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MBLC Celebrates 125 Years


Young library patron in Swampscott, Massachusetts

A young library patron checks out a book in Swampscott, Massachusetts.1

In 1952: The New York State Library, in cooperation with 40 of the 48 state library extension agencies, conducted a survey of the nation's public libraries. The results of that survey were announced in the New York Times of June 15, 1953 in an article written by Benjamin Fine which appeared strategically placed under President Eisenhower's denunciation of "book burners."

Only the two states of California and Massachusetts met the ALA minimum per capita expenditure standard of $1.50 or over. "We are proud to report that Massachusetts ranked first - way out in front with a per capita expenditure of $1.84 (1950 calendar year)," the year's annual report boasted.2
(Note: In 2015 dollars, this would be $16.14.3)

TODAY: The average per capita expenditure for Massachusetts public libraries in 2014 was $45.25.4

What else happened in 1952?

  • The first bank credit card was issued by the Franklin National Bank, Franklin Square, NY on April 15. And the rest is history. 5
  • The first sugar-free soft drink (NoCal) was introduced by Hyman Kirsch of Kirsch Beverages, Inc.5
  • The United States exploded the first atomic fusion (thermonuclear) bomb at Enewetak Proving Ground, Marshall Islands.5

1. Digital Commonwealth [link].
2. Sixty-fourth Annual Report of the Board of Library Commissioners for the Year Ending June 30, 1953.
3. [link].
4. MBLC website [link].
5. Famous First Facts. Published by H.W. Wilson, New York.