COMMON PLACE: The Public Library, Civil Society and Early American Values tells the stories behind early libraries in America — where they are located, who created them and why. Vignettes of sixteen public libraries located in New England include those both historic and typical, albeit with a focus on smaller localities where their presence can be more significant. The final section of the book examines the future of the public library using a comparison of the current historical period with the Progressive Era as a frame. This examination also explores the relationship between libraries and community wellbeing, opportunity, and levels of social capital, as well as the potential role of the institution in life-long learning as America’s economy evolves and the population ages.
Thomas E. Johnson, Jr. was educated in design fields, receiving his MA from Harvard University, but he then served 25 years as a U.S. Foreign Service Officer in countries around the world. Since retiring in 2012 he and his wife, Michele, have made their home in Western Massachusetts. They have two grown daughters. His previously published work appeared in journals. This is his first and last book.
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