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    Many library enthusiasts were from the middle and upper class. There was wide support for Free Public Libraries because of the claims that they would cure social ills including poverty, ignorance, irreligion, alcoholism, and crime. ┬áLike many in the Victorian era, John Hallam linked education and virtue. He believed the influence of libraries should be “on the side of order, self-respect and general enlightenment. They keep people out of bad company; they direct the rising generation into paths of study; they divert workingmen from the street corner and the low-corrupting dram-shop.”

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