Chaplains were among the first to introduce libraries on ships. On BB55 the Chaplain’s office was located next to the Library. According to records in the archives library books were often overdue!
“While the NORTH CAROLINA was still fitting out in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, I reported in March 1941…as the commissioning chaplain. My first assumed task was the cataloging and proper shelving of the ship’s library. And when all flammable materials were ordered removed (after the war started), even the deck linoleums, to minimize fire hazards in battle, I persuaded the captain to exempt the library books in the crew’s reading room, so the ship’s company would have that limited recreational relief.”
Francis Albert, Chaplain Corps
“This week our Ship’s Library was officially opened for business. Many patrons have expressed pleasure over the new books and their neat arrangement. Properly cataloging and carding a new library is no small task, and grateful acknowledgment is made for the valuable assistance given by the Library and Museum Section of the Works Project Administration of New York City in this work, which has taken the best efforts of three to five library technicians during the past month…. Additional titles are on order already, and requests will be received for subsequent orders, so that the Library will be kept up to date on desired and useful books.”
TARHEEL, Vo. 1, No. VI, Saturday, May 17, 1941
“Complete Library on Warship.” The U.S.S. North Carolina, newest of the Navy’s battleships has been equipped with a complete library through the technical assistance of the WPA, it was announced yesterday. The collection of 1,250 fiction and nonfiction books, which was selected by the Bureau of Navigation, has been cataloged, lettered and shelved by WPA workers.”
New York Times, May 22, 1941
The library compartment is intended primarily as a quiet room for study, reading, and writing. Smoking, loud talking, game playing or sleeping is forbidden. The Library compartment will be open continuously for designated use except during Field Day and during General Drills. The Library compartment is assigned to the Seventh division as a cleaning station. It was be thoroughly cleaned early each day and straightened up smartly after the noon meal, and again after the evening meal. The Ship’s Library is under the supervision of the Chaplain. Books are issued for two weeks. The Book Card must be properly signed and left with the Librarian at the time a book is taken. Men losing or damaging books will replace them immediately or pay the cost of replacement.
USS North Carolina Organization and Regulations
“When the glass fronts of the title “B” book cases were removed incidental to stripping ship, they were replaced by metal strips. The books were properly safeguarded during this period and replaced when the work was completed. The metal strips were not welded together at each crossing point and the books were removed by persons unknown who slid them between the metal strips. All strips have been welded and the remaining books are now secure.”
Survey, Request Report, and Expenditures, December 1942