Friday, August 30, 2013

First Public Library Building in Kansas

I recently acquired a postcard (shown above) which claims to show the "First public Library building in Kansas erected 1879 at Peabody". The article in Wikipedia for the Peabody Historical Library Museum (which is now housed in the the Library building on the postcard) indicates that the building was built in 1875. According to the Wikipedia article the Kansas State Legislature authorized the Township of Peabody to levy a tax to support the Library in 1876. The Peabody Township Library claims to be "the first free library in Kansas". In 1914 the 1875 building was replaced with a building made possible by a grant from Andrew Carnegie. The first library building was relocated a couple of times but is now located next to the Carnegie building which still houses the Peabody Township Library.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Library Power and Jean-Baptiste Colbert (1619-1683)

At the American Library Association Conference in Chicago this summer I attended the Edward G. Holley Lecture of the Library History Round Table. It waa a presentation by Jacob Soll, Professor of History and Accounting at the University of Southern California. The title of his presentation was "Library of Power, Library of Enlightenment: Libraries as Foundations to the Modern State 1400-1806". The lecture was far more entertaining than its title would indicate. A big portion of the lecture dealt with Jean-Baptiste Colbert, a 17th century Frenchman who was one of the first significant political figures to realize the power of libraries and to make use of that power.  Starting in 1661 he served in a number of capacities under King Louis XIV, most notably as Controller General and Finance. As Superintendent of Buildings he was supervisor of the Royal Library, the predecessor of the Bibliotheque Nationale.  Colbert also built an extensive personal library that he used to help administer the French State.  Soll is author of The Information Master: Jean-Baptiste Colbert's Secret Intelligence System (Univ. of Michigan Press, 2011).  According to Soll Colbert, "Believed that all knowledge had practical value for politics." I collect postage stamps stamps that depict librarians or other library people.  Colbert is one of those people. He was depicted on a French stamp issued in 1944 (see above). Thanks to Soll I know a lot more about Colbert. For my list of library people on postage stamps (outside of the U.S.) go HERE.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Madison (MN) Carnegie Library Postcard

I recently added the really neat postcard above of the Madison (MN) Carnegie Library to my library postcard collection. The photo on the postcard of a family in a Buick automobile in front of the library was probably taken not too long after the library was dedicated in 1906. The name of the library was changed from the Carnegie Library to the Madison Public Library in 1990. The original Carnegie building is still part of a greatly renovated and enlarged facility. In researching the postcard I came across information about the Carnegie building in the Minnesota Carnegie Libraries Tour on the Placeography website.  This was the first I was aware this website.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Best Library History Websites and Blogs

In 2010 I created a list of the ten top library history websites. This post will revisit that list and add some library history blogs.

The website of the Archives of the American Library Association has been significantly updated and improved since I first posted my top 10 list. Kudos to the ALA Archives which is maintained by the University of Illinois - Champaign/Urbana. The ALA Archives has also added a blog as part of its website. The blog which focuses on some of the excellent resources on the history of the American Library Association has great potential.

I didn't include the website of the Library History Round Table of ALA in my previous list, but I've added it this time because of the section of the website on Popular Resources. This section includes links to the electronic newsletter of LHRT which has become an excellent publication in recent years. It also includes bibliographies of library history publications.

Libraries Today is the premier Canadian library history website. It is the brainchild of Lorne Bruce who established the website in 1996. It was in limbo for a while after Bruce retired as a professor at the University of Guelf, but  fortunately the University has made a recent commitment to maintain the site. Bruce has started a blog that compliments the website. It was this website that inspired me to start my own library history website.

The website of the South Carolina Library History Project is a model for a comprehensive state approach to preserving library history. It is administered under the auspices of the School of Library and Information Science of the University of South Carolina. The webiste also hosts the Georgia Library History Project.

The Carnegie Libraries in Iowa Project (CLIP) website continues to be an excellent model for documenting the library legacy of Andrew Carnegie in an individual state. It is maintained under the auspices of the University of Iowa's School of Library and Information Science .

The website of the Wisconsin Library Heritage Center suffered greatly when the Wisconsin Library Association's web presence moved to a new software platform. The website still includes a wealth of information on Wisconsin library history and has a blog component.  Improving the website is one of my priorities for the next few months.
The excellent North Carolina public library history digital project is now the Library History Digital Collection in the NC Digital Collections. It is a project of the North Carolina State Library. A great model for state libraries.

Little Known Black Librarian Facts is the blog of Michele Fenton. It is the best source for information on the history of black librarianship on the Internet. It is a new addition to my list of the best library history websites.

Glenn A. Walsh’s Carnegie Library History website is a testimonial to what an individual can do to promote library history. His site serves as a comprehensive portal to online information about the library legacy of Andrew Carnegie.

Library Postcards: Civic Pride in a Lost America, the website of Judy Aulik was started in 2003 and is another example of an individual making a significant contribution to promoting library history. It is one of a number of library postcard websites

My personal website The Library History Buff is not receiving as much attention from me as it should, but it still is one of the the most popular library history sites on the web.  Of course, this companion Library History Buff Blog should also be included on this list.

Update 11//03/13

It's a real treat for me when a new library history blog or website comes online or when I discover one for the first time. Here are three great ones.

Bernadette Lear has a special interest in Pennsylvania library history so her blog is appropriately named In Search of Pennsylvania Library History.  Bernadette is Chair of the Library History Round Table of the American Library Association and a rising star among library historians. I'm especially impressed with Bernadette's commitment to reach beyond the community of library history scholars to share America's library heritage. Although focused on Pennsylvania her well written and researched posts are of interest to anyone who is a fan of library history.

Orty Ortwein finds bookmobiles fascinating and his blog Bookmobiles: A History certainly reflects that. As a fellow fan of bookmobiles, their romance, and history I'm delighted to discover Orty's blog.

The website for the online History of Libraries course at the University of Indiana/Purdue University at Indianapolis (UIPUI) School of Library and Information Science taught by Annette Lamb is an extensive library history resource and well worth multiple visits. Also of note is Lamb's website for her online course The Book: 1450 to the Present.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

A Place Called "Library" Revisited

There is a community in Pennsylvania that is named "Library". It was named in honor of the first library established in the area by John Moore in 1833.  I wrote about Library, PA in a blog post on February 4, 2009.  I recently added a couple of postal items related to Library, PA to my collection of postal librariana.  The first is an envelope mailed to Deacon Joseph Philips in Library, PA on February 17, 1862.  The second is a postal card mailed from Library, PA on January 12, 1940.  The message side of the postal card provides an explanation for the name of the Library Post Office which was established in 1842.  Both items are shown above.  My Library History Buff website has a page that show several other postal items related to Library, PA.