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MBLC Celebrates 125 Years


Revere Public Library

Revere Public Library1

Library construction:
The city of Revere was one of four communities in Massachusetts - along with Clinton, Melrose, and Walpole - that received grants from Andrew Carnegie in 1901 to build new libraries. The grant amounts for those four libraries totaled $85,000.2

TODAY: In June 2014, the MBLC awarded nearly $1 million in planning and design grants to communities interested in improving their library facilities. The MBLC has spent $20 million dollars in 2015 on library construction projects already underway, and awarded an additional $44.6 million in construction grants in August 2014.3

Library surveys: In 1901, the Commission sent a "circular letter of inquiry" to librarians and trustees in the state to assess their thoughts about how a "good librarian" could best serve a community. Responses included:

"A good librarian of today is quite distinct from what would have been called a good librarian of a quarter century or more ago. Such a person must know books…as well as have knowledge of the best methods of caring for the best interests of all connected with the library."

"The librarian should become informed concerning conditions throughout the town, and should study to make the library’s influence reach all parts of it. Especial attention should be given to the needs of children, and there should be no age limit."

"Allow readers as much freedom as possible in the use of the library."4

What else happened in 1901?

  • George Charles and Edward Parker incorporated Parker Brothers Games in their hometown of Salem, Massachusetts. At the time of its creation, Parker Brothers was the second largest game company in the United States. The popularity of the game Monopoly during the Great Depression of the 1930s saved Parker Brothers from financial disaster.5

1. Photo by Flickr user cmh2315fl [link], retrieved 06/10/2015.
2. List of Carnegie libraries in Massachusetts - Wikipedia entry [link].
3. MBLC website (links to news releases above).
4. Twelfth Report of the Free Public Library Commission of Massachusetts, 1902.
5. [link].