From Atomic Shelters to Arms Control: Libraries, Civil Defense, and American Militarism during the Cold War
Abstract

Abstract:

This article analyzes American libraries’ civil defense activities during the Cold War along with their decision to redirect their efforts away from civil defense and toward arms control initiatives during the later years of the conflict. During the 1950s, the nation’s leading libraries converted their buildings into fallout shelters and disseminated survival information to millions of Americans. However, libraries became increasingly disillusioned with civil defense during the late 1960s, and they largely abandoned civil defense in favor of peace advocacy in the 1980s. The article concludes with ideas for current libraries based on this chapter of information history.