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Title:Library Friends: A theoretical history
Author(s):Bennett, Scott
Subject(s):Friends of the library
Abstract:There may at first appear to be a world of difference between the Ambrosiana Library, founded in Milan in 1609 to preserve Renaissance learning, and the St. Joseph Public Library, founded in 1934 to serve an Illinois farm community fifty miles from Allerton Park. Great as the differences are, these libraries have one thing in common the one thing, in fact, that most libraries share. They have attracted the support of private benefactors. These two libraries owe their very existence to such benefactors, to the vision and zeal of Cardinal Federigo Borromeo on the one hand, and of the St. Joseph Women's Club on the other. Private support of this sort has played a key role throughout the history of libraries. Excavations of some pre- Alexandrian libraries have uncovered names of donors inscribed on their walls; Oxford's magnificent Bodleian began with the gift of Sir Thomas Bodley; the New York Public Library was built first on its three great private foundations and then expanded throughout the city with Carnegie-built buildings; for most of us the names Clements, Folger, Huntington, and Lilly are first of all the names of library benefactors. It is well to remember these few examples, and to remember that the St. Joseph Public Library was first supported by the Women's Club and that its present building and an endowment providing a substantial part of its operating funds were the gift of Maude Davis as recently as 1955. These things remind us that the map of libraries in the United States was very largely laid down through private gifts. The centuries-long history of these gifts, however they were given and whatever they were called, is the history of library friends.
Issue Date:1980
Publisher:Graduate School of Library Science, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Citation Info:In D.W. Krummell (ed) Organizing the library's support: donors, volunteers, friends (Papers presented at the Allerton Park Institute November 11-14, 1979): 23-32.
Series/Report:Allerton Park Institute (25th : 1979)
Genre:Conference Paper / Presentation
Publication Status:published or submitted for publication
Date Available in IDEALS:2007-04-10

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