By Patterson Toby Graham
A dramatic bankruptcy in American cultural background. * Winner of the Alabama Library Association’s Alabama writer Award for Nonfiction Patterson Toby Graham is Director of the electronic Library of Georgia on the college of Georgia in Athens.
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Extra info for A Right to Read: Segregation and Civil Rights in Alabama's Public Libraries, 1900-1965
Provision of service to African Americans was not a condition for receiving aid as in the Rosenwald program. Instead, local of¤cials determined the extent to which black Alabamians could participate in library activities. Local priorities and prejudices often resulted in unfair distribution of work relief jobs. African Americans were interested in library work, even if they were only mildly interested in libraries. The hardships of the Depression fell disproportionately upon them and black Alabamians, particularly women, needed the WPA library posts for economic relief.
There had been only 30,000 American library workers altogether in 1930. 19 The WPA effort was particularly important for library development 34 / Chapter Two in Alabama. It initiated an ambitious extension program and prompted the creation of Alabama’s ¤rst state library agency. The new agency, the Alabama Public Library Service Division, was cosponsored by the Alabama Department of Archives and History and the WPA. The state archives provided quarters for the extension program. The WPA paid the salaries of the librarians and matched the state’s expenditure for books, $10,000 in 1939.
The realities of residential segregation made separate branches more convenient for the communities they served. Mobile was different. The site upon which the new main library was being built was central to both black and white residential areas. Accommodating both groups in a single facility also had obvious economic advantages over building and maintaining two institutions. Still, the board had its responsibility to white Mobile to consider. , sought outside advice. He wrote to a paid consultant, Arthur E.
A Right to Read: Segregation and Civil Rights in Alabama's Public Libraries, 1900-1965 by Patterson Toby Graham