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Monday, April 4, 2011

I Am the Pivot of Civilization!

I was working on a reference question this morning and had occasion to look at old copies of Mississippi Library News. I was struck by how similar the topics were. We talk about how libraries have changed so much, but 70 years ago, libraries in Mississippi were concerned with the same thing: providing excellent service, reaching special populations, and receiving state aid.

In “The Public Library and State Aid” from the January, 1940 Library News, the author writes:

If the public library is a vital part of the educational system, then it is certainly to the state’s welfare to see that public funds are made available either through the adjustment of funds already available or by increased funds. Every state activity if it is to develop to its greatest capacity must have available adequate library resources....Students, business men, club women, children, mature people seeking the education they missed in youth, and people of any age seeking amusement and recreation need the public library. The public library ranks with the school in importance to the community. The entire picture may be summarized in these words: I am the pivot of civilization—I am the Public Library.

Besides the dated “business men” and “club women,” this paragraph could’ve been written today. The sentiment certainly translates.

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