Rural Sociology Department
The free public library is now accepted as an integral and essential part of American life. Next to the school and the church it is probably becoming our most useful community institution. The type of public library in this country is peculiarly a product of democracy. It is the invention of a democratic people seeking both expression and self improvement. It is one form of a community continuation school. As a public institution supported through taxation, the public library is of relatively recent origin. In 1876 there were only about 300 in the entire United States, but during the next 50 years (1926) the number grew to 5,954. Owing to their newness, public libraries are not yet distributed as uniformly throughout the entire United States as are public schools and churches. As might be expected, the more compact, thickly populated and incorporated areas were first to adopt the public library. The city, town, or village has been and still is the most common unit of library service and support.3 However, the rural sections are now beginning to demand equality with the town in library opportunity. What are the actual library conditions in South Dakota? What library agencies already exist? What library policy is now in operation, and what modification, if any, does it need to be reasonably effective? To attempt to throw some light on these and other related questions has been the purpose of this study.
libraries, rural libraries, library
South Dakota Experiment Station, South Dakota State College of Agriculture and Mechanical Arts
Kumlien, W.F., "Equalizing Library Opportunities in South Dakota" (1928). Research Bulletins of the South Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station (1887-2011). 233.