prisoner of war camps provides a good overview of the camps.