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   Chapter 6 OTHER THINGS

A Library Primer By John Cotton Dana Characters: 24382

Updated: 2017-11-30 00:05

Accession book. See catalog of the Library Bureau. For a very small library a common blank-book will do.

Agreement blanks, which the borrower signs before getting his borrower's card giving him the right to use the library. See chapter on charging systems.

Book cards. See chapter on charging systems, and Library Bureau catalog.

Book pockets. See Library Bureau catalog, and also chapter on charging systems.

Borrowers' cards. Given to borrowers as evidence of their right to draw books. See chapter on charging systems.

Borrowers' register, best kept on cards. See chapter on charging systems.

Catalog cards. These are of two sizes and many thicknesses. Select what suits you. See Library Bureau catalog.

Catalog case. See Library Bureau catalog. For a very small library a few japanned tin trays will serve. But your catalog will grow faster than you suppose.

Cole size card; a sheet marked in such a way as to give one at a glance the proper letter to use in indicating the size of any book placed on it. See Library Bureau catalog. In a very small library not needed.

Classification scheme. See chapters on classification.

Cutter author table for book numbers. See chapter on book numbers. For a very small library one can use numbers only.

Daters and ink pads for dating borrowers' cards, etc. The pencil daters are best. See chapter on charging systems.

Ink. For all outside labels use Higgins' American drawing ink, waterproof. For book cards, borrowers' cards, etc., use any good black, non-copying ink. Carter's fluid is very good.

Labels. Round ones are best and those ready gummed do well if carefully put on. Dennison's "88A" are good.

Paste. Binder's paste is good; for library use it needs thinning. Higgins' photo mounter and other like bottled pastes are better.

Rubber stamps and ink pad for marking books with name of library. See chapter on preparing books for the shelves.

Shelf list cards. See Library Bureau catalog.

Shelf list sheets (or cards). See Library Bureau catalog. In a very small library sheets of ordinary ruled writing paper will serve. It is better, however, to get the right thing at the start.

* * *


The relation of the Library Bureau to libraries

Geo. B. Meleney, Ch. Mgr., in Public Libraries, May, 1896

The consideration of the relations of the Library Bureau to libraries brings us back to the organization of the American Library Association in 1876. At this gathering of the prominent librarians of the country, the discussion of methods brought out the lack of unanimity in, and the need of co?peration for, a uniform system in the various branches of library work. To carry out uniform methods requires uniform material, and this was hard to obtain. The American Library Association as such, of course, could not take up a business venture of this kind, but it was decided to advise an organization for keeping on sale such supplies and library aids as the association might decide were needed.

The Library Bureau was then organized for this purpose, and has continued to keep the same relation toward the library association as was originally intended. Referring to the numbers of the Library Bureau catalogs, one may trace the history of the development not only of the appliances furnished by the Library Bureau, but also of ideas of library economy as they are gathered there from every source. It confined its attention at first to libraries only, the business being divided into four departments: employment, to bring together libraries and librarians; consultation, to give expert advice on any phase of any library question; publication, to publish the various needed helps (from point of usefulness to libraries rather than profit to publishers); supply, to furnish at lower prices all articles recommended by the A. L. A., and to equip any library with best known devices in everything needful. Among the things noticed in these departments are catalog cards, cases, trays, and outfits, book supports, blanks, book pockets, boxes, desks, inks, etc. Some specialties are noted in library devices, and helpful advice as to their economical use is given. The successive catalogs follow the same line, attention being directed toward all improvements in old material, and to all advanced work in library administration wherever found. Not all the material recommended was manufactured by the Library Bureau, but a generous spirit is shown in recommending any device, plan, or publication known to be helpful to the library profession. It has brought to notice many notable contributions to library literature, such as the Author table, by C. A. Cutter, of the Boston athen?um; Decimal classification and relative index and Library notes, by Melvil Dewey; Library journal; Library school rules; Perkins' manual; Linderfelt's rules; Sargent's Reading for the young; Lists of books for different clubs; Subject headings of A. L. A., etc. The Library Bureau catalog itself is one of the best library aids ever published. These catalogs have always been sent free to library workers.

Libraries grew in numbers and size largely because of the enthusiasm of earnest workers, but very frequently with hardly enough financial assistance to warrant more than the purchase of a few books, and frequently with limited knowledge of how to make the small store of use to the waiting public. The management of the Library Bureau at this time was certainly doing a missionary work; but its chief problem was the financial one, or how to make both ends meet, and it was not until library methods were introduced into business houses that this question was solved. The constant and untiring efforts of the management of the Library Bureau toward the assistance and upbuilding of the smaller and younger libraries have had much to do with the growth of library sentiment, which is now so apparent on every hand, and indirectly this knowledge of library work and library methods has done much to enlarge the facilities of the Library Bureau.

From a very unpretentious concern, publishing a few library aids, manufacturing such library devices as could not be obtained elsewhere, and keeping for sale a few articles of library furnishing, the Library Bureau has grown to be a corporation of no small proportions, having numerous branches both in this country and Europe, maintaining a card factory, cabinet works in Boston and Chicago, and facilities for the manufacture of steel stacks unexcelled in this country.

The Library Bureau, however, has never forgotten the cause of its birth or the teachings of its youth, as is clearly evidenced from year to year by the various undertakings and publications which a careful observer can clearly see are not put forward with any presage of success when viewed entirely from a business standpoint. This lesson is constantly taught to the employés of the Library Bureau, and they are positively instructed that, regardless of the promise of success in other directions, the attention to library requirements is the first demand.

The Library Bureau maintains at its various offices persons thoroughly versed in library economy, for the express purpose of furnishing detailed information and aid to those younger members of the profession whom they have the pleasure and opportunity of assisting over the stumbling-blocks in their daily work. With this same idea in view it publishes from the Chicago office a monthly magazine called PUBLIC LIBRARIES, of an elementary character, which is entertaining, instructive, and inspiring, and helps to encourage a sentiment favorable to public libraries and to make librarianship a profession of high standing.

* * *


Selecting books-Fitting the library to its owners

The selection of books should be left to the librarian, under the general direction of trustees or book committee.

There should be made at the start a collection of encyclopedias, dictionaries, gazetteers, and scientific compendiums, which should not be lent. The extent of this collection will depend on the scope and purposes of the library. No library, however small, can dispense with some books of reference. But for a small library don't buy expensive works. The Encyclop?dia Britannica is an example of what not to get.

There must be taken into consideration, in determining the character of the books to be purchased, these factors among others:

a) Presence or absence of other libraries in the vicinity, and their character, if present.

b) The avowed purposes of the free, tax-supported public library, to-wit: 1) To help people to be happy; 2) to help them to become wise; 3) to encourage them to be good.

c) The amount of money to be expended and the sum that will probably be available for each succeeding year.

d) The manner in which the books are to be used; whether they are to be lent, or are to be used only for reference, or are to form both a reference and a lending library.

e) The class of people by whom they are to be used, and if children, whether for school work only, or for general reading, or for both.

f) The occupations and leading local interests of the community.

g) The character and average degree of intelligence of the community.

h) The habits, as to reading and study, of those who will use the library.

The village library, in its early days, can well afford to begin at the level of the community's average reading. At the same time it must always try to go a little ahead of the demands of the people, and develop a taste and desire for the very best books it can get. The masses of the people have very little of literary culture. It is the purpose of the public library to develop this by creating in them the habit of reading. As a rule people read books which are above their own intellectual and moral standard, and hence are benefited by reading. The reading of books generally leads to the reading of better books.

Then do not aim too high. Avoid trash, but do not buy literature which will not be read simply because it is standard or classic. Remember that the public library is a popular institution in every sense of the word; that it has become possible only by the approval of the majority of the population, and that the majority of the population is confined in its turn to a majority of people of the most commonplace kind.

Do not pander to any sect, creed, or partisan taste. Buy largely books costing from 50 cents to $2, found in so many of the series now published. These are fresh, up-to-date, written for the most part by competent men, and are reliable. They are not dull, because no one can afford to be dull in a 12mo volume. As a general thing they are well made, supplied with maps and illustrations when needed, and have indexes. Put much of your money into the history, travel, and literature of your own country first, and then see what you have left for Greece and Rome. The common people nowadays should be encouraged in their interest in their own country, its description, history, politics, biography, mineral resources, literature. The people will inquire for these books, and they should be provided for them. Wait until the library is larger before investing much money in the history of worn out empires, simply because such and such a person wants them, or because some library anywhere from two to twenty times as large has them. Use common sense and much of it.

Put into the people's hands books worthy of their respect, then insist that they be handled carefully and treated always with consideration. Expensive books; that is, books which are first-class in paper, ink, and binding, are generally better worth their cost than cheap ones.

In the first purchases buy largely for children. They are the library's best pupils. They are more easily trained to enjoy good books than their elders. Through them the homes are best reached. They will, by their free use of the library, and by their approval of it, do much to add to its popularity. The best books for children will be enjoyed by all.

In selecting fiction, get from the older librarians a statement of wha

t are the most popular of the wholesome novels found on their shelves. A better guide than this it will be difficult to find. Fiction is of the greatest value in developing a taste for reading. Everyone should be familiar with the great works of imagination. Nearly all the greatest literature of the world is fiction. The educational value of the novel is not often questioned.

But don't buy a novel simply because it is popular. If you follow that line you will end with the cheapest kind of stuff. Some librarians pretend that they must buy to please the public taste; that they can't use their own judgment in selecting books for a library which the public purse supports. Why these librarians don't supply the Police gazette it is difficult to understand. "The public" would like it-some of them. We select school committees and superintendents and teachers to run our schools. We ask them to inform themselves on the subject and give us the best education they can. They don't try to suit everybody. They try to furnish the best. Library trustees and librarian are in a like case. The silly, the weak, the sloppy, the wishy-washy novel, the sickly love story, the belated tract, the crude hodge-podge of stilted conversation, impossible incident, and moral platitude or moral bosh for children-these are not needed. It is as bad to buy them and circulate them, knowingly, as it would be for our school authorities to install in our schoolrooms as teachers romantic, giggling girls and smarty boys. Buy good novels, those the wise approve of, in good type, paper, and binding; keep plenty of copies of each on hand; put them where your readers can handle them; add a few each year of the best only of the latest novels, and those chiefly on trial (not to be bought again if found not to have real merit) and your public will be satisfied, and your library will be all the time raising the taste of the community.

Some books should not be put, at least not without comment, into the hands of young people. Other books, some people think, should not be read by young people. Other books, some people think, should not be in a public library at all. A good course to follow in regard to such books is to consider the temper of your community and put into the library as many of them as are noteworthy in a literary way as your public and your resources permit.

In other departments follow at first the guidance of some one of the good book lists now available.

Other things being equal, American scientific books are preferable to those by foreign authors. In all departments select the latest editions, and, at first, the recent book rather than the older book.

The proportion of books in the different departments of knowledge must vary greatly in different libraries. The following is a good general guide:

Per cent.

General works .04

Philosophy .01

Religion .02

Sociology .09

Philology .01

Science .08

Useful arts .06

Fine arts .04

Literature .12

Biography .10

History .13

Travels .10

Fiction .20


Total 100

Local interest should be fostered by buying freely books on local history and science and books by local authors.

The librarian should keep informed of coming events, and see that the library is provided with the books for which there is sure to be a future demand. He should avoid personal hobbies and be impartial on all controversial questions. He should not be overconfident in his knowledge of what will elevate and refine the community.

It is better to buy 10 extra copies of a wholesome book wanted by the public than one copy each of 10 other books which will not be read.

Do not waste time, energy, and money-certainly not in the early days of the library-in securing or arranging public documents, save a few of purely local value. Take them if offered and store them.

Do not be too much impressed by the local history plea, and spend precious money on rare volumes or old journals in this line.

Certain work can judiciously be done toward collecting and preserving materials for local history that will involve neither expense nor much labor, and this the librarian should do. Do not turn the public library, which is chiefly to be considered as a branch of a live, everyday system of popular education, into a local antiquarian society; but simply let it serve incidentally as a picker-up of unconsidered trifles. A wide-awake, scholarly librarian will like his town, and delight in at least some study of its antecedents. And such a librarian need not be a crank, but must needs be an enterprising, wide-awake, appreciative student, who can scent the tastes and needs of posterity.

Put no money into rare books. A book which was out of print 10 years or 200 years ago, and has not insisted upon republication since, has, ordinarily, no place in the active, free public library. If you get it, sell it and buy a live book.

The free public library should encourage its readers to suggest books not in the library, by providing blanks for that purpose, and paying courteous attention to all requests.

Ask by letter, by circulars, and by notes in the local papers, for gifts of books, money, and periodicals. Acknowledge every gift. Remember that one who has helped the library, be it ever so little, has thereby become interested in it, and is its friend.

* * *


Reference books for a small library, compiled by C. A. Baker, of the Public library, Denver

This list includes about 75 books, costing about $550. It is arranged alphabetically. It is subdivided into four lists, arranged according to relative importance. This subdivision is shown by the numbers prefixed to each entry.

2. Adams, C. K. Manual of historical literature. 1889. O. Harper, cl. $2.50.

1. Adams, O. F. Dictionary of American authors. 1897. O. Houghton, Mifflin, cl. $3.

1. Adler, G. J. Dictionary of the German and English languages. 1893. Q. Appleton, mor. $5.

4. Allibone, S. A. Critical dictionary of English literature. 1891, 3 v. Q. Lippincott, sh. $22.50.

4. Allibone, S. A. Supplement to the critical dictionary of English literature, by J.F. Kirk. 1892, 2 v. Q. Lippincott, sh. $15.

1. Appleton's annual cyclop?dia and register of important events. Q. Appleton, cl. $5.

3. Appleton's cyclop?dia of American biography. 1888-92, 6 v.Q. Appleton, cl. $30, half mor. $42.

1. Appleton's cyclop?dia of applied mechanics, ed. by P. Benjamin. 1893, 2 v. Q. Appleton, sh. $15, half mor. $17.

2. Appleton's modern mechanism, supplement to Cyclop?dia of applied mechanics. 1892, 1 v. Q. Appleton, sh. $7.50, half mor. $8.50.

2. Bartlett, J., ed. Familiar quotations. 1892. O. Little, cl. $3.

3. Bliss, E. M., ed. Cyclop?dia of missions, 2 v. 1891. Q. Funk & Wagnalls, cl. $12.

1. Bliss, W. D. P. Cyclop?dia of social reform, including political economy, science, sociology, statistics, anarchism, charities, civil service, currency, land, etc. 1897. Q. Funk & Wagnalls, cl. $7.50, sh. $9.50.

3. Brannt, W. T. and Wahl, W. H. Technico-chemical receipt book. 1895. D. Baird, cl. $2.

1. Brewer, E. C. Reference library, 1885-98. 4 v. O. Lippincott. $13. Dictionary of miracles, Historic notebook, Dictionary of phrase and fable, Reader's handbook.

2. Brown, E. and Strauss, A. Dictionary of American politics. 1895. D. Burt, cl., $1.

1. Bryant, W. C, ed. Library of poetry and song. 1876. Q. Fords, Howard, cl., $5.

3. Century dictionary and cyclop?dia. (Century dictionary and the Century cyclop?dia of names combined with the atlas of the world.) 10 v. Prices from $60 to $150. Often can be picked up second-hand.

1. Century atlas of the world. 1897. F. Century Co., cl. $12.50, half mor. $15.

1. Century cyclop?dia of names, n.d. F. Century Co., cl. $10.50, buf. $12.50.

(Note.-The two last are included in the Century dictionary and cyclop?dia, but can be bought separately.)

2. Chambers, R., ed. Book of days, 2 v. O. Lippincott. 1893. $7.

2. Champlin, J. D. jr. Young folks' cyclop?dia of common things. 1893. O. Holt, cl. $2.50.

2. Champlin, J. D. jr. Young folks' cyclop?dia of persons and places. 1892. O. Holt, cl. $2.50.

2. Champlin, J. D. jr. and Bostwick, A. E. Young folks' cyclop?dia of games and sports. 1890. O. Holt, cl. $2.50.

2. Channing, E. and Hart, A.B. Guide to the study of American history. O. Ginn. 1896. $2.

1. Clement, C. E. Painters, architects, engravers, and their work. 1881. D. Houghton, Mifflin, cl. $3. (Artists not living.)

1. Clement, C. E. and Hutton, L. Artists of the 19th century and their work. 1885 D. Houghton & Mifflin, cl. $3.

4. Cram's Bankers and brokers' railroad atlas; complete alphabetical index. 1898. F. Cram. $17.50.

1. Cumulative index of periodicals, monthly and annual. 1898. Helman-Taylor Co., Cleveland, pa. $5.

4. Cyclop?dia of American biographies. J. H. Brown, ed. 1897. v. 1, A-C. Q. Cyclo. Pub. Co., Boston, half mor. $7.

2. Fields, J. T. and Whipple, E. P., ed. Family library of British poetry. 1882. Q. Houghton, cl. $5, mor. $10.

3. Fletcher, W. I., ed. A. L. A. index to general literature. 1893. Q. Houghton, cl. $5.

1. Fletcher, W. I., ed., and Bowker, R. R. Annual literary index, including periodicals and essays. 1899. O. Publishers' weekly, cl. $3.50.

3. Frey, A. R. Sobriquets and nicknames. 1888. O. Houghton, cl. $2.

1. Goodholme, T. S. Domestic encyclop?dia of practical information. 1889. O. Scribners, cl. $5.

1. Harper's book of facts. C. T. Lewis, ed. 1895. Q. Harper. Sub. only, $8.

3. Harper's cyclop?dia of British and American poetry. E. Sargent, ed. 1881. Q. Harper, hf. leather, $5.

2. Harper's dictionary of classical literature and antiquities. H. T. Peck, ed. 1897. Q. Harper, cl. $6.

4. Hastings, J. Dictionary of the Bible, 4 v. O. 1898. Clark, cl. 28s per vol., half mor. 34s. per vol.

3. Haydn's dictionary of dates. B. Vincent, ed. 1895. O. Putnam, cl. $6, half mor. $9.

2. Hazell's annual; record of men and topics of the day. 1899. D. Hazell, 3s. 6d.

2. Hopkins, A. A. Scientific American cyclop?dia of receipts, notes, and queries. 1892. O. cl. $5, sh. $6.

1. Hoyt, J. K. Cyclop?dia of practical quotations, English, Latin, and modern foreign. 1896. Q. Funk & Wagnalls, cl. $5, sh. $8.

1. Jameson, J. F. Dictionary of United States history, 1492-1894. 1894. Q. Puritan Pub., cl. $2.75, half mor. $3.50.

1. Johnson's universal cyclop?dia. 1893, 8v. Q. Johnson, half mor. $56, cl. $48.

2. King, M., ed. Handbook of the United States. 1891. O. King (Matthews, Northrop Co.), cl. $2.50.

3. Larned, J. N., ed. History for ready reference, from the best historians, biographers, and specialists. 1894. 5 v. Maps. Nichols Co., Springfield, Mass. cl. $5 each, half mor. $6 each.

2. Lalor, J. J., ed. Cyclop?dia of political science, political economy, and political history of the United States. 1890-93. 3 v. Q. C. E. Merrill, $15.

1. Leypoldt, A. H. and Iles, G. List of books for girls and women. Dewey classification numbers with each entry. 1895. Library Bureau, cl. $1.

1. Lippincott's gazetteer of the world. 1896. Q. Lippincott, sh. $8.

4. Lippincott's universal pronouncing dictionary of biography and mythology, by J. Thomas. 1892. Q. Lippincott, in 1 v., sh. $8, half turkey $11; in 2 v., sh. $10.

2. Lossing, B. J. Popular cyclop?dia of United States history. 1893. 2 v.Q. Harper, mor. $15.

3. Lübke, W. Outlines of the history of art. 1891. 2 v. O. Dodd, Mead, half roan, $7.50.

1. Matson, H. References for literary workers. 1893. O. McClurg, $2.50.

1. Men and women of the time. 14th ed. 1895. O. Routledge. $5.

3. Mineral industry, its statistics, technology, and trade, ed. by R. R. Rothwell, annual. O. Scientific Pub. Co, cl. $5.

2. Mulhall, M. G. Dictionary of statistics. 1898. Ed. 4. Q. Routledge, cl. $8.

3. Mulhall, M. G. Industries and wealth of nations. 1896. O. Longman, cl. $3.

1. Patrick, D. and Gramme, F. H., eds. Chambers biographical dictionary. 1898. O. Lippincott, half mor. $3.50.

4. Poole, W. F. and Fletcher, W. Poole's index to periodical literature. O. Houghton, Mifflin.

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