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MBLC Celebrates 125 Years


Needham Public Library

Designed by James H. Ritchie, the new public library in Needham formally opened on May 4, 1916 was situated on the geographical boundary of two parts of the town, but removed from either center of population. Despite dissatisfaction over the location, the circulation was higher than the total circulation of the previous branches.1

TODAY: Youth services librarians play an important role at libraries around the Commonwealth (and the world).
In 1916: At the winter meeting of the Massachusetts Library Club, held January 26, 1916:

"It was voted: That the Massachusetts Library Club request, in accordance with the recommendation of the 'Committee of Five,' that the Free Public Library Commission seriously consider the employment of a librarian with wide experience and thorough knowledge of children's needs and work to supervise and develop library work with children throughout the state."2

What else happened in 1916?

  • Woodrow Wilson was re-elected president. During this year, he oversaw legislation enacted to prohibit child labor, which was later ruled unconstitutional.3
  • The Battle of Verdun, fought during the First World War, raged for nearly 10 months of 1916.4
  • During the Battle of the Somme, "the British launch a major offensive against the Germans, employing tanks for the first time in history."5

1. Twenty-Seventh Report of the Free Public Library Commission of Massachusetts for the Year Ending November 30th, 1916.
2. Massachusetts Library Club Bulletin, March-May 1916.
3. Gale Encyclopedia of U.S. History [link].
4. "World War I." Britannica School (article ID: 110198).
5. [link].