Librarians have historically been presented as missionaries or reformers, women dedicated to the “true library spirit.” This is an exploration of the personal lives and professional careers of the thirty-four library apprentices of the Redondo Beach (California) Public Library from 1909 through 1924. Not graduates of library schools, these women and girls entered librarianship from the local community, received some basic training, and then went on, some to long-term careers in the profession, some to work for a only a few months or years in a library, while others never did paid library work at all. The article looks at four key characteristics—age, training, employment options, and marital status—and asks what traits impacted work choice and career longevity.

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