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Journal cover: Library Review

Library Review

ISSN: 0024-2535

Online from: 1927

Subject Area: Library and Information Studies

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The American public library during the Great Depression

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Title:The American public library during the Great Depression
Author(s):Charles A. Seavey, (Charles A. Seavey is Associate Professor at the School of Information Science & Learning Technologies, University of Missouri-Columbia, Columbia, Missouri, USA.)
Citation:Charles A. Seavey, (2003) "The American public library during the Great Depression", Library Review, Vol. 52 Iss: 8, pp.373 - 378
Keywords:Case studies, Economic depression, Government, History, Public libraries, United States of America
Article type:Research paper
DOI:10.1108/00242530310493789 (Permanent URL)
Publisher:MCB UP Ltd
Abstract:This paper investigates the broad outline of the growth of the public library in the USA during the Great Depression. Despite economic hard times public libraries were founded in 48 of the 50 states and territories. Nine states contributed the greatest portion of that growth. Geographic variation in library growth is discussed. The role of two federal agencies is briefly described and their influence in public library expansion largely discounted. Brief case studies of two libraries founded during the Great Depression are presented. The conclusion is that the US public library was a social institution important to local communities that provided funding, long before the advent of state or federal funding.

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