February 11, 2013
Miss Moore Thought Otherwise by Jan Pinborough, illustrated by Debby Atwell
Miss Moore Thought Otherwise:
How Anne Carroll Moore Created Libraries for Children
by Jan Pinborough,
illustrated by Debby Atwell
Imaging growing up with seven older brothers!
In the 1870s, girls were expected to be quiet and do things like embroidery. Maybe it was because of all of those older brothers, but Annie preferred wild sled rides. That isn’t to say she didn’t like anything that was quiet. Annie loved the stories and poems her papa read out loud after dinner. On rainy days in Limerick, Maine she sat up in the family attack and read.
Annie was a young woman when she heard that librarians were actually hiring women. She packed her things and moved to Brooklyn, New York to study at the Pratt Institute’s library school. We’re lucky she did.
When Annie graduated, libraries were very different from how they are today. Children were not allowed inside most libraries. Librarians worried that the children would ruin the books and many libraries had no children’s books. Others had only a few. The ones that had children’s books kept them locked up where they would be safe.
The books were safe but no one got to enjoy them.
Annie remembered how much she had loved books as a child. Others children should have this opportunity as well.
Annie’s first job as a librarian was at the Pratt Free Library — most libraries only allowed paid members to read their books. Not Annie’s library. She also opened it up to children. There was a room full of children’s books that they could take down and read. In the evenings, Annie read to them just like her father had read to her.
Word about Annie’s amazing library spread and soon she was invited to be in charge of the children’s sections in all 36 New York Public libraries. Instead of telling children to leave, librarians now had them sign a pledge to care for the books and then invited them inside. Silence signs came down. Librarians were encouraged to talk about books with their patrons, especially the children.
I just saw my word count and I don’t want to retell the entire book. We owe Pinborough our thanks for bringing this amazing woman’s story to life just as we owe Annie’ our thanks for opening up libraries to us all. We should also thank all those brothers who most likely helped her become the woman who stood up against tradition for the children of today. Atwell’s has a welcoming folky feel that makes this story even more accessible.
If you are a book lover, this book is for you. Share it with a child or librarian in your life.