The PPL in Hard Times

I found a series of annual pamphlets issued by the library in the archives, and the ones for 1931 and 1932 struck me as particularly relevant. “With more time on their hands on account of irregular employment and with less money to spend for amusements, men and women are turning more and more to that ancient indoor sport–reading–for their recreation.” Sound familiar? What follows is a mix of statistics and examples of how the library is serving more and more people, and so needs greater support from the community.

The 1932 pamphlet, referring to the library as “Depression College,” drives the point home: “with industry and commerce almost at a standstill because of the lack of business, the Public Library has had the busiest year in its history. Unemployment for the population of a city means reduced incomes–less to spend for automobiles, moving pictures, golf and other recreations. Enforced leisure demands an outlet. The free Public Library meets that requirement.”

The more things change….

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