Sunday, April 26, 2015

Washington Post: New Hampshire Loves its Libraries

The 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.
 Maybe 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.

Perhaps 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.  

The rest of the article is here:

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