Friday, October 18, 2013

NONA E. PLUMMER (1880-1943)

In her book Library Adult Education (1963), Margaret Monroe cited Nona Plummer as an example of a librarian who was reluctant to engage in community work but eventually embraced it after some experimentation. 

A native-born New Yorker, Nona Plummer almost certainly had no formal library training since she began working at the Muhlenberg Branch of New York Free Circulating Library at the age of 17 or 18.
Plummer continued as First Assistant at the Muhlenberg Branch when the NYFCL consolidated with NYPL in 1901.  In 1908 she was promoted to be Branch Librarian at Kingsbridge and later headed the Bloomingdale, Mott Haven and Yorkville branches before she retired in 1942.

Monroe wrote that Plummer, as the new head of Yorkville in 1922, felt that “inside” work--serving patrons coming into the branch--was more useful than community work.  A decade later after experimenting with outreach to local businessmen, hosting community council meetings, and working with an evening school in the Yorkville neighborhood, Plummer seemed committed to “outside” work as well.  Nonetheless, Plummer remained convinced that providing good books to individuals was the best service that a librarian could provide.

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