Speaking of History:The Words of South Carolina Librarians

Listen to Augusta Baker

Augusta Baker talks about how she became interested in librarianship and storytelling

"No. When I got interested in being a librarian was when I lost interest in being a teacher and in being the Wallace School librarian. In being a teacher, and because Albany Teachers College was geared for that, but I did not want to be a teacher. So in 1933 I got the teaching degree and the woman who was head of their library school -- I had talked to her -- and she was the one who said come back and get a degree in school librarianship. You see in the meantime I was using the public library doing the reference work, and I could see the freedom, that was in the public library, and I could see way back then how we were locked into curriculum and this kind of thing in school librarianship. So when I went into library school... Her name was Martha Pritchard and she was, you know, one of those early, early teachers, library school teachers. And she was the one then who said, if you are willing to do 2 practicums (that is really what it amounted to) I will arrange for you to do this at Carnegie. But you will still have to do this one in Milne High School. That was interesting, Bob, because doing these two things at the same time, I got a really good feeling of the difference between the public library and between the school library. So I did the double practicum. Now my interest in story telling: one of my English teachers was Harold Thompson. He was a guiding light in New York's folklore society. And he was my English teacher. But we used to talk about stories -- talk about folklore -- because I had come out of a storytelling background. This was one of the ways my grandmother kept me quiet was to tell me stories. So I was interested and there came another interest. As I got interested, I met people in the Folklore Society. There was another English teacher -- I can't think of his name -- but he was into it. So there was another interest that was born. And out of my years up there -- my public library interest and interest in folklore -- storytelling was born."

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