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Title: The Library Assistant's Manual

Author: Theodore W. Koch

Release Date: August 10, 2014 [EBook #46555]

Language: English

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The Library Assistant’s Manual

Librarian, University of Michigan
Provisional Edition

Issued on the occasion of the 61st annual meeting of the Michigan State Teachers’ Association, Ann Arbor, October 30-November 1, 1913.


I. The library movement in the United States 7-15
II. Organization of a library 16-19
III. Book selection and buying 20-24
IV. Classification 25-32
V. Cataloging 33-38
VI. Reference work and circulation 39-50
VII. The binding and care of library books 51-53
VIII. Work with children 54-58
IX. The high school library 59-66
X. Suggested readings in the Encyclopaedia Britannica 67-78



The forerunner of the American public library of today is found in the subscription or stock company libraries of Philadelphia, Boston and other cities. The oldest of these is the Philadelphia Library Company, founded in 1731 by Benjamin Franklin who later referred to it as “the mother of all subscription libraries in America.” The Rev. Jacob Duché, a director of the Library Company, wrote in 1774: “Literary accomplishments here meet with deserved applause. But such is the taste for books that almost every man is a reader.” The Library Company’s authority on book selection was James Logan (the friend of William Penn) who was esteemed “to be a gentleman of universal learning and the best judge of books in these parts.” In 1783 the Library Committee instructed its London agent that “though not averse to mingling the dulce with the utile, they did not care to have him buy any more novels.”

In 1869 the Library Company was made the beneficiary under the will of Dr. James Rush, who left $1,500,000 to establish the Ridgeway Branch. On account of the conditions attached to the bequest, the gift was accepted by a bare majority of the stockholders. Among other restrictions, the will contained the following clause: “Let the library not keep cushioned seats for time-wasting and lounging readers, nor places for every-day novels, mind-tainting reviews, controversial politics, scribblings of poetry and prose, biographies of unknown names, nor for those teachers of disjointed thinking, the daily newspapers.” The provisions of the will were strictly carried out and today the Ridgeway Library stands as a storehouse of the literature of the past, a monument to the donor and an evidence of the change that has come over the world in its conception of the function of the library.

8 Boston Athenæum.—Like the Philadelphia Library Company, the Boston Athenæum was the outgrowth of a group of men who had in common an interest in books. In May 1806, the Anthology Society, which had been editing the “Monthly Anthology and Boston review,” established a reading room, the object of which was to afford subscribers a meeting place furnished with the principal American and European periodicals. The annual subscription was placed at ten dollars, which was not more than the cost of a single daily paper. The organization prospered and by 1827 the treasurer’s books showed property valued at more than $100,000. Two years later the library administration faced a new problem: a woman applied for admission to the library. Having no precedent to guide him, the librarian allowed the applicant free access to the shelves. She was Hannah Adams, who wrote “A view of religious opinions,” a “History of New England,” and “The history of the Jews.” The next woman to ask for admission to the treasures of the Athenæum was Mrs. Lydia Maria Child, (1802-1880), author of “The rebels,” “The freedman’s books,” “Hobomok,” etc., but her ticket of admission was shortly revoked “lest the privilege cause future embarrassment.” As late as 1855 Charles Folsom entered a protest against women having access to “the corrupter portions of polite literature.”

Boston Public Library.—In 1825 a plan was proposed whereby all the libraries in Boston should be united under one roof. Later, a Frenchman by name of Vattemare, caused to be introduced into Congress a measure which was to build up great libraries through international exchanges. A public meeting was held in Boston but a committee of the Boston Athenæum opposed the scheme and it was dropped. However, in return for some books forwarded through Vattemare to the Municipal Council of Paris, the Mayor of Boston received in 1843 about fifty volumes, which in reality formed the nucleus of the Boston Public Library.

In 1847 the Boston City Council appointed a joint committee on a library. The next year a special act was passed by the Massachusetts State Legislature authorizing the city of Boston to found and maintain a library. Efforts were made to effect a union of interests with the Boston Athenæum, but they failed. In 1849 the first books were 9 presented by the Hon. Robert C. Winthrop, and in the following year J. P. Bigelow, then Mayor of the city, turned over to a library fund the sum of $1,000 which had been presented to him as a personal testimony. Edward Everett presented 1,000 United States documents, and Edward Capen was appointed librarian by the Mayor. George Ticknor, a member of the Board, helped to draw up a preliminary report outlining the ideals for the new civic institution. The library was not to be a “mere resort of professed scholars.”

The key note of the whole public library movement in America was struck by Ticknor when in 1851 he wrote of his hopes for the new library proposed for Boston: “I would establish a library which differs from all free libraries yet attempted; I mean one in which any popular books, tending to moral and intellectual improvement, shall be furnished in such numbers of copies that many persons can be reading the same book at the same time; in short, that not only the best books of all sorts, but the pleasant literature of the day, shall be made accessible to the whole people when they most care for it, that is, when it is fresh and new.”

A timely friend was found in Joshua Bates, who gave more than $50,000 for the purchase of books, saying that he thought it was desirable to render the public library at once as useful as possible by providing it with a large collection of books in many departments of knowledge.

Thus the aim of the founders was quickly realized, it having been their professed intention to make the library what no other library in the world had either attempted or desired to become, “a powerful and direct means for the intellectual and moral advancement of a whole people without distinction of class or condition.” The Boston Public Library was the pioneer of the large public libraries in America and as such has long enjoyed a prominence which in a way has resulted in its differentiation from other large municipal institutions.

Astor Library.—John Jacob Astor, who came to this country in 1783, as a young man of 20, independent of capital, family connections or influence, became the richest man of his day in the United States, and wished to show his feelings of gratitude towards the city of New York, in which he had lived so long and prospered. When he consulted with his friends, Fitz Green Halleck and 10 Washington Irving among others, as to the object to which his liberality should be applied, the plan of building a public library was the most approved and a decision was promptly made in favor of it. Four hundred thousand dollars was left for this purpose. The site chosen for the new Astor Library was in Lafayette Place, in which street lived Mr. William B. Astor, a son of the donor. Washington Irving was the first president of the Board of Trustees, and Joseph G. Cogswell was the first librarian. According to John Hill Burton in the “Book hunter,” Mr. Cogswell “spent some years in Europe with Mr. Astor’s princely endowment in his pocket, and showed himself a judicious, active and formidable sportsman in the book-hunting world. Whenever from private collections or the breaking up of public institutions, rarities got abroad in the open market, the collectors of the old world found that they had a resolute competitor to deal with, almost, it might be said, a desperate one, since he was, in a manner, the representative of a nation using powerful efforts to get a share of the library treasures of the old world. I know that in the instance of the Astor Library the selections of the books have been made with great judgment and that after the boundaries of the common crowded markets were passed and individual rarities had to be stalked in distant hunting grounds, innate literary value was still held as an object more important than mere abstract rarity, and, as the more worthy quality of the two, that on which the buying power available to the emissary was brought to bear.” Cogswell was essentially a bibliophile. He loved books “with an eager and grasping love,” said Donald G. Mitchell. To his fruitful labor was due the splendid growth of the Astor collections. Cogswell presented to the Library his own collection of bibliographical literature, and gave the institution a reputation for wealth in this field. “So well has the impress thus imparted been maintained,” said Dr. Richard Garnett, “that the Astor Library is said to contain hardly any light and frivolous books.” Both the son and grandson of the founder, as well as other members of the Astor family, added generously to the wealth of the institution so that today the total endowment is estimated at over two million dollars. With its increase in resources came an increase in its use. “I range daily in the alcoves of the Astor, more charming than the gardens 11 of Boccaccio, and each hour a Decameron,” wrote Charles Sumner to Theodore Parker. Among the constant users was Horace Greeley, who had a special table reserved for himself.

Lenox Library.—James Lenox, a shy recluse, a bachelor, born to a wealthy inheritance, found his chief joy in the collecting of books, manuscripts, and objets d’art. He first collected early editions of the Bible in all languages; then Americana, including the original editions of the works of the great travelers and discoverers. John Bunyan and Milton received much attention from Mr. Lenox, and he succeeded in garnering a vast array of editions of those two authors. “This mode of collecting has certainly its advantages,” said Henry Stevens, “but it can hardly be denied that it is attended with serious disadvantages. The result of all Mr. Lenox’s enormous study and labor, to say nothing of his vast expenditures, it must be confessed, is a patchy library as he left it. His favorite subjects and authors he rendered astonishingly rich, but the subjects and authors he neglected at the same time are also astonishingly numerous.” In 1870 Mr. Lenox presented the collection to the city of New York, together with a block on Fifth Avenue and a sufficient fund to erect a library building.

Tilden Bequest.—Samuel J. Tilden was not, according to his biographer, John Bigelow, a book collector in the ordinary sense of the term. “Mr. Tilden had a very fastidious taste for books, which he indulged without much regard to expense. He bought books for his immediate use and enjoyment, and apparently with no thought of collecting a library that should be complete in any department.” For the purpose of establishing and maintaining a free library and reading room in the city of New York he established the “Tilden Trust,” to which he bequeathed the sum of nearly four million dollars. By long litigation it was reduced about one-half. The trustees were anxious to apply this fund in a way that should prove most advantageous to the people of New York City and at the same time strictly conform to the wishes of the testator. The endowment was accordingly offered to the Municipal Building Committee of the city in 1893, to be devoted to the construction of a public library in a new City Hall, at that time planned for Bryant Park. This plan had to be given up the next year when the act authorizing the 12 removal of the old City Hall was repealed, but the expectations of the testator were carried out later by merging the Tilden Trust with the Astor and Lenox bequests into one grand “New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations.” This consolidation was effected on May 23, 1895, when the Board of Trustees, composed of seven members from each of the three foundations, proceeded to plan the organization of a comprehensive library system. An appeal to the municipal authorities was made in 1896 stating that if the city would furnish a proper site and provide the money to locate thereon a building suitable for the purposes of the New York Public Library, then the library through the sale of its present sites, could obtain such an addition to its funds as would justify it in providing for the circulation of the books from this main building. The result was that the library was granted the old reservoir ground on Fifth Avenue, between 40th and 42nd Streets, and the trustees were enabled to begin planning for the erection of the splendid fireproof structure, eventually opened to the public in 1911.

New York Public Library.—The union of these three corporations to form a single library worthy of the great American metropolis was very justly characterized by Lawrence Hutton as “one of the most important events in the whole history of the Island of Manhattan.” New York had long labored under the disadvantage of having no public library from which books could be freely borrowed by her citizens. Dr. Cogswell once remarked that a free circulating library in New York was impossible and that in five years any collection of books made for that purpose would be scattered forever beyond hope of recovery. He here showed the distrust of the book-collector and the attitude of the old style librarian towards the books entrusted to his care.

The Astor and the Lenox Libraries were for reference use only, and were never open in the evenings or on holidays. Through the great generosity of Andrew Carnegie the New York Public Library is able to operate an extensive series of branches, primarily intended for the purposes of circulating books in the surrounding neighborhoods. “The main purpose of the library is educational,” said the late Dr. J. S. Billings. “It is also to furnish the means of recreation and amusement to large numbers of readers. 13 A great library like this must be omniverous. It must have rare and costly books, indispensable to scholars, and also the ephemeral pamphlets of the day which have no commercial value when they appear but eventually become historical documents. The library should be an encyclopedia always kept up to date.”

The Spread of Public Libraries.—From the above sketches some idea can be gained as to how recent is the development of the library into the tax-supported institution we know to-day. The last generation has witnessed the spread of the public library movement westward at such a rate that many of the most striking illustrations of the usefulness of the modern library are to be gathered from the newer libraries of the western states. Within the last two decades the public library has gained strong allies in such new organizations as state library commissions, inter-state library associations, and library training schools. The library schools have inculcated into their students the body of America’s library doctrine which has grown up with the movement in this country. The association meetings have been helpful in providing for the discussion of mooted topics and giving librarianship a unity which it could not otherwise have gained.

American Library Association.—Organized in 1876 to promote the welfare of libraries; it had the Library Journal as its official organ for many years, but now publishes its own Bulletin containing announcements and proceedings of the annual meeting. The Association aims to effect needed legislation and reforms which could not be brought about by individual effort; to improve library administration and lessen the labor and expense of it; to utilize the combined experience of the profession, to promote esprit de corps among library workers and to advance the common interests of trustees, librarians and assistants. Various sections have been organized: the college and reference section, catalog section, trustees’ section, library work with children and state library commissions. It has a publishing board of five members, appointed by the executive board, the aim of which is to secure and prepare publications, catalogs, indexes and other bibliographic and library aids. The publications are a great help to libraries and references are made to a number of them throughout this manual. The headquarters of the Association are 14 located on the upper floor of the Chicago Public Library. Address: 78 E. Washington St.

State Library Commissions.—Commissions have been established in thirty-three states with the view of advancing the library interests of the state. They aim not only to promote the efficiency of the libraries already existing but also to help in the establishing of new ones. They collect statistics of libraries throughout the state and so are able to help the backward ones by showing what is being done in the more active communities. Some commissions conduct summer library schools where the untrained assistants from the smaller libraries can get valuable instruction. Others have institutes and district meetings at which topics of interest to the smaller libraries are discussed. Organizers are sent to such libraries as are in need of reorganization, recataloging or professional help along one line or another. In some states the commission takes charge of the traveling libraries, which are sent to clubs, granges and the smaller libraries. The sending of books to the blind falls within the province of the library commissions in certain states. Some are authorized to give direct financial aid to the smaller struggling libraries. Nearly all the commissions publish bulletins, circulars of information, library laws, selected lists of helpful books, and occasional leaflets.

Traveling Libraries.—In order to carry the advantages of the public library system to the residents of rural districts and villages, a system of traveling libraries has been introduced into most of the states. New York was the first to adopt this system, which it did in 1892 at the instance of Melvil Dewey, then State Librarian. The plan was to send a number of small libraries, each containing one hundred carefully selected volumes, which were lent for six months at a time to “stations” from which requests had been received. In 1895 Michigan and Iowa introduced the system as a part of the work of their state libraries and in the following year a traveling library system for one county was established through private generosity. The Wisconsin Free Library Commission soon took it up and developed it for the whole state. In some states where the traveling libraries have not been fostered by state aid, the work has been carried on by the women’s clubs, as for example in Colorado.

In Michigan application for traveling libraries can be 15 made by study clubs, Epworth leagues, Y. M. C. A. and Y. W. C. A., Sunday schools, farmers’ clubs, granges, reading circles, etc. The titles are selected from printed finding lists, and the books go by freight at the expense of the borrower. If books on a special topic are desired, the request should be filed by May 1st with the State Librarian in order to receive them in the fall. The State Library has also a loan collection of pictures, reproductions of the best examples of ancient and modern art. The unframed pictures are loaned to art clubs, while the framed ones are loaned to schools to be kept on their walls from three to six months.



The organization of the average library consists of the following component parts:

1. Board of Trustees.—The main function of the board of trustees is to look after the financial interests of the library, to see that the buildings and equipment are properly cared for, and to decide broad questions of policy. Trustees should be (but are not always) elected from the elite of the community. It is expected that in them will be found a genuine culture, an appreciation of things pertaining to the arts and sciences, combined with the advantages of education, travel and sufficient leisure to look after public interests. “Cultivated men,” says Edward Edwards, “familiar with books from childhood, have usually a very inadequate perception of the toil and thought which have to be given to the good arrangement, the accurate cataloging, and the ready service of a library. What, then, is to be expected if a dominant share in the management of a library be placed in the hands of men with just enough of elementary education to bring into broad daylight the intensest ignorance, in union with the most stolid self-conceit?” “A little bookishness in a committeeman,” said Justin Winsor, “may be as dangerous as a sip from the poet’s Pierian spring, particularly if there is no deeper learning in any of his associates. He knows just enough of books not to know that he knows nothing of libraries.”

2. The Librarian.—“A librarian,” said Henry Bradshaw, “is one who earns his living by attending to the wants of those for whose use the library under his charge exists, his prime duty being, in the widest possible sense of the phrase, to save the time of those who seek his services.” The librarian has been variously compared to the commissariat in the republic of letters, whose business is not to fight himself but to put others in fighting trim,—or to the host at the banquet of knowledge who is assiduous in securing the comfort of the guests and in placing before 17 each one just the kind of food he likes and requires. He knows that what is one man’s meat is another man’s poison. Enthusiasm for the work is a prime requisite in the librarian. Even a good staff cannot overcome the deadening influence of daily contact with a chief lacking in enthusiasm.

To the librarian should be left the details of administration. The librarian is the executive officer of the board of trustees and the latter, if wise, will look to the librarian for getting the results desired and will allow that officer as free a hand as possible. If the librarian is not capable of administering the library, or worthy of the fullest confidence, the sooner one is secured who measures up to this standard the better.

3. The Library Staff.—The duties of the staff vary with the size of the library. In the smallest libraries the librarian may be the only one engaged in the actual work of the library, but in such cases the library hours must be restricted to such as one person can take care of. The next step in growth is to have some one relieve the librarian at the desk and to do the more clerical work. Next come special assistants to look after special tasks like cataloging and classifying, desk work and so on. The staff, whether large or small, should consider itself responsible to the librarian and should not, except in extraordinary cases, go directly to the board of trustees with petitions. The librarian should always be the spokesman for the staff. Going over his head indicates a lack of sympathy and cooperation between the librarian and staff that argues badly for the welfare of the institution.

Qualifications for Library Work.—The best preparation for library work is a thorough, systematic general education. To this should be added a special preparation secured either through apprenticeship, a training class, or a regular library school. Different positions call for different qualities in assistants but library service in general demands tact, perseverance, adaptability, habits of precision and accuracy, with a fair amount of speed, ability to distinguish between essentials and non-essentials, and a strong desire to be of service. A certain familiarity with books and famous characters in history and in fiction is expected of every one in a library. Personal neatness, good temper, and a sense of humor are valuable assets in this as in other lines of work. No one will succeed in library work who 18 goes into it merely for the money that can be got out of it.

Loyalty to the institution and its officers is essential to efficient service. If the assistant cannot feel this sense of loyalty, the sooner a new position is secured, the better for all concerned.

Dignity, self-possession, and self-reliance are valuable qualities in any part of the library, but are especially needed by assistants at the reference desk.

Qualities that unfit one for library work in general are physical weakness, deformity, poor memory, a discontented disposition, egotism, a lack of system in one’s method of work, and inability or unwillingness to take responsibilities, a tendency to theorize, criticise, or gossip, inability to mind one’s own business, fussiness, and long-windedness.

One librarian advocates listing the virtues and personal qualities of the staff and apprentices by having a questionnaire like the following filled out for each assistant:

Has she tact?
Has she enthusiasm?
Has she method and system?
Is she punctual?
Is she neat?
Is she kind?
Is she a good disciplinarian?
Is she sympathetic?
Is she quick?
Is she willing to wear rubber heels?
Is she a good worker?
Is she accurate?
Has she a pleasing personality?
Has she a sense of responsibility?
Is she patient?
Is she courteous?
Has she self control?
Is she cheerful?
Has she a knowledge of books?
Are her vibrations pleasant?
Has she executive ability?
Can she speak French, German, Spanish, Italian, Yiddish?
Has she social qualifications?
Can she keep a petty cash account?
What are her faults?

19 Mr. Herbert Putnam, Librarian of Congress, gives the following advice to aspirants for library positions:

“First, secure the best possible general education, including, if possible, a college course or its equivalent; second, acquire a reading knowledge of at least French and German; third, add to this a training in a library school; fourth, if a choice must be made between the special training in a library school and a general course in a college, choose the general course, but make every effort to supplement this by the special course if only for a brief period; fifth, if an opportunity occur for foreign travel, utilize it; sixth, if you have not been able to contrive either a thorough general education or special training, your best opportunities in library work will be in a small library where your personal characteristics may be such as to offset these other deficiencies; seventh, without at least a fair reading knowledge of French and German you cannot progress beyond the most subordinate positions in a large library.”



Book Selection.—Book selection makes the greatest demand on the knowledge and administrative judgment of librarians and is the question that produces the most friction between librarians and library committees. If the trustees define the general policy of the library, determine the amount to be expended on books, and approve purchases out of the ordinary run, the librarian should be considered as the one person best posted on the needs of the library, and as purchasing agent for the institution should be allowed to buy where he can do so to the best advantage. Of course, the problem is quite different in an academic library from what it is in a public library. Especially in the latter should the librarian be granted the utmost freedom in the selection of the general run of books.

“We are often asked who selects the books for purchase and how this is done,” says Dr. A. E. Bostwick in the annual report of the St. Louis Public Library for 1911-12. “About 10,000 volumes are issued from American presses yearly, not to mention those of England and other European countries. Of these we can purchase only about 2,000 titles. Of the remainder some are eliminated by their heavy cost, as in the case of editions de luxe and most works intended for wealthy collectors; some because of their class, such as technical works on law and medicine, which we are leaving to the special local libraries devoted to these subjects; and some because they are obviously below standard, being either untrustworthy, trivial or objectionable. There remains a very considerable number, any one of which we might purchase but only a certain proportion of which we can buy with the funds at our disposal. From these we try to select the best, judging from the standpoint of a high-grade public library. Some of the considerations that affect our decision are, first, public demand, to which we always give heed unless it is obviously uninformed; secondly, a desire to strengthen our collection 21 in weak points; and thirdly, expert advice, oral or printed, volunteered or specially asked. Here in St. Louis, we are profiting by the services of numerous experts in special subjects, which are freely given as a public service, and we scan carefully every bit of expert testimony regarding the availability of books contained in the bulletins of other libraries and in other current lists and bibliographies. Trade lists and catalogues of all kinds are checked up with our own to see what we lack, and the result is the assemblage of a list of wants far larger than we can purchase. The final selection from these is apt to leave behind some things that we ought to buy, but it is unlikely to include anything that could well have been left out, considering our special conditions and needs. The final word in selection rests with a committee of the Board; but for ordinary current purchases, and unless some point involving the larger policies of selection is to be settled, this committee usually allows the librarian to exercise his own judgment. Besides the sources of selection already mentioned, books on approval are received in considerable quantities, sometimes being sent voluntarily by dealers or individuals, sometimes requested by the library.”

The librarian must develop a sense of proportion and beware of the library patron with a hobby, and of the trustee who is interested in building up only one side of the library, and of the scholar who thinks that “only solid reading for the immortal mind should be placed before old and young.” In buying for an average public library the aim should be to choose general treatises rather than those covering only special phases or special subjects. The special treatises would be the more desirable for a university library, where they would be in demand both by faculty and students, as authorities on detailed points, as aids or as sources in further investigation.

Too much money should not be locked up in expensive volumes that will be seldom used. The librarian should estimate the average cost of his books per volume and, except in the case of reference books, should not go too far beyond this average cost. He should avoid partisanship and develop catholicity of taste and breadth of sympathy. He should try to have something on his shelves for every patron in town, real or potential, but should not allow the library to be drawn into any sectarian propagandist 22 movement. He should avoid controversial works, sensationalism and the latest fad, and put off the purchase of the book of the hour until he feels fairly sure that the demand for it will not die within the hour.

The efficient librarian does not think too much of the sum total of accessions, but is mindful of the fact that it is quality not quantity that counts. “It doesn’t matter how many but how good books you have.” This was said by Seneca, but the same truth has been stated by many modern librarians. “I should as soon tell how many tons the books in the Astor Library weigh as to tell how many volumes there are,” was a sage remark of Dr. Joseph G. Cogswell. “Strength does not lie in mere numbers; this fact is as true of books as of soldiers,” said Mr. W. E. Foster. “One thousand carefully picked are worth two thousand assembled at random.”

Aids in Book Selection.—The chief aid in book selection for the average small public library is the A. L. A. catalog. The first edition was issued in 1893 for the World’s Columbian Exposition. It was planned as a guide for book buyers as well as for readers and as a manual for librarians in the matter of book selection. To a certain extent it was hoped that it would take the place of a printed catalog in some of the smaller public libraries. By checking in the margin the titles of the books owned it forms a convenient partial catalog of best books for any library. In 1904 a classified and annotated edition, thoroughly revised and brought down to date, was prepared for the St. Louis Exposition. This included 7,520 volumes adapted to public libraries as contrasted with 5,000 titles included in the earlier edition. A supplementary class list of 3,000 titles, covering the books issued between 1904 and 1911, was issued by the A. L. A. in 1912. The “A. L. A. Booklist,” a guide to the best new books, has just completed its ninth annual, volume.

Various state library commissions have issued helpful lists. Wisconsin’s “Suggestive list of books for a small library” is a good specimen. The “Fiction catalog” published by H. W. Wilson Co., Minneapolis, is useful as a check list and contains many excellent titles. In the same way the lists of the 100 and of the 1000 best novels issued by the Free Library of Newark, N. J., are worth studying. Various lists of best books, like Sir John Lubbock’s famous 23 “hundred best books,” or Dr. Eliot’s “five foot library,” are to be found in a pamphlet “The World’s best books,” which is to be had free of charge from the Globe Wernicke Co., Cincinnati.

For additional titles see “Aids in book selection” by Alice B. Kroeger and Sarah W. Cattell (A. L. A. Publishing board, 1908.)

Bookbuying.—If it is desired to buy a special list of books, already selected, it is usually best to place the order with one of the large houses which make a specialty of library trade or with a local dealer, if the proper service and discounts are assured. Cost of carriage may total up high enough to offset a special discount, and so should be considered in comparing prices offered by two different dealers. In scanning a list of books to be bought, attention should be paid to

1. Those titles which are to be had in reinforced bindings.

2. Titles which are to be had in special editions, as in Everyman’s Library.

3. Titles which are to be had from dealers in remainders and are likely to be offered at bargain prices.

The “List of editions selected for economy in book buying,” compiled by Leroy Jeffers, and published by the American Library Association (25 cts.) is well worth studying.

The selection of books to be bought at any one time will be determined by the prices at which they can be secured and consequently it is desirable to constantly study dealers’ catalogs. Worn copies of popular titles or copies that are loose in their bindings are not ordinarily wise purchases, as they soon require rebinding, and thus make the total cost exceed the first cost of a copy in reinforced binding.

Subscription books are rarely worth anything like the money asked for them. If wanted they can frequently be bought from dealers in second hand books, or from jobbers in remainders and surplus stock.

Books should not be bought from traveling agents. There are only a few publishing houses who employ them who would not supply their books through the regular channels of trade. “Editions de luxe” are now generally understood to be for looks only, and “library editions” are frequently so called because they are for the private and not for the 24 public library, being put up in a way not warranted to withstand wear and tear.

Accession Book.—The accession book, which corresponds to the invoice book of a business house, is the first of all records to be made of a book after it has been acquired by a library. The accession book aims to show the additions of each day in the exact order of their reception, without classification of any kind. One turns to it to learn what price was paid for a book, when and where it was bought, how much was paid for binding it, if it was bound after being acquired by the library, how much was paid for replacement if lost, etc. Each volume is entered on a separate line, and secures a separate accession number. By means of this number the history of any particular book can be traced. The accession book is the most permanent of the library records; entries cannot disappear as from a card shelf list, and it is of the greatest value in case of books lost or destroyed by fire. Each book should be entered immediately after it is collated and found to agree with the order and bill. The entries must be kept up to date in order to avoid loss and confusion. An accession number should be given each separate volume. Giving a single accession number to a set leads to endless confusion. A numbering machine will save time and help to prevent errors.



Definition.—Classification consists of putting like things together. We do this every day, and the classification of books is only one special phase of this general process. Thus, a man who owns a hardware store does not place his goods helter skelter,—a stove, a box of nails, some saws and then a furnace, but he runs over his stock and classifies it, putting stoves in one place, nails in another. By this classification he gains two things: first, he can find any one thing he wants more quickly; secondly, he can tell how much of any one article he has on hand and so decide whether he must lay in a new supply. Likewise, the zoologist classifies all members of the animal kingdom, so that he can learn what the different kinds of animals are and study the relationship between them. Without the help afforded by classification he would be overwhelmed by the immense number of facts brought before him and without the aid of classification he would never have known of evolution, the guiding star of modern investigation.

First Principles.—In our every-day life we lose much time hunting for things for which we have no definite place. We have put them in the place which was most convenient for us at the moment when we put them away. Think for yourself how it is with your knowledge. From observation, from conversation, from reading, you learn a little about many subjects like electricity, botany, astronomy or politics, but in this desultory way you do not learn very much about any one of these subjects. Therefore you do not feel any special need of classifying your information, but when you take up any of these subjects and pursue it seriously you learn thousands of facts and relations, and then is the time that you feel the need of some plan of arrangement of your knowledge.

Private vs. Institutional Libraries.—One has the same experience in regard to books. A person having a library of from fifty to three hundred books does not feel the need of 26 classifying them. The ordinary arrangement is based upon size, color or convenience. The books in the average house are so placed as to look their best. The classification, as far as it exists, is an esthetic one. The owner knows the exact appearance of every volume in his library and when he wants Longfellow’s poems he can tell at a glance where it is. In a small private library there is no occasion for all the history being in one place or all the poems in another. As the library grows, the esthetic principle of classification can be followed until the owner can no longer readily remember how each book looks.

But our institutional libraries contain so many books that the librarian cannot know them in the same way that he can the books in his own private library and consequently he has to study the question of classification and devise a method by which not only he, but his assistants and also such readers as have access to the books, can readily find them as wanted. Classification, the putting of like things together, would, therefore, mean in a large library, putting histories together in one place, the medical books together in another place, and so with all other distinctive subjects. Each of these large classes will, however, have to be subdivided. Thus, histories of Greece are put together in one place, histories of Rome in another, histories of the United States in still another. The subdivision in the larger libraries is carried still farther and books on the period of the discovery of America are put first, followed by books on the Colonial period of the United States, the Revolutionary War, etc. United States history, if well represented, is classified geographically. This process of subdivision into separate groups of books on each state can be carried still farther if necessary.

Advantages of Classification.—The following questions may arise: What advantages come from the classification, and who are benefited? The advantages come to those having access to the books. If one goes to a library to get a volume by Arnold Bennett it makes no difference to the individual whether the library is classified or not if he cannot go to the shelves and pick out the book for himself. Likewise, if he wants Young’s Astronomy he will probably get the book more quickly if he asks the attendant to get it than if he tries to get it himself, supposing he does have access to the shelves. But the time when the reader gets 27 the most help from the classification is when he wants to examine a number of books on astronomy and can go to the shelves and find the books on that subject all in one place. Then he can easily find what different writers have to say about the habitability of Mars or he can find what book appeals to him as being the most interesting and can borrow it for home use. Any investigator finds access to the shelves of a well classified library an immense help.

An Aid to the Librarian.—Another person who is greatly benefited by classification is the librarian, and it is just as important that he be helped as that the reader be helped. He is, however, helped in a different way. He knows what the system of classification in use in the library is and with the outlines of this scheme in mind he goes through the library and finds out where it is strong and where it is weak and can plan future purchases accordingly. If, for example, he finds on the shelves little of value on photography he will make a note of it and buy more books on that subject when funds are available. If he finds that there is an undue supply of travel on hand, he will note that also and buy fewer books in that class in the future. Without the help of classification the librarian would overlook many such irregularities. In an unclassified library they would be discovered only through a long and tedious investigation. His only recourse would be the catalog and that is not so well adapted to answer such questions.

Basis of Classification.—The next question is, what shall be the basis of classification. It is obvious that this basis should be sought in the character of the books themselves and should be applied with constant reference to the reader and his needs. In regard to the first point, character of the books, we know that books have been written on all kinds of subjects,—religion, law, history, medicine, etc. and that those subjects form the only rational basis for classification. A classification based on these distinctions is the only one that helps the reader. If a man comes to the library to investigate a particular point in medicine, it is clear that it will help him if he finds all the medical books together rather than all the books grouped according to their date of purchase by the library.

Present Tendency.—Many schemes have been devised for the classification of books, some very simple, others extremely elaborate. The present tendency is to adopt 28 the more elaborate classification. Formerly most libraries were not classified at all, but the books were arranged in the order in which they were received, the only grouping of the books being in such cases one based on size,—folios in one place, quartos in another, in order to save shelf room. Assuming that the books in the library were numbered according to the date of their accession from one up to, say, twenty thousand, it is clear that the reader could find a book by a particular writer quickly enough by looking up its number in the catalog, but if he had wished to consult thirty books on one subject, it would be a very tedious operation and most readers would not take the time for it.

Simple forms of Classification.—The most common plan in English libraries is a modification of this scheme. The books are divided into about ten classes and the books in each class are arranged in the order in which they are received. The classes are distinguished by capital letters. An example said to be very common in England, is as follows.

A. Theology and philosophy.
B. History and biography.
C. Travel and topography.
D. Law, politics, commerce.
E. Arts and sciences.
F. Fiction.
G. Philology.
H. Poetry and drama.
J. Juvenile.
K. Miscellaneous and magazines.

As an illustration of the way a book is marked in this scheme, B 2574 might be Green’s “History of the English people.” This book is marked B. because it is a history. It is marked 2574 because there were already 2573 books in this class at the time this book was added. This mark, B 2574, is a very simple one and to that extent satisfactory. The scheme is a great advance over the preceding one, because it brings the books of a kind together. Since there are ten classes in this scheme, it is evident that if a reader wishes to see all the books on one subject he will have to examine only one-tenth of the library instead of the whole of it, but even this is not felt to be minute enough. If the library contains 200,000 volumes one class would contain, on the average, 20,000 volumes, which is altogether too great a collection to search through. If Green’s “History of the English people” were marked B 2574, the next book might be Robinson’s “History of Peru,” marked B 2575, which is of course a very different subject. The case is 29 still worse in class E, which includes fine arts, useful arts and all the sciences, so that a book on chemistry might stand between a book on medicine and one on Raphael. This would not satisfy the reading public of to-day,—nor the modern librarian. The classes F, fiction, and J, juvenile, are not so bad; there is not so great a difference between the books in these classes. They are used more by people seeking recreation, rather than by those looking for definite titles. Jacob Abbott wrote some two hundred juvenile books and many of these might be scattered among the large class J. In class F, fiction, the English, French, and German authors would all be thrown together. This would be a disadvantage for any one desiring to read along a particular line.

Open vs. Close Classification.—The question of open vs. close classification is an important one. By open classification we mean one without minute subdivisions. An illustration of open classification is the scheme of ten classes described above. As an extreme case of open classification mention may be made of the theological library in which only two classes were used, the one class containing the books that were sound in their theology, the other the books that were unsound.

At the present time the tendency is towards close classification. It is a necessity in large libraries and an advantage in small ones. In this country the two great authorities on classification are Charles A. Cutter and Melvil Dewey. Both have devised and published schemes of classification which are generally recognized as having many excellent features. In both schemes the classification admits of very minute subdivisions. Dewey says that if the library has only one book on a certain minute subject, that book ought to be put in its own special class. It does not matter if there is no other book in the class. No one can fully understand what is meant by close classification until he has had considerable experience in classifying books. You can pick up the printed scheme of classification and run your eye over the numbers, but you will get comparatively little from them until you try to apply them.

Minute Bibliographical Classification.—The following is a very important distinction in regard to close classification which should be carefully noted. It is one thing to classify books, but it is quite a different thing to classify articles 30 in magazines for the bibliography of a subject. Magazine articles may be classified far more minutely than books can be. Take, for example, the Bibliographia Geologica, in which references are made to articles in geological magazines and publications of geological societies. Here the articles are classified according to Dewey. Dewey’s class 551 means physical geology. In this bibliography there is a particular article marked 551.795,513,111,044. That is to say the general subject of physical geology is subdivided in one-trillionth parts and this article is assigned to one of those parts. If one should apply for a library position and be told that he should have to classify the books as closely as this, he would probably never get the position. If he were given this article to classify, he would just as likely as not put it ten billion points out of the way. As a matter of fact, this bibliography is compiled by a number of experts in geology. There are similar bibliographies of botany, zoology and other natural sciences, all minutely classified and all compiled by experts.

The reason that books cannot be as closely classified as magazine articles is that they generally deal with broader topics. In the average library it does not pay to classify books more minutely than is warranted by the general run of books in the class in which these books are to be assigned. In this regard, a distinction must be made between libraries. The Library of Congress has devised a classification of its own which is very minute, and a number of classifiers are employed to look after the different fields in which they are more or less expert. In this way, classification can be carried to the extreme limit of closeness. Nothing keeps one more modest than classifying, for one is continually brought face to face with things that one does not know, and so many things of which one knows so little.

The Dewey Decimal Classification. The decimal classification is used in this country and in Europe. It is suitable for both large and small collections of books and for indexing. In many schemes of classification letters are used to denote the classes, in others a combination of letters and figures. Dewey uses only figures.

Dewey developed his system in 1873 and published it in 1876. Numbers of three figures were used to denote the classes. Since then it has been found desirable to 31 subdivide much more minutely and this has been done with increasing minuteness in the seven editions that have followed the one of 1876. A general outline of Dewey is here given.

000 General works
100 Philosophy
200 Religion
300 Sociology
400 Philology
500 Science
600 Useful arts
700 Fine arts
800 Literature
900 History

Each of these is divided into ten sections, e. g.

500 Science
510 Mathematics
520 Astronomy
530 Physics
540 Chemistry
550 Geology
560 Paleontology
570 Biology
580 Botany
590 Zoology

Each of these is divided into ten sections, e. g.

530 Physics
531 Mechanics
532 Hydraulics
533 Pneumatics
534 Sound
535 Light
536 Heat
537 Electricity
538 Magnetism
539 Molecular physics.

These sections are still further subdivided until the requisite degree of minuteness is reached. The system has various mnemonic features which are helpful. Every 32 figure has a meaning. An alphabetical list of all these meanings is appended to the classification. Thus after the word Hydraulics is 532, showing where to look in the classification for this subject. All books on hydraulics receive the number 532 and are together on the shelves. This fact illustrates one great advantage of the Dewey system, that as the library grows the new books can be placed with the corresponding old ones without re-marking the old ones, while in the fixed location system the books are marked to certain localities, and when moved by reason of growth of the library have to be re-marked. This re-marking includes not only the books but also the cards referring to the books. The re-marking is very costly and very unsatisfactory. In Dewey’s system the books in any one class are arranged according to some method. In most classes an alphabetical arrangement by the names of the authors is simplest and best. In scientific classes some librarians prefer the chronological arrangement. In any case it should be clear and simple.

Relative Location.—“With a movable location all new books fall at once into their proper places like the cards which are added to a card catalog, and the new-comers push the other books along on the shelf, just as new cards push the others along in the drawer. The consequence is that a book which is here to-day may be on the next shelf in a month or in the next alcove in a year; and the local memory, which is a great help in finding books quickly is disturbed. The only remedy that I can see for this is to substitute a subject memory for a local memory, to get a habit of thinking of a book as belonging to a certain class instead of as on a certain shelf (a much more rational memory, by the way), and then to make it very easy to find the classes. This last is not hard to accomplish. A class memory can be cultivated and may be assisted by local memory which will find books by their position relative to other books, instead of by their position relative to alcoves and shelves, or doors and windows.”—C. A. Cutter.



Definition.—The catalog is a directory of the library. A library without a catalog is described by Thomas Carlyle as “a Polyphemus without any eye in its head, and you must front the difficulties, whatever they may be, of making proper catalogs.” A good catalog must be an accurate and easily used index of the resources of the library, answering the questions of the readers in the simplest and most direct way possible. Such questions fall into the following groups:

1. Has the library a certain book by a certain author?

2. What books by a certain author has the library?

3. Has the library a book with a certain title, the author’s name being unknown?

4. What has the library on a given subject?

5. What volumes of a certain series are in the library?

6. Where on the shelves of the library is a certain book to be found, if it is not in use by a reader?

To answer these questions certain “entries”, or records, are made in the catalog, called the author, title, subject and series entries. Question 6, which is asked in connection with all the other questions, is answered by the call number, which appears on every entry.

The most general book of reference is the dictionary. Every one is more or less familiar with its arrangement. This fact is the chief argument for a dictionary arrangement in a card catalog where authors, subjects, titles and cross references are arranged in one alphabet, as in a dictionary. Each “entry,” or record, is made on a card having on its first line the word, or words, under which the entry is made. This card is placed in its alphabetical place in the catalog tray.

Author Entry.—Every book must have an author entry to answer questions 1 and 2. By author we mean the person, body, government, society or institution responsible for a 34 work. The entry is usually made under the author’s surname, followed by his forenames.

Catalog Rules.—Every good code of cataloging rules gives detailed directions for the author entry, telling how to decide who is the author and what form of his name to use. In order to gain the uniformity necessary for the easy consultation of the catalog, the cataloger must decide upon her rules and then follow them carefully. If this is done, the author card will ordinarily present few difficulties. The American Library Association rules (1908) are very full and offer the advantage of general conformity to the Library of Congress entries. The question as to fullness of author’s name may well be left to the individual library. The small library will need to use the author’s dates only to distinguish different authors of the same name. Many descriptive phrases may also be omitted, e. g. “pres. of the U. S.” in the heading, “Washington, George, pres. of the U. S.” and similar headings. This will in no way interfere with the use of the Library of Congress cards, in spite of their fuller entries, as the full and less full may easily be placed in one alphabet.

All works of fiction, dramas and poems, and works of non-fiction having striking titles must have an additional record, or “added entry”, under the title, in order that the catalog may answer question 3. For this entry, the title is written at the top of the card. The average reader more frequently remembers the titles of books than the names of their authors. Consequently the cataloger must not be too sparing in making title entries.

Subject Entries.—Non-fiction must also have added entry under the subject or subjects of the book. It is here that the cataloger finds scope for all her knowledge, judgment and common sense. Above all, let it not be said of her that she

“Affects all books of past and present ages,
But reads no further than their title-pages.”

She must examine the books carefully, studying the table of contents, preface, analyses of chapters when given, marginal notes, and the chapters themselves when necessary. No entry is to be made under any subject unless the cataloger is sure that the book contains material helpful to one looking up that subject. She must always try to put herself in the reader’s place, and get his point of view.

35 The cataloger is extremely liable to worship rules and to forget the limitations of the average reader. There is danger of taking too much for granted. In this respect the cataloger is like a certain professor who was given to quoting Arabic in his popular lectures. When some one, remonstrated, he said, “Oh, everybody knows a little Arabic.”

The cataloger must bear in mind the fact that many users of the library do not know how to look up book titles. President Eliot once confessed to a body of librarians that although he might claim to be as intelligent as the ordinary frequenter of a library, he did not know enough to use a card catalog.

Cutter’s Rules.—Having decided what the subject or subjects of the book may be, for it may have one or many, the question arises as to the form of the subject headings to be used. C. A. Cutter, in his “Rules for a dictionary catalog” (4th edition, 1904) has laid down the principles of the choice of subject headings. One of the most useful tools of the cataloger is the American Library Association “List of subject headings” (3d edition, 1911), the result of widespread consultation and discussion on principles and practice. Here is gathered the experience of many libraries, of all types, and the cataloger would do well to follow this list unless experience has shown her that in some cases her special library requires a variation. The suggested cross references are a great help, but must be used with care and judgment. The cross references are the sign posts in the wilderness of the catalog, and they must point the way clearly and with truth. The cataloger never knows at just what point the reader will strike the catalog, but if the subject headings and cross references have been judiciously chosen he is pretty sure to reach the desired goal.

Analyticals.—In a small library it is most essential to show not only what books the library has on a given subject, but also what chapters or essays may be hidden in unsuspected volumes. Entries for such parts of books are called analytical entries. The subject heading is chosen in the same manner as for an entire work on the subject, the author, title, date, call number and paging of the volume containing the chapter being given below the subject heading. In similar manner author and title analytical entries may be made for short stories which appear in collections. 36 Author analytical entries are frequently needed for collections of essays, etc.

Form of Card.—The form of the card is of minor importance, provided it is clear and gives all of the important information. It is well to make prominent the author’s name by indention. The title must omit nothing which will aid the reader in his choice of a book. The name or number of edition and the name of the editor or translator should be included. Names of illustrators may be omitted unless they are of sufficient importance to require an added entry card. In a public library added entries under the names of popular illustrators like C. D. Gibson, Joseph Pennell or Walter Crane, will often prove helpful.

Imprint and Collation.—Fullness of imprint and collation varies in different libraries. The cataloger should not count on the library always remaining very small, but should include enough details of imprint and collation to assure her that the cards will be useful when the library has grown. The A. L. A. rules give detailed instruction for imprint and collation, while any of the papers written on cataloging for the small library will point out the possibilities of simplification.

Contents Notes.—The contents of the book should be given whenever it will add important items to the reader’s knowledge of the book. Descriptive and critical notes will often tell a reader positively whether or not he wishes the book, when the title alone could not do this.

Subject headings for historical fiction—and also for poetry and drama—will be found most helpful. Thus Winston Churchill’s “Crisis” can well have an entry under U. S. History—Civil War—Fiction, and Dumas’ The Whites and the Blues, an entry under Napoleon I—Fiction.

Printed Cards.—The use of the Library of Congress cards will be found a great labor saver. If, at the time of ordering the cards, a temporary slip bearing call number, author, title, place and date of publication, accession number and suggested subjects and analyticals be written, a second examination of the book on the receipt of the cards will be unnecessary, unless the cards disagree with the book in some of the data noted. The Library of Congress, on application, will send instructions for the ordering of cards. Although it is cheaper to order cards by serial 37 numbers, it will not pay the cataloger to spend much time searching for this number as for 1/2c per title the Library of Congress will do this work. The use of the printed cards, though it will destroy the uniformity of appearance of the catalog, will in no way detract from its usefulness or usableness.

Essentials.—The cataloger must constantly bear in mind that the catalog is a machine for the use of the public. Any time spent in making it serve the readers more easily and quickly is time well spent. Any time spent in beautifying it simply for the glorification of the cataloger is time wasted. Rules,—careful, detailed rules,—are needed so that the machine may do its work without friction and that every part may fit into its proper place, but any rules that hamper the user of the machine, should be promptly struck from the code. The cataloger is paid to make a time-saving machine, and this is her duty,—to make a machine that will bring together the book and the man who wants it with the least expenditure of effort on the part of the latter.

“If the trustees can afford it,” very rightly says Miss Esther Crawford, “there is one substitute for a catalog, viz., a librarian who knows intimately every book in the library; who has the memory for each book and that fine, discriminating knowledge of the reader’s tastes and abilities which will enable her always to fit the right book to the right person; who will never be absent from the library during the ten hours in which it is kept open every day in the year; who will never die nor take a vacation,—marriage is out of the question.”[1]

The Cataloger’s Training.—“The modern library movement is young, and it is therefore not surprising that the subject of library work in general and of cataloging in particular is not fully understood,” writes Miss Theresa Hitchler in the eighth annual report of the Brooklyn Public Library. “The average man does not know and cannot realize the demands of the work, and has no idea, seemingly, that any training or special aptitude is necessary. By way of contrast to this average man’s view might be recorded the plaint of a prominent librarian at a recent library club meeting that so great a per cent of the talent 38 of the library profession had to be diverted to the cataloging department, to the detriment of the circulating desk. The moral to be pointed out is that the catalog must be good as a first requisite to a library. In the words of the old comparison, the catalog is the key to the otherwise hidden material buried in books. In a library of any size, the best desk attendant in the world is almost helpless, or at best constantly handicapped, without a convenient and rational classification of the volumes of the collection and the bibliographical aid of a catalogue. The born bibliographer is as rare as the born teacher or poet. The cataloging expert must have the quick mind, sound common sense, broad view and good judgment of the book-reviewer joined with the slow and solid qualities of the bibliographer. The former qualities are needed for rapid classification of books in all the various fields of human knowledge, from abstruse to practical, from grave to gay, and for placing them under subject headings in the catalog useful and specific, to student, scholar and every day reader alike, and are by far the more important and indispensable. The latter qualities are needed for recording accurately the data of the books so classed, in a bibliographical catalog of a form useful to people of all grades of intelligence. It stands to reason that to cope with these requirements, a solid educational training that gives an intelligent outlook on the various fields of knowledge must be joined to a natural aptitude for bibliographical detail, and added to these a technical training in such work. The head of such a department must possess these requirements in an ever greater degree, with an executive ability and knowledge of human nature above the ordinary, since the results, good or bad, depend directly on her ability and on her management, successful or unsuccessful, of the varied material entrusted to her guidance.”



Reference Work.—By “reference work” is meant work done in assisting the public to use the resources of the library. Dewey defines it as “systematic aid to readers.” A reference book according to Dr. E. C. Richardson “is a book which is to be consulted for definite points of information, rather than read through, and is arranged with explicit reference to ease in finding specific facts.” In this class fall dictionaries, encyclopaedias and hand-books of all kinds. The same answer to almost any question may be found in a number of books in the library by taking the time to examine them carefully, but the object of the reference department is to serve the public as expeditiously and satisfactorily as possible and reference books are the means to that end. Any book referred to becomes for the time being a reference book; but the term “reference book” as used in a library refers to the “ready reference book,” i. e. the books that were specifically written for reference use and to which the definition given above refers.

The reference collection is usually a small but exceedingly valuable portion of the library and the reference work does not confine itself to the use of the reference books, but to any book in the library which may contain something which will help towards the desired answer. The reference collection is generally placed in the reading room of the library and in that part of the room most convenient to the public and to the librarian.

The reference department is the heart of the library, and the more alive and efficient the members of the department are, the stronger is the beat of its pulse and the more far reaching the results of its work. All other departments exist to make more efficient the work of the reference department. The accessions department purchases books that there may be live material to work with in the reference department. The classifier groups the books so that all the material on the various subjects in the library is placed 40 most conveniently on the shelves. The cataloging department catalogs the books so that the reference department may by the simplest means find what is contained in the library. Without the work of the other departments the reference department would be tied hand and foot and might as well not exist. With their cooperation it becomes the very life of the library, reaching out in various ways into the community to make the influence of the library more strongly felt.

Importance of Reference Work.—The average reader is uninformed as to the use and helpfulness of any but the commonest reference books. The duty of instructing the readers in the use of the ordinary library tools devolves upon the assistants at the reference desk. They must interpret the catalog to the public and incite in the readers a desire to help themselves after they have been initiated into the use of a dictionary card catalog and have had the use of some of the more important reference books explained to them. If an education consists not so much in getting knowledge as in knowing how and where to get it when the need arises, then it is clear that the assistants at the reference desk fill an important place in the library staff. They have a great opportunity for helpfulness. Other divisions of the library may labor successfully to build up the collections, and have them properly classified and cataloged, but if the service at the reference desk is inefficient the usefulness of the library is sadly impaired. The reference assistants can make or mar the library’s reputation for service.

Of course there is such a thing as doing too much for the patrons of a library, thereby preventing their learning how to help themselves. Let the readers understand that it is necessary to dig into the contents of the books and discover things that the bibliographies and card catalogs cannot point out.

Don’t say off hand, “I don’t know that we have anything on the subject,” for fear that before long you will be saying categorically that “The library has nothing on the subject.” You should aid the inquirer by beginning the search. Say rather, “Let us see what the library has on the subject.”

When the books are purchased and on the shelves, and the catalog is in perfect shape for use, the library is still a riddle to the public. There must be one or more capable 41 persons to meet the public and put the contents of the library at its disposal. “Knowledge is of two kinds,” said Dr. Johnson. “We know our subject and we know where we can find information upon it.” The latter is the knowledge necessary to the reference librarian. Her knowledge of her library must be such that she can find something about any question asked, if there is material on the subject in the library. What great novel is there on the period of the Norman conquest? Where can I find a map of the city of Seattle? Who was the last man elected to the French Academy? What is the point of resemblance between Maeterlinck’s writings and Coleridge’s Ancient Mariner? Was Rabbi Ben Ezra a mathematician? Such are the questions for which she must be ready, from morning till night, to help find the answers.

The efficiency of the department is many times increased if it can have on its staff those who in addition to their knowledge of the library have had a broad education. The broader the better for there is no subject on which she may not at some time be asked to find material. The more versatile the members of the department are the greater is its efficiency.

In no department of the library does personality count for as much as in the reference department. The reference librarian may be a brilliant student and have a thorough grasp of the various fields of knowledge, but of what use will it be to her if she has not the ability to meet people and to sink her own personality to a large extent? There is no profession which throws one into the society of more varied types than that of librarianship. The high and the low, the rich and the poor, the educated and the ignorant, the cultured and unrefined all come to the library for aid. The reference librarian must “be all things to all people.” She must meet her public in such a way that if they come once they will come again, feeling themselves cordially welcome. She must have all the qualities which will make the library a place to which the public will want to come, and herself the person they will seek for assistance.

How to Meet the Public.—“The whole library should be permeated with a cheerful and accommodating atmosphere. Treat boy and girl, man and woman, ignorant and learned, gracious and rude, with uniform good temper, without condescension, never pertly. Anticipate all inquiries when 42 possible, and especially put the shrinking and embarrassed visitor at once at ease.

“Reference work in libraries large and small has for its first rule: Meet the inquirer more than half way. To the stranger a library is often an oppressive place, an awesome place—in his imagination. He comes in shyly; everyone appears busy, his question suddenly seems to him trivial; he won’t trouble these wise and busy people with it—and goes out.

“A good second rule is: Learn at once just exactly what the inquirer wishes to know. This is not always easy. Tact and a little patience will generally effect it.

“A third good rule is: Whenever possible show the inquirer how the answer is found, so that he may next time in some measure help himself. It is surprising how many, especially of the younger people in a community, can be taught within one year, on their occasional visits, to make the proper use of at least a few reference books.

“Another rule of very good application is: Go first to a dictionary. In many cases a question answers itself, or betrays where its answer may best be found, if it is once plainly stated. And nothing is better than reference to a few words in a dictionary for the clear statement of a question. The larger dictionaries, and notably the Century, will answer many more inquiries than even great readers often suppose.”—John Cotton Dana, in his “Library primer” and elsewhere.

Reference Books.—In helping to answer an inquiry or to find material on a subject, the first question in the mind of the reference assistant should be, not where, or in what particular book, shall I find the information, but rather: In what kind of a book, or in what class of books? While it is necessary that the assistant should early become acquainted with the most important or most convenient works of reference on the various subjects of general interest it is especially desirable to know the point of view of the inquirer, and what sort of books, whether reference or research, will be needed.

Reference books—meaning ready reference books—may be generally divided into two great classes: Dictionaries and Encyclopedias. The first includes those works which treat of words used as language; their meaning, history, pronunciation and use. The second class treats of subjects, 43 such as countries, men, animals, sciences, arts, trades and substances; their character, history, distribution, etc. In both of these classes the arrangement of the matter is generally alphabetical. The term “dictionary” is frequently used for a cyclopedia of a special subject, as in the case of dictionaries of biography, antiquities and architecture. Books of facts, almanacs, yearbooks and census returns, belong to this class.

Of the general, or universal encyclopedias, devoted to all classes of subjects without regard to country, age, or character, every public or school library, no matter how small, should have at least one, and the larger libraries should possess several, as they differ considerably in their treatment of the subjects. Encyclopedias published in the United States, England, France and Germany, while treating of matters of interest in all these countries, would naturally favor their own nationality and include subjects in which their immediate readers would be most interested.

A third class, to which the general name of bibliography is usually given, includes not only the indexes to the literature of a subject but catalogs of libraries, special collections, selected lists, etc. Frequently these are the books to be consulted first, as they direct the searcher to works and articles of far more importance than any of the general ready reference books.

One of the most important and useful books with which the reference assistant should become acquainted is Miss Kroeger’s “Guide to the study and use of reference books,” (A. L. A. Publishing board, 1908; Supplement, by Isadore G. Mudge, 1910). It is divided into classes by formal subjects, but the annotations to the titles included are generally sufficient to show the character of the works, and to what kind of needs they would be best adapted. The Michigan State board of Library Commissioners has published a handy “Annotated list of reference books for school and public libraries,” 1910, which will be found useful by those in charge of smaller libraries.

There are certain ready reference books which should be within reach of every reading room assistant and with which all should be familiar. Among these the following may be mentioned:

Baker, E. A. A guide to the best fiction in English. 44 New ed. N. Y. Macmillan. 1913. $5.50.

Bliss, W. D. P. and Binder, R. M. New encyclopedia of social reform. New ed. N. Y. Funk. 1908. $7.50.

American year book. N. Y. Appleton. 1910-date. $3.50. Annual.

Statesman’s year book. N. Y. Macmillan. $3. Annual.

Whitaker, Joseph. Almanack. Lond. Whitaker. 2s. 6d. Annual.

World almanac. N. Y. The N. Y. World. 25c paper. Annual.

Christy, Robert. Proverbs, maxims and phrases of all ages. N. Y. Putnam. 1905. 2 v. in 1. $2.50.

Hopkins, A. A. Scientific American cyclopedia of formulas. N. Y. Munn. 1911. $5.00.

Kent, William. Mechanical engineer’s pocket-book. Ed. 8. N. Y. Wiley. 1910. $5.

Trautwine, J. C. Civil engineer’s pocket-book. Ed. 19. N. Y. Wiley. 1911. $5.

Standard handbook for electrical engineers. Ed. 3. Rev. and enl. N. Y. McGraw. 1910. $4.

Bartlett, John. Familiar quotations. Ed. 9. Bost. Little. 1911. $3.

Granger, Edith. Index to poetry and recitations. Chic. McClurg. 1904. $5.

Hoyt, J. K. Cyclopedia of practical quotations; English, Latin, and modern foreign languages. New ed. enl. N. Y. Funk. 1896. $6.

Schauffler, R. H. Our American holidays. N. Y. Moffat. $1 a vol. A volume on each of the important holidays: Arbor Day, Christmas, Flag Day, Independence Day, Lincoln’s Birthday, Memorial Day, Thanksgiving and Washington’s Birthday.

Walsh, W. S. International encyclopedia of prose and poetical quotations. Phil. Winston. 1908. $3.

Brewer, E. C. Historic note-book: with an appendix on battles. Phil. Lippincott. 1891. $3.50.

Haydn, Joseph. Dictionary of dates and universal information relating to all ages and nations. Ed. 24. N. Y. Putnam. 1906. $6.

Larned, J. N. History for ready reference from the best historians and specialists. Rev. and enl. ed. Springfield (Mass.) Nichols. 1901-1910. 7 v. $35.

45 Ploetz, Karl. Epitome of ancient, mediaeval and modern history: tr. and enl. by W. H. Tillinghast, with additions covering recent events. Bost. Houghton. 1905. $3.

Peck, H. T. Harper’s dictionary of classical literature and antiquities. N. Y. American Book Co. 1897. $6.

A. L. A. portrait index; index to portraits contained in printed books and periodicals. Wash. Lib. of Cong. 1906. $3.

Thomas, Joseph. Universal pronouncing dictionary of biography and mythology. Phil. Lippincott. 1901. 2 v. $15.

Who’s who. N. Y. Macmillan. $2.50 n. Annual.

Appleton’s cyclopedia of American biography. N. Y. Appleton. 1888-1900. 7 v. $36.

Who’s who in America; a biographical dictionary. Chic. Marquis. $4. Biennial.

Moulton, C. W. Library of literary criticism of English and American authors. Buffalo. Moulton pub. co. 1901-05. 8 v. $5. a vol.

Harper’s encyclopedia of U. S. History from 458 A. D. to 1902. N. Y. Harper. 1902. 10 v. $31.

Poole’s Index and the Reader’s Guide.—In 1848 William F. Poole, at that time a junior at Yale, and librarian of one of the undergraduate literary societies, began indexing by topics such magazines as were available “for the purpose of helping students in the preparation of their written exercises and society discussions.” Mr. Poole had noticed that the sets of standard periodicals with which the library was well supplied were not used, although they were replete with information on subjects about which inquiries were made in vain every day. Mr. Poole’s manuscript index soon showed serious signs of wear and in order to preserve it recourse was had to printing. An edition of 500 copies, printed in 1848 was soon exhausted, and in 1853 an edition of 1000 of a much enlarged index was published. Mr. Poole’s increasing duties as librarian of the Boston Athenaeum, and later of the public libraries of Cincinnati and Chicago, left him no leisure for carrying on the index, and so at the first meeting of the American Library Association in 1876 he proposed that the work be carried on by co-operation. This plan was adopted and with Mr. Poole 46 as editor-in-chief and Mr. W. I. Fletcher as assistant and with the cooperation of some fifty libraries the work was carried on until Mr. Poole’s death in 1894. The first volume of this cooperative venture appeared in 1882, with supplements in 1888, 1893, 1897, 1903, and 1908, after which the publication was suspended.

In 1901 the H. W. Wilson Company of Minneapolis began the publication of a monthly “Readers’ guide to Periodical literature,” with the view to supplying the needs of the very small libraries. It was to be cumulated quarterly and it increased rapidly in scope. In 1903 there was incorporated with it the “Cumulative index to periodicals” which had been published in Cleveland for several years. Two five-year cumulations covering 1900-04 and 1905-09 have been published and have grown rapidly in favor. This publication will henceforward continue the work of the Poole Index.

Public Documents.—Among the sources of reliable information most prized by the properly trained desk attendant must be reckoned the various series of documents published by the United States Government. While hitherto many depository libraries have been swamped with the output of the Government Printing Office for which the libraries could not provide proper shelf-room, the libraries are now, by a process of selection and elimination, coming to learn what volumes are of most use to their particular clientele. It is better for a small library to buy these from the Government Printing Office than to have a whole lot of documents for which they have no call dumped down on them. Among the United States documents the following will be found the most useful for the average public library:

Congressional record.

Bound volumes; contain daily proceedings of Congress. If the daily edition is procurable it ought to be filed with the daily newspapers. An index is issued every two weeks, and, with the bound volume, one for the entire session. Obtainable through the local Congressman.

Census Bureau. Reports and bulletins.

Cotton ginning reports. Contain comparative tables of the amount of cotton ginned from the crops grown.

47 Forest products. This publication shows statistics on lumber and timber products.

Tobacco reports.

Special reports. Complete statistical reports on subjects of great importance. The abstract of the census is an exceedingly useful reference manual supplementing the annual statistical abstract.

Statistical abstract of the United States.

A comprehensive manual of general information issued annually. Advance edition in paper binding available through Congressman.

Civil Service Commission. Reports.

Administrative and statistical, with discussion of public questions coming within the scope of the Commission.

Commissioner of Education. Reports and bulletins.

Embody the results of the Commissioner’s investigations and labors, with statistics and special articles, and recommendations which will promote the purpose for which the office was established. While chiefly devoted to the educational system of the United States, there are papers on important educational movements in other countries. The bulletins include the annual bibliography of Education.

Department of Agriculture.

Yearbook. A most interesting and valuable compend of scientific knowledge, practically applied to agricultural life. It contains also much statistical information of use to farmers and others. It has been issued annually, beginning with 1894, and has become very widely known.

Farmers’ bulletins and bulletins of the Weather Bureau, Forestry, Plant Industry, Chemistry, Entomology, etc. The Farmers’ bulletins give brief popular articles in simple concise language on a great variety of topics. Over six and a half million copies of these bulletins are issued annually.

Commissioner of Labor. Reports and bulletins.

Give information as to labor and economic problems at home and abroad. To be had free of charge upon application.

Library of Congress. Select list of references on various subjects. General publications.

48 Smithsonian Institution.

National Museum. Reports. Annual. Administrative report on the progress and condition of the Museum. The Congressional edition bears the same document number as the Smithsonian report, though the law calls for separate publication. The earlier volumes contained a number of articles on American archaeology, but the general appendix of scientific papers has not been printed since 1904.

Bureau of Ethnology. Reports and bulletins. Reports. Annual. Contain collections of illustrated papers, relating to the habits, customs, languages, folk-lore, religious ceremonials, etc., of the North American Indians. Bulletins. Papers relating to the North American Indians. Similar to the annual reports in character and contents.

Geological Survey.

Maps. Geologic atlas of United States. Issued in parts or folios as surveys are completed for various areas. Each folio comprises topographic, geologic, economic, and structural maps of the quadrangle, and occasionally other illustrations, with a general description.

Bulletins. Cover a wide range of geologic investigation.

Monographs. Comprehensive and exhaustive treatises on geologic subjects.

Official gazette of the Patent Office.

Official postal guide.

Private publication, authorized by Post Office Department. Albany, N. Y., J. B. Lyon Co., $3.50 per year.

Congressional directory.

For the current session of Congress. Several editions embodying changes and corrections are issued during each session of Congress.

General biographical directory of Congress, 1774-1911.

Official register of the United States.

The list of American and English genealogies in the Library of Congress, 1910; also, Heads of families, 1790, in the thirteen original states.

Constitution of the United States, Jefferson’s Manual and Rules of procedure for the Senate and House of Representatives.

49 Heitman’s Dictionary of the United States army, 1789-1903.

Hamersly’s Register of the graduates of West Point, continued to 1900.

State Documents.—In addition to the United States Documents referred to above there are a number of State Documents which will prove especially helpful as reference sources in a public library. They are generally to be secured through the Secretary of State, and for Michigan the following might be specified:

Constitutional Convention, 1907-8, Journal and Debates (4 vols). The Journal contains comparative text of the Constitutions of 1908 and 1850.

Compiled Laws, and index, 1897 (4 vols.), and Index to the Compiled Laws and Acts to 1906.

Legislature. Journals of the Senate and the House of Representatives and the Public and Local Acts at the biennial sessions after 1897.

Michigan Manual. Official directory and legislative manual compiled by the Secretary of State. Biennial. Contains statistical information prepared especially for the members of the Legislature, with maps of legislative districts, lists of state officers, etc. Desirable in every library.

Census of Michigan. 1904 and every ten years.

State Pioneer and Historical Collections, annual volumes.

Reports of the following:

State Board of Agriculture Commissioner of Banking Department Board of Corrections and Charities Dairy and Food Commissioner Superintendent of Public Instruction State Board of Health Commissioner of Insurance Bureau of Labor and Industrial Statistics Commissioner of Railroads Agricultural Experiment Station, and Bulletins State Library—and State Library Commission.

Loan Systems.—The function of the loan department has been thus defined: “To give to the reader the books he wants to take home and to make sure that he will return them promptly for the sake of other readers.” To this end a systematic record of books loaned is kept.

50 This record may be made to answer certain questions which arise in different kinds of libraries. (1) What books are due on a certain day? This is the “time record.” It is the record usually kept and is necessary to insure the library against loss and to safeguard the interests of the community. (2) What books are out, or, is a certain book out? Who has it and when is it due? It is the “book record” and this kind of a record is kept in most college libraries. (3) What books does a certain person have out? This is called the “readers or borrowers record.” Although some libraries keep all three of these records, many keep only two and the majority only one.

It is not possible to say that there is one best charging system although some form of the Newark or the Brown system is commonly used. All systems require a register of the “borrowers,” kept either numerically in a book or alphabetically on cards or both. Some libraries require a sponsor or guarantor for each one drawing books, but this is going out of favor and only an identification is demanded. When the library is small or the patronage is large it is customary to limit the number of volumes a person can have out at one time to two, one volume of fiction and one non-fiction. These volumes can be kept from seven to fourteen days with the privilege of renewing them for an equal length of time. Other libraries give much more freedom in the number of books one person may draw and in the length of time they may be retained.

Most charging systems require that each book in the library be fitted with a pocket into which is slipped a “book card” on which may appear the author and title of the book, the class and book numbers and the accession number. When the book is drawn out this card is removed from the book and is kept in the library. On it may be entered the borrower’s name or number and the date the book is drawn or to be returned. A card may also be issued to each reader for purposes of identification or to aid in charging the book. Such a card is a “reader’s card” or “borrower’s card.”



Library Binding.—The average library is spending about six percent of its total income on binding. The newer and smaller libraries spend less because their books have not yet come to need the binder’s attention. The older and larger libraries spend more because of the large number of books needing to be rebound and the numerous periodicals taken.

The essentials of good library binding are durability, flexibility, neatness, high grade of materials and suitability of style. Library bookbinding is distinct from the ordinary machine made “case” or publisher’s cloth binding and the decorative binding favored by bibliophiles and amateurs. The weak points in modern book making are poor paper, imperfect sewing, poor attachment of the book to the cover, lack of flexibility in the back and joint, perishable leather and cloth used in the binding. The results are that leaves become loosened, the joints broken and the linings of the hollow backs come off and the boards separate. The present tendency is to strengthen weak joints by using double boards, inserting between them the linings and tapes on which the book is sewn.

Much of the durability of a binding depends upon the quality of glue used. The cost of glue used on a book cannot always be determined by the price paid per pound, since the cheaper glue will not cover as much surface as the higher grade glue which absorbs more water. The cheap article is a great detriment to the life of the paper, the free opening of the book and the flexibility of the back. “Flexible glue” as made in this country is a misnomer. To say the least it is not all that the manufacturers claim for it.

Leather.—The old saying that there is nothing like leather for wear no longer holds true. Modern leather is much less durable than old leather. Modern leather bindings decay mainly because of improper methods of 52 tanning, the use of dried and cured skins of inferior quality; the use of acids and other injurious agents in the bleaching and dyeing processes, the removal of the natural oils and the splitting and artificial graining of the skins. Red and some shades of brown are the colors found to be most durable. Many of the bright colored dyes seem to hasten decay. Leathers that look alike may wear very differently. Names applied to various grades mean less and less. The experience of recent years with the leathers used in book binding has led librarians to a wider use of book cloths of various kinds.

Cloth.—The cloths most in favor are (1) buckram, which if made in the United States, is a strong cotton cloth, suitable for books of average size subject to a fair amount of wear. The “library buckram,” made by the Holliston Mills, Norwood, Mass., and the “legal buckram,” made by the Joseph Bancroft Sons Co., of Wilmington, Del., are made according to the specifications drawn up by the Bureau of Standards for use on government documents. (2) Duck, or canvas, is the heaviest cloth used in binding and is especially advised for newspapers and heavy periodicals which are seldom used. (3) Imperial morocco cloth is frequently used on fiction and juveniles. It does not take lettering as easily as the buckram. (4) Keratol is a washable cloth which is used by some binders on the sides of fiction and juveniles bound in half leather. It should never be used for full binding.

Preservation.—Bindings should not be exposed to the direct rays of the sun and the temperature of the building should not exceed 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Good ventilation is a great aid to book preservation. Dampness affects injuriously both the binding and paper. If leather bound books are handled much the oil from the hands keeps the leather in fair condition. For leather books not often consulted, the necessary oil should be supplied by application. Vaseline has been used with success, but a more generally satisfactory preservative is the following: Pure castor-oil with one half of its weight of paraffin wax heated in an earthen jar until the wax melts. Apply with a flannel cloth, paying special attention to the backs and joints. Use sparingly but rub thoroughly. Then wipe with a clean flannel.

Care of Books.—In order to insure the proper handling 53 of books by the public, the staff must set a good example in this respect. Care should be used in opening a new book so as to loosen but not break the joints of the binding. Careless cutting of the leaves produces a ragged appearance which is not conducive to increased respect for the volume, after it gets out into circulation. Suitable paper cutters with smooth dull edges should be provided and nothing else used. Don’t trust the public to cut the leaves of new books or magazines. Many reputable people are worse than careless in this matter.

Books should not be piled up very high, nor wedged into overcrowded shelves. They must be kept dry. Dampness is destructive to both paper and binding.

Do not turn books face downwards when open, nor allow others to do so without politely calling their attention to this piece of thoughtlessness. Books should be used for reading and for nothing else. Open them gently and try not to let them fall. Do not try to carry too many at one time.

Cleanliness is a great help to book preservation. A habit of constant watchfulness for books needing repairs should be developed by every member of the staff. “A stitch in time saves nine” in a library if anywhere.



The proper age for a child to become a patron of the library is the age when he has the inclination to visit the library, possibly with older brothers and sisters, to look at picture books, hear stories told, and in case he is too young to be responsible for a borrower’s card, occasionally to induce the older brothers and sisters to take home a book for his use. A child’s first reading is by means of pictures and his first introduction to literature through stories told or read aloud, and even as early as the picture book period the library has the responsibility of supplying the child’s need and desire for experience through books and of developing his taste by putting before him the best. The child who grows up with the library will be a more intelligent and appreciative user of the adult department than he would be had he grown up without the library.

The children should have a place of their own where they can find that which is for them, be somewhat out of the way of adult patrons and feel a sense of ownership, feel that some part of the library belongs to them.

In the small library, if a separate children’s room is not a possibility, let there be at least a corner fitted up as the children’s domain. Let it be made attractive for them. If possible, have the shelving lower than ordinary, or perhaps the regulation height with the two upper shelves boarded up and covered with cork carpet, making a frieze on which can be posted temporary sets of pictures. A frieze space can be utilized in a number of ways. By all means have at least one low table with chairs to correspond; the ideal way is to have two heights of tables,—about 23 and 27 inches with chairs 13 and 15 inches in height. Low racks for picture books and the magazines for children are convenient and attractive. A space for picture bulletins or illustrated reading lists is useful as a means of attracting attention to fresh interest in reading, to material on popular subjects, or to neglected classes of books. If framed pictures 55 can be afforded, there are good prints, lithographs and photographs which, if carefully chosen, can be both decorative and educational from the standpoint of art, as well as pleasing in themselves to the children. There should be, if possible, at least one picture or reproduction of sculpture representing a work of art of permanent value.

The books for the youngest children represent a distinct class of reading and should be separated from the others in order that the little children need not search through the whole collection to find their own. It is best to shelve this collection near the picture books on the one hand and the fairy tales on the other, thus allowing the children to find the next step at hand.

Rules.—It should be remembered that rules and discipline are for the moral benefit of the children even more than for the protection of the library and it is wise to make rules only as they are found necessary, but once made, let them be enforced. The key note of successful discipline is sympathy with child nature. Through personal, persistent work a desired atmosphere of order becomes to a great extent established and obedience to unwritten laws a habit, although each individual case requiring discipline may require individual treatment, children being individuals. Problems of racial temperament and social education, depending on the classes of society with which one is dealing, enter largely into all phases of library work. One working with children has many opportunities to become an influence for good in their lives by way of little courtesies and obedience to laws of order and fairness, which are taught as a matter of course.

Rules governing fines for overdue and damaged books must be decided according to the policy of individual libraries. It is not good for children to feel that a fine can be outlawed; better remit it for sufficient reasons or try the plan of allowing them, in certain cases, to work out the fine,—a plan which has been found satisfactory in some libraries. A damaged book should never be passed without notice.

Books for children.—The great purpose of library work with children is to attract the children to books: satisfying individual needs and demands, and guiding their reading. Hence, the two most important requisites for the children’s librarian are a knowledge of children and of books, and 56 if there is but one thing she can do by way of preparation for this work, let it be that of becoming acquainted with a few children’s books representative of various types. Nothing can take the place of first hand knowledge of the books and of intelligence in placing the right book in the hands of the right child at the right time.

To be capable of guiding the reading of children it is necessary for one, first, to have appreciation and discernment in adult literature, second, to gain the child’s point of view. The various printed book lists are helpful, but the librarian should depend upon her own judgment as final critic in the selection of books for her children’s collection. She must realize the qualities essential to particular classes of books, such as history, and biography, science, travel, fiction, and the qualities which make them suitable for children. In the matter of books of science, etc., it is always best to obtain the judgment of some authority in this line as to their accuracy. As to their suitability for children in presentation,—simplicity of treatment and interest of style,—the worker with children is still the best judge. The story style of presenting science is, as a general thing, of little use. Children can take their informative reading in a straightforward way. Nothing is more disappointing to them than to take a book for the sake of the story and find that it is only information with a story covering, or to search for some definite information and be constantly hindered by the narrative.

As to the real literature for children, or the story, perhaps there is no surer way of gaining discrimination than by reading some of the classics for children and some of the standard fiction; e. g., a few of the old favorite folk tales, myths, and such adaptations for children as Marvin’s Adventures of Odysseus and French’s Heroes of Iceland; books of fiction such as Pyle’s Men of Iron, Kipling’s Captains Courageous, Spyri’s Heidi. The children’s collection should be kept well rounded and should contain a fair proportion of good poetry, chosen from various standpoints: all that is childlike in subject and form, much that is beyond the average child but appreciated by the unusual one,—poetry chosen for beauty of sound or charm of movement.

Work with Schools.—The library must keep pace with the course of study in the schools and develop its school reference 57 work with teachers and pupils by proving its helpfulness. The adult collection will always be found an important help in reference work. The duplication of certain titles to meet the school demand for supplementary reading should be made only as far as is possible without injustice to the children’s room collection as a whole.

The lending of sets of books for class room libraries is best begun with schools at a distance too great for the children to walk to the library to get their books. These collections are made up of about fifty books, not text books nor required supplementary reading, but books following the line of certain parts of the school work and books of imaginative reading. A simple method is usually devised for statistics of circulation, such as a large card for each book on which is written the name of the child who is reading the book.

Story Hours.—The story hour is an ideal way of presenting the classic literature. If there is plenty of time for story hours and for proper preparation, a satisfactory division of children and of literature is to invite the younger children to hear the folk tales and other literature suited to their age, but not to have an age limit excluding older children who would enjoy coming and perhaps have never heard these stories; the children of ten years and over being invited to hear Greek and Norse myths and cycles, such as the sagas, the mediaeval legends, ballads, stories from Homer, etc., and miscellaneous stories suited to their age. The stories which come to us from the folk literature and other classic sources are to a great extent universal in interest and appeal to all classes and nationalities of children.

One story hour per week is often as much as the small library has time for and no story hour at all is preferable to the telling of stories poorly prepared, or told by one without appreciation. Poetry hours and clubs for reading, debating, travel study, etc., are important methods of interesting, inspiring and guiding children. The love of poetry may be kept alive by giving it orally and for pure joy in the story hour, reading circles or occasional readings to small groups.

Visits to the homes of the children for one reason or another, and visits to the school rooms to tell stories, to remind the children of the library, or merely to show an interest in the work of the different grades, will prove 58 fruitful in many ways. Short printed lists of books on different subjects are useful in suggesting new lines of reading to children.

It is the privilege of the librarian to enrich the lives of her youthful patrons. There are compensations for those in charge of small libraries, where a trained children’s librarian cannot be afforded, in opportunities for a greater share in the joy of working with the receptive thought of the child, while the work with parents and teachers as well gives deeper insight into the sympathy for the needs of the children.



“There is no problem relating to the equipment of the high school which is more pressing than that of the library,” said a recent editorial writer in the School Review. At the annual meeting of the New York State Library Association, in 1907, Dr. Downing, State Commissioner of Education, suggested that some special study be given to the question of high school libraries and a committee was later appointed to make an investigation of library conditions in high schools and report at the annual meeting in September, 1909. A questionnaire was sent to some eighty-three schools, but only a few of the replies contained more than the briefest answers. Twenty-five out of the fifty-two libraries heard from were in charge of librarians who had some library experience or training. Most of the librarians had been appointed to high school positions since 1903. The first appointment of a high school librarian in New York City was in 1900. The investigation as a whole was unsatisfactory, inasmuch as the high schools reporting were not representative of conditions throughout the State, much less throughout the country generally, and because the replies left much unsaid as to the actual use of and interest in these libraries.

In a discussion of “The difficulty of the high school library,”[2] Mr. Edwin White Gaillard, supervisor of work with schools, New York Public Library, claims that the problem is largely one of money and deprecates the duplication of work already being done by the public library. This is no more of an argument against high school libraries than are similar objections against departmental libraries in a university. The high school library is for a special kind of work—work that can best be done in the school building, under the supervision and guidance of one familiar with the special needs of the student. Mr. Gaillard 60 grants that much, of course, may be learned about libraries and library methods in the high school library, but claims that the library habit, the habit of going to the public library for all sorts of information, of little or of great interest, cannot be acquired from the high school library. This is a point which cannot be conceded. University librarians are familiar with a similar argument against technical departmental libraries to the effect that they have a tendency to make the technical student feel that there is no need of his going to the University Library, that the departmental library answers all his needs. Experience, however, proves that to have these students use any library you must plant it right in their midst. So with the high school students: give them a good library in their own school building and then see that they use it properly, for this is a part of modern education.

In these days when high schools are extending their work in so many directions and when books must be provided for supplementary work in English, in history, in the preparation of debates, and in other subjects, a well-equipped library is a necessity in the modern high school. A motley array of old text-books, out-of-date encyclopædias and miscellaneous volumes from the attics of well-meaning friends of the institution will not make a good high school library. Upon how many school libraries in this country can former pupils look back as did Burne-Jones upon the little school library at Birmingham, as “that blessed institution where we spent many blissful hours.” The failure of many school libraries is due to a lack of proper care and fostering attention after they have been established. The library is there out of deference to a growing public sentiment in favor of such an annex, but the library is too frequently left to run itself, or the responsibility for its care is given to some teacher already overburdened with class-room work. The responsibility ought never to be placed on the teachers, or at least not on one who is doing full work as a teacher. The average teacher, if given charge of a school library, will confine her efforts to seeing that the rules are obeyed, that books are brought in on time, and that silence and order are preserved. She will not have time or energy to devote to the building up of the library, to instruct the pupils in its use, to look after reference work with the students, nor to help the teachers in finding needed 61 material. “Disabuse yourselves of the notion that it is teachers’ work, and a way out of the difficulty will be found,” says a recent writer in the Library Journal.[3]

The school library differs from the average public library in that it is usually a reference library first and a lending library only so far as the use of its books outside the building does not conflict with the usefulness of its service to the teachers and pupils in the school building.

Duties of the Librarian.—The first duty of the librarian is to make the books, photographs, and other possessions of the library available by a simple and acceptable system of classification and cataloguing. After this has been accomplished it will be necessary to make these possessions known to the teachers and pupils. This can only be done by one who is familiar with the material and trained in its use. If the reference work is done by an untrained worker it is a case of the blind leading the blind. A teacher with no training in library methods will not go to another teacher, known to be similarly deficient, for information in regard to books, and the pupils will get comparatively little real library help from one who is primarily a class-room teacher, untrained to meet all classes of readers and answer a great variety of questions.

The interested librarian will be on the lookout for any new books that may be of use to teachers and pupils; she will try to keep a balance in the matter of books for the various departments of study, to inform herself on current events and, in short, make herself as useful in all lines of high school work as is possible with the time and means at her disposal.

Assistance for the Librarian.—As the work of the library grows it will be necessary for the librarian to have assistance of some kind. The arrangement for this will depend largely upon the circumstances in the given school. In many schools student assistants are employed. In some cases boys are hired at a small sum per hour to give their services as pages. In others good students are allowed to volunteer for library work, giving one hour a day to it. They enjoy the work and find their enlarged knowledge of the library very useful. In some schools the librarian is assisted by a member of the teaching staff, who thus becomes familiar with the library and acquires some knowledge 62 of reference work and can assist the pupils in various ways.

Purposes of a Library.—The purposes of a school library should be not only to provide laboratory material for the pupils’ work in literature and history, to enable the teacher to instruct them in the use of books as sources of information, and to assist the teacher in other ways, but also to instil in the pupils an interest in books as books, to cultivate a taste for reading. Too many high school graduates have no conception of a book, other than fiction, as anything but a task or a text.

The high school library should not try to compete with the public library if there is one in the same town. Literature for recreation pure and simple is better supplied by the public library, where it is available for those who are both below and above the high school age. But, on the other hand, if there is nothing to interest the students by its innate appeal, if everything in the school library suggests lessons, many of the students will view it with suspicion, and avoid it, unless sent there by the teachers.

Teaching the Use of the Library.—Most pupils when they enter the high school are ignorant of the use of the simplest and most common reference books. They do not know the difference between a table of contents and an index, and are so helpless in a library that their teachers hesitate to give them work outside their text-books. Even those who are best informed can be helped to the use of books which will be of the greatest assistance to them in the preparation of their daily lessons, essays, and debates.

Early in the school year the librarian ought to meet the new students and explain to them in the reading-room the grouping of the books and the fundamental principles underlying the making of a dictionary card catalogue. The location of various classes of reference books should be pointed out, the differences between a dictionary and an encyclopædia explained, and the various types of both commented upon. The pupils should be shown how to use “Poole’s Index” and the “Reader’s Guide to Periodical Literature” and have the helpfulness of these aids clearly brought home to them by concrete illustrations in connection with some practical theme work or preparation for a debate. If this initial visit to the library is made the subject of a required paper in the English course the benefits 63 are doubled. The pupils can be assigned problems of various kinds involving the intelligent use of tables of contents and indexes, and familiarizing themselves with a variety of reference books.[4] They can be asked to fill out a call slip from the reference in the card catalogue, take the volume to the delivery desk, have it charged out, return it, see it discharged and put back in its regular place on the shelves.

Library Instruction.—The library instruction, in order to be of real benefit to the pupils, should be made a part of the school curriculum and be given credit the same as other work. In most schools where it is given it is counted as a part of the English work. In the high schools of Michigan the time given to the library work varies from one to three exercises for each of the grades. The instruction is given in the form of lectures or informal talks, after which the pupils are required to work out a set of problems on reference books. This work is done in the library under the supervision of the librarian. The completed exercises are in some schools handed in to the librarian and in others to the English teacher, but the credit is usually given the pupil by his English teacher. The talks are arranged to suit the work and needs of the different classes. Those for the ninth grade pupils ordinarily include instruction in the use of dictionaries, encyclopædias and atlases, and the use of the table of contents and indexes in reference books. The instruction for the tenth grade takes up the use of the card catalogue, magazine indexes, year-books, and special indexes. The upper classes may be given practice work in comparing the value of different reference books, in learning to get references from various sources not on the reference shelves, and in the use of some of the government publications.

Library Courses.—One of the best library courses of this kind is that conducted by the librarian of the Detroit Central High School, where the work is graded to correspond with the regular grading of the English courses in that school. The librarian has a graded series of library questions which are among the best illustrations of this kind of work 64 for high school courses available in print. We give specimens from the various series as follows:

  1. 1. Consult the indexes of poems by Holmes, and give the pages on which you find the following: (a) Poem beginning, “Listen, young heroes! Your country is calling.” (b) Poem entitled, “Dorothy Q.” 2. Between what streets in our city does 870 Lafayette Street come?
  2. 1. Look up the “Seven Wonders of the World” in two different books. Do not copy them. Name the books in which you found them. 2. In what work of literature does the “Old Man of the Sea” appear? In what reference book did you find it?
  3. 1. Find the allusion to “Field of the Cloth of Gold” in two different books. In what books did you find it? 2. Use the card catalogue and give a reference for the life of John Greenleaf Whittier.
  4. 1. (a) Who was governor of Iowa in 1906? (b) Where was he born? 2. (a) Name two good recent encyclopædias, (b) Name two good older encyclopædias.
  5. 1. (a) What is the general index to Government publications? (b) How often is it published? 2. (a) What is the Congressional directory? (b) Examine it and name any one reference point which interested you. (c) What is the Congressional record?
  6. Name good reference books under the following heads: (a) Classical dictionary. (b) Gazetteer of the world. (c) Atlas of the world. (d) Year-book for current history.

There is an almost endless variety of questions which can be put to the students to bring out points in connection with reference books. They can be asked to name the various kinds of dictionaries in the library, to tell which is the latest issue, to look up the same word in each, and tell the differences noted in the treatment of the word in question. See whether they can define a gazetteer, a glossary, and a concordance. Ask them where they would go to find a picture 65 of the human skeleton, or colored plates of coats of arms and flags of various nations. See whether the word copyright means anything to them.

The Teacher and the Library.—“The position of a modern librarian in a high school,” says Principal McAndrew,[5] of the Washington Irving High School, New York, “seems to me like that of a missionary in a heathen country. No one but a librarian can realize what an astounding amount of ignorance we high school teachers exhibit regarding the purpose and operation of a library. Time and again in my library experience I have observed teachers searching through reference books who were too poorly trained to look in the table of contents and too proud to ask for help.” A frank confession from the teacher is good for the soul of both the teacher and the librarian. Certainly the classroom teacher must inform herself more thoroughly on the rudiments of library methods if she is to work in successful co-operation with the school librarian. Normal schools are now giving instruction in library economy. The Oregon Library Commission has published a broadside listing under forty-three heads, “Some things a teacher should know about books and libraries.” The list has been reprinted by the Michigan State Library Commission with slight revision. As specimens the following may be cited:

1. What are the best cyclopedias?

2. What dictionaries are best for school use and how do they differ?

3. What books can you consult to find out whether certain subscription sets urged upon the district by agents have any value?

4. What is the best printed aid to the formation of a teacher’s professional library?

5. Where will you find annual summaries of the books on education, with notes as to their value?

6. What U. S. public documents would be of value to you in your school work and how may they be obtained?

7. What are the best printed lists of books for children and how much will they cost?

8. What are the best graded lists of children’s books?

66 9. Where can you get notes about children’s books that will be of service in guiding the reading of the children in your grade?

10. What are the best books for reading aloud in your grade?

11. What are the best collections of poetry for children?

12. What books may be the best stepping-stones for the boy who is a slave to the “nickel library” habit?

13. What simple, accurate, scientific books will you give to the boys who are, or may become, interested in natural science; and what will you choose for those who wish to identify specimens of insects, of minerals and rocks, of birds, and of flowers?

14. If you do not know about these books how will you inform yourself?

15. What are some of the best biographies for children?

16. What are some of the good books of travel for use in geography work?

17. How can you find what magazine articles have been written about any subject and how can you get these articles for the use of the debating society?

18. What are the best books for the debating society?

19. What are the best periodicals for children?

20. What are the provisions of the school library law in regard to district-school libraries?

Value of Library Instruction.—Such library instruction as has been described is of great help to teachers assigning work to pupils and of the greatest benefit to the pupils themselves. Without it, the librarian, teachers, and pupils are handicapped in their work and the library fails of its full usefulness. A knowledge of how to use a library will be of the greatest value to the student not only through his high school course, but even more so in college, if he goes that far, or in continuing his reading and self-culture through the means of the public library when he discontinues his academic career. To be able to use books effectively, to know where to find exact information when wanted, is a kind of knowledge that comes from familiarity with reference books and the use of books as sources. Such an acquaintance with books is of infinitely more value in later life than knowing a few text-books from cover to cover. The place in which to lay the foundation for this proper and intimate acquaintance with books as tools is in the school library and the period is that of the high school age.



The new Encyclopædia Britannica will prove a rich mine for the diligent library assistant seeking information on topics connected with books and libraries. While the index volume suggests some of the topics in question, much of this suggestion is done by means of cross-references and it is worth while to call special attention to and briefly summarize the articles of interest to library workers. One of the first things worthy of notice is the fact that the articles are written by men who are recognized authorities in their various fields; such scholars as Sir E. Maunde Thompson, late chief librarian of the British Museum, Alfred W. Pollard and Cyril Davenport, also of the British Museum, H. R. Tedder, librarian of the Athenæum Club, and editor of “The Library” and J. Duff Brown, librarian of the Islington Public Libraries and author of the “Guide to librarianship” and other valued treatises on library economy.

Manuscripts.—Beginning with the Manuscript the student can read in Sir E. Maunde Thompson’s article a description of the development of the ancient manuscript, particularly among the Greeks and Romans, leading on to the mediaeval manuscripts of Europe, and bringing their history down to the invention of printing. The writer treats of the materials used, the forms of the manuscript book (the roll, the waxen tablet, the codex, the quires) the mechanical arrangement of writing, punctuation, division of words, abbreviations and contractions, writing implements and inks. Those who wish to pursue the subject further can turn to the same writer’s article on Palæography, the science which takes cognizance of writings of a literary, economic or legal nature, done generally with a stile, reed or pen, on tablets, rolls or codices. This paper traces the history of Greek and Latin palæography from the earliest written documents in those languages which have survived, touching especially on Greek papyri and 68 vellum codices, the Roman cursive and literary hands, and the various national hands derived from the Roman hand. It is therefore concerned with the fundamentals of the written records of Western Europe. Manuscripts with illustrations form a class by themselves and are described by this same high authority under Illuminated Mss. Here are outlined the chief features of the Byzantine, Franco-Lombardic, Celtic (with special mention of the Lindisfarne Gospels, of which a full-page colored facsimile is given) Carolingian, Anglo-Saxon, Norman, German, Italian and Spanish. There are separate paragraphs on the characteristics of the illumination of the 13th, 14th and 15th centuries.

Paper.—In the first section of the articles on Paper Sir Maunde Thompson discusses various theories as to the origin and early history of this commodity. For an account of the writing material made from Papyrus the author refers us to his treatment of that subject, where he gives an account of the reed, its cultivation and wide-spread use, its manipulation into the article of commerce and the use of the latter by scribes. The second section of the article on Paper treats especially of its manufacture and is written by J. W. Wyatt, with an interesting supplementary note on India Paper by W. E. G. Fisher. The name “India” was “originally given in England, about the middle of the 18th century to a soft absorbent paper of a pale buff shade, imported from China, where it was made by hand, on a paper-making frame somewhat similar to that used in Europe. The name probably originated in the prevailing tendency, down to the end of the 18th century, to describe as ‘Indian’ anything which came from the far East (cf. Indian ink). This so-called India paper was used for printing the earliest and finest impressions of engravings, hence known as ‘India proofs’”.

The Book.—As pointed out by Alfred W. Pollard in his article on the Book, there is but a slight difference in general appearance between a manuscript written in a formal book-hand and an early printed copy of the same work printed in the same district as the manuscript had been written. The type used by the early printers was as a rule based on handwriting considered appropriate for use in a manuscript copy of the same work. The development of the colophon into the title-page (a subject on which Mr. 69 Pollard is an authority) is briefly summarized. Other characteristics of some of the early printed books, such as their size, their paper, their illustrations and their bindings are noted. The main features of the books of each century from the 16th to the 19th are succinctly characterized in separate paragraphs, and the comparative cost of books at various periods is illustrated by citations of prices of well known works.

Incunabula.—Another article by Mr. Pollard treats of Incunabula. After summarizing the researches in this field the author grants that it is literally true that the output of the 15th century presses is better known to students than that of any other period. The subject has been pursued with what some have thought to be excessive and misplaced zeal. American librarians are naturally not so much interested in incunabula as are their European brethren, but our larger libraries and especially our universities are coming to have a fair representation of the work of some of the early printers and one notable collection, that made by Dr. Copinger, has come to this country, having been presented to the Philadelphia Free Library by Mr. P. A. B. Widener.

Printing.—The article on Printing by C. T. Jacobi, the author of a practical treatise on the subject which has gone through four editions, is confined to the work of the printing press and is divided into two parts: (1) history of the printing press and (2) modern presses. Those who do not have a mechanical bent will probably not get much out of these sections, but towards the end of the article is some general information on printing which ought to prove of interest to every library assistant.

The history of printing is treated at great length under the caption of Typography by J. H. Hessels, author of “Gutenberg; an historical investigation.” This article discusses in turn the manuscript period, the earliest attempts at printing, block-printing, early wood-engravings, block books, early printing with movable type, the controversy concerning the invention (this with great fulness), of early types and their fabrication, and ends with a sketch of some printers who flourished after 1500. A second section, entitled Modern Practical Typography, in part by John Southward, author of a “Dictionary of typography,” deals with the material characteristics of type, the sizes, and 70 varieties of face, the manufacture of type, composition and imposition, signatures and forms, typesetting machines, electrotyping and stereotyping.

Proof Reading, by John H. Black, who was press reader on the new volumes of the 10th edition of the Britannica, and John Randall, is of concern to all of us who have to do with “the art preservative of all the arts.” Proof reading seems to be practiced less and less in these days of type-setting machines, but being informed on the subject will help us in insisting on good work along this line.

Illustrations.—That the information concerning zinc cuts, half-tones, three color processes, monotypes, electrotypes, photolithotypes, and all other photo-mechanical methods of reproduction should be included in an article under Process will probably strike American readers as a Briticism,—but the facts are up to date and reliable. The writer, Mr. Edwin Bale, art director for Cassell and Co., grants that the term “process” is a somewhat unfortunate, one inasmuch as it is descriptive of nothing in particular. The article discusses in turn the various classes under the three generic heads: (1) relief, such as zinc etching, half-tones, including those in color; (2) intaglio, such as photogravures and monotypes, where, as in the old copper plates, the printing surface is sunk below the surrounding portions of the plate; (3) planographic, like lithographs, collotypes, phototypes and heliotypes, which are all printed from flat surfaces. The distinction between these various kinds of illustrations is not easily grasped by the beginner, but no one whose constant business is with books ought to be ignorant of the difference between a woodcut and a half-tone, a mezzotint and a chrome-lithograph, a copper plate and a cleverly devised imitation made from a zinc block, and yet I have seen a good many library school graduates to whom the whole matter was so much Greek. How can you buy illustrated books intelligently if you don’t know whether the illustrations are what they pretend to be? Better read up further in Mr. Frank Weitenkampf’s “How to appreciate prints” and study carefully the Newark exhibit, “The features of the printed book,” the first opportunity you get. Meanwhile, make yourself familiar with the general information given by Laurence Housman in his article on Illustration. Leaving aside the illumination of manuscripts, the art of illustration in its modern sense 71 goes back to the invention of printing. Many incunabula were enriched with drawings by artists of the French, German, Spanish and Italian schools. Many engravings on both wood and copper by such men as Dürer and Holbein were made to adorn the printed page. The art of illustration has always been influenced by the prevailing pictorial art. French engraving was influenced by the painting of Watteau. English illustrations of different periods show the large following which such men as Reynolds and Hogarth were accorded. Bewick laid the foundations for a school of English wood engraving which persisted until the invention of mechanical methods of reproduction came into vogue. The cheap magazines created a great demand for illustrations that could be inexpensively produced, and the files of illustrated periodicals thereby became one of the best places in which to study the work of wood engravers and illustrators whose work lent itself to reproduction in cheap form. To those who know how to use them aright this gives a new interest to some of the Poole sets which have of late years been retired to out of the way places, such as Once a week, Good words, London Society, Sunday at home, for in the pages of these journals are found illustrations by some of the best men of the school known as “of the ’sixties.”

The technical developments of the art of illustration form the subject of a brief supplementary article by E. F. Strange of the South Kensington Museum. This is concerned with the history of experiments leading to the development of the present day half-tone block and color printing.

Bookbinding is treated by Cyril Davenport, who sketches the history of his subject from the earliest times when protective covers were used over the smaller Assyrian tablets of about the 8th century B. C., through the days of Latin diptychs (the earliest prototypes of the modern book) to the time of rolls of papyrus, vellum or paper. The device of folding vellum into pages was first used about the 5th century of the Christian era, and the sewing of these signatures by fastening the threads around a strip of leather or vellum at right angles to the line of backs was the next stage in the development of the modern book. Then it was found that the bands needed protection and so strips of leather were fastened down the backs, and in 72 order to prevent the tendency of the vellum leaves to curl, strong wooden boards were put on each side and the leather back was drawn over the boards far enough to make a hinge, thus giving us the half-bound books of the middle ages. The next steps were to cover not only the back but also the sides of the book with leather and then to decorate the leather. The art of gold tooling spread quickly, and heraldic designs were used for ornamentation from the days of Edward VI. The deterioration of the quality of modern book paper and badly prepared leathers have been serious drawbacks to good bookbinding, but there has been a revival of interest in the art for its own sake during recent years. The introduction of stamped cloth binding about 1822 developed into the case binding of today, for which elaborate machinery has been perfected.

Book-plates are thought of by many librarians as being unworthy of their serious attention, but a mere glance at the article by Egerton Castle should convince the uninitiated as to the value of at least a rudimentary knowledge of the subject. Mr. Castle’s study of “English book-plates” appeared twenty years ago, but his interest in ex-libris has apparently not flagged despite the demands of novel writing on his time, which is a tribute to the fascinations of these little marks of ownership. Among the illustrations are reproduced the earliest known movable book-plate, one belonging to the monastery of Buxheim, dating from about 1480, and the oldest English plate, that of Sir Nicholas Bacon, 1574. Good examples are given of armorial plates of various periods, of the Jacobean, the Chippendale or rococo, and the pictorial where, as in the Bewick plate, the motif is a bit of landscape or, as in the plate by E. D. French, a library interior.

Bookselling.—Even those librarians who think that they know something about buying books, can with decided advantage read the article on Bookselling. The modern system goes back almost to the invention of printing. The earliest printers were also editors and booksellers but as they were not able themselves to dispose of the entire output of their presses they had agents at most of the universities. The religious dissensions following the Reformation created a great demand for books and there were troublous times for both printers and booksellers. In the English copyright act of 1709 it is ruled that if any person shall think 73 the published price of a book unreasonably high he may make complaint to the archbishop of Canterbury and to certain other persons named who shall thereupon examine into his complaint and if well founded reduce the price, and any bookseller charging more than the price agreed upon shall be fined for every copy sold. Unfortunately this law was never enforced. Were there such a court of appeal today it would have a full docket! In the paragraph on bookselling in this country it is pointed out that half the names in the “so-called American catalogue of books” printed between 1820 and 1852 are British, the works of Scott, Byron, Moore, Southey and Wordsworth having been printed here without the payment of any royalties. Through the growth of intercourse with England and the appearance on the literary horizon of native writers of ability, a decided change was gradually produced in the American book trade and the conditions here became more like those of Europe.

Publishing.—The subject of bookselling is treated still further in the article on Publishing which is in a way a continuation of it. It gives more historical detail concerning the early stages of this once combined business, with a good deal on that topic of interest to librarians and the book-buying public,—the net price question. The early separation of publishing from bookselling is touched upon, and the emergence of publishers as a separate class is outlined. The transitory phenomenon of the man of letters assisting the publisher in an advisory capacity as to the suitability of manuscripts submitted for publication is an interesting chapter in the expansion of the publishing business. Publishing being today largely a commercial affair, the literary reader has in the main been supplanted by the man of business with an aptitude for estimating how many copies of a given book can be sold. One London publisher has of recent years paid no salary to his reader but has given him a small commission upon every copy that was sold of any book published on his recommendation. What is wanted by the publisher is only too often not literary quality but commercial value.

Bibliography.—The article on this subject by Mr. Pollard, is only concerned with bibliography as the art of examination, collation and description of books,—their enumeration and arrangement in lists for purposes of information, and 74 further, with the literature of this subject, i. e. with the bibliography of bibliography. The examination and collation of books to discover whether they are perfect and in their original condition are especially important in the case of rare books, like incunabula and first editions, piracies and spurious imprints. Photographic forgeries of books can usually be detected by the tendency of all photographic reproduction to thicken letters and exaggerate every kind of defect. Some of these imitations are, however, very cleverly made on paper of the period of the original and so are very hard to distinguish from the latter.

Book Collecting is sympathetically discussed by Mr. Pollard. The statement that the ultimate rarity of books varies in the inverse ratio of the number of copies originally printed, though recognized as a somewhat sweeping generalization, is conceded to be not far from the truth. No one thinks of collecting what is easily procurable at the moment. So long as the anticipation exists that a book will continue to be easily procurable the collecting impulse is restrained. Book collecting as a hobby is analyzed and the history of some notable private collections given. As Thomas Watts once said, the main office of private collections is to feed public institutions.

Libraries.—This brings us to the article on Libraries, written jointly by H. R. Tedder and J. Duff Brown, an article of about 65,000 words and deserving of more than a passing notice. It is the latest conspectus of library history and activity and if printed separately might have made a book of several hundred pages which would have been duly reviewed in all the professional journals. The fact that it is in the Britannica insures it even wider publicity and in view of its excellence we feel that it is worth while calling to the particular attention of librarians.

The general treatment divides the subject into Ancient libraries (3 pages) Mediaeval period (3 pages) and Modern libraries (26 pages). The first section has an archaeological rather than a professional interest, but the mediaeval period is of importance to us because in it is found the real origin of modern library organization. A rule of St. Benedict required the monks to borrow a book apiece and read it straight through. The books in the Benedictine monastery were kept in armaria, or chests; whence the name of the Benedictine librarian, armarius. The Carthusians 75 are supposed to have been the first to lend books for use outside the monastery. The library at Cesena in Northern Italy is still preserved in its original condition. The Laurentian library at Florence was designed after monastic models.

The development of modern libraries is first illustrated by examples from the United Kingdom, by sketching the history of the British Museum, and other English Government libraries, by outlining the growth of the university libraries of Great Britain, incidentally touching on the libraries of learned societies, clubs, municipalities, and winding up with a section on British library administration. All this is admirably done, and deserves careful reading. The authors suggest several reforms and question some practices. For example, they feel that it would be an advantage from an administrative standpoint if the professional certificates of the Library Association were adopted by the Civil Service Commissioners as a compulsory requirement in addition to their own examination. They evidently favor some form of “registration,” the mooted topic before the British Library Association. The official recognition of a grade of properly trained librarians would in the opinion of these writers tend to improve the methods and efficiency of the government libraries, generally conceded to be behind the municipal libraries in organization and administration. It is pointed out that the reading of fiction in British municipal libraries is much less than commonly believed, being only 24 percent, even after due allowance is made for the reading of fiction in current magazines. Attention is called to the gradual disappearance of the unclassified municipal library, although in 1910 there were over 340 not closely classified, but only arranged in broad numerical or alphabetical divisions. The replacement of printed catalogs in book form by card catalogs and other forms, like the sheaf catalog, easily kept up to date, is noted as growing in favor. The great increase in the freedom of access allowed in lending libraries is considered the most striking tendency of recent years.

In the section devoted to the United States, the Library of Congress naturally comes first, and is characterized as “the most active government library in existence.” The rise of the state and university libraries is sketched, and something is said about the proprietary and endowed libraries 76 of the country. That these writers are not of the group who have been saying unkind things about us, witness the following: “In no country has the movement for the development of municipal libraries made such progress as in the United States; these institutions ... are distinguished for their work, enterprise and the liberality with which they are supported.” There is an interesting comparison of the cost of maintenance of English and American libraries. East Orange, N. J. (population 35,000) spends $12,000 on its library system, while Dumfries in Scotland (population 23,000) spends $2,500. The city of Cincinnati, with practically the same population as the borough of Islington, London, spends more than three times as much money on its library system,—$130,000 as contrasted with $41,000. It would be instructive to compare the work done in these particular cities. The general statement is made that the provision of books is more generous in the American libraries than in those of Great Britain, but that more reading is done in the latter. The authors point out that work with the schools and children generally is more cultivated in the libraries of the United States than elsewhere. They are cautious in their statements, but one can read the doubt in their minds as to the wisdom of the “story hour” in the library. “The preponderance of women librarians and their natural sentimental regard for children has tended to make this work loom rather largely in some quarters, but with these exceptions the activity on behalf of children is justified on many grounds. But above all, it is manifest that a rapidly growing nation, finding homes for thousands of foreigners and their children annually, must use every means of rapidly educating their new citizens, and the public library is one of the most efficient and ready ways of accomplishing this great national object.”

While the remainder of the article, devoted to libraries in non-English speaking countries, is of less immediate interest to the average library assistant, it should be read with care for the perspective it will help to give. We should know more of our historical background and here is an excellent place to get a bird’s eye view of the whole library movement. The account of the Bibliothèque Nationale and other libraries of Paris, is very complete and contains references and statistics not generally available. The description of the Berlin libraries is less full, but satisfactory. 77 The Italian libraries come in for their share of attention, and the article ends with accounts of the library movement and the noteworthy libraries in Latin America, Spain and Portugal, the Netherlands, Russia, China and Japan. The article as a whole will bear reading several times and can be consulted constantly with full-reliance upon its detailed information.

In addition to the above there are articles which have a special interest for different classes of library workers. The cataloger will want to read what is said on the Index, where a high compliment is paid “American enterprise” for the modern device of the card catalog cabinet, and the Library of Congress for its printed card work. The assistant in the periodical room ought to read the article on Periodicals by Mr. Tedder, which deals chiefly with publications devoted to general literature, literary and critical reviews, and magazines for the supply of miscellaneous reading. It takes up in historical sequence the British quarterlies, monthlies, weeklies, modern magazines and cheap publications; then those of the United States, Canada and other British possessions, France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Belgium, Holland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Portugal, Greece, Russia and other countries. Under the caption of Caricature Mr. M. H. Spielman writes entertainingly concerning the popular illustrated periodicals of Great Britain, France, Germany and the United States. In the latter section he sketches the rise of Thomas Nast, discusses the influence of Life, and the work of C. D. Gibson and A. B. Frost. In his paragraph on Cartoon Mr. Spielman says that John Leech’s drawing in No. 105 of Punch was the first caricature to be called a “cartoon.” After a while Punch dropped the latter word but the public took it up. The information concerning Newspapers has been garnered by several hands. Mr. Hugh Chisholm, the editor of the present edition of the Britannica, and for some years connected with the London Times, writes the first installment entitled “General considerations” giving the historical development of the newspaper (particularly the English) from the Oxford Gazette of 1665, through the days of the “leading article” by prominent writers, down to the time of the “news agencies.” The present status of journalism, with its well developed commercial side, is passed in review, and the influence of 78 American journalism is duly set forth. The cheapening of paper, which within one generation dropped from 22 cents to as low as 1-1/2 cents a pound, is shown to have had the obvious tendency of increasing the size of newspapers and reducing the price. The attitude of some English newspaper publishers towards news of the turf is instructive to American librarians who have read of the “blocking out” of sporting tips deemed necessary in some English libraries. The simultaneous growth of the cheap newspaper throughout the civilized world is commented upon by Lord Northcote in two interpolated paragraphs, which are followed by some remarks on Illustrated Papers by Mr. Clement K. Shorter. The remainder of the article by Mr. Chisholm consists of a very full account of British newspapers (in which certain portions of the article by Edward Edwards, of library fame, in the earlier edition of the Britannica, have been incorporated) followed by an historical sketch of those of the United States, of France, Germany and other European countries.

Much of the information presented by Prof. E. G. Ravenstein under the caption Map is of immediate interest to all of us. It treats in turn of the classification and scale of maps, delineation of the ground, selection of names and orthography, measurement on maps, relief maps, map printing, history of cartography, and topographical surveys. The reading of what Mr. H. R. Tedder has to say on Pamphlets may make the library assistant who has to handle them more kindly disposed toward this class of publications. There is nothing like knowing the history of a subject to incite interest in it.

The bibliographies appended to each article will enable the inquiring and ambitious assistant to pursue further such phases of the questions involved as may make the stronger appeal; but the source of the greatest satisfaction is that the workers in the smaller libraries, where but little of the literature of librarianship is to be found, can find within the covers of the Encyclopædia Britannica a conspectus of authoritative statements on many matters of professional interest.


Cataloging; suggestions for the small public library, 1908.

School Review, April. 1907, vol. XV, pp. 245-253.

Vol. XXXIII, p. 136.

For some problems of this sort, see “Modern American Library Economy,” by John Cotton Dana, Part V, “The School Department, Section 2.” “Course of Study for Normal School Pupils on the Use of a Library,” by Marjory L. Gilson.

In an address before the library section of the National Education Association, Boston, July 5, 1910.



Adams, Hannah, 8
American Library Association, 13
Analyticals, 35-36
Assistants, 17, 61-62
Astor, John Jacob, 9
Astor, William B., 10
Astor Library, 9
Author entry, 33-34
Bates, Joshua, 9
Bibliography, 73-74
Bigelow, John, 11
Billings, Dr. John Shaw, 12
Binding, 51-52, 71
Book, 68-89
Book binding, 71-72
Book buying, 20, 23-24
Book collecting, 74
Book selection, 20-23
Book selling, 72
Booklist, 22
Book-plates, 72
Boston Athenæum, 8
Boston Public Library, 8
Bostwick, A. E., 20
Bradshaw, Henry, 16
Burton, John Hill, 10
Cards, catalog, 36-37
Care of books, 52-53
Caricature, 77
Carnegie, Andrew, 12
Cataloging, 33-38
Child, Mrs. Lydia Maria, 8
Children, work with, 54-58
Circulation, 49-50
Classification, 25-32
Cloth, 52
Cogswell, Joseph G., 10, 12, 22
Collecting, 74
Crawford, Esther, 37
Cutter, Charles A., 29, 35
Dana, John Cotton, 41-42
Dewey, Melvil, 29-32
Documents, 46-49
Duché, Rev. Jacob, 7
Edwards, Edward, 16
Encyclopædia Britannica, 67-78
Everett, Edward, 9
Foster, W. E., 22
Gaillard, Edwin White, 59
Garnett, Richard, 10
High school library, 59-66
Hitchler, Theresa, 37-38
Illuminated manuscripts, 68
Illustrated papers, 78
Illustrations, 70-71
Incunabula, 69
India paper, 68
Instruction, 63
Lenox, James, 11
Lenox Library, 11
Librarian, duties of, 16-17, 61
Libraries, 74-77
Library instruction, 63-65, 66
Library Journal, 13
Library staff, 17
Library work, 17-19
Loan systems, 49-50
Logan, James, 7
McAndrew, William, 65
Manuscripts, 67
Maps, 78
Michigan, 14-15
Mitchell, Donald G., 10
New York Public Library, 12
Newspapers, 77-78
Oregon library commission, 65
Organization of a library, 16
Palæography, 67
Pamphlets, 78
Paper, 68
Papyrus, 68
Periodicals, 77
Philadelphia Library Company, 7
Poole’s Index, 45-46
Printing, 69
Process, 70
Proof reading, 70
Public documents, 46-49
Public libraries, spread of, 13
Publishing, 73
Putnam, Herbert, 19
Reader’s Guide, 45-46
Reference books, 42-45
Reference work, 39-42
Ridgeway Library, 7
Rules, 55
Rush, Dr. James, 7
St. Louis Public Library, 20
School libraries, 59-66
Schools, work with, 56
State documents, 49
State library commissions, 14
Stevens, Henry, 11
Story hours, 57
Subject entries, 34-35
Sumner, Charles, 11
Teacher and the library, 65
Ticknor, George, 9
Tilden, Samuel J., 11
Traveling libraries, 14
Trustees, 16
Typography, 69
Use of the library, 62-63
Vattemare, Alexandre, 8
Winsor, Justin, 16
Winthrop, Robert C., 8


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