How did librarians fit in to national security in the 20th century? In an array of ways, says Cara Bertram, an archivist for the American Library Association. Libraries were established at hospitals and military bases.
"In both wars, librarians back at home or on the front were key in collecting and distributing books to soldiers," Bertram says. "During World War I, librarians maintained camp and hospital libraries," and in both world wars, "librarians promoted books drives and encouraged donations."
Librarians were especially active during World War I. The ALA reports that between 1917 and 1920, its Library War Service established three dozen camp libraries with the support of the Carnegie Corporation and raised $5 million in public contributions. Special uniforms were created for librarians in World War I. The American Library in Paris— established in 1920 by the ALA and American expatriates, and seeded with books from the LWS — continues to this day. Source: American Library Association