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MBLC Celebrates 125 Years


WPA volunteer demonstrates a talking book to a blind woman

The New Deal had far-reaching positive effects on libraries and patrons. Here, a Works Project Administration (WPA) volunteer demonstrates a talking book to a blind woman.

In addition to the work that had been done in previous years, the Emergency Relief Administration and the Civil Works Administration both went to work on Massachusetts libraries as part of the New Deal.

During 1934, "a large majority of the libraries in the Commonwealth... had help of some sort through their local administration boards... Library quarters have been painted and cleaned, books repaired, cataloging brought up-to-date, picture collections cataloged, and other work carried on according to local conditions."

What else happened in 1934?

  • The Masters Golf Tournament was held for the first time.2
  • Babe Ruth hit his 700th career home run.3
  • Alcatraz became a federal prison.4
  • The first youth hostel in the United States opened in Northfield, Massachusetts.5

Photo from "New Deal of the Day: Women and the WPA (part 5 of 10): Libraries, books, and reading," retrieved 06/04/2015 [link].
1. Massachusetts Free Public Library Commission Report, 1934.
2. Masters Tournament - Wikipedia entry [link].
3. [link].
4. Alcatraz Island - Wikipedia entry [link].
5. [link].