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The American Public Library. The American Public Library: Overview of Topics Then and Now: Definitions, Statistics and Highlights American Ideals and.

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Presentation on theme: "The American Public Library. The American Public Library: Overview of Topics Then and Now: Definitions, Statistics and Highlights American Ideals and."— Presentation transcript:

1 The American Public Library

2 The American Public Library: Overview of Topics Then and Now: Definitions, Statistics and Highlights American Ideals and the Formation of the Public Library Social Forces affecting America and the Public Library Key Figures in Public Library-Past and Present Important Libraries-Predecessors of the Modern Public Library

3 Defining the “American Public Library” Generic definition: A library supported by the public. Modern definition: (abridged from IES, 2006) A public library is established under state enabling laws or regulations to serve a community, district, or region, and provides at least the following: 1. An organized collection of library materials; 2. Paid staff; 3. An established schedule in which services are available; 4. The facilities necessary to support all of the above. And 5. Is supported in whole or part with public funds.

4 Defining the “American Public Library” Distinguishing features: Access Ease of use “High spender” $29.60 per capita operating expenditure nationwide (LIBECON, 2004) and (NCES, 2005). Number of materials 45,421 volumes per service point (LIBECON, 2004), 2.9 volumes per person (NCES, 2005). Statistics: By 1880 only about 1/2 of largest cities had “public library” Today public libraries serve 97% of the total U.S. population

5 Defining the “American Public Library” More Statistics: all from (ALA, 2003) Public Library Buildings (centrals and branches) 16,549 Library Visits-per year 1,248,175,000 total, 4.6 per capita Circulation of materials 1,965,000,000 total, 7.0 per capita Reference Transactions 302,338,000 total, 1.1 per capita Librarians Employed 45,037 (other paid staff 90,977)

6 American Ideals and the Formation of the American Public Library Democratic Ideals: The principles of individual equality and freedom. Individualism and Capitalism: -Individualism is a term used to describe a moral, political, or social outlook, that stresses human independence and the importance of individual self-reliance. -Capitalism: an economic system marked by open competition in a free market.

7 American Ideals and the Formation of the American Public Library Ascension Jacksonian Democracy: Complicates the idea of representative democracy. Jacksonian Democracy ( ): Seeking to broaden the public's participation in government. Jacksonians believed in enfranchising all eligible white males, rather than just the propertied class. Progressive Era Ideals ( ): The Progressive Era was a period of economic, political, and social reform in the United States. Rooted in the belief, that man was capable of improving the lot of all within society.

8 American Ideals and the Formation of the American Public Library Progressive Era Reform Movement: What it means: education = self-improvement and education as a right Americanism: The idea that immigrants must be protected from wrong ideologies and educated in how to be proper Americans. Public Libraries were a product of conflicting and overlapping American ideals. They "blended doctrines of moral stewardship and self- improvement with new beliefs in scientific advancement, industrialization and cultural nationalism” -- Frederick Stielow,

9 Social Forces and the American Public Library 1800s-Stability Focus on self-improvement Social Libraries, built around individual groups Circulating Libraries, making capitol off of popular taste 1865-Women’s Suffrage Clubs- celebrating and exploring independence New job opportunities, better pay in non-library jobs

10 Social Forces and the American Public Library Central Urbanization America as a "melting pot” Socializing Immigrant Population Carnegie Corporation Birth of "branches”  Library as reflection of a local community The Great Depression Libraries are the "bread line of the spirit” New Deal and Work Progress Administration, libraries rebuilt

11 Social Forces and the American Public Library WWII Work force become soldiers, loss of leisure time ALA book drive for military libraries, morale boost for troops Civil Rights Movement Multiculturalism vs "melting pot”, equal rights vs disenfranchised Reform acts Library Service Construction Act (LLSC) Social Responsibility Round Table (SRRT) REFORMA Black Caucus of ALA

12 Social Forces and the American Public Library Present- Technology The library's new role as an "information center” Question of equal access Retaliation, focus on "community center” Social estrangement and independence Distrust of the government Tax scrutiny of social programs

13 American Public Library: Key Figures 1728 Benjamin Franklin: establishes first social library in Philadelphia, Junto. 1840s Nicholas Marie Alexandre Vattemare: advances idea for Boston Public Library. Charles Ticknor: public libraries to improve social and political stability by promoting the education of the general population. Edward Everett: public libraries as a way for the continuation of academic study.

14 American Public Library: Key Figures 1876 Melvil Dewey: popular education can be divided by two parts: “the free school and the free public library” (Rubin 286) 1880s Andrew Carnegie: From 1886 to 1919 Carnegie donated $56 million to construct more than 2,000 library buildings, many of them public libraries, in more than 1,400 communities in the U.S. (Rubin, 290) 1905 Thomas Fountain Blue: First branch for African Americans in any American city. Louisville Free Public Library at of Andrew Carnegie

15 American Public Library: Key Figures 1916 Marian Hadley and Margaret Kercheval: focus on services to children. Negro Public Library in Nashville, TN 1921 Pura Belpre: services for Hispanics at the New York Public Library – Present Bill Gates: Every library wired for the ‘information age’ (Gorman, 109)

16 Predecessors of the Modern Public Library in America Library Company of Philadelphia Boston Athenaeum Library in Peterborough, New Hampshire Boston Public Library New York Public Library


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