Lincoln Library War Effort, 1917-1918 Collection

As part of the American Library Association’s (ALA) campaign for the Library War Fund, Lincoln Library headed the effort for Springfield to raise over $2300 for reading materials and library equipment for the camps from 1917 to 1918. 

Through the ALA’s Library War Service effort Lincoln Library held a book drive in March 1918 and with the help of school children collected 26,000 leisure and educational books for soldiers and sailors in camps in Europe. Over 5400 magazines were collected and sent to Camp Lincoln and Camp Dunn in Springfield.

American Red Cross

Lincoln Library was one of 43 auxiliaries in Springfield of the newly formed Sangamon County Chapter of the American Red Cross. The library provided a workroom for sewing, knitting, distributing yarn, and receiving items made at home. In November of 1918 volunteers knitted 236 socks and 40 sweaters for soldiers and sailors. Eighty percent of the library staff gave personal service in the Red Cross room.

Library employees also prepared book lists and poster displays for the Boys’ Working Reserve – an organization of boys aged 16 to 20 who were trained on local farms in case of a farm worker shortage. – and librarians gave talks to the group.

The collection includes correspondence between donors and Lincoln Library and Lincoln Library and the American Library Association. It also includes promotional material about the library’s book drive, donation cards from the War Library Fund drive, a photo of a camp library, Boys’ Working Reserve buttons, a single blue star flag, materials about the library’s involvement in the Red Cross and YMCA campaigns, a 1916 Boston Evening Transcript news article, a War Library Bulletin, and a questionnaire/report from the Univ. of IL Library School about Lincoln Library’s war efforts.