Monday, September 16, 2013

Libraries on Cinderellas

Stamp collectors refer to pseudo stamps or labels with no postal value as "cinderellas". I have a small collection of library cinderellas which is shown below.

Boston Public Library
Erie (PA) Public Library
New York University Library (now Hall of Fame)
Springfield (VT) Public Library

Columbus (OH) Public Library 
St. Paul (MN) Public Library
New York Public Library
New York Public Library 
Riverside (CA) Public Library


Sunday, September 15, 2013

Gerstenslager's 1953 Trail Blazer Bookmobile

In 1949 the Bookmobile Committee of the Library Extension Division of the American Library Association held seven regional conferences throughout the country to discuss standards for bookmobiles with librarians and manufacturers of bookmobiles. The result was a 1951 report on Bookmobile Standardization. The report provided recommended specifications and equipment for bookmobiles. One of the first bookmobiles to follow these specifications was the Trail Blazer model of the Gerstenslager Company of Wooster, Ohio. I just obtained a 1953 brochure (see above) that was published by the Gerstenslager Company to introduce and promote their Trail Blazer bookmobile. It was touted as the bookmobile conceived by America's librarians and built and distributed by Gerstenslager. One of the major advantages of the Trail Blazer was that it was designed to be adaptable to chassis that were being produced by all major truck manufacturers. This allowed libraries to request bids from multiple manufacturers.  The chassis from the winning bidder was then sent to Wooster, Ohio where the custom body was attached to it by Gerstenslager. A history of the Gerstenslager Company can be found Here.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Library Cards for Library Card Sign-up Month

September is Library Card Sign-up Month so I thought I would do a post about library cards. The Matheson Memorial Library in Elkhorn, WI collected library cards from libraries all over Wisconsin and created a special display for Library Card Sign-up Month. An image of the display is shown above. More images can be found HERE. I have a small collection of of vintage library cards and a collection of personal library cards. Shown below from my vintage collection of cards is a library card dated Nov. 14, 1846 for the Pennsylvania Hospital Library, the oldest medical library in the United States. It was founded in 1762.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Bookend Art

The new Central Library of the Madison (WI) Public Library that I blogged about in my last post is a super modern facility with few vestiges of the past. One of its more striking features, however, is an art work comprised of old metal bookends of various colors that is located at the top of the staircase on the third floor. I would have liked to have seen more links to the past, but this is great.

Monday, September 9, 2013

A New Building for the Madison (WI) Public Library

Postcard showing 1965 building
The new building
A new library building is a once in a generation event in the history of a library. I was privileged to participate in a gala celebration for the completion of a new Central Library for the Madison (WI) Public Library on Saturday evening, September 7. Although the new building might technically be considered a renovation of an existing building, the renovation was so extensive that it is essentially a new facility. See newspaper article on new building and photographs. The previous building was completed in 1965 and is shown on the postcard above. That building was functional for 46 years without an expansion which is a testimonial to its original design and the soundness of its basic structure. The new building cost $30 million and the Madison Public Library Foundation was charged with raising $9 million of that amount. To date the Foundation has raised $8 million. Madison was the recipient of a grant from Andrew Carnegie for a Central Library that was completed in 1906 and a branch library. The Central Library Carnegie (see postcard below) which also housed Wisconsin's library school for over 30 years was razed to make way for a parking lot. The branch has been repurposed as an office building.

1906 Carnegie building

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Happy 175th Toledo Public Library!

The Toledo-Lucas County (OH) Public Library is celebrating its 175th anniversary this year. The library began in 1838 as a membership library under the auspices of the Toledo Young Men's Association. It didn't become a free public library until 1873. The central library building shown on the postcard above was opened in 1890. George S. Bobinski in his book Carnegie Libraries (ALA, 1969) indicates that Toledo received a grant from Andrew Carnegie for $125,000 in 1905 for five branch libraries. For some reason construction of these branches didn't begin until 1916. The current central library building was completed in 1940 and was significantly renovated and expanded in 2001.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

1931 Postal Card to the Library of Congress


One of my favorite categories of postal librariana is pre-stamped government issued postal cards. Libraries made heavy use of these cards to conduct library business, and they provide an interesting look at library procedures of the past. The postal card (see above) featured in this blog post concerns interlibrary loan and was mailed to the Library of Congress by the Cornell University Library on August 14, 1931. The hand written note on the message side of the card indicates that three books borrowed on interlibrary loan are being returned "express prepaid". A notation at the top of the cards indicates that the books were received by the Library of Congress. The front of the card has several special markings. All mailed received by the Library of Congress was stamped with a date received stamp by the Mail & Delivery Division. In addition to that stamp this card has a date received stamp for the Secretary's Office. There are also "Reading Room" stamps and an "Inter-Library Loan" stamp. Interlibrary loan was initiated by Librarian of Congress Herbert Putnam in 1900. It was a major factor in establishing the Library as a national library and not just a library for Congress.