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Anne Carroll Moore

Page history last edited by PBworks 12 years, 6 months ago

Back to 1890s

 

 

In 1896, the Pratt Institute Free Library in Brooklyn, New York found that due to the increase in the size of its collection and its high circulation rates, new quarters would be necessary. As part of the plans for a new building, provisions were made for a children’s room, a first in the United States. Other libraries prior to this had designated certain areas or rooms to be a “children’s section”, but this was the first appearance of a room that was specifically planned and designed to meet the needs of children. In 1896, the Pratt Institute Library hired Anne Carroll Moore to run the children’s department. The construction of the children’s room was a momentous event in the children’s library movement, and the woman who took the job of working in that room would go on to be one of the leaders in American children’s librarianship, as well as a key figure in children’s publishing and the field of children’s literature.

Anne Carroll Moore was born on July 12, 1871 in Limerick, Maine. Her parents were Luther Sanborn and Sarah Baker Moore, and she was one of nine children. She attended the Limerick Academy, a preparatory school in Maine, and then the Bradford Academy in Massachusetts, a two-year college. Upon completing her education, she planned on returning to Maine to study law under her father. An outbreak of influenza, which killed both of her parents, changed her plans. Moore decided to look for a profession, and half-heartedly thought about teaching or missionary work. One of her brothers suggested she try the new field of librarianship, since she appeared to have an affinity for books. She enrolled in the Pratt Institute Library School and graduated in 1896.

Upon graduation, she became the head of the children’s department at the Pratt Institute Library where she worked until 1906. In 1906, she took the position of Superintendent of Work with Children for the New York Public Library. During her time in both of these positions, Moore contributed greatly to the professionalization of children’s librarianship. One can find many of the programs she introduced and promoted in children’s services in libraries today. She stressed the importance of having a stimulating and artistically beautiful environment for children in their reading rooms. She initiated storytelling programs, developed special displays around holidays, and created partnership programs with schools and teachers. Her many writings in library journals and pamphlets helped guide children’s librarians throughout the country, and she was the first chairperson of the American Library Association’s (ALA) Club of Children’s Librarians (established in 1900), which later became the Children’s Services Division of the ALA. Moore also wrote many lists of recommended book titles for librarians. Probably her most famous is A List of Books Recommended for a Children’s Library (1902). It contains one of her most famous quotes, which is meant to be a guiding principle of all children’s librarians: “to give each child the right book at the right time.”

Through her work, Moore stimulated the growth of children’s publishing and helped legitimize the field of children’s literature. She was one of the first people to really look at children’s literature in a critical way. From 1918 to 1926, she penned a regular column on books for children in the magazine The Bookman. Starting in 1924, she also wrote a regular column in the weekly book section of the New York Herald Tribune, entitled “The Three Owls.” In her columns, she often reviewed new children’s books, re-introduced old classics and stressed the importance of books for children. Her critiques helped develop a higher quality in children’s literature since they were read not only by librarians, but also by parents, publishers, teachers and the general public. When the New York Herald Tribune reduced the size of the book section, Moore moved her “The Three Owls” column to a new children’s literature magazine, Horn Book, which remains an esteemed children’s literature magazine today.

In addition to her library work, Moore also wrote several books of her own. Her first book, Nicholas: A Manhattan Christmas Story (1924) was a runner up for the Newbery Medal in 1925. The sequel, Nicholas and the Golden Goose appeared in 1932. She delved into non-fiction, with the publication of The Art of Beatrix Potter (1955), and she edited Washington Irving’s Knickerbocker's History of New York (1928) and The Bold Dragoon and Other Ghostly Tales (1930).

Moore received many awards throughout her life. In 1941, the first Constance Lindsay Skinner Gold Medal was awarded to her by the Women’s National Book Association and the Booksellers’ League of New York. The University of Maine bestowed an honorary degree of Doctor of Letters on her in 1940, and the Pratt Institute did the same in 1955. She was awarded the Catholic Library Association’s Regina Medal in 1960. Anne Carroll Moore died on January 20, 1961 in New York.

 

Sources:

 

Fasick, Adele M. “Anne Carroll Moore,” in Bodhan S. Wynar, ed. Dictionary of

American Library Biography. Littleton, CO: Libraries Unlimited, 1978. (pp. 368-371)

 

Lundin, Anne. “Anne Carroll Moore (1871-1961): ‘I Have Spun Out a Long Thread,’”

in Suzanne Hildenbrand, ed. Reclaiming the American Library Past: Writing

the Women In. Norwood, NJ: Ablex Publishing Company, 1996. (pp. 187-204)

 

Sayers, Frances Clarke. Anne Carroll Moore: A Biography. New York: Atheneum,

1972.

 

By Eileen H.

 

Anne Carroll Moore also hired the country's first Latina Librarian, Pura Belpre .

 

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