I went and saw The Golden Compass on the big screen this week. It was fun, but I echo the comments of others who told me it would be pretty disorienting without the book. I really enjoy the villification of religion, simply because it's such a refreshing change of pace from fantasies where the good is implicitly God.
But the point of mentioning Pullman was actually to segue to multiple universes... if I could be all the researchers I want to be, if I could follow every passion, then I would certainly devote some time to trying to scare up the existence and contents of libraries that were in reform schools for kids in the 19th century. The 1876 report Public Libraries in the U.S. has some great leads in this regard. And I found these books....
--Schlossmann, Steven L., Love and the American Delinquent: The Theory and Practice of "Progressive" Juvenile Justice, 1825-1920
--Clapp, Elizabeth J., Mothers of all Children: Women Reformers and the Rise of Juvenile Courts in Progressive Era America
--Brenzel, Barbara, Daughters of the State: A Social Portrait of the First Reform School for Girls in North America, 1856-1905
If I could be all things, I'd pursue this. But for now I'm officially letting this possible project drop and instead pursuing other things. Like my presentation/article on the unspoken influence of women serving children in the devleopment of professional librarianship, 1876-1900. Did you know they were the first to systematically use national surveys to ascertain the state of library practices? I know, geeky but scintillating stuff.
An interesting book of children's writings, which I'm going to hold on to for the moment:
--Dulberger, Judith A., "Mother Donit fore the Best:" Correspondence of a Nineteenth-Century Orphan Asylum
but it Has No Index!!! Ack! I'm throwing a Lack-of-Index fit right now!!!!!