Libraries to the People

Histories of Outreach


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SKU: 9780786413591 Category:

About the Book

With today’s technology, anyone anywhere can access public library materials without leaving home or office—one simply logs on to the library’s website to be exposed to a wealth of information. But one of the concerns that arises is the lack of access for groups isolated by socioeconomic, geographical, or cultural factors. This problem is not a new one. For almost two centuries, public libraries and other organizations have been trying to bring library services to isolated populations.
This book is a collection of fourteen essays examining the contributions of librarians, educators, and organizations in the United States who have endeavored to bring library services to groups that previously did not have access. There are three sections: Benevolent and Commercial Organizations, Government Supported Programs, and Innovative Outreach Services. The essays discuss reading materials for two centuries of rural Louisianians, shipboard libraries for the American Navy and merchant Marine, library outreach to prisoners, the Indiana Township Library Program, tribal libraries in the lower forty-eight states, open-air libraries, electronic outreach, and the use of radio in promoting the Municipal Reference Library of the City of New York, to name just a few of the essay topics.

About the Author(s)

Robert S. Freeman is a librarian at Purdue University.
David M. Hovde is a librarian at Purdue University.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Robert S. Freeman and David M. Hovde
Foreword by Kathleen de la Peña McCook
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 255
Bibliographic Info: photos, notes, index
Copyright Date: 2003
pISBN: 978-0-7864-1359-1
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments     vii

Foreword     ix

Introduction     1


1 Books Along the Bayous: Reading Materials for Two Centuries of Rural Louisianians    11

2 Harper & Brothers’ Family and School District Libraries (1830–1846)     26

3 Benevolence at Sea: Shipboard Libraries for the American Navy and Merchant Marine   50

4 Valleys Without Sunsets: Women’s Clubs and Traveling Libraries     73

5 The ALA Committee on Work with the Foreign Born and the Movement to Americanize the Immigrant    96


6 Reaching Behind Bars: Library Outreach to Prisoners (1798–2000)     113

7 The Indiana Township Library Program, 1852–1872: A Well Selected, Circulating Library as an Educational Instrumentality     128

8 The Adult Collection at Nashville’s Negro Public Library (1915–1916)     148

9 Historical Overview of Tribal Libraries in the Lower 48 States    157


10 Electronic Outreach in America: From Telegraph to Television     165

11 On the Roof of the Library Nearest You: America’s Open-Air Libraries (1905–1944)   181

12 The Use of Radio to Promote the Municipal Reference Library of the City of New York     192

13 Synergy, Social Responsibility, and the Sixties: Pivotal Points in the Evolution of American Outreach Library Service     203

14 For the Love of Books: Eddie Lovett and His Backwoods Library     219

Contributors     231

Index     235

Book Reviews & Awards

A Library Journal Starred Review
“fascinating…highly recommended”—Library Journal; “fascinating study”—Public Library Quarterly; “bringing library services to isolated populations has always been a goal of the profession”—American Libraries; “impressive…very strongly recommended”—Midwest Book Review; “well researched…a valuable reference”—Catholic Library World; “significant…provides insights into the social context of libraries…a useful resource”—The Australian Library Journal; “we live in an information age, yet pockets of people remain underserved because of geographic, socioeconomic, and cultural factors. Anyone who wants a deeper understanding or how people have addressed this challenge historically should pick up a copy of [this book]…entertaining and enlightening…this volume should be required reading by students who are preparing for careers in the information professions and by anyone committed to spanning the gap between margins and mainstream”—Libraries & Culture.