Module 12: Miss Moore Thought Otherwise: How Anne Caroll Moore Created Libraries for Children


APA Citation

Pinborough, J., & Atwell, D. (2013). Miss Moore thought otherwise: The story of the lady who made libraries for children. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.


This is the story of Anne Carroll Moore who pioneered children’s libraries. From her early life as a girl in Maine, Anne had her own ideas about what was appropriate for her to do. This continued throughout her life all the way to New York City where she moved as a young single woman to become a librarian. Miss Moore’s career helped to make it possible for children to have access to books and even to have a space in the library devoted specifically to them. Her influence spread to public libraries across the country.


Well, naturally, I loved this book. The story is inspiring as a woman and as a librarian. It’s valuable for children to hear this story for several reasons. One, it serves as a reminder that women weren’t always allowed access to the same opportunities as men. Another reason is to teach that children were also not always allowed access to the resources they have today. Both these scenarios demonstrate the importance  of standing up when something needs to be changed. I love that, in the story, Anne didn’t wait for anyone to tell her she could do what she wanted; she just did it. What a great role model for children everywhere!


Kay Weisman (Booklist, Feb. 1, 2013 (Vol. 109, No. 11))
Pinborough introduces young readers to Anne Carroll Moore, the strong-willed woman whose vision of library services for children shaped the standards and practices of the New York Public Library (and the world) for more than a generation. Moore grew up reading and hearing stories in an era when children were not welcomed by public libraries; she later became a librarian (one of the few jobs open to unmarried women) and worked tirelessly to ensure that all children felt welcome at library programs and were able to check out books. The author treads lightly on legends of Moore s formidable (and often forbidding) personality, playfully asserting that whenever Miss Moore thought otherwise, she got her way. Atwell s cozy, folk-art-style paintings brim with period details and depict a multicultural clientele. Appended with an author s note and sources, this makes an ideal addition to women s history units.

Elizabeth Bush (The Bulletin of the Center for Children s Books, April 2013 (Vol. 66, No. 8))
For most children listening to a story in a public or school library, the library setting itself is a pleasant but unremarkable part of life, and book borrowing an equally unremarkable entitlement. Pinborough s picture-book biography of early twentieth-century librarian Anne Carroll Moore may nudge them out of their complacency, describing the children s literacy advocate s innovations at a time when free public libraries were just coming into their own, and children s materials and services were a pretty radical concept. AlthoughMoore s story has its points of interest for a young audience studying law, putting her own career plans on hold to help raise her nieces, moving off to the big city to learn librarianship it s the nascent field of children s librarianship that will command interest. Locked bookcases and looming silence signs were giving way to more kid-friendly environs, and under Moore s watch, whole children s departments were designed and supplied, from child-scaled furniture to reading clubs and guest readers and entertainers. Atwell s cheery, doll-like figures and joyful colors are a good match for the woman who insisted that children s library space should be vibrant and stimulating. Expect giggles when kids spot the black-suited, bun-coifed, finger-wagging old-school harridan who did not let children touch the books, for fear they would smudge their pages or break their spines and hope you don t hear any unflattering comparisons. A historical note and list of sources is included.

Use in Library

Design a modern children’s library. What kinds of resources should there be? What else belongs in a children’s library?


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