“New York Learns” offers the first composite picture of New York as an educational center” or stated in the language of this blog, it provides a brief overview of the vast learning ecology of New York City in 1939.

Rather than a comprehensive list of the various types of educational institutions that were present in New York in 1939, this book provides a representative sample that includes public, private and religious primary and secondary schools, colleges and universities, cultural and vocational adult education, art, drama, music and dance schools, leagues, associations, settlement houses, libraries and councils, and other educational resources.

Although academic institutions today such as schools and colleges continue to be widely thought of as the primary source of education in cities and communities, the facts and details presented in this book shows that these institutions are not the primary locations where learning occurs nor have they ever been.  Instead learning permeates the community occurring within museums,  music and art schools, trade and technical schools, youth programs such as Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of America, the YMCA, and university extension courses to name only a few.

This book powerfully demonstrates, using the case example of New York City in 1939, that learning is a pervasive activity in community life, and not restricted to a certain kind of building, to a certain age group, or even to certain content.

Work Project Administration. (1939). New York Learns: A Guide to the Educational Facilities of the Metropolis