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Galloway’s memory lives on in the library

Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune File Photo

Nearly 100 children attended the Story Santa event at the Madera County Library in 2017.


I wonder how many times I have been in the Blanche Galloway Room of the library and wondered after whom it was named, so I decided to find out. Boy was I surprised. I believe she must be the most decorated person in the history of Madera. Give a look at what follows.

During her high school years she worked in the local library after school and during vacations. This led her to decide to become a librarian. She received her library credential at lowa State University, then she went to College Point, Long Island, where she worked in the New York State Queensborough system for the next eight years. About this time the first World War was in full swing, and she volunteered her services as a camp librarian. This was unheard of — a woman in an army camp — so it was with a degree of surprise that she received orders to go to Pelham Bay Naval Training Camp as camp librarian, where she was the only woman among 10,000 men.

Her first library there was a room in the hospital, but later a separate building was erected. Nealy a year later she received orders to proceed to Paris, France where she served as camp librarian, and later in Coblenlz Germany, with the army of occupation. With the ending of the war, Miss Galloway returned to the United Stales after touring several European countries including Italy, Belgium and Switzerland. Once home she decided that California held more opportunities for librarians than any other place. She went to the State Library in Sacramento and they sent her to Bakersfield to fill a vacancy there in the school department. There was a rule then that a two-year period must be served before taking the examination qualifying one for a position as a county librarian.


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