1984 To Kwa Wan Branch of the Urban Council Library System Library Card

1984 To Kwa Wan Branch of the Urban Council Library System Library Card (front)
1984 To Kwa Wan Branch of the Urban Council Library System Library Card (back)


Although city officials consider the library located at the City Hall building constructed in 1962, the first modern public library in Hong Kong, efforts were made before the mid-20th century to establish libraries for Hong Kong residents. 

Victoria Library and Reading Room

One of the earliest public libraries, the Victoria Library and Reading Room, was organized shortly after the 1842 colonization of Hong Kong by Great Britain.  In The Chinese Repository, Vol. XVIII, No. XII, a periodical published by protestant missionaries, it was noted in Art. IV, The Journal of Occurrences for September 1, 1848-December 31, 1849, that the “Library and Reading-room” was opened to the public at Victoria on September 7, 1848, and the first annual meeting was held on April 28, 1849.  There were 48 members, and the library had 650 volumes.  The 1862 edition of The China Directory listed the location of the Victoria Library and Reading Room as Queen’s Road Central, and Sit Him Cook was Librarian.

1862 China Directory listing for The Victoria Library and Reading Room

By 1865, the Victoria Library and Reading Room faced financial difficulties. As reported in the July 8, 1865, edition of the Hong Kong Daily Press, the Trustees of the Library decided to close the library.  This decision was met with outcry from long-time residents of the area, saying, “we do feel somewhat indignant that a library bequeathed to [Hong Kong] by its ‘pilgrim fathers’ should be allowed to be sent to the hammer for debt by their numerous and wealthy progeny.  That surely is a disgraceful termination to such an undertaking.” The Victoria Library collection of approximately 3,000 volumes was donated to the City Hall Library in 1871.

1865 Painting by Eduard Hildebrandt, Hongkong Queen’s Road (Public Domain)

Library of the Morrison Education Society

The Morrison Education Society, an Anglo-Chinese School and missionary society, established a public library in Hong Kong in 1842. Originating in Canton, China, in 1835, the society commemorated the life of Robert Morrison, the first Protestant missionary in China. As noted in the March 1864 edition of the Annual Meeting Report of the Proceedings of The Morrison Education Society, it was reported that the Society members proposed the formation of a public library to maintain the Society’s book collection due to increasing expenses and decline in membership subscriptions.  The Morrison Library was donated to the “City Hall Library” in March 1869, and the Society dissolved in 1873.

The City Hall Library

The City Hall, established in 1866 and inaugurated by Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, on November 2, 1869, was a publicly-funded community center that included assembly rooms, a 569-seat theater, a museum, and a library. Although the government donated the building site, the library was a private establishment funded by subscriptions.  By 1871, The City Hall Library had over 8,000 volumes, 3,000 of which were donated by the Victoria Library and Reading Room upon its dissolution and another 3,000 by the Morrison Education Society.  (The Morrison Collection is currently housed at Hong Kong University.)  In 1908, the City Hall Library had over 500 registered borrowers.  Over time, the City Hall Library collection became antiquated, periodicals being the most current reading material available.  In an article in the Hong Kong Telegraph published November 11, 1916, a visitor noted “embellishments” and obscenities in the margins of periodicals he browsed.  The City Hall Library was no longer the esteemed public institution it had once been. Over the years, the City Hall building fell into disrepair, and in 1933 was sold to the Hong Kong Bank to be the site of its new headquarters.  On June 6, 1933, the library and museum of the City Hall were closed in preparation for the partial demolition of the City Hall building. The library was transferred to the eastern portion of the City Hall, which was eventually renovated for continued use as the library and museum.   In 1947, the remainder of the building was demolished to make way for the Bank of China building.   

The City Hall and Victoria Harbour, Hong Kong, 1869.  The building was demolished to make way for the Hong Kong Bank and Bank of China Buildings.   (Public Domain in HK and US)

The City Hall Library In the News

“Two Youths Sleep in City Hall Building,” The Daily China, Hong Kong, March 4, 1920


The Urban Council, established in 1936, was a government agency in Hong Kong responsible for municipal services on Hong Kong island and Kowloon. Originally founded as the Sanitary Board in 1883, the Urban Council had wide-ranging responsibilities from sanitation and cremation to public services such as arts and leisure activities, museums, parks, public swimming pools, and libraries.

The first modern library established by the Urban Council opened at the newly-built City Hall building in 1962. It served as the main library in Hong Kong until the opening of the new Central Library building in May 2001. The new Central Library is a 12-story building at 66 Causeway Road in Causeway Bay, with over 360,000 sq. ft. of floor space. The Hong Kong Public Library System has 70 branches and a collection of over 14.35 million items.

The Hong Kong Public Library, 2008. Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0), Author: Wing1990hk

The Urban Council was disbanded in 1999 and replaced with the Hong Kong Leisure and Cultural Services Department.


Library Association of Portland, Portland, Oregon

Pre-1949 Library Association of Portland Library Card issued to Grace E. Montgomery

Pre-1949 Library Association of Portland Library Card (front) (back blank)

Library Association of Portland

In early 1864, Leland Howard Wakefield (1823-1914), proprietor of a daguerreotype studio and the local postmaster, recognizing the need for a library in the rapidly growing city of Portland, canvased the citizenry to “obtain signatures of those that were willing to materially aid” the establishment of a library. The canvasing proved great interest in a local library, and within months, a library committee was elected, and Association by-laws were drafted. The Association secured rooms on the second floor of the Stark Building at 66 First Street (at Stark Street) for $50/month. Membership was open to any city residents (including women) by signing an agreement to abide by the library’s Constitution and by-laws and paying an initiation fee of five dollars (~$95 today) and quarterly dues of $3. Lifetime memberships could be purchased for $100 (~$1900 today). The Library Association of Portland opened in December 1865 with approximately 1,500 volumes.

Announcement for the new Library Association of Portland,
Morning Oregonian, December 12, 1865, Page 4

In March of 1869, bankers William Sargent Ladd, Esq. (1826-1893) and Charles Elliott Tilton (1827-1901) presented to the Library Association a rent-free lease of three years for a suite of rooms on the second floor of their new bank building at SW First and Stark Streets. The library inventory had grown to over 3,000 volumes by 1869, and library membership fees were adjusted to a more modest quarterly fee of one dollar, making the library accessible to many more citizens.

Library association moves to new Ladd & Tilton bank building,
Corvallis Gazette-Times, March 13, 1869, Page 2
Suite of Rooms Leased to the Library Association,
Corvallis Gazette-Times, 26 Mar 1870, Page 3
Library Association advertisement,
Morning Oregonian, June 9, 1871, Page 4
The 1896 Ladd and Tilton Bank building. The Ladd and Tilton Bank building was designed by Irish-American architect John Nestor and opened for business on January 12, 1869. Nestor’s design was supposedly inspired by the High Renaissance-style façade of the Libreria Vecchia (Old Library) in Venice, Italy, designed by Jacopo Sansovino and built between 1537–1588. The 1868 Ladd and Tilton Bank building was razed in 1955 and replaced by a surface parking lot. Photographer: unknown. No known copyright restrictions.

It was stipulated that the lease would be renewed at the end of three years provided the association raised $6000 for on-ongoing maintenance of the library. The Library Association of Portland would subsequently occupy space at the Ladd and Tilton Bank Building for the next 24 years until June 1893.

The Library Association of Portland Builds Permanent Location

In 1893, the Library Association of Portland sought assistance from Portland architects William Marcy Whidden (1857-1929) and Ion Lewis (1858-1933) to design and construct a new library building at Washington (now SW Washington Street), Stark (now SW Harvey Milk Street), East Park (now SW Park Avenue), and 7th (now SW Broadway). Funds for the new library building was the culmination of 27 years of fundraising and a major bequeathment of over $100,000 from the estate of a wealthy heiress, Ella M. Smith (1848-1889), daughter of the late Sea Captain Benjamin F. Smith (1810-1879).

Big Money for the Library,”
Morning Oregonian, October 6, 1889, Page 3
Library Association of Portland Postcard (Pre-1923 public domain postcard)

Daniel F. W. Bursch (1866-1948), the library’s first trained librarian, instituted the Dewey Decimal system and maintained an open shelf system for members to browse freely. However, the library continued to be a subscription library only accessible to paying members of the Association.

The Library Association of Portland Becomes Public

In September 1900, John Wilson (1826-1900), a successful Portland merchant, bequeathed his entire collection of over 8,000 books, manuscripts and maps to the Library Association of Portland with the stipulation that the collection be used as a “free reference library for the people of [Portland.].”

Library Bequeathed, The Morning Astorian, September 21, 1900, Page 3

On June 20, 1901, by a unanimous vote, the Library Association of Portland entered into a contract with the City of Portland to allow inhabitants of the city free use of the Association library for a period of ten years. Ordinance No. 12,302 was approved by the Mayor on July 18, 1901, and the Association accepted the terms and conditions on August 18, 1901.

Mary Francis Isom (1865-1920) was engaged to catalog the Wilson Collection, and the Browne Charging System was instituted. The library opened its door to the public on Monday, March 10, 1902, making it the first free library in Oregon supported entirely by citizen taxes, an accomplishment of which the City of Portland took great pride.

The library becomes a free institution,
The Oregon Daily Journal, March 11, 1902, Page 1

No Saloons Near Library

During the population boom of early Portland, transient workers sought “goods and services” for entertainment during their leisure hours. Accordingly, saloons, gambling halls and other “vice” services proliferated in early Portland. So much so, that the Association began a “crusade” to prohibit saloons near public libraries. In short order, an ordinance was passed that prohibited the granting of licenses to saloons located near public schools and libraries.

The Oregon Daily Journal, March 16, 1903, Page 5

New Public Library Building

As Portland’s population grew, library usage and book circulation steadily increased. The circulation of the Central Library went from approximately 175,000 books per year in 1904 to nearly 410,000 in 1909. This figure was double that of the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania public library, and surpassed the circulation of Boston’s public library. Due to the robust library usage, the Association president, Winslow B. Ayer (1860-1935), suggested a new main library building and additional branch libraries be built.

In early 1912, the Association purchased a block at 10th and Yamhill Streets to be the site of a new main library building. However, this location came as a great disappointment to many local organizations including the Greater Portland Plans Association, Northwestern University Alumni Association and several Portland women’s organizations. In an attempt to quell these concerns, on May 4, 1912, Ayer issued a public statement in The Oregon Daily Journal that the site was considered central to business and shopping districts and very accessible due to the proximity of main traffic routes and street car lines, but most importantly the purchase fell within the budget available to the Association. Public disfavor did little to change the purchase decision, and days later the Association made their decision known by placing advertisements in the local newspapers seeking bids to raze structures on the already-purchased site. By mid-September 1912, construction of the new building was under way, and one year later on September 6, 1913, the new library opened its doors to the public

Early 1900s postcard of the public library in Portland (public domain)

A major renovation was begun in 1994 to provide necessary seismic upgrades, rearrange interior spaces to facilitate technological needs, and add two floors for staff offices and meeting rooms. The renovation returned the interior of Central Library to its original grandeur and added new decorative details by artists, including etched black granite stairs by Larry Kirkland. Hardy Holtzman Pfeiffer Associates developed the initial design concepts, with Fletcher Farr Ayotte completing the design development.

On April 8 1997, the Central Library reopened after a three year renovation. Much of the original Georgian Revival architecture was restored and the building was modernized with seismic upgrades.

Now operating as the Multnomah County Library System, in addition to the Central Library, there are 32 branch libraries. The Central Library is located 801 SW 10th Avenue in Portland and is open 7 days a week.

Grace Ellen Montgomery

Grace Ellen Montgomery (November 26, 1915-May 24, 1995) was born in Lyon, Minnesota. She married Harold W. Buckles in 1936. Mrs. Buckles was a piano teacher in the Salem area for over 25 years.

The Oakland Park City Library, Oakland Park, Florida

Early-Mid 1990s Library Card Nos. 12963 and 12964 for the Oakland Park City Library

Early-Mid 1990s Library Card No. 12963 for the Oakland Park City Library (front)
Early-Mid 1990s Library Card No. 12964 for the Oakland Park City Library (front)

Oakland Park City Library

Initially organized as a project of the Oakland Park Women’s Club, the Oakland Park City Library was originally located at the Oakland Park Women’s Clubhouse at 3721 NE Thirteen Avenue.  Ethel Gordon (1897-1973), a member of the Oakland Park Women’s Club, having “never lived in a town without a library” suggested organizing a community library in Oakland Park.  In May 1954, the organization of a library at the Clubhouse was added to the budget for the upcoming year.  Ethel Gordon was elected Chairman of the Americanism Department.

“Oakland Park Women’s Club Hold Busy Final Session,” Fort Lauderdale News, May 24, 1954, Page 9

In February 1955, the community was invited to the Clubhouse to inspect the new library and to bring books or donations, and in May 1955, the library was officially opened to the public.  The Mayor of Oakland Park and members of the City Commission were invited and given complimentary membership cards.

“Oakland Park Library Gets 100 More Books,” The Miami Herald, February 13, 1955, Page 34
“Library Opening Slated for Today,” Fort Lauderdale News, May 18, 1955, Page 14
Pre-1960 Postcard by Spaulding & Co. (no known copyright restrictions)

The Library Today

On October 16, 2013, the Oakland Park City Commission voted to officially change the name of the library to The Ethel M. Gordon Oakland Park Library in recognition of her role in the establishment of the Oakland Park library.

Fun fact:  Children under the age of 16 may obtain a library card in their name as soon as they can print their full name!

The library is located at 1298 NE 37 Street in Oakland Park and is open Monday-Saturday.  For more information on Oakland Park’s community library, go to:


Mid Century Modern-style home of Ethel M. Gordon Oakland Park Library (photo courtesy of Google Maps)

Augusta County Library, Fishersville, Virginia

Pre-1995 Library Card and Sleeve for the August County Library

Pre-1995 Library Card for the Augusta County Library (front)
Pre-1995 Library Card Sleeve for the Augusta County Library (front)

The opening of the Augusta County Library in Fishersville, Virginia was announced in the Daily News Leader, on July 14, 1939.  Located in the Beverly Manor Elementary School, the public library was open to all “county folk.”   The library held approximately 1,400 volumes for all ages.  Miss “Lina” Hupman was the librarian.  The initial hours were Sunday through Friday, from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm; however, due to robust attendance, Saturday hours (9:00 am to 1:00 pm) were quickly added and announced in The Daily News Leader, October 28, 1939.  

“County Public Library Hours are Announced,” The Daily News Leader, October 28, 1939, page 6

In August 1947, the Augusta County Library was moved to the new Wilson Memorial High School campus (formerly the Woodrow Wilson General Hospital). Occupying one of the numerous wards on the former hospital campus, the library boasted over 14,000 volumes and a film library covering over 165 subjects.

Pre-1947 aerial view of the former Woodrow Wilson General Hospital. No known copyright restrictions
“Many Subjects, Activities Offered at Wilson School,” The Daily News Leader, January 14, 1948, Page 2

Miss Evelina Gibbons Hupman (b. June 28, 1889 – d. July 31, 1958) retired on June 30, 1958, after 53 years of service to the Augusta County School system. 

“Wilson High Faculty Honors Librarian Who is Retiring,”
The Daily News Leader, May 28, 1958, Page 1

In 1977, after responsibility for the Augusta County Library was transferred from the Augusta County School System to the newly established Augusta County Public Library System, a new facility was built for the library on the Wilson campus. Plans for the new library facility included a reference desk, chess club, children’s story hours, a listening center, local history, and women’s collections, as well as bookmobiles to serve the community.  The new library was dedicated on March 20, 1977.

“Friends of the Augusta County Library Book Sale,” The Daily News Leader, March 5, 1993, Page 2

On December 17, 1983, the library moved to the old Fishersville Elementary School located at Rt. 250 and Rt. 608 in Fishersville.  The new location was a 25,000 sq, ft, building renovated for use as a library. In preparation for the move, the library asked members to check out 20 books each and return them to the new location after the move.

“Library Move,” The Daily News Leader,
December 8, 1983, Page 7 
1983 location of the Augusta County Library at Rts. 250 and 608.
The Daily News Leader, March 31, 1990, Page 85

In December 2010, after several years of preparation, the library completed a 14-month renovation project.   The Augusta County Library is located at 1759 Jefferson Highway, Fishersville, Virginia.

The August County Library. Google Maps 2022

Nekrasov Central Universal Scientific Library, Moscow, Russia

Post-2006 Nekrasov Central Universal Scientific Library Single Reader’s Card

Post-2006 Nekrasov Central Universal Scientific Library Single Reader’s Card (front)
Front of Card (English translation)
Post-2006 Nekrasov Central Universal Scientific Library Single Reader’s Card (back)
Back of Card (English translation)

Nekrasov Central Universal Scientific Library

The Nekrasov Central Universal Scientific Library had its beginnings at the First Library Congress in St. Petersburg, Russia in 1911, when Alexander Aleksandrovich Pokrovsky (Александр Александрович Покровский)(1879–1942), a Russian librarian and bibliographer, proposed the establishment of a network of public libraries throughout Imperial Russia. That proposal resulted in establishing The Central City Library of Moscow, which opened its doors eight years later on January 1, 1919..

Founder of The Central City Library of Moscow, Alexander Alexandrovich Pokrovsky (Александр Александрович Покровский) (1879-1942) Photo Credit: unknown author (no known copyright restrictions)

Since the library was established after the Russian Revolution of 1917, the catalog of The Central City Library of Moscow was comprised of “nationalized” inventory seized from private and state-run collections, book warehouses, and abandoned shops that became the property of Vladimir Lenin’s Bolshevik regime that had taken control during the revolution. The People’s Commissariat for Education, also known as Narkompros (Народный комиссариат просвещения, Наркомпрос), led by Anatoly Vasilyevich Lunacharsky (Анатолий Васильевич Луначарский), coordinated the centralization and inventory of collections.

The first location of the library, No. 10 Novaya Basmannaya Ulitsa (Новая Басманная ул., 10) was an elaborate private apartment abandoned by an attorney that fled Russia during the revolution. Subsequently, the abandoned residence came under the jurisdiction of the Moscow worker’s council, also known as Soviet (сове́т)1. This building currently houses the Department of Labor and Social Protection of Population (Департамент труда и социальной защиты населения города Москвы).

Constructed in 1914, 10 Novaya Basmannaya Ulitsa, became the first home to The Central City Library of Moscow. Photo credit: nekrasovka.ru (no known copyright restrictions)
10 Novaya Basmannaya Ulitsa today. The building currently houses the Department of Labor and Social Protection of Population (Департамент труда и социальной защиты населения города Москвы) Photo credit: googlemaps.com

In 1925, due to the growing demand for library resources, the Central City Library of Moscow relocated to Arbatskaya Ploshchad (ул. Арбат, 2/1) and merged with the Central Reference Library, which already occupied a part of the building.  The combined libraries were renamed the Moscow Provincial Central Library.  The new, combined library added new services such as bookmobiles, book delivery,  and specialized reading rooms, including youth and periodical reading rooms.  In 1936, the library’s name was reestablished as The Central City Library of Moscow. 

The second home to The Central City Library of Moscow. Parts of the building were constructed as early as 1799. The building located at Arbat Street 2/1 (ул. Арбат, 2/1) is deemed a cultural landmark and is now the home of the luxury restaurant, Praga (Прага ресторан). Photo credit: nekrasovka.ru (no known copyright restrictions)
Praga Restoran on Arbatskaya Ploshchad (Arbat Square) (Photo credit: Иван Манилов) This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license (original photo cropped)

Although readership declined during WWII, the library became a vital source for information and news from the war front.  Mobile libraries were formed to serve military personnel, evacuation centers, and hospitals throughout Moscow.  During air raids, the librarians would flee to bomb shelters with newspapers and books so that townspeople would have reading materials and news about current events while sheltering.

In 1946, to commemorate the 125th anniversary of the poet, N.A. Nekrasov, the library was renamed the N.A. Nekrasov Library.  

During the 1950s, the N.A. Nekrasov Library had a dramatic increase in readership and the volumes held by the library increased from 74,000 to nearly 300,000; however, not all of the inventory was available to the public.  In June 1955, to accommodate the increase in library inventory, the library was moved to the former estate of Princess Anna Sergeevna Saltykova (Анна Сергеевна кн. Салтыкова) (1848-1917) at No. 20/1 on Bolshaya Bronnaya (Большая Бронная ул). 

During the 1960s, the library inventory doubled to nearly 600,000 books, a library card system was created, and a card catalog was instituted.

The third location of the Central City Public Library (renamed the Nekrasov near Pushkinskaya Square at 20 Bolshaya Bronnaya  (Photo credit: Yuri Virovets) This file is shared under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) License (no changes made to original photo)

In late 2002, the Saltykova mansion began historic renovations, so the library was transferred to a former weaving factory (until 1990) and hotel (until 2002) at Baumanskaya Street, House No. 58/25, Building 14.  The Single Reading Card was introduced to enable readers to access information throughout the Moscow public library system via the OPAC-Global automated information system.  

Today, the library, now known as the Nekrasov Central Universal Scientific Library, functions as not only a library, but a cultural hub and teaching center for library services across Moscow.  The library is a member of the International Association of Metropolitan City Libraries (formerly INTAMEL) and participates in a number of international organizations and professional associations, including UNESCO, who on March 3, 2022, issued a statement (here) condemning Russia’s invasion and escalating violence in Ukraine.  In the statement, UNESCO demanded “the immediate cessation of attacks on civilian facilities, such as schools, universities, memorial sites, cultural and communication infrastructures, and deplores civilian casualties, including students, teachers, artists, scientists, and journalists. These include women and children, girls especially, disproportionately impacted by the conflict and displacement.”  

There are 306 libraries in 73 regions of Russia.

Current home of the Nekrasov Central Universal Scientific Library on Baumanskaya Street in Moscow, Photo credit:  googlemaps.com

Footnotes: 1 The English translation of Soviet is “council.” 

San Diego Public Library, San Diego, California

Pre-1937 San Diego Public Library Borrower’s Card No. 75273 issued to Lee R. Moore

Pre-1937 San Diego Public Library Borrower’s Card No. 75273 issued to Lee R. Moore (front)
Pre-1937 San Diego Public Library Borrower’s Card No. 75273 issued to Lee R. Moore (back)

San Diego Public Library

San Diego Public Library (pre-1923 public domain postcard)

Opened to the public on July 15, 1882, the San Diego Public Library’s first location was the Commercial Bank building (aka the Consolidated National Bank) at 5th and G Streets.  The use of rooms on the 2nd floor2 was provided to the library non gratis for the first six month,1 after which rent was paid from the $650 city appropriation.

Commercial Bank Building (pre-1923 public domain photo; photographer unknown)

In 1893, the library was moved once again to the fashionable St. James Building at 7th and F Streets and would remain there for at least five years.3

Drawing from a 1890’s St James Hotel breakfast menu (No known copyright restrictions)

By 1898, the library began to outgrow its accommodations, so arrangements were made for space on the 4th floor of the new Keating Building at Fifth and F Streets.  Rent increased from $50 to $85, but the rooms were more spacious and well-lit, and a modern elevator made access to the library much easier.4 The Keating Building was designed by George J. Keating, founder of a farm equipment company, and built in 1890 by his wife, Fannie, after his death on June 25, 1888.

Keating Building.  Photo by John Margolies.  No known copyright restrictions.   From the John Margolies Roadside America photograph archive (1972-2008), Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division

While the Keating Building provided adequate square footage to accommodate the growing library, library space had been a concern several years prior to the move into the Keating Building.   Efforts to raise funds for the building of a permanent home large enough to house the growing library was undertaken by the Ladies’ Wednesday Club as early as 1896.5. But it wasn’t until mid-1899, that a new library building became a realistic goal.  In response to a letter sent to the Andrew Carnegie Corporation by library trustee, Mrs. Lydia K. Horton, in which she asked for photographs of previously built Carnegie libraries in hopes that the photographs would spark interest by her fellow trustees, the Carnegie Corporation promised a $50,000 grant to build the first Carnegie library west of the Mississippi River.6  On April 23, 1902, the new library building opened at Eighth and E Streets.  The building designed by architects, Ackerman & Ross of New York, had room for 75,000 volumes and boasted a museum, art gallery, and lecture room. The Carnegie Library building would serve as the main library until 1952 when the building was razed to allow the construction of a new, modernized building. The new library opened at the same location on June 27, 1954. The current location of the San Diego Central Library is 330 Park Blvd. in San Diego.

San Diego Public Library and Comic-Con

Since 2013, the San Diego Public Library has partnered with Comic-Con and designed limited-edition comic-themed library cards, which are only available at the San Diego Public Library booth at the yearly Comic-Con convention in San Diego.  The 2019 card, of which only 3,000 were made available, features Waldo over an image of  the San Diego Central Library, which is located at 330 Park Boulevard in San Diego.  

2019 San Diego Public Library Special Edition Comic-Con Library Card and Keychain Card (front)
2019 San Diego Public Library Special Edition Comic-Con Library Card and Keychain Card (back)

Lee R. Moore

Lee Reed Moore was born August 7, 1921, in Kansas City; He was the son of Lee R. Moore, Sr  of Texas and Orpha Moore.  Lee R. Moore was a salesman for Ryan Aeronautical Co.  He died on April 29, 1980.

1 Catalog of the San Diego Free Public Library: Compiled by the Order of the Board of Trustees, by Lulu Younkin, April 1889

2 The Record (National City, California), June 11, 1885, p. 2

3 The Los Angeles Times (Los Angeles, California) April 5, 1893, p. 7

4 The Los Angeles Times (Los Angeles, California) April 7, 1898, p. 13

5 The Los Angeles Times (Los Angeles, California), December 7, 1896, p. 5

6 The Los Angeles Times (Los Angeles, California), July 18, 1899, p. 15

The National Library of the Philippines, Manila, Republic of the Philippines

March 1940 National Library Circulation Division (American Circulating Library) Supplemental Library Card No. 38218 S issued to Bernardino Orque from Araullo High School

March 1940 National Library Circulation Division (American Circulating Library) Supplemental Library Card No. 38218 S issued to Bernardino Orque
from Araullo High School (front)
March 1940 National Library Circulation Division (American Circulating Library) Supplemental Library Card No. 38218 S issued to Bernardino Orque
from Araullo High School (back)

The National Library of the Philippines was established as the Museo-Biblioteca de Filipinas through a royal decree by the then-ruling Spanish colonial government on August 12, 1887. The library opened to the public with 100 volumes on October 24, 1891. On December 10, 1898, as part of the peace agreement between Span and the United States to end the Spanish-American War, the territory of the Philippines was granted to the United States.  

During the American occupation, the Museo-Biblioteca de Filipinas was abolished and replaced by the American Circulating Library (ACL), which was stocked with books donated by the American Red Cross. By 1901, the ACL’s collection grew to over 10,000 volumes and proved challenging to manage. Thus, the ACL donated the library collection, mainly comprised of English-Language fiction, periodicals, and newspapers, to the government of the Philippines. The formal acceptance of the ACL’s library collection on March 5, 1901, ushered in the official beginning of the National Library and public library system of the Philippines. The National Library’s original location was Rosario Street (now Quintin Paredes Street), and growth necessitated a move to the Hotel de Oriente (on Plaza Calderon de la Barca) in 1904.

The American occupation proved chaotic for the library system in the Philippines. Over the next 25 years, the name, location, and governing of the library would change multiple times, but on December 7, 1928, Philippine Assembly would again become the governing body and changed the name of the library to the National Library. The National Library moved to the Legislative Building on Padre Burgos Street in Ermita and would serve as the library’s home until 1944.

The Legislative Building on Padre Burgos Street in Ermita, which now houses the National Museum of Fine Arts (Pambansang Museo ng Sining), would serve as the National Library’s home from 1928 to 1944. (public domain)

In 1942, the islands fell under Japanese occupation, and the US and Philippines military forces fought together during 1944-45 to regain control. Initially, the Japanese occupation did little to disrupt the functioning of the library, but the Battle of Manila resulted in significant destruction to the library’s collections.  

On March 23, 1960, construction began on a new building to house the National Library. The new six-story library building opened to the public on June 19, 1961, with a capacity of one million volumes. The National Library currently holds over 1.6 million pieces in its collection, including over 210,000 books; over 880,000 manuscripts, more than 170,000 newspaper issues from across the Philippines; theses and dissertations; government publications; 3,800 maps and 53,000 photographs.

The present home of the National Library of the Philippines, Manila, Philippines, 1964 (no known copyright restrictions)

Cleveland Public Library, Cleveland, Ohio

Cleveland Public Library, Pre-1932 Library Card No. 4006 and Card Sleeve issued to Walter R. Miller

Cleveland Public Library Pre-1932 Library Card (front)
Cleveland Public Library, Pre-1932 Library Card (back)
Cleveland Public Library Pre-1932 Card Sleeve (front)
Cleveland Public Library, Pre-1932 Card Sleeve (back)

Cleveland Public Library

In March 1867, a legislative statute was passed authorizing the Board of Education to tax the citizens of Cleveland for the purpose of funding a public library.  Housed on the third floor of the Northrup & Harrington Block on Superior Street, the library opened to the public on February 17, 1869, with approximately 2,000 books obtained from the public school library.  By August 1869, there were nearly 4,000 registered members.

Northrup & Harrington Building, Superior Street, Pre-1923 Public Domain Postcard

Between 1873 and 1879, the Library moved multiple times.  The Clark Building on Superior Street, the new City Hall, and the second and third floors of the old Central High School building on Euclid Avenue. 

In 1884, the Cleveland Public Library appointed William H. Brett as Head Library.  Brett, who was considered to be  one of the most influential librarians of the twenty century, introduced the then-novel idea of an “open shelf” system, whereby library members would have direct access to the books.  Brett served as Head Librarian until his untimely death in 1918.

William Howard Brett, Head Librarian of the Cleveland Public Library (1885-1911) (Public Domain)

In 1915, the Cleveland architectural firm, Walker and Weeks, won a competition to design a new library building, but due to the demands of World War I, construction was delayed until 1923.  Finally, in September 1925, the $4,000,000  classical Renaissance-style building opened its doors to the public.  

Cleveland Public Library, Superior Street, Pre-1923 Public Domain Postcard
Photo Erik Drost – photo licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en (no changes)

In 1997, the 10-story Louis Stokes Wing was dedicated and the main building underwent a $24 million renovation, including careful restoration of the original ceiling finishes,  original leather doors, exterior marble and historical light fixtures.  

The Louis Stokes Wing of the Cleveland Public Library.  The Akron Beacon Journal (Akron, Ohio) June 12,1997, Page 75.

The Cleveland Public Library celebrated its 150-year anniversary in 2019.  Today, the Cleveland Public Library system has twenty-seven branch libraries.  

William H. Brett

William Howard Brett (1846-1918) was head librarian for the Cleveland Public Library from 1884 to 1918.  He is considered one of the “100 most important librarians of the 20th century”. Under Brett’s guidance, book circulation at the Cleveland Public Library went from 50,000 volumes in 1889 to over 3 million volumes in 1918, placing the library in the top three of the greatest libraries in the United States at that time.

Brett was known for introducing several new library management concepts that are still used today. While at the Cleveland Public Library, he instituted an “open shelf” concept whereby allowing library members to have direct access to library materials and the ability to browse and research independently. Another major contribution was “divisional arrangements.” Brett and his vice-librarian, Linda A. Eastman, divided the reference and circulating books into major categories and had dedicated staff handle each subject matter. Brett also championed separate children’s reading rooms believing that children deserved their own space.

Brett’s life and library career were cut short by a drunk driver in 1918.


The James V. Brown Library, Williamsport, Pennsylvania

Pre-1934 Reader’s Card No. 51582 issued to Lawrence Mulliner

Pre-1934 Reader’s Card No. 51582 issued to Lawrence Mulliner (front)
Pre-1934 Reader’s Card No. 51582 issued to Lawrence Mulliner (back)

The James V. Brown Library

The James V. Brown Library, Williamsport, Pennsylvania (Pre-1923 public domain postcard)

The James V. Brown Library, at 19 East Fourth Street in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, opened its doors to the public in 1907.  James V. Brown, a wealthy business owner, had long desired to build a public library for the citizens of Williamsport, but plans in earnest didn’t begin until 1899 when Brown purchased a plot of land on which to build the new library.  Brown then hired Philadelphia architect, Edgar V. Seeler, to design the new library.  By May 1900, Seeler had proposed a grand, French Renaissance building, complete with monolithic, twenty-two foot, dual columns flanking the entrance.  Seeler designed the building to include an art gallery space, marble statues imported from Italy, an elevator, steam heat and electric lights throughout.  

Edgar V. Seeler’s Rendering of the proposed James V. Brown Library (from the Altoona Tribune, December 1, 1901)

The cornerstone was laid on March 10, 1906, and the library opened to the public on June 17, 1907. 

The James v. Brown Library Reading Room and Delivery Desk (pre-1923 public domain postcard)

The James V. Brown Library Reader’s Card Application

1919-1928 Reader’s Card Application (front)
1919-1928 Reader’s Card Application (back)
1919-1928 Reader’s Card Application Return Envelope (front)
1919-1928 Reader’s Card Application Return Envelope (back)

James V. Brown

James V. Brown (from the Altoona Tribune, December 1, 1910)

James Van Duzee Brown, born on March 4, 1826, was a business owner and philanthropist in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.  He amassed a large fortune through a number of early business ventures, including lumber, coal and flour milling.  He was an early founder of the First National Bank in Pennsylvania, President of the Williamsport Water Company and the Citizens’ Gas and Water Company.  Prior to his death, he pledged $400,000 to build a public library.  James V. Brown died on December 8, 1904, three years before completion of the new library.    

The Josephine-Louise Public Library, Walden, New York

Pre-1951 Josephine-Louise Public Library Card No. 163 issued to Thelma Van Houten

Pre-1951 Josephine-Louise Public Library Card No. 163 issued to Thelma Van Houten (front)

The Josephine-Louise Public Library, Walden, New York

The Josephine-Louise Public Library, Walden, New York (Pre-1923 Public Domain Postcard)

The Josephine-Louise Public Library is a memorial library dedicated to Josephine Dennison Bradley (1843-1903) and Louise Harper Bradley (1869-1900), wife and daughter of Col. Thomas Wilson Bradley (1844-1920), President of the New York Knife Factory, Medal of Honor recipient for his service during the Civil War, and a member of the US Congress.

The library began as a circulating library club in 1896 by a group of Walden residents that included Josephine Bradley. Upon petitioning the Board of Regents of the University of the State of New York, the circulating library was granted a 5-year provisional charter and, in 1901, the first Walden Public Library opened. In 1915, plans to build a new Municipal Building were put into place.  Colonel Bradley, in honor of his wife and daughter, matched “dollar for dollar” the town budget to build the new facility which included a firehouse, as well as offices, an assembly room and, of course, a library space.  In addition, he fully funded a temporary location in the village hall until the new Municipal Building was completed.   The new Walden Municipal Building and Library opened at 5 Scofield Street in Walden in 1916.  

Thelma Van Houten

Thelma Louise Van Houten (1/30/1929 – 6/19/1992), life-long New York native.