Anyone who thinks that the Park Ridge Library existed as no more than a humble little book repository in the years following its debut only has to glance at the records to realize that it quickly became much more.
Especially after Frances Holbrook took over as Park Ridge’s head librarian in 1920, a number of innovations were introduced. One was an extension service to Maine Center School that brought books to the children once a week. Frances also launched a weekly column in the local paper that gave important library news and listed any new materials available. Her early attempts at marketing apparently paid off: by 1932, some 83,145 books had been circulated, an increase of nearly 23,000 from the previous year.
In an earlier post I mentioned one of the most interesting new developments – the introduction of the summer reading club. Called the Vacation Reading Club at first, it started small in 1924 but quickly grew in popularity. Within eight years, more than 600 children had signed up (and these days well over 2,000 a year participate).
What’s striking is that the Library always had plenty of competition from the culture. By the late 20s movies were starting to make their mark – Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin were captivating audiences, and in 1927 Al Jolson introduced the first talkie. The euphoria after the end of the war also paved the way for jazz clubs, raucous parties, short skirts, and what might be considered America’s first sexual revolution.
We’ve put together another Snapshot brochure for patrons curious to learn more about the Library’s history during the 1920s and early 30s. You can check it out here: Decade1923_1932 or stop by Reference Services to pick up a copy.