Magazine article American Libraries

This Month, 262 Years Ago. (Events)

Magazine article American Libraries

This Month, 262 Years Ago. (Events)

Article excerpt

IN APRIL 1740, THE LIBRARY COM-pany of Philadelphia moved its collection from the home of librarian William Parsons to "the upper room of the westernmost office" of the Pennsylvania State House (now known as Independence Hall), where colonial legislators used it regularly. According to George Maurice Abbott in A Short History of the Library Company of Philadelphia (1913), the collection was housed at the statehouse until 1773, and the site functioned as a place for expanded collections, scientific experiments and lectures, and frequent, but informal, meetings for the exchange of political information and social capital.

As places, American libraries have served as sites for the exchange of social capital for centuries. In the 18th century, circulating libraries were often attached to coffeehouses where the local male literati debated European enlightenment ideas while female patrons (denied access to most social libraries) discussed the latest novel. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, most of the hundreds of libraries constructed with Andrew Carnegie money deliberately designed space into their structures for community gatherings ranging from local Rotary and women's club chapters to young adult stamp and coin clubs. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.