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Typescript for article published in Opportunity (journal published by National Urban League), August, 1924, pp. 244-246. "A successful library experiment", American Liberty League. 400dpi TIFF G4 page images Digital Library Services, University of Kentucky Libraries Lexington, Kentucky LFP_rblue_2_03_01 These pages may freely searched and displayed. Permission must be received for subsequent distribution in print or electronically. Typescript for article published in Opportunity (journal published by National Urban League), August, 1924, pp. 244-246. "A successful library experiment", American Liberty League. Louisville Free Public Library Louisville, Ky 1924-08-01 Is Part of the Reverend Thomas F. Blue Papers, ca. 1905-1935 housed at the Louisville Free Public Library, Louisville, KY. This electronic text file was created by Optical Character Recognition (OCR). No corrections have been made to the OCR-ed text and no editing has been done to the content of the original document. Encoding has been done through an automated process using the recommendations for Level 1 of the TEI in Libraries Guidelines. Digital page images are linked to the text file. ï»¿A SUCCESSFUL PUBLIC LIBRAKY EXPEKIM^IT By Thomas F. Blue, Head Colored Department Louisville Free Public Library the Colored Department of the Louisville Free Public Library consists of two branch libraries housed in Carnegie buildings, seventeen stations and fifty-nine classroom collections in twenty-six school buildings in Louisville and Jefferson County. It has a staff of nine workers and an annual circulation of over 100,000 volumes. The first branch, known as the Western Colored Branch, was opened in tsnporary quarters, September 25, 1905. Although this was a new experiment, it immediately became popular and was regarded by the library authorities as a success from the beginning. The new building located at Tenth and Chestnut Streets, the gift of Andrew Carnegie, was opened October 28, 1908. On that occasion, Y/. 0. Head, the mayor of Louisville and president of the Board of Trustees, presided.- The opening of its doors was a note-worthy event, for it was the first colored branch library to be housed in a Carnegie building. This building is 77 x 45 feet, with a main floor, the library room, and a basement containing two class rooms and an auditorium. It is built of brick, concrete and stone with a tile roof. The Western branch library contains 16,839 volumes and receives ninety-two periodicals and newspapers. In the collection of books and ï»¿newspapers there are more than two hundred books by Negro writers and twenty-two representative Hegro newspapers. The first year, with 3,000 volumes, the circulation was 17,838, the second year 30,419, and the tenth year, the circulation, including stations and classroom collections was 78,791* The Library Board was so pleased with the success of the first branch that it opened a second colored branch in the eastern part of the city. This is known as the Eastern Colored Branch, and was opened in a Carnegie building with appropriate exercises, January 28, 1914* John H. Buschemeyer, Mayor of Louisville and president of the Board of Trustees, presided. The Eastern Colored Branch building is 60 x 80 feet with a library room and an auditorium on the main floor, and three class rooms and a large playroom in the basement. The Eastern branch library contains 6,989 volumes and receives sixty-five periodicals and newspapers. The opening of the Eastern Colored Branch gave Louisville the distinction , â€¢ * " - - L r % of being the only city having two colored branch librariesâ€¢ Since the opening of the first branch, the total number of books borrowed for home use from both branch libraries is 918,983* This does not include the books borrowed from stations and classroom collections* The total circulation from the Colored Department, branches, stations and schools amounts to more than one million volumes. The question is often asked, what books are liked and mostly used by ï»¿they desire for themselves* As a means of creating in the children an interest in books and reading, a story hour is held weekly at each library and the children are encouraged to retell the stories told by the storyteller* An outstanding feature of this work is the children1 s annual Story Telling Contest between the Western and Eastern branch libraries, which by request, is held annually before the Kentucky Negro Educational Association* The names of the winners of the primary and intermediate departments are placed on a silver loving cup* This cup was given to the Colored Department by the Louisville Free Public Library, and named the Cotter Story Telling Contest Cup in honor of Joseph S. Cotter, one of our public school principals, who first suggested the contest. The names of sixteen children appear on the cup. Another special feature of the work is an apprentice class for training for those who desire to en%irF library service. As the work grew, trained assistants were needed. As they were not available, it was necessary to train them. An annual apprentice class is conducted and instructions given in library methods. All apprentices are scheduled for required practical work. This training has been taken by thirty-seven persons. Of this number sixteen have served as assistants and substitutes in the Louisville Colored branches, and thirteen as branch librarians and assistants in other cities. Of the latter number, eleven were sent to Louisville to prepare for library work in Atlanta, Birmingham, Memphis, Nashville, Knoxville, Chattanooga, ï»¿-5- Houston and Evansville. "When the colored branch of the Roanoke^ Pub lie Library was established in 1921, at the urgent request of the librarian of that city, Mrs. Rachel D. Harris, our senior assistant, was loaned to the library to help organise and open the branch. This was repeated in 1923 when the Dunbar Branch of the Lynchburg, Virginia Public Library was established. We are always called on for suggested lists for purchase when colored 1ranches are opened in other citiesâ€¢ z Wifh their auditoriums and classrooms, the colored branch buildings are especially adapted to library and social center uses and are the common meeting places for gatherings of educational and social uplift. The two branch buildings are real social centers. Of the large number of meetings held in the libraries from time to time, it is interesting to note the variety, as the following list will show: Louisville Ministerial Alliance, Louisville High School Alumni, Jefferson County Teachers* Institute, Louisville Federation Colored Vomen,s Clubs, Kentucky Hegro Medioal Society, Begro Business Hen's League, Nineteenth Annual Conference Colored Menfs Department Y.M.C.A., Boy Scouts, tfrfcan League, Kentucky Negro Educational Association, Inter-Racial Committee, Annual meeting of the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History. The following expressions selected from letters written by patrons of the colored branch libraries further attest their populatity: "Next to the Public School, I regard the Public Library as the most important educational institution in the city for our people.w W. B. Matthews, Principal Central Colored High School ï»¿-6- "The influence of the Public Library has been constantly and definitely in the elevation of the tastes and the enlargement of the capacities of our people A, E. zeek, Principal Colored Xiormal School "Words cannot measure the benefits we receive from It has given both old and young a new world to live n.n Joseph S# Cotter, Principal S. Colerld&j â€¢-Taylor Colored School "The Public Library has been of more value to the community than we can possibly express. Dr. W. H. Sheppard, Former Missionary to Africa "There are more colored people reading in Louisville now than in any time since the days of freedom. This opportunity has been given them by the Publicldbrary. Dr. c. H. Parrish, President Simmons University The Public Library gives educational advantages to the colored youth of the ity which means a better citizenship." Bessie L. Allen, Probation Officer Juvenile Court "I have watched with interest the growth of the Public Library and its influence upon the people and I desire to state that it is in many ways ex- ceedingly helpful and beneficial." Urn. H. Steward, Editor American Baptist establishment, the Colored branches have been ï»¿Thomas F. Blue, Head of the Colored Department. Mrs. Rachel Â£. Harris, Mrs. Elnora Molntyre, MrÂ©# Llllie S# Price, Mrs. Minnie McAfee and Miss Vivian Glass are assistants at the Westsrn Colored Branch, and Miss Elisabeth I. Finney, Mrs. Lizsie B. Pierce and Mrs. Laura Brooks are assistants at the Eastern ColoredBranch. The success of the colored branches is in a large measure due to the encouragement of the Library Board andAgenerous cooperation of the librarian, George T. Settle. THOMAS F. BLUE