Main Street by Sinclair Lewis, Carnegie Libraries

I have to admit I was pleasantly surprised on August 4th to read “Thank You, Mr. Carnegie” by Carlton Stowers about the excitement the writer felt about his 100 year old Texas library made possible by grants made by Andrew Carnegie. The one-page story was in American Way Magazine–yup, that in-flight American Airlines magazine next to the what to do in case of a crash directions and the little white bag you hope nobody ever has to use on the plane. (August 1, 2011, pg 86 –read online). His story also gave a shout out to the “librarian” main character in Main Street by Sinclair Lewis. (See LibraryThing Reviews for Main Street)

Just about a week ago my friend Paige, who is now a public librarian,  mailed my college copy of Sinclair Lewis’ Main Street to my office. Usually my office mail consists of vendor junk and occassional requests from faculty–never have I received a book!  The book was one of my favorites as an undergrad. If you are discontent with big city life and idealize small town life a bit too much, read the book. Both have their pros and cons, and I read the book before considering librarianship, but who knows, maybe it planted a seed. What Carol was trying to do for the town, and herself, was somewhat noble I recall…

There is a movie coming out called Main Street  that appears to have nothing to do with the Lewis book.  How annoying. Ok I get the symbolic value of the title and it may be a great film but I just cringe when someday people try to rent that film instead of reading the book and miss out on the first American Nobel prize winner for literature. Nooooo! University of Virginia Library has made the book available as an e-text online.  How cool is that?


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