At the Ref Desk (12/13/18): Last shift of the year. See you in 2019! [more...]

Our Starving Libraries

Submitted by Leo Klein on Tue, 5/25/10 (4:38pm)

Opening paragraph:

Can We Afford Libraries?

The depression years have been full of irony, but they have yielded nothing more ironical than the country-wide slash in library budgets which has accompanied the equally widespread demand for library services. The public has manifestly wanted books more than at any other time in our history, even though the melancholy records of publishers and booksellers indicate that it has had little money with which to buy them. There was all the more reason for the libraries to come to the rescue, since a book can be lent at a cost which is only a small fraction of its purchase price. Improved library service would have been one of the best depression investments. [R. L. Duffus, "Our starving libraries; studies in ten American communities during the depression years", Boston, New York, Houghton Mifflin co., 1933]