A Trove of School Library History

A newly released book, “The 100 Year History of the California School Library Association,” was co-edited by Long Beach Board of Education Member John McGinnis.  The full-color, professionally designed book’s 110 pages recount the history of the association, school librarianship, audio visual education and educational technology in California.  The book will be distributed to all CSLA members, state legislators and office holders, and state and national library associations.

Among the book’s many references to Long Beach is this passage called “An Earthquake Library” from the association’s May 1933 bulletin:

“Mother Earth shakes her Long Beach child.  The air rains brick, the buildings rock, the telegraph poles dance a jig and cracks appear everywhere, cracks which are so perplexing.  Is this building safe or no?  Faith in material things is shattered.  Human values are all that count.  Yesterday Roosevelt Elementary School had a fine library.  A large spacious room, well lighted, attractive furniture and pictures, many splendid books, an atmosphere of joy and quiet, a place of beauty.  Today it still stands but the building is so badly damaged and cracked no one but heavily insured salvagers is allowed to enter.  However, the work still carries on.  The real spirit of a library is something which cannot be destroyed…

“Today the Roosevelt Library has hung out its sign ‘Open for Business’ on a garage on the playground.  There are no windows in this abode, but the California sunshine pours in thru the large front door and out thru the small back door.  The books, all salvaged and in good condition except for about one hundred which were water soaked, stand on the shelves in their new rustic setting… The library has lost its material grandeur, but it still has that which is most priceless: its children.”

Book sponsors included the McGinnis family, the California Teachers Association, retired Long Beach teacher librarian Pam Oehlman and co-editor Barbara Jeffus.

Learn more.