Sunday, November 8, 2009

Fretting in '42

Here's a "this day in non-history" featurette:

The November 8, 1942 edition of the Los Angeles Times ran the headline:

"Children's Lessened Library Use Deplored"

(I know it's juvenile, but certain words make me snicker. Deplore, whilst, appall--I guess I heard the nuns use them in fits of righteous anger once too often.)

This story fretted that children were visiting Los Angeles' libraries less frequently than the previous year. Yes, there was a war going on, the article acknowledges, but Miss Gladys English of the library felt that now, more than ever, children needed the diversion of reading! She was "considerably concerned."

Under new rulings made by the public schools, children must now go directly home from school. Before Pearl Harbor, many of them dropped into the nearest branch immediately after school and spent an hour or so in reading... Another rule makes it impossible for them to now come in classes or groups" to the library--on field trips, to hear stories or see exhibits.

OK, snickering aside, that really is deplorable. Were there really such rules? Gas was on the verge of being rationed, the article points out, but I was not able to learn anything more about these restrictions. Were the school authorities worried about bombs? Air raids? Were libraries considered unsafe?

Here are some of the restricted little darlings, a picture I found at today's Los Angeles Public Library photo collection of a first grade class at Joaquin Miller School in Burbank...cause what's a post without a picture?

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