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John Cotton Dana
(American Author)


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John Cotton Dana was a highly influential American librarian and museum director whose main objective was to make the library relevant to the daily lives of the citizens and to promote the benefits of reading. He was a public librarian for forty years and achieved a great deal in his field.

In 1878 Dana graduated from Dartmouth College where he studied law. In 1880 he went to Denver, Colorado where he passed the Colorado bar and began to practice. In 1889 became director of the Denver Public Library until 1898. While there, he pioneered the patron's right to open stacks, allowing them to browse for themselves instead of having a librarian monitoring their every request. He wanted to update libraries into the 20th century by making them vibrant community centers instead of collections of relics that only appealed to a small segment of the community. He also organized the first-ever children's library room. He was personally opposed to the concept of storytime, preferring for his children's library to focus on the continuing education of school teachers.

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