Recipe book for decorated paper, late 19th century. Germany. Koninklijke Bibliothek
Ice in the Ohio River at Cincinnati, 1936.
From Santa Claus’ Visit to the Schoolroom, 1886: the Naughty/Nice Investigative Unit is ever-vigilant.
Now children, I would have you know
I often, very often go
In my observatory where
I take my telescope and there
I look at all my children dear,
I have their names in this book here,
Their good and bad marks I reserve,
To see what presents they’ll deserve
Every so often, a grave and concerned person will ask (as, in fact, the New York Times asked last year): “Do We Still Need Libraries?” Hasn’t the Internet kind of, you know, ended all that? Aren’t libraries falling behind?
Tellingly, the Times could find no one to argue against libraries, and that mirrors American sentiment pretty much exactly. A new Pew study finds that not only do Americans adore libraries, but a majority of us think they’re adjusting to new technology just fine.
As my colleague Svati Narula reported, some 94 percent of Americans say that having a public library improves a community and that the local library is a “welcoming, friendly place.” 91 percent said they had never had “a negative experience using a public library, either in person or online.”
These sound like incredible approval ratings for any U.S. public institution. So I wondered: Just how incredible are they? How do other icons of Americana compare?
Using exclusive and highly accurate statistical analysis techniques, I endeavored to find out. Here are the results.
You love us! You REALLY love us! Thank you, America!
Christmas tree distribution, early 1900s.