The Very First GSLIS Urbana Free Library Volunteers Program

Community informatics much? The following excerpt comes from the 1893-1903 University of Illinois State Library School Report and Student Record:

The seniors in the library school offered their services in 1898 to the board of trustees of the Urbana public library, to open the library from 3 to 6 each afternoon during ten months of the year. The library had been opened only from 6 to 9, and the library funds forbade engaging extra help for extra hours, so the trustees gladly accepted the offer under conditions which would protect their readers from too frequent changes at the loan desk. The library numbered over 8000 volumes and was used by both town people and university people. Each student had five weeks experience there during the year. Each one chose her own problem to solve, or her own method of advertising the library. Each tried personally to improve the character of the reading and there was much healthful rivalry in the making of bulletins and posters. The students prepared a slip charging system and made an order list for $100.

Neat stuff, yeah? Longstanding tradition, it seems. Thanks to Dave Dubin for pointing us to this report!

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