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The Role of the Public Library in Adult Reading


by Grace T. Stevenson 1956

The great industrial expansion of the nineteenth century and the growth of popular education resulted in a demand for more books available to all, and the public library became the institution for the continuing education of all men. Public libraries had their early beginnings in the parish libraries of Maryland and North Carolina in the late seventeenth century. Later came the town libraries of New England. Early libraries were usually subscription or association libraries; mercantile or mechanics libraries founded by business houses or associations of working men to provide read- ing for employees. Some of these still exist. The really progressive free library became possible when Massachusetts, leading the way for other states, gave legal sanction to the expenditure of public funds for the establishment and maintenance of public libraries.


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This article originally appeared as NSSE Yearbook Vol 55, No. 2.


Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 57 Number 10, 1956, p. 114-135
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 20034, Date Accessed: 8/20/2017 11:27:41 AM

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