Somerville Public Library, West Branch - a Carnegie library that opened its doors on May 27, 1909.1
A growing need for staff:
The Commission was busier than ever in 1909, what with the ever-expanding number of free public libraries and their collections blossoming throughout the Commonwealth. Requests for assistance and advice were flooding the five commissioners' mailboxes, and in hopes of keeping up with the influx of correspondence, the year's annual report expressed an interest in acquiring a paid staff for the first time:
"The clerical and other work of the commission has been for many years performed almost entirely without expense to the State. Under new conditions, however, and in view of the steadily increasing demands, the commission feels the necessity... of paid assistance in some form."2
The Commission was under its $2,000 budget appropriation for 1909-1910 by $15.35.
(Budget numbers for FY 2016 look somewhat different!)
What else happened in 1909?
Born in Great Barrington in Western Massachusetts, Du Bois's name graces the library at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. He was "the first African American to receive a Ph.D. from Harvard" and "returned to his alma mater in the early 1900s to give a lecture on 'the race question.'" We continue to have these conversations today.
1. Photo: Digital Commonwealth collections [link].
2. Twentieth Report of the Free Public Library Commission of Massachusetts. 1910.
3. Cape Cod Canal - Wikipedia entry [link].
4. American Library Association [link].
5. www.massmoments.org [link].
6. NAACP [link].
This website, and other programs of the MBLC, is funded in part with funds from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, a federal agency that fosters innovation, leadership, and a lifetime of learning.