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Page 12 of Mountain Life & Work vol. 16 no. 2 Summer, 1940

Part of Mountain Life and Work

Page 12 MOUNTAIN LIFE AND WORK 1284 counties spent at least a small amount of county funds for public library service; 782 counties are without any public libraries within their borders; 5 states are without active library extension agencies; 7 are without school library supervisors; there is no library in the South either public or institutional with a collection of books numbering as many as 500,000 volumes. Paralleling these facts indicating the limitations of the region in library resources, might be given those showing si ilar limitations in economic resources." Similar iml I 1 1 1 1 1 data for 1940 would show substantial progress re­ sulting from the forces steadily at work upon these problems, but the essential factors in the situation have not been changed. In the eight states through which the Southern Appalachians extend, the per capita expenditures for public library service are reported by the American Library Association as ranging from 6 to 12 cents. The Julius Rosenwald Fund through its country library demonstrations found that, con- sidering the low economic wealth of the South, the i I annual budget for the library should not be less than 50 cents per capita. For the United States the average is 42 cents. The American Library Associ­ation standard was $1.00 per capita until recently, when it was raised to $1.50. The number of volumes per capita in the public libraries of this group of states ranges from .12 to .67 with an average of .25, or four persons to one book. For the United States the average is .87. In the mountain sections of these states over 75 percent of the people are without public library service. In Kentucky three-fourths of the mountain counties have no public libraries within their bounds. In comparing the school tax for a group of 10 poor counties in the mountain section of Kentucky with 10 counties in a more favored district, it was found that the revenue per child received from local taxation in the mountain group was less than $3.00 and in the other group was $29.00 although tax effort was Identical.' Of the 742 counties in this group of states over 50 percent have less than $500 of assessed valu­ation per capita.' The National Emergency Coun- t Ira Bell, "The Problems of Equalization of Public Education in Kentucky," Kentucky School Journal, January, 1939. 2 Tommie Dora Barker, Libraries o f the South, 193 5. Summer, 1940 cil's Report on Economic Conditions of the South, 1938, states that "even in `prosperous' 1929 southern farm people received an average gross in­come of only $186 a year as compared with $528 for farmers elsewhere." These examples of limited resources point to some of the reasons for two of the immediate ob­jectives in southern library planning: 1. The state should assume responsibility in financial aid for the development of a library service which shall freely provide all its citizens with opportunities for life­long education. The results of the adult education work in our country have shown the need and desire for such op­portunities. Libraries are the logical centers of continuous education. To help provide children and youth with whole­some literature appears as a further duty of the state in a day when a large per­cent of youthful crime is directly trace­able to the effects of news-stand trash. A mountain high school girl aptly ex­pressed this function of the library when she wrote, "State-wide library service will drive the `varmints' of ignorance and crime from the places where they dwell." 2. The second objective is the adoption in each state of a basis for regional library systems. The plan for this form of service is that two or more counties com­bine their resources and establish a cen­tral, or regional, library at their natural trade center. From this location the regional library gives its service through branches in community centers, stations at convenient points, and book-mobiles to more distant places. Most of the coun­ties in those states are not large enough in area, population, and wealth for the support of independent libraries. The regional plan opens the way for adequate, equalized service. The Citizens' Library Movement goes into action in different localities under different organization names. "Friends of the Library" is a group of persons in a community who help to supply the needs of the individual library around which their interests have gathered. Public library groups and

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