Portable lighthouse keeper libraries
October 5, 2010 | 12:35 pm
By Paul Biba
Here’s a beautiful display of the portable libraries that were once supplied to Michigan’s lighthouse keepers; click through for a partial bibliography of titles, including “MY APINGI KINGDOM: WITH LIFE IN THE GREAT SAHARA, AND SKETCHES OF THE CHASE OF THE OSTRICH, HYENA.”
“In 1876 portable libraries were first introduced in the Light-House Establishment and furnished to all light vessels and inaccessible offshore light stations with a selection of reading materials. These libraries were contained in a portable wooden case, each with a printed listing of the contents posted inside the door. Proper arrangements were made for the exchange of these libraries at intervals, and for revision of the contents as books became obsolete in accordance with suggestions obtained from public library authorities.
The books were carefully selected from books of a good standard appropriate to the families who would use them. While largely fiction, other classes of literature were included in reasonable proportions including technical books when requested. The books and periodicals contained in the libraries remained the property of the Light-House Establishment and each was marked in the front with the official Light-House Establishment bookplate. The beautiful 3″ x 4 ½” bookplate label bears a wonderful image of an iron pile lighthouse and Minot’s Ledge Light, and a lightship and bears the words “The Property of the Light House Establishment”. ”