Friday, September 19, 2014

Fundraising for the Free for All Inside the Public Library Film Project

I published a previous post about the "Free for All: Inside the Public Library film project which will feature public libraries across America today and provide historical background about the public library movement in the United States. The project is now at a critical filming stage and a fundraising effort has been launched to pay for this phase. They have more information and a nice video about the project on their home page. It also includes information about donating to the project which I highly endorse. 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Guthrie, Oklahoma's Carnegie Library

When Andrew Carnegie gave a grant of $26,000 to Guthrie, Oklahoma on October 17, 1901 for a public library building it was the capital of the Oklahoma Territory. The library building was completed in 1902 and in 1906 it served as the backdrop for the inauguration of Frank Frantz, Oklahoma's last territorial governor. That event is depicted on the postcard above. Guthrie lost out to Oklahoma City as the permanent State Capital. The Carnegie building ceased to house the public library in 1972 when a new public library building was completed. According to the website of the Oklahoma Territorial Museum, the Carnegie building barely escaped destruction due to the generosity of a benefactor who also donated a museum building to the City. The very elaborate building which was added to the National Register of Historical Places in 1971 is now part of the museum complex. Information about Oklahoma's other Carnegie libraries can be found HERE

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Equalizing Library Opportunities 1927

In 1927 the Committee on Library Extension of the American Library Association published a small brochure (see above) that described the inequality of access to public library service in the nation and advanced the goal of "Adequate public library service within easy reach of every one". It then offered some strategies for achieving that goal. A chart in the brochure (at left) showed that more than 50 million Americans were without library service, mostly in rural areas. Elsewhere in the brochure it was pointed out that out of 3,065 counties the United States 1,235 had no public libraries within their boundaries. Strategies included leadership from state library agencies and county libraries. It was not until the passage of the Federal Library Services Act in 1956 that that the extension of public library service became a national priority. As a result of federal and state library funding programs enormous progress has been made toward achieving the goal of adequate public library service within easy reach of everyone. However, there are still millions of Americans without public library service or without adequate public library service. 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Autographs of Famous Librarians

One of the categories of librariana that Norman D. Stevens discusses in his book A Guide to Collecting Librariana (Scarecrow Press, 1986) is autographs of librarians. He highlights the James I. Wyer (1869-1955) Autograph Collection which is housed in the American Library Association Archives. Wyer served as President of ALA in 1910-1911. His autograph collection includes letters from 46 ALA presidents as well as correspondence from other librarians. Stevens notes that autograph collecting was once a popular hobby, but has gone out of favor. He provides tips on autograph collecting. Although, I don't specifically seek autographs of librarians, famous or not, I have managed to accumulate a nice selection. Some of those are shown below.

Melvil Dewey (1851-1931), ALA Leader & President Lake Placid Club

Herbert Putnam (1861-1955), 8th Librarian of Congress
Susan Grey Akers (1889-1984), Library School Dean

Ainsworth Spofford (1835-1908), 6th Librarian of Congress
Justin Winsor (1831-1897), ALA's First President
Norman D. Stevens, Molesworth Institute Director Emeritus
George M. Eberhart, American Libraries Direct Editor
Betty Stone & Rogert Wedgeworth, Former ALA President & ALA Executive Director