Oases Of Culture: A History Of Public And Academic Libraries In Nevada

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Oases Of Culture: A History Of Public And Academic Libraries In Nevada

James W. Hulse, "Oases Of Culture: A History Of Public And Academic Libraries In Nevada"
Publisher: University of Nevada Press | ISBN 10: 0874175445 | 2003 | PDF | 184 pages | 1.3 MB

The creation of a library system in Nevada presented formidable challenges. Until the middle of the twentieth century, Nevada had the smallest population of any state in the Union, sparsely scattered over a vast area; most towns were very small; and the economy was largely based on agriculture and a boom-and-bust mining industry, uncongenial to the kind of long-term financial commitments needed to build, stock, and maintain libraries. Yet from the very beginning, efforts were made to create libraries. Many mining camps had reading clubs that offered residents a quiet place to peruse the latest newspapers and other materials, and fraternal orders, women's groups, and other organizations established small lending and subscription libraries.

In "Oases of Culture," veteran Nevada historian James W. Hulse recounts the tortuous and often colorful history of Nevada's libraries and the work of the dedicated librarians, educators, civic leaders, women's organizations, philanthropists, and politicians who struggled to make the democratic vision of free libraries available to all Nevadans. From the establishment of the State Library in 1865, only one year after statehood, through the creation of tax-supported public libraries after passage of a library law in 1895, to the development of today's modern university and community college libraries and the public-library information services that serve Nevada's booming and increasingly diverse population, Hulse recounts the trials and triumphs of Nevada's libraries. He also examines the role of Nevada librarians in fostering literacy and confronting the First Amendment controversies that have periodically shaken the nation's cultural foundations.

"Oases of Culture" is a detailed, lively, and meticulously researched study of a very important part of Nevada's development as a state. The state's modern library system is one of the brightest elements of the lifestyle it offers its current population, and Hulse's account preserves the often frustrating and sometimes heroic efforts of the remarkable individuals who built it.