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Sunday, April 26, 2015
Washington Post: New Hampshire Loves its Libraries
Peterborough Town Library, founded in 1833, was the world's first free,
tax-supported public library. (Manchester Union Leader)
Niraj Chokshi , Washington Post, April 24, 2015.
there’s a reason J.D. Salinger lived out his final years there and
Robert Frost chose it as the subject of his first Pulitzer Prize-winning
poetry collection. If a love of the written word can be quantified,
nowhere is it stronger than in independent-minded New Hampshire.
There is no other state that claims more librarians or library visits per capita, according to the latest Public Libraries Survey, conducted by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
the reason is rooted in history: New Hampshire claims to be home not
only to the world’s first free, tax-supported public library (the Peterborough Town Library, founded in 1833) but also the nation’s oldest state library (founded in 1717).
Or maybe its love of reading is rooted in law: “There is a statute that
says that we cherish learning and that public libraries are a part of
that,” says State Librarian Michael York.
Whatever the cause, that affinity for the written word is reflected in
the state’s youth, too: New Hampshire ranks second in its share of
fourth-graders reading at or above proficiency and fourth among
eighth-graders, according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation.