Librarians in Wartime


Over the holiday weekend, Linton Weeks wrote for NPR’s History Dept. on the critical role of librarians in World Wars I and II. Weeks spoke to Cara Bertram, an archivist for the American Library Association:

The books that did make it into the hands of the troops, she says, boosted morale, provided connections to people back home and offered technical guidance.

She adds that the books from home were therapeutic for those convalescing in hospitals,” helping them to get over physical and emotional pain.” And certain books helped to alleviate homesickness, chase away boredom and provide training to those who wanted to land jobs when they returned home.

Michelle Vider is a writer based in Philadelphia. Her work has appeared/is forthcoming in The Toast, Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, Atlas and Alice, Baldhip Magazine, and others. Find her at or @meanchelled. More from this author →