Honoring workers on Labor Day

Labor Day graphic

Library closed on Labor Day

The Library will be closed Monday, September 6th, in observance of Labor Day. Library staff will be off enjoying the waning days of summer, honored to be recognized as workers on this holiday.

Book display on the theme

Click below to see a list of books currently on display in the library on the theme.

Books on display in the library on work, workers, and the Labor Movement

Learn about Labor Day

What is Labor Day?

“Observed the first Monday in September, Labor Day is an annual celebration of the social and economic achievements of American workers. The holiday is rooted in the late nineteenth century, when labor activists pushed for a federal holiday to recognize the many contributions workers have made to America’s strength, prosperity, and well-being.”

“History of Labor Day.” U.S. Department of Labor website

History of Labor Day

“Although workers’ holidays had been observed since the days of the medieval trade guilds, laborers in the United States didn’t have a holiday of their own until 1882. This was the year when Peter J. McGuire, a New York City carpenter and labor union leader, and Matthew Maguire, a machinist from Paterson, N.J., suggested to the Central Labor Union of New York that a celebration be held in honor of the American worker. Some 10, 000 New Yorkers paraded in Union Square, New York, on September 5 of that year—a date specifically chosen by McGuire to fill the long gap between the Fourth of July and Thanksgiving. 

The first Labor Day observance was confined to New York City, but the idea of setting aside a day to honor workers spread quickly, and by 1895 Labor Day events were taking place across the nation. Oregon, in 1887, was the first state to make it a legal holiday, and in 1894 President Grover Cleveland signed a bill making it a national holiday. The holiday’s association with trade unions has declined, but it remains important as the day that marks the end of the summer season for schoolchildren and as an opportunity for friends and families to get together for picnics and sporting events.”

“Labor Day.” Cultural Studies: Holidays Around the World, edited by Pearline Jaikumar, Omnigraphics, Inc., 6th edition, 2018. Credo Reference, https://castleton.idm.oclc.org/login?url=https://search.credoreference.com/content/entry/hfcwd/labor_day/0?institutionId=5016.

About the Labor Movement

“The labor movement is a broad and ongoing effort to organize workers into unions in order to gain collective strength in negotiations with employers about wages and working conditions.”

“Labor Movement.” Gale Encyclopedia of U.S. Economic History, edited by Thomas Riggs, Gale, 2nd edition, 2015. Credo Reference, https://castleton.idm.oclc.org/login?url=https://search.credoreference.com/content/entry/galegue/labor_movement/0?institutionId=5016.

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