Saturday, February 27, 2010

27 February 1915: "the Pleasure and Privilege of a Story Hour"

On this day in 1915, the top item in the Society column of the Athens Daily Herald was the start of a weekly story hour offered by the Athens Library Association. Noting that "all cities of any size" have had great success with child-focused programs, the column avers that "Athens deserves the best for her children, and the library association takes pleasure in helping secure it."

The new high school auditorium was made available for the program, scheduled regularly on Wednesdays from 4:00 - 5:00 PM. The hour featured music, songs, essays, as well as stories, and in the warmer weather, they planned for "out-door stories and play festivals."

Children's library services was a relatively new, but quite popular, concept in the United States during the early 20th century. The combination of wider literacy through mandetory public education and a strong movement to reform and nationalize child labor laws meant there was a population of Americans with leisure time to fill. Though many public libraries had banned children in the past, now reading for pleasure was seen as a constructive way for them to spend their free time. In areas with a large new immigrant population, children's services was also seen as a way to integrate new Americans into the culture.

According to the next week's column, 250 children (not counting the mothers) attended the story hour at the auditorium. Said Society columnist Mrs. C. S. Du Bose, "The crying need for such an institution for the children was signally evidenced by the number responding. And the first attendance augurs well for the future growth of the movement."

Learn More:

No comments:

Post a Comment