Local author Thomas Johnson, Jr, will talk about his first book, Common PLACE: The Public Library, Civil Society and Early American Values. The book tells the stories behind early libraries in America — where they are located, who created them and why. While many Americans may assume that public libraries exist(ed) worldwide, this illuminating book details the gradual evolution of a uniquely American institution that originated in New England. Vignettes of sixteen public libraries located in New England include those both historic and typical, albeit with a focus on smaller localities where their presence can be more significant.
Thomas E. Johnson, Jr. was educated in design fields, receiving his MA from Harvard University, but he then served 25 years as a U.S. Foreign Service Officer in countries around the world. Since retiring in 2012 he and his wife, Michele, have made their home in Western Massachusetts.