Propaganda, Censorship, and Book Drives: The Newark Public Library in World War I

George Robb


This article examines the activities of the Newark Public Library during World War I as a means of highlighting the significant role American libraries played in promoting the nation’s war effort. During the war public libraries were usually the most important information centers in their communities. They distributed books, pamphlets, and posters in support of a wide range of government initiatives, they organized war-related exhibits and classes, and they collected vast amounts of reading material for libraries at military camps. Newark’s chief librarians, John Cotton Dana and Beatrice Winser, oversaw many such patriotic initiatives, but they also became involved in more controversial campaigns to employ women librarians at military camps and to resist wartime calls for censorship of unpatriotic literature.

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