John Cotton Dana

a man ahead of his time… not so sure about story-time however…

John Cotton Dana

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 he became director of the Denver Public Library, where he served 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.

Dana left the Colorado Library when the city began discussing the lowering of his salary. Apparently, public controversy had arisen over a city tax levied for the school district and, by extension, the library. Dana also drew criticism for circulating “gold bug” literature at the library. Colorado was economically dependent on mining silver and the gold standard was a political issue. Dana felt that library patrons should have information on both sides of an issue.


This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s