During the 1920s, the American Library Association produced a two-edition series of bibliographies for children’s libraries known as Children’s Books for General Reading. Both installments are rich with selections of contemporary children’s literature. Read on to learn more about early Children’s Books for General Reading!
In 1924, the first edition of Children’s Books for General Reading was published and it contains a list of books selected by Cleveland Public Library Director of Work with Children Effie L. Power. This 8-page publication includes 2 sections for different readers, including “Books for children Under Ten Years of Age” and “Books for Children Over Ten Years of Age”.
Research tip: Early bibliographies like this provide readers with both an early insight into what children might have been reading during the early 20th century.
In 1929, the second edition was published and revised. The new edition included both 300 titles and cover art too. Although this would be the final edition, the book list would continue in the author’s forthcoming book Work with Children in Public Libraries which was part of the Library Curriculum Studies series (Record Series 13/10/22).
Initially intended as an introductory bibliography to the field, over the course of 5 years, the Children’s Books for General Reading would provide a resource for librarians and library communities building early children’s library collections. Beyond its original purpose, this work would inform future publications supporting the development of librarianship for children everywhere.
Copies Available at Your ALA Archives
Physical copies of Children’s Books for General Reading publications are available for viewing at the ALA Archives. Please view the Record Series 24/33/15 database record entry, for more information.
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