The Literary Lives of New York City’s Youth

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In 1906, Anne Carroll Moore was anointed the first head of the Department of Work With Children at the New York Public Library. There she oversaw the creation of the Central Children’s Room at the newly built flagship on 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue, established story hours and opened the previously locked shelves to all children provided they agreed to sign a pledge that read: “When I write my name in this book I promise to take good care of the books I use in the Library and at home, and to obey the rules of the Library.” By 1913, one third of the titles borrowed from all branches of the N.Y.P.L. were children’s books. To celebrate this year’s Best Illustrated Children’s Books, we looked through archival photos of the library’s children’s reading rooms.

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