At the Seward Park Library, serving the Lower East Side of Manhattan for 95 years, annual reports have unearthed details about readers. The Times notes that in a 1920 report, sweatshop workers and tenement dwellers greadly desired Dickens and Hawthorne. During the Depression, “undesirables” scoured the stacks for books on syrup flavoring. And They Were Expendable and A Bell for Adano were popular just after World War II.
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