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A Review of
Main Street Public Library:
Community Places and Reading Spaces
in the Rural Heartland, 1876-1956
by Wayne Wiegand
Reviewed by Sam Edgin.
Childhood memories may often fail me, but often those that endure often involve the public library in the town where I grew up. They are fit into my past like so many complex puzzle pieces; the ones your aunt would superglue to a sheet of cardboard so her hard work would never be dismissed. Perhaps it is that homeschooling tends to create a great affinity with libraries and the array of knowledge held within, or maybe some ancient magic surrounds the art of reading books to groups of children; but I sit here, twenty-odd years later, and one of my favorite places is the public library.
I don’t think that this is an uncommon feeling among the American populace. After all, as the back jacket of Main Street Public Library: Community Places and Reading Spaces in the Rural Heartland, 1876-1956 informs us, there are more public libraries in the 52 states of our Union than there are McDonalds. Incredulity aside, clearly the public library is a significant feature in the American landscape, outshining even the golden arches. Wayne Wiegand takes the pages of Main Street Pubic Library to explore the affect these public places have had on the development of small town America.
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