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.

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.