National Library Week

“Libraries drew visits by more than half of Americans (53%) in the past year for all kinds of purposes … And it was the young adults in tech-loving Generation Y(age 18-30) who led the pack.” Such is one of the conclusions from the 2007 Pew report:  Information Searches That Solve Problems. Visit your libraries and enjoy them. Use the resources of the Guarini Library where you have access to over 250,000 books, more than 25,000 journals containing millions of articles, thousands of videos, group study rooms, viewing rooms, and over 150 public access computers. In addition to these riches, consult with your librarians, the true heart of any library, whose expertise ranges from art history through science fiction.

In honor of this special week, we have located additional web sites which feature books from various disciplines. Dime novels captivated the reading public in the second half of the nineteenth century. Their lurid covers and action-packed yarns were instant successes with the reading public, many of whom believed the often-fanciful adventures depicted within. Kit Carson who was unknowingly profiled in these novels, expressed surprise when he saw one: “We found a book in the camp, the first of the kind I had ever seen, in which I was represented as a great hero, slaying Indians by the hundred.” (Kit Carson’s Autobiography. Edited by Milo M Quaife. Chicago: Lakeside Press, 1935, p.135)  As he was illiterate (but spoke English, Spanish, and many Indian tongues) he had one of his companions read the story to him. You can look at some examples of this literature at Dime Novels and Penny Dreadfuls.

While some work has been done on the reading habits on the frontier (Jedediah Smith, the greatest of the mountain men, carried with him a much-read Bible while Jim Bridger thoroughly enjoyed having Shakespeare read to him as he, too, was illiterate) more work has been done with the colonists because more information is extant for many reasons. Look at the American Colonists’ Library to see what the well-educated read. Read eyewitness accounts of early exploration in North America in American Journeys from the Saga of Eric the Red through the journals of Lewis and Clark. Many monographs on the southern United States can be found at Documenting the American South and Online Library of the Southern Campaigns of the Revolutionary War. These are a few of the new web sites that have been added to the Library’s “Selected Web Sites by Subject” section. By using the sites found in the various subject categories, you have access to over 1,000,000 books online. So if you cannot get to the Library or a bookstore, there is still no excuse not to read.

“Reading gives us a place to go when we have to stay where we are.” – Mason Cooley



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