Libraries Matter

The Library Makes a Difference

Cotton Library

We have all heard about law libraries, medical libraries, religious libraries, maritime libraries, presidential libraries and general local, state and federal libraries. However, in this country there are several libraries strictly devoted to the cotton industry. This is not just a crop in American agricultural history. Cotton was a life-changing crop that built around it an entire lifestyle and economy.

The Audie Murphy/American Cotton Museum and Library is dedicated to the preservation of the American cotton industry. Located in historic Greenville, Tx on ten acres of the Texas Blacklands, the Audie Murphy/American Cotton Museum and Library includes the oldest home in Greenville, Tx., a cotton patch, the library and museum and a picnic area.
This library was founded in 1987 and hosts the annual Cotton History Conference among many other symposiums and conferences on a yearly basis.

Memphis Tennessee was for many years the cotton capital of the world. The Memphis Cotton Exchange Library highlights the Cotton Exchange which was founded in 1873. This association established rules and regulations facilitating the trading of cotton and the grading of crops. The stated mission of the Cotton Exchange is as follows:
“The mission of the Memphis Cotton Exchange is to formulate and promulgate trading rules for cotton, to provide a venue for arbitration under its rules, and to preserve the heritage of the cotton trade in the City of Memphis.”

Memphis also boasts being the home of the Southern Cotton Ginners Association. This prestigious association hosts a photo library of cotton history from its heyday to the present. This association has most of its membership from Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, Missouri and Tennessee. However, there are members from all around the globe that attend regularly scheduled events and meetings.

Cotton was a transforming crop in American history and checking out these treasures in library form is well worth the effort.

posted by Beatrice Johnson in Library and have Comments Off

Germantown Community Library

Nestled within the confines of this charming bedroom community just outside of Memphis, Tennessee is the Germantown, Tn. Library. This library is fully owned and operated by the City of Germantown. While the city subcontracts the day to day management of the library to a professional group, it is guided by policies developed by the citizenry and the Mayor and the Board of Aldermen. The stated goals of this library are as follows:
• Promote lifelong learning and love of reading
• Inform, enrich and empower every person served
• Provide easy access to a wide variety of material, services and programs
• Meet the personal, educational, cultural and professional information needs of the community

This small library packs a big punch. It has more than 130,000 items and serves over 26,000 card holders. The monthly circulation is approximately 30,000 items and averages more than 17,000 customers a month. More than 8,250 children and adults attended over 310 programs in a recent year.

This library offers a wide variety of services including library cards, loaning of equipment, meeting rooms, books by mail, programs and events, friends bookstore, catalogue search, an elibrary, reference tools, a Germantown Regional History and Genealogy Center and a host of unique ways to get involved in community life.

The elibrary is designed for ereaders and kindle readers . They can borrow a book electronically and have it for 14 days before it automatically returns to the library. There is even a newsletter listing all available books and titles specifically geared towards ereaders.

Classes and presentations for children and adults are commonplace at the library. Whether it be a computer class on the web or a toddlers appreciation of picture books, the Germantown library has a multitude of offerings for all tastes and ages.

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History of The Peterborough Library

The Peterborough Library was founded in Peterborough, New Hampshire 1833. This library has not received as much exposure as others. But it has maintained that “the public library is in every sense an institutional descendant of the social library, but in its governmental relationships it represents an innovation.
At Salisbury and Lexington municipal support was introduced to strengthen existing social libraries, but at Peterborough, New Hampshire, in 1833, a library was established which from the beginning was truly a public institution and in all its relationship to the community was remarkably like the public library of today. The significance of the Peterborough Town Library, then, lies in its primary than in its modernity.” Peterborough Library was founded by Abel Abbot, a local Unitarian Minister. The New Hampshire Legislature recognized Abbot’s role in the first free public library in the world supported by taxation. Abbot advocated that tax supported libraries were second to public school in their importance. Originally, a portion of the states’ literary fund was used for the purchase of books to the new library. Abbot was experienced, and had established several other libraries. In 1827 he begun a Children’s library in his home. The library was created on the idea that public taxes should support it and that it should be owned by the community and was independent of private interested. This is what makes the Peterborough Town Library the first of it’s kind. It was not based simply on free lending, but on the idea that the library is an educational institution. Abbot’s other library initiatives were successful, though not as substantial as the Peterborough Library. “The account of the establishment of a town library at Peterborough, New Hampshire, is unique in that here we have an instance of an entirely new form. Here, without the stimulus of private foundation, without the permission of state legislation, without th semblance of a model in the mother country, a tax-supported town library was born. The circumstances surrounding the creation of this institution raise an interesting historical question involving local circumstance and group motivation to which no answer has yet been offered.”

The original library held 100 books and was housed in a local store. It eventually moved to the town hall and in 1893 was finally placed in a permanent location. The library now boasts over 50,000 volumes. The entire basis of a library was formed to educate the people on the same scale as a public school; which is part of the allure and historical significance of the institution. The twenty-first century has compelled the library to offer many e-read books. This along with other computer programs is helping to propel the library into the future. The library has always been supported by taxation and thus, has continued to do so to form a budget. The collection grows based on the needs of the community. The history of the Untied States existed around this institution. The views of the founding Pastor Abbot are still implemented today. Peterborough Library, is a historic site, that has been passed over in lieu of the history of larger libraries, in the cities and other famous sites.

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History of The Emporia Public Library

The Emporia Public Library was founded in 1869, only twelve years after the town was settled. The library was based on a subscription with the annual dues priced at $3 a year. The library rented rooms over a drugstore for $15 a month. The librarian was paid $100 every six months, a great wage for a woman worker in the west. The popularity of the site, grew. The original collection of books began with 764 volumes and six monthly magazine subscriptions. One of the libraries subscriptions were to Lippincott’s Phrenological Journal. Phrenology was popular in the mid -nineteenth century, its emphasis being on how to read a persons health and mind by the number of bumps on their head. The library was in debt after a decade, and the committee decided to try its hand at fund-raising. A Strawberry Festival was given, with the proceeds raising enough money to purchase 49 books. Then in 1875, the library held a masquerade, and raised $96. The library continued to have a large amount of debt which came to $203 in 1882. Therefore, in 1884 the city of Emporia passed into law that the library should be supported by the taxation of the community to provide enough money for the budget. Thus, the library became a public free library at that time.

In 1901, the librarian Mrs. Amanda Wicks learned about Carnegie funds available to libraries across the nation. She immediately applied for a grant, but was disappointed when she learned that there was a Carnegie Library at the College of Emporia. The request for funding was thus discredited. However, Wicks attempted a second time and was able to procure $22,000. This was more than enough for a new building. The land was donated for the building set and the construction began. In 1906, the library opened its doors with a grand reception from the community. The library had quite strict regulations on the personal qualifications of a librarian. However in 1920, Miss Marjorie Kern a friend of Mrs. Nora Daniels, stated her friend’s qualifications. “I asked Nora how she got started working for the library one day and she said that a Mrs. Walden was on the library board asked her one Sunday after church if she would like to work at the library. Mrs. Walden said to her: I’ve noticed you always come to Sunday School and church and you never whisper. This was in 1907. Nora said with her dry sense of humor always chuckled and said that those were strange qualifications for a job a job that was to last her 50 years.”

Mrs. Daniels was the librarian through the Depression and the war years. Her funding was extremely scarce and visitors remember her constantly mending books so that they could return to circulation. The library was reconstructed in 1975. During construction, the construction crew found 18 inches of manure, where their used to be a livery. There was an old well, with 20 jugs which used to have whiskey in it. The library and even the history of its construction has deep-rooted ties to the old west and to the colonial philosophy of free libraries.

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History of the Forbes Library

A historic library in Northampton, Ma was opened in 1894. The library was built at the initiative of Judge Charles E. Forbes. Forbes wanted to have a public library for the community of Northampton. The building is a three-story building and listed as a historic structure by the National Register. It was designed to be completely fire proof and is constructed with all steel framing, stone and slate. The first librarian of Forbes, was Charles Ammi Cutter, created the Cutter Classification System. He was originally the librarian at the Boston Atheneum, and had created the system there. The system is a series of subdivided versions, which begins with the simplest and smallest library and moves up from there. The system is subject based, with the Children’s section being the Sixth Classification, and the History section being the Seventh. It is quite different from other classification systems and is another original attribute of the Forbes Library.  The librarian, Cutter, was born in Boston, March 1837. He was raised by his aunts, in West Cambridge, Ma. He attended Harvard College and was influenced heavily by his aunt who was a librarian. He was around books from the earliest age, and developed a love of them from there on. He was appointed the librarian of the Boston Atheneum, in 1868 at 31. At this young age, he worked for the largest system in the United States, and he stayed there for 25 years. He also wrote Rules for a Dictionary Catalog in 1876. The book established his knowledge in the library systems. He developed loan cards, an interlibrary loan program, and home deliveries to housebound community members. Many of his developments are still in use today.

Cutter became the librarian at the Forbes Library, in 1894. He envisioned the library to be “a new type of public library which, speaking broadly, will lend everything to anybody in any desired quantity for any desired time.” He did not want to implement stuffy rules and he wanted all children to be welcome. The patrons were able to browse the stacks, rather than have to request the books at the front desk.  He spent nine years at Forbes, and he worked on establishing branch libraries, as well as instituting a traveling library system. The program of a traveling library system, was the first of the modern day bookmobile. He brought art work to students at the local schools. He and staff worked with the local schools to allow local teachers to use library books for the classroom. Cutter died of pneumonia in 1903 at age 66. His work at the Forbes library made it a unique place across the state. Forbes also institutes a working relationship with area colleges. They also have a great amount of programs and services that are in use today for all ages of patrons. Forbes even offers an outreach program to the poor communities of Western Massachusetts. The program delivers materials to nursing homes, and the homebound, just as Cutter would have wanted.

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Libraries Do matter

Libraries still play an important role in our everyday lives. Everyone is shifting to using the internet to do research, but there is so much information and history that isn’t on the web. In this post I will outline some of the top reasons that you should support your public library. They are in no particular order.

1. Research – Wikipedia has plenty of inaccurate information, but it is a good guide. The library has many encyclopedias and books to reference on any subject. Also, many future doctors and lawyers use the library when they do their research. We provide support to future professionals.

2. The Kids – The light in the eyes of a child when they find a book they want to read is priceless. Not everyone can afford to go out and purchase books. We should be supporting the enrichment of all children for the future of our Country.

3. Internet – Kind of ironic that I bring up the internet, but many families can’t afford computers or the internet. Many public libraries offer computer and internet access free of charge.

4. History – Many public libraries house books that are hundreds of years old and they will provide you access to them. Some libraries also contain old public records on cities that they reside in.

5. The Classics – The library is a great place to go pick up a book on Shakespeare or Geoffrey Chaucer.

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