"Like most library students, I learned about the Dewey Decimal System, the Library of Congress, and the father of the American public library, Andrew Carnegie. But I also learned about the necessary transformation of the library in the 21st century. In order to survive, it was hammered into our brains again and again, a library has to be more than just a “brick and mortar” receptacle of books. It needs to be a technical hub, a community center, a place you might go instead of Starbuck’s."
Hull House offered a variety of services that seem like precursors to the services that libraries are providing today. Like the Arizona libraries that have added public health nurses, Addams and her Hull House co-founder Ellen Gates Starr “volunteered as on-call doctors when the real doctors either didn’t show up or weren’t available.” They also “acted as midwives, saved babies from neglect, prepared the dead for burial, nursed the sick, and sheltered domestic violence victims.”+
Volunteers “held classes in literature, history, art, domestic activities (such as sewing),” and practical courses such as bookbinding, “which was timely—given the employment opportunities in the growing printing trade,” which sounds a lot like the free computer classes offered by many public libraries today."
Via Trudy Raymakers