Thursday, May 23, 2013

Miss Moore Thought Otherwise by Jan Pinborough

Many years ago when I first worked in a library, my mentors would name in hushed voices a legendary librarian, Anne Carroll Moore. I always wondered how she had so impressed them. Now, thanks to Pinborough and illustrator Debby Atwell, I have a feel for the remarkable personality behind American public library services to children.

This children's picture biography celebrates a determined young women who refused to be confined by Victorian expectations, or to let libraries be restricted either. During Annie's childhood, the public libraries that existed were for adults. Annie began reading law in her father's office but when her parents tragically died, she went off to New York to learn to be a librarian.

There Miss Moore managed children's services in all the
New York library branches. When the iconic New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue and 42d Street was erected, Miss Moore designed its children section. This quickly became a model for other libraries. And in that way she helped create opportunities for librarians who wanted to serve children. This book comes at an especially appropriate time as the final touches are being added to the library that will be shared by TCC and the Virginia Beach public. The Friends of the Library are funding an interactive children's section designed by the Phoenix-based Burgeon Group.

If you enjoy the picture biography Miss Moore Thought Otherwise, there are other picture books about historic librarians:  Miss  Pura Belpre is the subject of The Storyteller's Candle = La Velita de los Cuentos by Lucía M. González. Tomás and the Library Lady by Pat Mora tells how a librarian influenced Tomás Rivera, child of farm workers, to grow up to become chancellor of a university. In Goin' Someplace Special Pat McKissack describes a visit to the one unsegregated place in 1950s Nashville, Tennessee, the public library.  One fictional picture book, Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney, also catches the spirit of Anne Carroll Moore.

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