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Today in Mighty Girl history, trailblazing librarian Anne Carroll Moore — who fought to put books into the hands of children at a time when they were rarely welcomed and often weren’t even permitted in libraries — was born in 1871. Moore was called the “Grande Dame of Children’s Services” for her pioneering efforts in the fields of children’s literature, publishing and librarianship, and is considered one of the most influential people in the 20th century for U.S. librarianship.
Originally from Maine, Moore had hoped to pursue a career as a lawyer. A series of family hardships prevented her from going that route, but she found a new vocational passion as a librarian. After her 1896 graduation from the Pratt Institute Library in Brooklyn, Moore began investigating the establishment of a children’s room at the Pratt Library. Before this point, children were generally considered a nuisance in such an environment, and were certainly not part of the target clientele. Many times, children were not even permitted access to a library until the age of 14 years.
Moore planned to shift this exclusionary attitude, and as part of her preparation she toured local kindergartens, visited diverse neighborhoods, and even posed queries to children she met on the streets. She then worked to create a warm and welcoming space for a young readership, complete with child-sized furniture, cozy nooks, story times and more. The children, of course, were delighted, and showed up in droves.
After a ten year stretch at the Pratt Library, Moore moved on to the New York Public Library, and took on the management of children’s programming at all of its branches. She worked hard to implement quality training for the staff, and establish widespread policies of inclusion relating to the children themselves. Moore also successfully campaigned for books to be loaned out directly to the children — a practice that had not previously been in place.
Later in life, Moore began to write her own books, including a memoir and a children’s book, “Nicholas, A Manhattan Christmas Story,” which won the 1925 Newbery Medal. She also went on to become a highly-regarded children’s book reviewer. Always, however, she was a champion for children and books.
To introduce children to this champion for young readers, we highly recommend “Miss Moore Thought Otherwise,” for ages 5 to 9, at http://www.amightygirl.com/miss-moore-thought-otherwise
To learn about our favorite Mighty Girl books for children and teens that celebrate libraries and reading, check out our post on “Celebrating a Love of Reading: Mighty Girl Stories about Books, Libraries, and Literacy,” visit http://www.amightygirl.com/blog?p=4517
For other Mighty Girl books honoring librarians, visit our “Librarians & Teachers” section at http://www.amightygirl.com/…/personal-develo…/relationships…
And, for toys and games that encourage children’s literacy, visit our “Reading & Literacy” section at http://www.amightygirl.com/toys/toys-games/reading-literacy