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"The Library as a Community Center" Address delivered to Library Conference Hampton Institute, March 16-18. 1927 American Liberty League. 400dpi TIFF G4 page images Digital Library Services, University of Kentucky Libraries Lexington, Kentucky LFP_rblue_2_06_13 These pages may freely searched and displayed. Permission must be received for subsequent distribution in print or electronically. "The Library as a Community Center" Address delivered to Library Conference Hampton Institute, March 16-18. 1927 American Liberty League. unknown unknown 1927-04-16 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»¿UBRABT CQ3FEHERC3S - BAH*TOH INSTITUTE March 15-18, 1927 THE TTBRUET AS A CO TY CEHTFR Thonas P. Blue, Head Colored Beparteent Louisville Free ublic Library Since the eorjsnmity center is one of the outstanding features of the Colored Departeant of the Louisville Free Public Library, it seo^s to he in order to discuss the subject under considerstioti from that viev/pclnt# hen the Louisville Free Public Library erected for its colorod citizens the two Carnegie branch buildings, fortunately, each one was provided with assembly and class rooiss especially adapted to ceOTtunity center uses* This provision for a cosssunity center in connection with our libraries has proved to be a wise and desirable arrengeraent, *which is seen in the distinct service rendered, end the valuable contribution to the public welfareÂ» One of the real needs of the conaauni '3 a suitable place for our people to r.eetf free from unwholesome influence and open alike to all* Happily, this need has been oet though our library comnunity centers, which is evidenced by the fact that during a single month ninety-three meetings for educational and social uplift have been held ï»¿in the buildings* ?\side from the many incidental meetings, including State and ftationatg of which no account is given here, it io interesting as well as informing to note the different clubs end organizations that meet regularly in the assembly and class rooms. mong them are the following: Baby Clinic, Boy Scouts, Boy's Basketball Team, Community Chest Committee, Fislc College Club, Girl's Library Club, Inter- acial Committee, Jefferson County Tcacrters, Louisville Teachers1 Training Class, Ministerial lliance Ilormol School Library Club, Orphans* Home Board, Pstrent-Teachers Association, Story Hour, Sunday "chool Teachers* Training Class, and Urban League TJhen I road my paper on "Arousing community intorest in the library" some one acquainted with our work afterwards remarked, "You did not speak of the advantages of your corzsnnity centers." Uy reply was "The advantages are so evident, they will be discussed under a separate head*" Some of the advantages of our library comar*nity centers are seen in the following: It supplies a real need by providing a community meeting place where every one may feci at home and snare equal privileges* Some years a o, a committee representing the Loui3villo Colored Ministerial lliance, composed of different denominations, came to see me requesting that the alliance bo permitted to hold its weeVly meetings at the library, explaining that at the library the brethren would be on an cqus^l footing* ?be library community center places every one on an equal footing* It has contributed to the public peace by providing a public ï»¿meeting place, free from political and partisan influence* One of the few rules of the library for the guidance of the public is ''Ho political or sectarian meetings are permitted to be held in the buildings'9 and this rale, like the *law of the Liedee and Persians, altereth not** Shortly after the women were giTen the right of suffrage, a nonpartisan coi itteo of white women arranged a i&ass meeting at the library, for the urpose of showing the colored women how to regis tor and to explain to them the intricacies of the bo1loo* All wont well until one of the ladies who cnine to instruct, unwittingly mentioned the name of one of the candidates for office. This was our first and last departure from the rule, but of course the ladies were excused because this was their first venture In the exercise cf the tight of suffrage, which was to thorn "soðinr new under the sun.* Tie ccssaunity center of the library has contributed to the public welfare by providing for our- social workers, representing different denominations, a suitable meeting place free from sectarian bias* It is a note-worthy fact that our Urban League, Intor-itencial Conriittee and "Young omen*a Christian association were organized in our library* On ono occasion, a committee representing an organization of Sunday School worker* of the different churches cay o to me, saying that because of certain influences their meeting place was objectionable to some of their members, which made it necessary to make a change, and that the library had been suggested as the proper place and acceptable ï»¿to ell* the ?*opl* have learned that there are no "certain influences" in the library* It has contributed to the welfare of the cccaauniby by providing for our boys and girls a suitable jflace for acsisencnt arid recreation, without which n^ny would be denied this privilege. An addition of a large play roo& in one of our buildings, equipped for basket bell end suitable for other indoor gen&s has raade this arrangement possible* Fortunately, this .Is not without its educational influence; for sany who cosie to lay remain to read* The library community canher has contributed to the educational, professional, business and social uplift of the cozsrtunity in that it has provided for our teachers, doctors and business Ken a.id wonen an acceptable sheeting place, where they can hold their conferences and discuss their peculiar problems imder pleasant and cultural surroundings* The conraunity center has been the rsoans of reaching other groups arid naking ne.. r aOers* Frequently strangers who caae to attend ft meeting regain bo join the libraryÂ« Finally, the quiet, orderly, cultural atmosphere of tho library is not without its uplifting influence upon thoso who arc brought witbia its reach, through the medium of the community cente=r*