|Abstract:||According to Althea Warren in a 1939 report, a "medium-sized" public
library is a library in a town with a population of 35,000 to 100,000.* A more
contemporary statistical definition by Leon Carnovsky and Howard
Winger, in an introduction to a 1962 conference on the medium-sized
public library, termed it an agency "arbitrarily defined as one serving a
local population of between 25,000 and 150,000." 2 The general idea in
both cases remains the same. The medium-sized library is one that services
a community larger than a small town or most single unincorporated
suburban areas, and smaller than a metropolitan area.
The medium-sized library, usually housed in one building, is described
by Winger as a "locally autonomous unit serving a single community."
3 However, the Harrison (New York) Public Library serves a
population of almost 22,000 with a main building and a branch, and the
Hayward (California) Public Library, serving a population of 98,000, also
has a branch. Whether having one branch or two, the medium-sized library
is a local unit loyal to its community and, provided that it is doing
a good job, receives the community's support in return. These statistics
translate into human terms. They define a community that is large enough
to require and support a variety of services, but small enough to receive
them in a personal way.