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Books in a Box: Lutie Stearns and the…

Books in a Box: Lutie Stearns and the Traveling Libraries of Wisconsin

by Stuart Stotts

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This is a biography of Lutie Stearns, a woman who worked hard so that everyone, including the poor, could have access to books for free. But, more than that, this book is a biography of the libraries. They were boxes that lived in people's homes or stores or other public buildings. Every so often, the contents of these boxes were swapped out, so that the collections would be fresh. These boxes had rules and sign-out slips. They were numbered so that records could be kept. And today we even know some of the popular titles that were in these libraries--some are books we still read over a hundred years later like Alice in Wonderland and Sherlock Holmes. Some books were in different languages, because the country had many immigrants from various countries. And some books were damaged, but the borrowers were asked to pay to replace these.

Lutie fought for many things--the right for everyone to read, for free libraries around the country, and also for women's rights. She was a strong, progressive woman who made a difference in her state and in the country. But the difference her books make in hundreds of thousands of lives is what's really at the core of this wonderful book.

I will not soon forget Lutie Stearns the next time I visit a library. And I'll definitely think of her boxes of books whenever I visit a Little Free Library or receive a bookbox in the mail. ( )
  katekintail | Aug 28, 2016 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0976537206, Hardcover)

Big Valley Press is pleased to announce the publication of Books In a Box: Lutie Stearns and the Traveling Libraries of Wisconsin. Lutie Stearns established hundreds of traveling libraries in Wisconsin between 1895 and 1914. A founder, and later employee, of the Wisconsin Free Library Commission, Lutie’s mission of sharing books and opportunity brought her to North Woods lumber camps, to farming communities, and to industrial centers throughout the state. Despite a devastating stutter, she gave thousands of book talks and, later in her life, became a famous public speaker. Along the way, she met and worked with such historical luminaries as State Senator Joseph Stout, Zona Gale, Jane Addams, and Robert LaFollete. Books in a Box is a fictionalized biography for children aged 8-14. It is drawn from Lutie’s correspondence, magazine articles, and other historical accounts. Turn of the century Wisconsin is the backdrop for her story, and period photographs illustrate both the character of the state at the time and the particulars of traveling libraries. Lutie emerges as a passionate advocate for literacy, as a Progressive political activist, as a women’s rights advocate, and as an astute community organizer. People of that time said that Lutie Stearns proclaimed the Gospel of the Village Library with the same conviction as a revival preacher. Books in a Box brings Lutie Stearns to life in an accessible story that students and adults will savor and remember.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:36 -0400)

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