Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Thank you, Miss Moore.

Can I tell you a secret?  I used to skip school to go to the library. 

Yep.  'Cause at the library, I could read what I was interested in, not what was demanded of me.  (Most of which I'd already read.)  I'd spend hours in the library, hiding in the stacks of the children's room and in the adult sections.  If I got bored reading, I'd go upstairs to the museum, to see the creepy mummy.  (The thought of that thing wrapped in that ancient cloth still gives me the shivers.)  Going to the library saved my life as a child.  And gave me a lifelong love of reading and researching.

So, today's honor for women who make history goes to Miss Moore, a librarian from Maine.  (Those Maine women, nothing to fool around with.)

From A Might Girl blog
Today's Mighty Girl Hero is Anne Carroll Moore, the trailblazing librarian who fought to put books into the hands of children. Moore was called the “Grande Dame of Children’s Services" for her pioneering efforts in the fields of children's literature, publishing and librarianship, and is considered one of the most influential people in the 20th century for U.S. librarianship.

Born in Maine in 1871, Moore originally planned on pursuing a career as a lawyer. A series of family hardships prevented her from going that route, but she found a new vocational passion as a librarian. After her 1896 graduation from the Pratt Institute Library in Brooklyn, Moore began investigating the establishment of a children's room at the Pratt Library. Before this point, children were generally considered a nuisance in such an environment, and were certainly not part of the target clientele. Many times, children were not even permitted access to a library until the age of 14 years.
Moore planned to shift this exclusionary attitude, and as part of her preparation she toured local kindergartens, visited diverse neighborhoods, and even posed queries to children she met on the streets. She then worked to create a warm and welcoming space for a young readership, complete with child-sized furniture, cozy nooks, story times and more. The children, of course, were delighted, and showed up in droves.

After a ten year stretch at the Pratt Library, Moore moved on to the New York Public Library, and took on the management of children's programming at all of its branches. She worked hard to implement quality training for the staff, and establish widespread policies of inclusion relating to the children themselves. Moore also successfully campaigned for books to be loaned out directly to the children -- a practice that had not previously been in place.

Later in life, Moore began to write her own books, including a memoir and a children's book, "Nicholas, A Manhattan Christmas Story," which won the 1925 Newbery Medal. She also went on to become a highly-regarded children's book reviewer. Always, however, she was a champion for children and books.

Today's book image is from "Miss Moore Thought Otherwise" -- a beautifully illustrated, recent release about Moore's work at the New York Public Library for ages 5 to 9: http://www.amightygirl.com/miss-moore-thought-otherwise
For other Mighty Girl books honoring librarians, visit our “Librarians & Teachers” section at http://www.amightygirl.com/books/personal-development/relationships?cat=264

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