M. Hart 1971
In March 1970, Marguerite Hart became the first children’s librarian at the Troy Library. She was hired to plan children’s activities and to develop a children’s collection for the booming youth population in the City. Hart was a native of Detroit. Before arriving in Troy, Hart was the children’s librarian at the Madison Heights Public Library for three years.
Hart possessed a passion for libraries and their role in communities. She was determined to provide children with proper library services. She once said:
The public library has a choice of roles to play in a community. It may be a vital, telling force, a source to which its patrons turn first, or it may be a passive entity, doing its work as a background for community activity. I believe that like the City of Troy, to which it belongs and which it represents, our new library must take a prominent place. Before children are able to read independently, a librarian helps them to know the library as the place they may explore when they do read. She helps them discover reading as a pleasurable experience, the quality of which derives from the attitudes within the library and that of the community it serves.
In early 1971, Hart wrote to dozens of actors, authors, artists, musicians, playwrights, librarians, and politicians of the day. She asked them to write a letter to the children of Troy about the importance of libraries, and their memories of reading and of books.
Dr. Seuss Letter
Hart received 97 letters addressed to Troy’s young people from individuals who spanned the arts, sciences, and politics across the
50 states, Canada, the United Kingdom, India, the Mariana Islands, and American Samoa.
Those writing included First Lady Pat Nixon; Michigan Governor William Milliken; then-Governor of California Ronald Reagan; Michigan State University President Clifton Wharton, Jr., the first African-American president of a major U.S. university; first-man-on-the-moon Neil Armstrong; Cosmopolitan editor Helen Gurley Brown; authors Isaac Asimov, Hardie Gramatky, Dr. Seuss, Dr. Ben Spock, and E.B. White; and actors Douglas Faribanks, Jr., Vincent Price, and Dan Rowan and Dick Martin.
Isaac AsimovIn collecting these letters, Marguerite Hart created a snapshot of the cultural and political landscape of the early 1970s. She accumulated a diverse anthology of letters that enriches the Troy Public Library’s remarkable history, and one that is a lasting tribute to the children of Troy – past, present, and future.