“People wanted books.” —Cornelia Marvin Pierce
Today’s post comes from Lindsey Stafford, a reference librarian at Clackamas Community College. The image is, fittingly, from the Oregon State Library. Last year, we featured a post about Mary Frances Isom, who was credited with convincing Cornelia Marvin Pierce to come to Oregon!
Cornelia Marvin Pierce was Oregon’s first State Librarian, an advocate for libraries and public education who made important and lasting contributions to libraries throughout the state of Oregon.
Pierce completed school in 1895 and, after working in libraries throughout the Midwest, relocated to Salem, Oregon in 1905, when she was 31, to head up what would become the Oregon State Library.
When she arrived in Salem, the state only had three free public libraries. Pierce believed in the value of public library service for everyone, and traveled by wagon to meet with any group of people that would listen about the need for the expansion of public libraries in Oregon.
During the course of her position as State Library director, “a hundred or more” public libraries opened throughout Oregon. She also developed traveling libraries to serve rural areas, a free legislative reference service, and recommended reading lists related to legislative issues.
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