Commuter Libraries

Although largely forgotten today, Commuter Libraries were very common during the Depression. Often called Circulating Libraries or Public Lending Libraries, these for profit businesses rented books to the public, charging a standard 3 cents a day per book. In a way they were something akin to today’s video rental stores. The majority of Commuter Libraries were book stores which had turned to renting inventory out after the Depression had killed sales. The rest of the Commuter Libraries were side businesses located in pool halls, taverns, drug stores and tobacco shops. Most new material introduced into these smaller libraries was erotic in nature. Godwin’s sales manager Sam Curl had created a third network of Commuter Libraries centered on train depots, in-train concessions, hotels and general stores.