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The Origins of the Butte Public Library: Some Further Thoughts on Public Library Development in the State of Montana

Daniel F. Ring
Libraries & Culture
Vol. 28, No. 4 (Fall, 1993), pp. 430-444
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25542594
Page Count: 15
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The Origins of the Butte Public Library: Some Further Thoughts on Public Library Development in the State of Montana
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Abstract

This essay examines the origins of the Butte Public Library during the years 1882-1900. It is argued that a library was created as a mechanism of social control; that it would be an antidote to the miners' proclivity for drinking, whoring, and gambling. It is also suggested that a library was viewed as an instrument to convince the East that Butte was a cultivated place to live. A public library was a symbol of the need for social control and a positive self-image. The library authorities and the local press relied upon belles-lettres to instill middle-class values in the population and to change Butte's image.

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