Search Results for: establishment of a small circulating library

What does a local library mean for US? Part 2 of 4

I have often thought that nothing would do more extensive good at small expence than the establishment of a small circulating library in every county to consist of a few well chosen books, to be lent to the people of the county under such regulations as would secure their safe return in due time.
To John Wyche, May 19, 1809

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Frugal leaders seek the most bang for the buck.
In the first excerpt from this letter, Jefferson explained the vital importance of an educated citizenry as essential to protecting their own rights. He supported any institution which furthered that end.

In this excerpt, he focused on the one institution which could best help accomplish that goal at the least expense, a library in every county. It could be small. It’s books should be well-chosen. It should lend those books to citizens and provide for their safe return.

“Our local government leaders were thrilled with your remarks,
as evidenced by the extended standing ovation you received at their conclusion.”

Executive Director, League of Wisconsin Cities
Mr. Jefferson will delight your audience!
Invite him to speak. Call 573-657-2739
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What does a local library mean for US? Part 1 of 4

[Your letter] informs me of the establishment of the Westward mill library society, of it’s general views & progress. I always hear with pleasure of institutions for the promotion of knolege among my countrymen. the people of every country are the only safe guardians of their own rights, and are the only instruments which can be used for their destruction. and certainly they would never consent to be so used were they not decieved. to avoid this they should be instructed to a certain degree …
To John Wyche, May 19, 1809

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Wise leaders always promote the broad education of their constitutents.
A portion of this letter was excerpted in a 2013 post. Since we are reviewing all of the significant correspondence of Jefferson’s first year of retirement, we will look at the entire letter, broken into four posts.

Wyche wrote at length to Jefferson about the formation of a library in Brunswick County, VA, on the VA/NC border, about 70 miles south of Richmond. Local citizens had adopted a constitution and pledged $10 each to acquire books. He was seeking the retired President’s “patronage.” He did not specify what that might be though financial support might have been a likely goal.

Jefferson opened with why he liked libraries. He supported any institution which promoted knowledge among his countrymen – schools, colleges, academic societies, even churches (to some degree). People were “the only safe guardians of their own rights,” and the only ones who could take them away. Protecting those rights and defeating those who would deny them required an educated citizenry. Libraries furthered that end.

“Your presentation, particularly your response to questions, was most impressive.”
For the American College of Real Estate Lawyers, New Orleans
Mr. Jefferson will impress your audience!
Invite him to speak. Call 573-657-2739
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What’s the most good for the least expense?

I always hear with pleasure of institutions for the promotion of knowledge among my countrymen. The people of every country are the only safe guardians of their own rights, and … they should be instructed to a certain degree. I have often thought that nothing would do more extensive good at small expense than the establishment of a small circulating library in every county, to consist of a few well-chosen books, to be lent to the people of the county … such as would give them a general view of other history, and particular view of that of their own country, a tolerable knowledge of Geography, the elements of Natural Philosophy, of Agriculture and Mechanics.
To John Wyche, May 9, 1809

Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Secure leaders want their followers to be very well-informed!
Jefferson was responding to Wyche’s letter two months earlier, when he wrote about the establishment of a local library society. Jefferson couldn’t have been more pleased!

A well-informed citizenry was essential for the preservation of America’s still young republican (small r) government. Outside of a general system of universal public education, for which he had lobbied unsuccessfully in Virginia for over 30 years, what better way to achieve that end than a lending library in every county! The minimal offerings should be:

– History in general
– America’s history in particular
– Geography, a sense of place
– Natural philosophy (science)
– Agriculture, how we feed ourselves
– Mechanics, how things work

Just two months before, Jefferson had retired from the Presidency. Among the pleasures he enjoyed as a private man was daily access to his own library of some 6,500 books, the largest collection in America.

“You are not the traditional conference speaker! That’s why we hired you! …
Would I recommend your keynote address to others? Absolutely!
President, Excellence in Missouri Foundation

Try a non-traditional speaker for your audience. They’ll love it!

Call Patrick Lee, 573-657-2739

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