|Ceramic pipe dish showing the James V. Brown Library. |
The library also has cups, plates, and
other items with the same design.
|Silver spoon showing the|
James V. Brown Library.
|Ceremonial trowel used to lay the cornerstone |
of the James V. Brown Library.
Still, I sense that these artifacts could prompt valuable insights about everyday people's relationships to new libraries. For example, the silver spoon reminds me of souvenir spoons which were often sold at amusement parks, county fairs, capital cities, and other popular destinations during the 1880s-1910s. If JVB's spoon is of the same vintage, it lends to an interpretation of the new building as a tourist attraction -- a "sight to see." The ceramics remind me of commemorative plates that have long been used to celebrate historic events or important people. If JVB's items are part of this genre, this points to a library opening as a significant happening in the life of the community.
One could also think about JVB's items and the evolution of library "swag." Our tastes have changed in terms of the items we like to use. A century ago, a ceramic pipe dish was a common and useful item; however, in many circles, smoking is no longer socially accepted -- especially not in libraries, where the stock-in-trade could easily go up in flames! Also, new technologies make it possible to create bric-a-bric that our grandparents couldn't imagine. For example, companies like Janway print library logos on ear buds, and on cups that change color when you fill them with liquid.
Do you collect librariana? If so, what types of items? What does your collection tell you about the history of libraries?