Title

A 'Splendid Service': The South Dakota Free Library Commission in the 1930's

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

9-2005

Abstract

As the Great Depression of the 1930s bore down upon the nation, dispirited Americans increasingly turned to books as a means of escape and inspiration. In South Dakota, the distribution of reading materials to sparsely settled areas of the state, always a challenge, proved even more difficult during the economic hard times. For those who resided in remote locations, the South Dakota Free Library Commission was a lifeline. In letter after letter, thankful patrons praised the "splendid service" of the commission in providing books and information to those who lacked library access and taking the lead in developing libraries.' In the best of times, these tasks were demanding, and during the Great Depression they were daunting, indeed. Yet, in the face of plummeting budgets, reduced staff, and political machinations, the Free Library Commission succeeded in providing rural South Dakotans with reading material and library support, serving a welcome and vital purpose in a dark and dismal era.

Publication Title

South Dakota History

Volume

35

Issue

3

First Page

249

Last Page

271

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