The Progressive Past

Curt Asher


“Generation 1.5” patrons are children of immigrants who are not fluent in the language of their parents or in the English of their peers. While the identification of this group of patrons is relatively new in academia, libraries have always strived to serve them by reaching out to immigrant communities generally. The modern library developed during a period of large-scale immigration and today’s library faces challenges that parallel some of the challenges faced when the profession was new. Librarians can learn lessons from their predecessors in the Progressive Era, who developed outreach efforts to aid their own Generation 1.5 patrons. Many outreach activities to immigrant and underserved communities today were born in the Progressive Era.

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