Return to Des Moines
Spaulding returned as the director of the Des Moines Public Library in 1927. His most significant contributions at the time were made in response to the crises of the Great Depression and World War II. He was acutely aware of the personal and social problems created by unemployment. In 1934, he established the Men’s Reading Room in the basement of the library, which soon became known as “The Waterfront University.” In 1935, he sought and received funding from the Federal Works Progress Administration for a variety of programs, including an all-day reading room for men that included technical and vocational, as well as recreational, reading materials.