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Locke Library Life in the 1930s
Posted about 27 days ago by Angela BPosted in History and Politics, Local History and Nonfiction | Tagged with 1930s, 20th Century History, history, libraries, Library Life, Locke Branch Library and Toledo, Ohio
Locke Branch Library staff found a old stash of annual reports dating all the way back to when the library first opened over 100 years ago in 1917. They were so interesting we decided to include them in a series of blog posts. The first post highlighted reports from the 1920's. Now let's examine the 1930-1939 reports to get a look into the past.
Reflections on Library History
Working in a public library is more than being book finders, we are also fixers. I have been asked to fix headphones, flipflops, backpack zippers, and baby dolls when their limbs pop off. So, I can relate to the following request from 1939.
(That “stuff” we use to mend books really does work miracles.)
In 1933, Locke may not have had puzzles for customers, but we sure do now!
This customer would also be surprised to hear that the Library now offers much more, such as GoPros, telescopes, crafting tools, cameras and beyond!
Libraries are always there for you in times of trouble. Many turned to Locke Library during the Great Depression looking for distractions from the hardships. The following snippet is from 1932.
While reading through the reports, I noticed the Locke Staff had quite a few innovative ideas for the time, like this suggestion from 1930 of creating a Marketing Department for publicity. By the way, our current Marketing Department rocks!
In 1932, Langston Hughes published an article in Children's Library Services titled, “Books and the Negro Child.” He noted only 5 books that were appropriate for African American children. Most other books that portrayed African American characters were stereotypical.
In 1935, the Locke librarians also gathered a list of children’s books that featured African American characters. Their efforts of trying to find viable materials were considerate because, at the time, it was difficult to find good literature featuring African Americans that were not stereotypical. One of the librarians, Miss Wright, was mentioned by name in the 1935 annual report for her efforts ...
The book list compiled by Miss Wright proved useful. Several teachers have sent for books for programs.
The first non-stereotypical African American main character in a children’s picture book wasn’t published until 1962 with Jack Ezra Keat’s “The Snowy Day.”
The Library is very fortunate for all of the times the news outlets highlighted Library programs, going back decades. Most recently, Locke was featured on WTOL for Deontre, our “Junior Librarian.”
This next snippet from 1931 is amusing to me because of how innocent it sounds today, but I bet it wasn’t so humorous at the time.
A few cents may not seem like a big deal, but back in 1931 $0.25 would be the equivalent to $4.13 in 2018.
I was surprised to read that the Library required references when applying for a library card. And, in 1934, a customer had the same reaction.
Below is an example of the letter sent to the references.
We are always grateful when library customers appreciate the Library, but we cannot accept tips even though many people have tried. However, we do have a Friends of the Library nonprofit organization that you can support. All the money goes back to supporting the Library and gives you perks at the same time!
People might think that libraries are dying, but this snippet from 1940 sounds like it could have been written today (except replace reference books with computers)!
History sure does repeat itself! Once again in 2019, the children’s librarian of Locke is creating a flower and vegetable garden for the children and teen to tend.
Back in 1939, the Locke librarians had the privilege to see the finishing touches of the new Main Library completed. And now, 80 years later, the Locke staff will be able to see the renovations of Main Library completed in 2019.
If you enjoyed this post, check out our previous post entitled Locke Library Life in the 1920s and be on the lookout for the next post, Locke Library Life in the 1940’s.
Suggested Library Materials
Featured Image Credit: Image by Devanath from Pixabay.