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Locke Library Life in the 1920’s
Posted on February 27, 2019
by Angela B
Locke Branch Library staff found an 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 highlight them in a series of blog posts.
Now let’s examine the 1919-1929 reports to give us a look into the past.
Could you imagine a librarian knocking on your door for overdue books? Well, in the 1926 report, this is exactly what happened. Maybe this is why the angry librarian stereotype still persists!
You have probably heard of this one already, but seeing it is still shocking! Locke’s 1921 Annual Report notes of a female librarian leaving her profession to get married. And, there are other occurrences of this happening in following reports.
What do you think when you read “Books burned by Health Officer?” After a bit of research, it was uncovered that library patrons with health conditions had their library items burned to control the disease. This was logged in Locke’s 1920 Annual Report and various others. (“Burn Books to Stop Disease. Board of Health Acts to Prevent More Diphtheria at the Lincoln School” Idaho Statesman 14 Dec. 1907: 5. Print.)
In 2018, a Read for Literacy tutor met with English language learners at Locke Library. The snippet below shows how 1926 parallels 2018 quite nicely with a family using the library to develop their English language skills.
Would you pay a few pennies extra to rent popular books ahead of everyone else? Well, at the Locke Branch Library this is what happened in 1924, which is also documented in the Toledo Library Board Report.
Then, in 1925, the prices were adjusted.
And finally, some of the more discouraging comments that shows up in the reports year after year, is that Locke’s furniture is breaking, the lighting is dim, and the paint is peeling off the walls. Perhaps coming out of World War I and into the Great Depression made for a tight budget.
Reading this makes me appreciate how fortunate we are to currently have such great support for the Toledo Lucas County Public Libraries!