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Main Street Public Library Database

The Main Street Public Library database reproduces the collections of five public libraries from the American Midwest for the period from 1890 to 1970. It includes records from the public libraries in Lexington, Michigan; Osage, Iowa; Sauk Centre, Minnesota; Morris, Illinois; and Rhinelander, Wisconsin. Wayne A. Wiegand, F. William Summers Professor of Library & Information Studies Emeritus, Florida State University, compiled these records. They form the backbone of his research for Main Street Public Library: Community Places and Reading Spaces in the Rural Heartland, 1876-1956 (University of Iowa Press, 2011). Paired with the What Middletown Read Database, the Main Street Public Library Database provides an opportunity to explore the character of public library collections in the Midwestern United States.

The database can be found here. It downloads as an .mdb file, which requires that MS-Access be installed on the user’s computer.