Frances Jenkins Olcott founded the Training School at the Carnegie Library of
Pittsburgh and impacted the development of children's services in general.
She was born in 1972 in Paris, France. In 1896 she graduate from Melvil
Dewey's New York State Library School. Directly out of library school, she
got a job as an assistant librarian at the Brooklyn Public
Library. The following year she moved to the Carnegie Library of
Pittsburgh where she was given the task of creating a children's
department. She opened the Library's Training School in 1900 and was director of the School and the Children's Department until 1911.
She emphasized in her practice that public libraries have an educational role to
play in the lives of children. She used the library and training school to
test new ideas about innovative practice. She would then publish her
observations in the professional literature so that the whole country could
benefit from her experiences. The graduates of the training school also
helped spread her ideas on best practice throughout the country. In 1911, she retired from the library profession so that
she could devote herself to her writing. By the time of her death on March
29, 1963, she had written over 24 books for children along with a number of