restricted access The Reign of Children: The Role of Games and Toys in American Public Libraries, 1876–1925


Informed by the child study and kindergarten movements, late nineteenth-century US librarians responsible for managing children’s rooms believed that their services should include resources that promoted tactile and creative learning. Supported by interdisciplinary scrutiny of child development and children’s living conditions, these librarians supplied a variety of toys, games, and illustrative matter in order to provide young library users with engaging, informative resources. Matched by creative programming that recognized children’s inclination to do and make, as well as read, this trend was quashed as library leaders sought consistency in the resources and services provided throughout the public library.