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:

https://oaklandparkfl.gov/200/Ethel-M-Gordon-Oakland-Park-Library.

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

Prince George’s County Memorial Library System, Prince George’s County, Maryland

While many public libraries had been opening  across the country throughout the mid- to late-1800’s, the establishment of a public library system in Maryland lagged far behind.  In 1902, the Maryland State Library Commission (MSLC) formed to explore the establishment of public libraries within the State of Maryland.  In 1910, with the passing of new Maryland state library laws, The Maryland Public Library Commission (MPLC), which succeeded the MSLC, was established to “stimulate” the opening of permanent county and election district public libraries and to provide funds for the purchase of books for new libraries.  

Pre-2000 Library Card for the Prince George’s County Memorial Library System

Pre-2000 Library Card for the Prince George’s County Memorial Library System (front)
Pre-2000 Library Card for the Prince George’s County Memorial Library System (back)

The Prince George’s County Memorial Library System

The roots of public libraries in Prince George’s County can be traced back to the late 1800s.  In 1898, The Forestville Library Association held an “entertainment benefit” to collect funds for a public library, and in June 1899, they received a parcel of discarded books from Baltimore’s Enoch Pratt Library.  In 1890 a room at an engine house in Upper Marlboro was set up as a library and reading room by the Marlboro Fire Association.  In May 1910, Laurel’s “new public library” was readied for opening with 700 volumes. On June 5, 1915, local talent performed for the benefit of The Prince George[‘s] Library and Reading Room Association.  On November 26, 1916, an oyster dinner and bazaar was held in Mitchellville to benefit The Prince George’s Library Association, and as reported in The Prince George’s Enquirer and Southern Maryland Advertiser on February 4, 1921, a space in the J. C. Hawkin’s Electric Shop had been secured for a public library in Hyattsville.  Greenbelt and Beltsville each opened public libraries in 1939 and 1942, respectively. 

“The Reading Club Started, ”The Prince George’s Enquirer and Southern Maryland Advertiser, January 18, 1889, Page 3
“Laurel’s Library to Be Used,” The Baltimore Sun, May 9, 1910, Page 11

While legislation was regularly presented to Maryland’s General Assembly, the most earnest attempts to establish and maintain free libraries in Prince George’s County were made  by county citizen groups.  The MPLC continued to rely upon the traveling library system to provide free library services to Maryland county communities.

Free traveling library in Hagerstown, Maryland
Courtesy The National Archives Catalog.  Photographer: American Library Association.

No copyright restrictions.
Free traveling library in Hagerstown, Maryland
Courtesy The National Archives Catalog.  Photographer: American Library Association.

No copyright restrictions.

In 1946, The Prince George’s Memorial Library System (PGCMLS) was established “as a living memorial to those who have made the supreme sacrifice and a testimonial to all those who served in wars.”  The Laurel Public Library, which served both Prince George’s County and the City of Laurel, was the first branch library of the system. 

Today, there are 19 branch libraries in the PGCMLS, including Accokeek, Baden, Beltsville, Bladensburg, Bowie, Fairmount Heights, Glenarden, Greenbelt, Hillcrest Heights, Hyattsville, Largo-Kettering, Laurel, Mount Rainer, New Carrolton, Oxon Hill, South Bowie, Spauldings, Surratts-Clinton and Upper Marlboro.

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.”