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MBLC Celebrates 125 Years


1930s WPA story hour poster

A story hour poster illustrated by WPA artist Shari Weisberg, circa 1930s.1

In 1937, the 20th annual Institute for Librarians in Small Libraries was held in North Adams. 54 people attended, representing 41 public and school libraries. Six lectures were given, including one on budgeting, and round table discussions were held. The day also featured sessions on publicity, picture collections, and periodicals.2

In 2014, the MBLC and MLS partnered to offer their first joint Small Library Forum. Approximately 120 stakeholders - directors, trustees, and staff members - from libraries with service populations under 7,000 attended. Keynote speaker Jessamyn West, author of Without a Net, talked about the digital divide and gave a presentation on library advocacy. The event also featured a panel discussion on joint library collaboration, a presentation on technology, and a poster session highlighting small library initiatives. A second Small Library Forum is planned for 2015.

What else happened in 1937?

  • In 1928, while a social worker at Dennison House in Boston, Amelia Earhart was tapped to become the first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean. After many more impressive flights, in 1937 Earhart took up the challenge to try to make it around the world. She set off from Oakland, California on May 21, 1937, heading east in a Silver Lockheed Electra. In June, she and her navigator Fredrick Noonan were on the last leg of the flight, crossing the Pacific Ocean, when the plane abruptly disappeared. Today, she remains a symbol of the American spirit and the mystery lives on.3

Amelia Earhart's fateful flight path

Map of Amelia Earhart's last flight in 1937 when her plane disappeared over the Pacific Ocean. What happened has remained a mystery rich with speculation almost eighty years later.3

1. "New Deal of the Day: Women and the WPA (part 5 of 10): Libraries, books, and reading," retrieved 06/04/2015 [link].
2. Forty-Eighth Annual Report of the Board of Free Public Library Commissioners for the Year Ending November 30, 1937.
3. [link].