Free Books for All
The Public Library Movement in Ontario, 1850-1930Book - 1994
Free Books for All provides a detailed and reflective account of the people. groups, communities, and ideas that shaped library development in the decades between 1850 and 1930, from Egerton Ryerson to George Locke, from Mechanics Institutes to renovated Carnegie libraries. A chronological narrative, lively writings by the people involved, tables, maps, graphs, and period photographs combine to tell the stories of the librarians, trustees, educators, politicians, and library users who contributed to Ontario's early public library system.
The book brings to life a fascinating period of library history. The movement to use the power of local governments to furnish rate-supported library service for citizens was a successful Victorian and Edwardian thrust. Today, more than 500 public libraries span the province, serving as intermediary points between authors and readers and providing a wide scope of information and programming services for educational and recreational purposes.
The libraries themselves are, in part, a tribute to the men and women who worked tirelessly to promote library service before 1930. This new study will deepen our understanding of the people and processes that established the foundation for modern public library service in Ontario and Canada.