By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon

We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

´╗┐Title: Library Work with Children
Author: Hazeltine, Alice Isabel
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Library Work with Children" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.

Scanned by Charles Keller with OmniPage Professional OCR software

Library Work with Children

Classics of American Librarianship



Supervisor of Children's Public Library
St. Louis, Mo.


This second volume in the series of Classics of American
Librarianship is devoted to library work with children.
As stated in the preface to the first volume, on "Library
and school," the papers chosen are primarily of historic
rather than of present-day value, although many of them
embody principles which govern the practice of today.
They have been grouped under general headings in order
to bring more closely together material relating to the
same or to similar subjects. Several different phases of
children's work are thus represented, although no attempt
has been made to make the collection comprehensive.

Book-selection for children has not been included except
incidentally, since it is expected that this subject will
be treated in another volume as part of the general subject
of book-selection. In the same way, material on
training for library work with children has been reserved
for a volume on library training.

The present volume is an attempt to bring together in
accessible form papers representing the growth and tendencies
of forty years of library work with children.
                                     ALICE I. HAZELTINE.




Public Libraries and the Young. (U. S. Bureau of Education.
Public Libraries in the United States, 1876, p. 412)

Boys' and Girls' Reading. (Library Journal, 1882, p. 182.)

Reading of the Young. (U.S. Bureau of Education Papers
prepared for the World's Library Congress held at the
Columbian Exposition; ed. by M. Dewey, 1896, p. 944.)

How Library Work with Children Has Grown in Hartford
and Connecticut. (Library Journal, 1914, p. 91.)

A Chapter in Children's Libraries. (Library Journal, 1913,
p. 20.)

The Children's Library in New York. (Library Journal,
1887, p. 185.)

The Work for Children in Free Libraries. (Library Journal,
1897, p. 679.)

The Growing Tendency to Over-Emphasize the Children's
Side. (Library Journal, 1908, p. 135.)

Library Work with Children. (A. L. A. Proceedings, 1911,
p. 240.)


Library Membership as a Civic Force. (A. L. A. Proceedings,
1908, P. 372.)

The Civic Value of Library Work with Children. (A. L. A.
Proceedings, 1908, P. 380)

Establishing Relations between the Children's Library and
Other Civic Agencies. (Library Journal, 1909, P. 195.) 131

Values in Library Work with Children. (A. L. A. Proceedings,
1913, P. 275.)

Values in Library Work with Children


The Children's Room and the Children's Librarian. (Public
Libraries, 1898, P. 417.)

Work with Children in the Small Library. (Library Journal,
1903, P. C53.)

Personal Work with Children. (Public Libraries, 1900,
P. 191.)

The Library and the Children: An Account of the Children's
Work in the Cleveland Public Library. (Library Journal,
1898, P. 142.)

Picture Bulletins in the Children's Library. (Library Journal,
1902, P. 191.)

How to Interest Mothers in Children's Reading. (Public
Libraries, 1915, P. 165.)

Reference Work among School Children. (Library Journal,
1895, P. 121.)

Reference Work with Children. (Library Journal, 1901,
P. C74.)

Instruction of School Children in the Use of Library
Catalogs and Reference Books. (Public Libraries, 1899,
P. 311.)

Elementary Library Instruction. (Public Libraries, 1912,
P. 260.)

The Question of Discipline. (Library Journal, 1901, P. 735.)

Maintaining Order in the Children's Room. (Library
Journal, 1903, P. 164)

Problems of Discipline. (Wisconsin Library Bulletin, 1908,
P. 65.)


The Story Hour. (Wisconsin Library Bulletin, 1905, P. 4.)

Story-telling in Libraries. (Public Libraries, 1908, P. 349.)

Story-telling--A Public Library Method. (Child Conference
for Research and Welfare, 1909, P. 225.)

Story-telling as a Library Tool. (Child Conference for
Research and Welfare, 1909, P. 39.)

Report of the Committee on Story-Telling. (Playground,
1910, P. 160.)

Reading Clubs for Older Boys and Girls. (Child Conference
for Research and Welfare, 1909, p. 13)

Library Clubs for Boys and Girls. (Library Journal, 1911,
p. 251.)

Library Reading Clubs for Young People. (Library Journal,
1912, p 547.)

Home Libraries. (International Congress of Charities,
Correction, and Philanthropy, 1893, Second Section, Report,
p. 144.)

Home Libraries. (Library Journal, 1896, p. 60.)

Library Day at the Playgrounds. (Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.
Monthly Bulletin, 1901, p. 275.)

Library Work in Summer Playgrounds. (A. L. A. Proceedings,
1911, p. 246.)

The Selection of Books for Sunday School Libraries and
Their Introduction to Children. (Library Journal, 1882,
p. 250.)

The Children's Museum in Brooklyn. (Library Journal, 1910,
p. 149.)

Work with Children at the Colored Branch of the Louisville
Free Public Library. (Library Journal, 1910, p. 160.)

The Foreign Child at a St. Louis Branch. (Library Journal,
191, p. 851)



The history of library work with children is yet to be written.
From the bequest made to West Cambridge by Dr. Ebenezer Learned,
of money to purchase "such books as will best promote useful
knowledge and the Christian virtues" to the present day of
organized work with children --of the training of children's
librarians, of cooperative evaluated lists of books, of methods
of extension-- the development has been gradual, yet with a
constantly broadening point of view.

A number of libraries have claimed the honor of being the first
to establish children's work--a fact which in itself seems to
show that the movement was general rather than sporadic. The
library periodicals contain many interesting accounts of these
beginnings, a number of which have been mentioned in the articles
included in this volume.

Certain personalities stand out very clearly in the history of
the early days, and many of the same ones are still closely
associated with children's work in its later developments. The
Library Journal says editorially in 1914: "Probably the credit of
the initiative work for children within a public library should
remain with Mrs. Sanders of the Pawtucket Library, who made the
small folk welcome a generation ago, when, in most public
libraries, they were barred out by the rules and regulations and
frowned away by the librarian."

Three articles from Miss Caroline Hewins's pen have been chosen
for this collection, the last written thirty-two years later than
the first. They not only give details of the history of
children's work, but reflect Miss Hewins's personality and

A paper given by Miss Lutie E. Stearns at the Lake Placid
Conference of the American Library Association in 1894 has been
referred to as one of the most important contributions to the
development of work with children. This paper was printed in the
first volume of this series, "Library and school" (New York,

The leading editorial in The Library Journal for April, 1898,
says: "Within the past year or two the phrase 'the library and
the child'--which was itself new not so long ago--has been
changed about. It is now 'the child and the library,' and the
transposition is suggestive of the increasing emphasis given to
that phase of library work that deals with children, either by
themselves or in connection with their schools."

Mr. Henry E. Legler, in the last paper in this group, traces the
growth of the "conception of what the duty of society is to the
child"; claims that the children's library should be one in a
union of social forces, and asserts that it contributes to the
building of character, the enlargement of narrow lives, the
opening of opportunity to all alike.

Thus the modern viewpoint includes the ideals of democracy in
addition to Dr. Learned's emphasis on "knowledge" and "virtue"
and probably points the way to the future development of library
work with children.


The special report on "Public Libraries in the United States of
America," published in 1876 by the U. S. Bureau of Education
includes the following paper by Mr. W. I. Fletcher, in which he
advocates the removal of age-restriction and emphasizes the
importance of choosing only those books which "have something
positively good about them." This and the following eight papers
give, in some measure, a history of library work with children.

William Isaac Fletcher was born in Burlington, Vermont, April 28,
1844. He was educated in the Winchester, Mass., schools, and
received the honorary degree of A.M. from Amherst in 1884. He
served as librarian of Amherst College from 1883 to 1911, when he
was made librarian emeritus. Mr. Fletcher was joint editor of
Poole's Index to Periodical Literature, and editor of the
continuation from 1882 to 1911; edited the A. L. A. Index to
general literature in 1893 and 1901; the Cooperative Index to
periodicals from 1883 to 1911, and in 1895 published his Public
Libraries in America. He was president of the A. L. A. in

What shall the public library do for the young, and how? is a
question of acknowledged importance. The remarkable development
of "juvenile literature" testifies to the growing importance of
this portion of the community in the eyes of book producers,
while the character of much of this literature, which is now
almost thrust into the hands of youth, is such as to excite grave
doubts as to its being of any service, intellectual or moral. In
this state of things the public library is looked to by some with
hope, by others with fear, according as its management is
apparently such as to draw young readers away from merely
frivolous reading, or to make such reading more accessible and
encourage them in the use of it; hence the importance of a
judicious administration of the library in this regard.

One of the first questions to be met in arranging a code of rules
for the government of a public library relates to the age at
which young persons shall be admitted to its privileges. There is
no usage on this point which can be called common, but most
libraries fix a certain age, as twelve or fourteen, below which
candidates for admission are ineligible. Only a few of the most
recently established libraries have adopted what seems to be the
right solution of this question, by making no restriction
whatever as to age. This course recommends itself as the wisest
and the most consistent with the idea of the public library on
many grounds.

In the first place, age is no criterion of mental condition and
capacity. So varying is the date of the awakening of intellectual
life, and the rapidity of its progress, that height of stature
might almost as well be taken for its measure as length of years.
In every community there are some young minds of peculiar gifts
and precocious development, as fit to cope with the masterpieces
of literature at ten years of age, as the average person of
twenty, and more appreciative of them. From this class come the
minds which rule the world of mind, and confer the greatest
benefits on the race. How can the public library do more for the
intellectual culture of the whole community than by setting
forward in their careers those who will be the teachers and
leaders of their generation? In how many of the lives of those
who have been eminent in literature and science do we find a
youth almost discouraged because deprived of the means of
intellectual growth. The lack of appreciation of youthful demands
for culture is one of the saddest chapters in the history of the
world's comprehending not the light which comes into it. Our
public libraries will fail in an important part of their mission
if they shut out from their treasures minds craving the best, and
for the best purposes, because, forsooth, the child is too young
to read good books.

Some will be found to advocate the exclusion of such searchers
for knowledge on the ground that precocious tastes should be
repressed in the interests of physical health. But a careful
investigation of the facts in such cases can hardly fail to
convince one that in them repression is the last thing that will
bring about bodily health and vigor. There should doubtless be
regulation, but nothing will be so likely to conduce to the
health and physical well being of a person with strong mental
cravings as the reasonable satisfaction of those cravings. Cases
can be cited where children, having what seemed to be a premature
development of mental qualities coupled with weak or even
diseased bodily constitutions, have rapidly improved in health
when circumstances have allowed the free exercise of their
intellectual powers, and have finally attained a maturity
vigorous alike in body and mind. This is in the nature of a
digression, but it can do no harm to call attention thus to the
facts which contradict the common notion that intellectual
precocity should be discouraged. Nature is the best guide, and it
is in accordance with all her workings, that when she has in hand
the production of a giant of intellect, the young Hercules should
astonish observers by feats of strength even in his cradle. Let
not the public library, then, be found working against nature by
establishing, as far as its influence goes, a dead level of
intellectual attainments for all persons below a certain age.

But there is a much larger class of young persons who ought not
to be excluded from the library, not because they have decided
intellectual cravings and are mentally mature, but because they
have capacities for the cultivation of good tastes, and because
the cultivation of such tastes cannot be begun too early. There
is no greater mistake in morals than that often covered by the
saying, harmless enough literally, "Boys will be boys." This
saying is used perhaps oftener than for any other purpose to
justify boys in doing things which are morally not fit for men to
do, and is thus the expression of that great error that
immoralities early in life are to be expected and should not be
severely deprecated. The same misconception of the relations of
youth to maturity and of nature's great laws of growth and
development is seen in that common idea that children need not be
expected to have any literary tastes; that they may well be
allowed to confine their reading to the frivolous, the merely
amusing. That this view is an erroneous one thought and
observation agree in showing. Much like the caution of the mother
who would not allow her son to bathe in the river till he had
learned to swim, is that of those who would have youth wait till
a certain age, when they ought to have good tastes formed, before
they can be admitted to companionship with the best influences
for the cultivation of them. Who will presume to set the age at
which a child may first be stirred with the beginnings of a
healthy intellectual appetite on getting a taste of the strong
meat of good literature? This point is one of the first
importance. No after efforts can accomplish what is done with
ease early in life in the way of forming habits either mental or
moral, and if there is any truth in the idea that the public
library is not merely a storehouse for the supply of the wants of
the reading public, but also and especially an educational
institution which shall create wants where they do not exist,
then the library ought to bring its influences to bear on the
young as early as possible.

And this is not a question of inducing young persons to read, but
of directing their reading into right channels. For in these
times there is little probability that exclusion from the public
library will prevent their reading. Poor, indeed, in all manner
of resources, must be the child who cannot now buy, beg, or
borrow a fair supply of reading of some kind; so that exclusion
from the library is likely to be a shutting up of the boy or girl
to dime novels and story papers as the staple of reading.
Complaints are often made that public libraries foster a taste
for light reading, especially among the young. Those who make
this complaint too often fail to perceive that the tastes
indulged by those who are admitted to the use of the public
library at the age of twelve or fourteen, are the tastes formed
in the previous years of exclusion. A slight examination of
facts, such as can be furnished by any librarian of experience in
a circulating public library, will show how little force there is
in this objection.

Nor should it be forgotten, in considering this question, that to
very many young people youth is the time when they have more
leisure for reading than any other portion of life is likely to
furnish. At the age of twelve or fourteen, or even earlier, they
are set at work to earn their living, and thereafter their
opportunities for culture are but slight, nor are their
circumstances such as to encourage them in such a work. We cannot
begin too early to give them a bent towards culture which shall
abide by them and raise them above the work-a-day world which
will demand so large a share of their time and strength. The
mechanic, the farmer, the man in any walk of life, who has early
formed good habits of reading, is the one who will magnify his
calling, and occupy the highest positions in it. And to the
thousands of young people, in whose homes there is none of the
atmosphere of culture or of the appliances for it, the public
library ought to furnish the means of keeping pace intellectually
with the more favored children of homes where good books abound
and their subtle influence extends even to those who are too
young to read and understand them. If it fails to do this it is
hardly a fit adjunct to our school system, whose aim it is to
give every man a chance to be the equal of every other man, if he

It is not claimed that the arguments used in support of an age
limitation are of no force; but it is believed that they are
founded on objections to the admission of the young to library
privileges which are good only as against an indiscriminate and
not properly regulated admission, and which are not applicable to
the extension of the use of the library to the young under such
conditions and restrictions as are required by their peculiar

For example, the public library ought not to furnish young
persons with a means of avoiding parental supervision of their
reading. A regulation making the written consent of the parent a
prerequisite to the registration of the name of a minor, and the
continuance of such consent a condition of the continuance of the
privilege, will take from parents all cause for complaint in this

Neither should the library be allowed to stand between pupils in
school and their studies, as it is often complained that it does.
To remove this difficulty, the relations of the library to the
school system should be such that teachers should be able to
regulate the use of the library by those pupils whose studies are
evidently interfered with by their miscellaneous reading. The use
of the library would thus be a stimulus to endeavor on the part
of pupils who would regard its loss as the probable result of
lack of diligence in their studies.

Again, it must be understood that to the young, as to all others,
the library is open only during good behavior. The common idea
that children and youth are more likely than older persons to
commit offenses against library discipline is not borne out by
experience; but were it true, a strict enforcement of rules as to
fines and penalties would protect the library against loss and
injury, the fear of suspension from the use of the library as the
result of carelessness in its use, operating more strongly than
any other motive to prevent such carelessness.

If there are other objections to the indiscriminate admission of
the young to the library, they can also be met by such
regulations as readily suggest themselves, and should not be
allowed to count as arguments against a judicious and proper
extension of the benefits of the library to the young.


But when the doors of the public library are thrown open to the
young, and they are recognized as an important class of its
patrons, the question comes up, What shall the library furnish to
this class in order to meet its wants? If the object of the
library is understood to be simply the supplying of the wants of
the reading public, and the young are considered as a portion of
that public, the question is very easily answered by saying, Give
them what they call for that is not positively injurious in its
tendency. But if we regard the public library as an educational
means rather than a mere clubbing arrangement for the economical
supply of reading, just as the gas company is for the supply of
artificial light, it becomes of importance, especially with
reference to the young, who are the most susceptible to educating
influences, that they should receive from the library that which
will do them good; and the managers of the library appear not as
caterers to a master whose will is the rule as to what shall be
furnished, but rather as the trainers of gymnasts who seek to
provide that which will be of the greatest service to their men.
No doubt both these elements enter into a true conception of the
duty of library managers; but when we are regarding especially
the young, the latter view comes nearer the truth than the other.

In the first place, among the special requirements of the young
is this, that the library shall interest and be attractive to
them. The attitude of some public libraries toward the young and
the uncultivated seems to say to them, "We cannot encourage you
in your low state of culture; you must come up to the level of
appreciating what is really high toned in literature, or we
cannot help you." The public library being, however, largely if
not mainly for the benefit of the uncultivated, must, to a large
extent, come down to the level of this class and meet them on
common ground. Every library ought to have a large list of good
juvenile books, a statement which at once raises the question,
What are good juvenile books? This is one of the vexed questions
of the literary world, closely allied to the one which has so
often been mooted in the press and the pulpit, as to the utility
and propriety of novel reading. But while this question is one on
which there are great differences of opinion, there are a few
things which may be said on it without diffidence or the fear of
successful contradiction. Of this kind is the remark that good
juvenile books must have something positively good about them.
They should be not merely amusing or entertaining and harmless,
but instructive and stimulating to the better nature. Fortunately
such books are not so rare as they have been. Some of the best
minds are now being turned to the work of providing them. Within
a few months such honored names in the world of letters as those
of Hamerton and Higginson have been added to the list which
contains those of "Peter Parley," Jacob Abbott, "Walter Aimwell,"
Elijah Kellogg, Thomas Hughes, and others who have devoted their
talents, not to the amusement, but to the instruction and culture
of youth. The names of some of the most popular writers for young
people in our day are not ranked with those mentioned above, not
because their productions are positively injurious, but because
they lack the positively good qualities demanded by our

There is a danger to youth in reading some books which are not
open to the charge of directly injurious tendencies. Many of the
most popular juveniles, while running over with excellent
"morals," are unwholesome mental food for the young, for the
reason that they are essentially untrue. That is, they give false
views of life, making it consist, if it be worth living, of a
series of adventures, hair-breadth escapes; encounters with
tyrannical schoolmasters and unnatural parents; sea voyages in
which the green hand commands a ship and defeats a mutiny out of
sheer smartness; rides on runaway locomotives, strokes of good
luck, and a persistent turning up of things just when they are
wanted --all of which is calculated in the long run to lead away
the young imagination and impart discontent with the common lot
of an uneventful life.

Books of adventure seem to meet a real want in the minds of the
young, and should not be entirely ruled out; but they cannot be
included among the books the reading of which should be
encouraged or greatly extended. In the public library it will be
found perhaps necessary not to exclude this class of juvenile
books entirely. Such an exclusion is not here advocated, but it
is rather urged that they should not form the staple of juvenile
reading furnished by the library. The better books should be
duplicated so as to be on hand when called for; these should be
provided in such numbers merely that they can occasionally be had
as the "seasoning" to a course of good reading.

But the young patrons of the library ought not to be encouraged
in confining their reading to juveniles, of no matter how good
quality. It is the one great evil of this era of juvenile books,
good and bad, that by supplying mental food in the form fit for
mere children, they postpone the attainment of a taste for the
strong meat of real literature; and the public library ought to
be influential in exalting this real literature and keeping it
before the people, stemming with it the current of trash which is
so eagerly welcomed because it is new or because it is
interesting. When children were driven to read the same books as
their elders or not to read at all, there were doubtless
thousands, probably the majority of all, who chose the latter
alternative, and read but very little in their younger years.
This class is better off now than then by the greater
inducements offered them to mental culture in the increased
facilities provided for it. But there seems to be danger that the
ease and smoothness of the royal road to knowledge now provided
in the great array of easy books in all departments will not
conduce to the formation of such mental growths as resulted from
the pursuit of knowledge under difficulties. There is doubtless
more knowledge; but is there as much power and muscle of mind?

However this may be, none can fail to recognize the importance of
setting young people in the way of reading the best books early
in life. And as the public library is likely to be the one place
where the masters of literature can be found, it is essential
that here they should be put by every available means in
communication with and under the influence of these masters.

It only remains now to say that, as we have before intimated the
public library should be viewed as an adjunct of the public
school system, and to suggest that in one or two ways the school
may work together with the library in directing the reading of
the young. There is the matter of themes for the writing of
compositions; by selecting subjects on which information can be
had at the library, the teacher can send the pupil to the library
as a student, and readily put him in communication with, and
excite his interest in, classes of books to which he has been a
stranger and indifferent. Again, in the study of the history of
English literature, a study which, to the credit of our teachers
be it said, is being rapidly extended, the pupils may be induced
to take new interest, and gain greatly in point of real culture
by being referred for illustrative matter to the public library.


This first of a series of yearly reports on "Reading for the
young" was made by Miss Caroline M. Hewins at the Cincinnati
Conference of the A. L. A. in 1882. It embodies answers from
twenty-five librarians to the question, "What are you doing to
encourage a love of good reading in boys and girls?"

Caroline Maria Hewins was born in Roxbury, Mass., October 10,
1846. She attended high school in Boston; received her library
training in the Boston Athenaeum; taught in private schools for
several years, and took a year's special course in Boston
University. In 1911 she received an honorary degree of M.A. from
Trinity College, Hartford. She has been librarian in Hartford,
Conn., for many years, from 1875 to 1892 in the Hartford Library
Association, since that time in the Hartford Public Library. She
has done editorial work for various magazines and has contributed
many articles to the library periodicals. Her list of "Books for
boys and girls," of which the third edition was published in
1915, represents the result of many years' thoughtful and
appreciative study of children's literature. Library work with
children owes to Miss Hewins a debt of gratitude for her unusual
contribution to the establishment of high standards, the
development of a broad vision, and the maintenance of a
wholesome, sympathetic, but not sentimental point of view.

About the first of March I sent cards to the librarians of
twenty-five of the leading libraries of the country, asking,
"What are you doing to encourage a love of good reading in boys
and girls?" and soon after published a notice in the New York
Evening Post and Nation, saying that statements from librarians
and teachers concerning their work in the same direction would be
gladly received The cards brought, in almost every case, full
answers; the newspaper notice has produced few results.

The printed report of the Thomas Crane Public Library, Quincy,
Mass., says: "The trustees have recently made a special effort to
encourage the use of the library in connection with the course of
teaching in the public schools. Under a rule adopted two years
ago the teachers of certain grades of schools are in the practice
of borrowing a number of those volumes they consider best adapted
to the use of their scholars, and keeping them in constant
circulation among them. During the year two lists of books for
the use of the children in the public schools were printed under
the direction of the trustees. One of these lists contained works
in juvenile fiction; the other, biographies, histories, and books
of a more instructive character. All the works included were
selected by the trustees as being such as they would put in the
hands of their own children. The lists thus prepared were then
given to the teachers of the schools for gratuitous circulation
among their scholars."

Mr. Green, of the Worcester, Mass., Free Public Library, writes:
"The close connection which exists between the library and the
schools is doing much to elevate the character of the reading of
the boys and girls. Many books are used for collateral reading,
others to supplement the instruction of text-books in geography
and history, others still in the employment of leisure hours in
school. Boys and girls are led to read good books and come to the
library for similar ones. Lists of good books are kept in the
librarian's room, and are much used by teachers and pupils."

Mr. Upton, of the Peabody Library, Peabody, Mass., gives as his
opinion: "If teachers did their duty, librarians would not be
troubled as to good reading. My experience of about thirty- five
or forty years as a public grammar-school teacher is, that
teachers can control, to a great extent, the reading of their
pupils, and also that, as a class, teachers are not GREAT
readers. We should have little trouble in changing to some degree
our circulation, but our thirteen-foot shelves and long ladders
prevent the employment of the best help. We print bulletins and
assist all who ask aid."

Miss Bean, of the Public Library, Brookline, Mass., says: "I have
no statistics of results relative to my school finding-list. Its
influence is quietly but steadily making itself felt. The
teachers tell me that many of the pupils use no other catalogue
in selecting books from the library, and I know there are many
families where the children are restricted to its use. We keep
two or three interleaved and posted with the newest books when I
think them desirable. Several of the teachers have told me
personally that they had found the list useful to themselves; but
teachers are mortal and human. Many of them think duty done when
the day's session is over, and the matter of outside reading with
their pupils is of little moment to them. I want to get out a
revised list, with useful notes."

Mr. Rice, of the City Library, Springfield, Mass., writes: "We
have a manuscript catalogue of the best and most popular books
for boys and girls. We call attention to the best books as we
have opportunity when the young people visit the library. We
endeavor to influence the teachers in our public schools to aid
us in directing the attention of boys and girls to the best
juveniles, and such other books as they can appreciate."

Mr. Arnold, of the Public Library, Taunton, Mass., says: "What I
am doing is to indicate in the margin of my catalogues the works
which are adapted to the taste and comprehension of young people,
so that not only their own attention may be diverted from the
fiction department, but that their parents and teachers may
easily furnish them with proper lists. We aim at excluding from
the library books of a sensational character, as well as those
positively objectionable on the score of morality."

Miss James, librarian of the Free Library, Newton, Mass., in
speaking of the catalogue, without notes, of children's books,
published by that library in 1878, and given to the pupils of the
public schools, says: "I do not think that catalogue ever
influenced a dozen children. We have just completed a very full
card-catalogue which the children use a great deal in connection
with their studies. Eleven hundred zinc headings are a great
help. I frequently speak to the children to get acquainted with
them, so they are quite free to ask for help. Our local paper has
offered me half a column a week for titles and notices. I shall,
of course, notice children's books as well as others." Mr.
Peirce, the superintendent, says in his last report: "It is only
from homes where the intellectual and moral character of
childhood is neglected, as a rule, that the library with us is
in any wise abused by the over-crowding of the mind with novels.
In many of even these cases kind and wise restraint can be, and
is, exercised by the librarian."

Mr. Cummings, curator of the Lower Hall card-catalogue of the
Boston Public Library, and Miss Jenkins, assistant librarian in
the same place, have kindly sent me the manuscripts of their
forthcoming reports to the trustees. These reports are wholly on
the methods and results of their personal intercourse with
readers, and the increase in special reading during the last few
years. Concerning boys and girls Mr. Cummings writes: "I must not
forget the juvenile readers, school-boys and school- girls, and
the children from the stores and offices about town. These latter
are smart, bright, active little bodies, often more in earnest
than their more fortunate fellows of the same age. They are an
object of special solicitude and care. The school children come
for points in reading for their compositions and for parallel
reading with their lessons in school; and such books are
suggested as may be found useful. The two most available
faculties in children to work upon are the heart and the
imagination. Get a hold on their affections by encouraging words
and manifesting a readiness to help them, and you command their
devotion and confidence. Give them interesting books (Optic and
Alger, if needs be), and you fix their attention. Above all, let
the book be interesting; for the attention is never fixed by, nor
does the memory ever retain, what is laborious to read. But, once
assured of their devotion, with their confidence secured and
their attention fixed, there is nothing to prevent the work of
direction succeeding admirably with them."

Miss Jenkins says: "The use of the library by the young people is
increasing every year. The change in the character of children's
books has been a great help to us, fairly crowding out many of
the trashy stories so long the favorite reading. One of the first
things that attracted my attention was their perseverance in
seeking certain authors, and their continual exchange of books. I
soon found their difficulties with the catalogue. They read only
stories, and wanted those full of incident and excitement; when
their favorite author failed, they sought for something else that
sounded right in the catalogue, or sometimes wrote only the
numbers without much reference to the titles, trusting, I
suppose, to luck. Not liking the looks of the books they would
return them. A steady recurrence of this made it a nuisance.

One of my first steps was to join one of the many groups around
the room, and look over with them, suggest this author, or this,
that, and the other book, until they were furnished with a list
of books fairly suited to their age, and then, suggesting that
the list should be kept for future reference, pass on to another
group. This is now a general practice, and seems to suit the
little folks; if, after several applications, they are
unsuccessful, it is my custom to get them a book. My young people
began to ask me to help their friends, also to help others
themselves; so gradually the bright faces of my boy and girl
friends have grown familiar, and as they gain confidence in me we
strike out into other paths, and many bright, readable books,
historical or containing bits of geography or elementary science,
have been read. It so happened that many of my young friends grew
quite confidential, and told me about their school and lessons.
It was not very difficult to induce them to read some things
bearing upon their studies; these books were shown to their
teachers, and many were ready to cooperate at once; this led to
an acquaintance with several, and the teachers' plan of study
became a basis of selection for reading in history, biography,
travel, and natural science. From books suited to their capacity
much effective work has been done. Several classes have studied
English history, and their reading has been made supplementary
from the topics. Later, when a list of notable persons was given
to them, they showed the effect of their reading by giving very
good short sketches of these persons. American history--colonial,
revolutionary, administrations, civil war, reconstruction--has
been treated similarly, and the teachers are much gratified at
the result. We find that these boys do not fall back to trashy
reading, but ask for better reading in place of their old

Several girls of the high school have sought assistance in their
various studies, especially in Greek and Roman history, and have
read, in connection with the histories recommended, novels and
some interesting travels, and have spent much time over
engravings and photographs illustrative of their reading. Two of
these girls, having asked me for a novel, meaning something like
their former reading, I made tests by giving them exactly what
they asked for. Very soon both books were returned, with the
remark, 'I couldn't read it.' In a little talk that ensued, and
in which I drew from them a criticism of their reading, it dawned
upon them that they had developed, or grown, as they said. I
could go on giving instances of this gradual development in
individual cases, and of its influence upon others to whom these
readers recommended what they had read, the increased call for
the better books of fiction, biography, history, travel,
miscellany, and science. In four years' work books of sensational
incident, so long popular, have lost much of their charm. They
have been crowded out by better books and personal interests in
the young people themselves."

Mr. Foster of the Public Library, Providence, R. I., has sent an
account in detail of his work among pupils and teachers, which
may be thus condensed: Soon after the opening of the library, in
1878, he held a conference with the grammar-school masters of the
city, and through them met the other teachers. He printed for the
use of pupils a list of suggestions, some of the most important
of which were summed up in the following words: "Begin by basing
your reading on your school text-books;" "Learn the proper use of
reference-books;" "Use imaginative literature, but not
immoderately;" "Do not try to cover too much ground;" "Do not
hesitate to ask for assistance and suggestions at the library;"
"See that you make your reading a definite gain to you in some

Mr. Foster soon gained influence among the teachers by personally
addressing them, and began to publish annotated lists of books
for young readers. A reading hour was established in the public
schools, and pupils learned to give in their own language the
substance of books which they had read. Mr. Foster says: "Our
plans were by no means limited to the public schools, but
included Brown University, the Rhode Island State Normal School,
the Commercial College, the private schools for girls, and the
two private boys' schools preparatory for college, one of which
has ten teachers and some two hundred and fifty pupils. One
morning I met the boys of this school in their chapel, and gave
them a twenty minutes' talk on reading, particularly on the
question how to direct one's current reading, as of newspapers,
into some channel of permanent interest and value. Since my
address before the teachers of the State (published in the papers
and proceedings of the Rhode Island Institute of Instruction for
1880) we have had many calls for assistance from outside the
city, from teachers in the high schools and grammar schools of
other places. In 1878 I began the preparation of a bulletin of
new books, issued quarterly by the State Board of Education, and
there have been several instances of a series of references in
connection with school-work. In July, 1880, I sent to the
different teachers a series of suggestions about the reading of
their pupils, covering such points as preserving a record of the
books read, books not being read and returned at too frequent
intervals, and the inspection of these matters by the teacher, or
rather establishing communication between the teacher and pupil
so that these things shall be talked over." Finding-lists have
been checked for the schools, appeals have been made by Mr.
Foster in public addresses for supervision of children's reading
by teachers and parents, and duplicate copies of books have been
placed in the library for school use. In conclusion, Mr. Foster
adds: "There has been a gradual and steady advance in methods of
cooperation and mutual understanding, so that now it is a
perfectly understood thing, throughout the schools, among
teachers and pupils, that the library stands ready to help them
at almost every point."

Mrs. Sanders, of the Free Public Library, Pawtucket, R. I.,
writes: "I am circulating by the thousand Rev. Washington
Gladden's 'How and What to Read,' published as a circular by the
State Board of Education of Rhode Island. I am constantly
encouraging the children to come to me for assistance, which they
are very ready to do; and I find that after boys have had either
a small or a full dose of Alger (we do not admit 'Optic'), they
are very ready to be promoted to something more substantial--
Knox, Butterworth, Coffin, Sparks, or Abbott. I find more
satisfaction in directing the minds of boys than girls, for
though I may and generally do succeed in interesting them in the
very best of fiction, it is much more difficult to draw them into
other channels, unless it is poetry. I should like very much to
know if this is the experience of other librarians. My aim is
first to interest girls or boys according to their ability to
enjoy or appreciate, and gradually to develop whatever taste is
the most prominent. For instance, I put on the shelves all
mechanical books for boys; works upon adornments for
homes--painting, drawing, music, aids to little housekeepers,
etc., for the girls."

Mr. Fletcher, of the Watkinson Library, Hartford, Conn., says, in
a recent address on the public library question in its moral and
religious aspect: "Many of our public libraries beg the whole
question, so far as it refers to the youngest readers, by
excluding them from the use of books. A limit of fourteen or
sixteen years is fixed, below which they are not admitted to the
library as its patrons. But, in some of those more recently
established, the wiser course has been adopted of fixing no such
limitation. For, in these times, there is little probability that
exclusion from the library will prevent their reading. Poor,
indeed, in resources must be the child who cannot now buy, beg,
or borrow a fair supply of reading of some kind; so that
exclusion from the library is simply a shutting up of the boy or
girl to the resources of the home and the book-shop or newspaper.
A slight examination of the literature found in a majority of
homes and most prominent in the shops is enough to show what this
means, and to explain the fact, that the young persons first
admitted to the public library at fourteen years of age come to
it with a well-developed taste for trash and a good acquaintance
with the names of authors in that department of literature, but
with apparently little capacity left for culture in higher

Mr. Winchester, of the Russell Free Library, Middletown, Conn.,
said in his report, last January: "A departure from the ordinary
rules governing the use of the library has been made in favor of
the teachers in the city schools, allowing a teacher to take to
the school, a number of books upon any topic which may be the
subject of study for the class for the time, and to retain them
beyond the time regularly allowed." In a letter three months
later he writes, "I cannot trace directly to this arrangement any
change in the reading of young folks. We have taken a good deal
of pains to get good books for the younger readers, and I make it
a point to assist them whenever I can. I feel quite sure that, if
trash is shut out of the library and withheld from young readers,
and, if good and interesting books are offered to them, they will
soon learn not to care for the trash."

Mr. Bassett, of the Bronson Library, Waterbury, Conn., says in
his printed report: "The librarian can do a little towards
leading young book-borrowers towards the selection of proper
books, but it does not amount to much unless his efforts are
seconded by parents and teachers. It is of little use, I fear, to
appeal to parents to look after their children's reading. It is
possible that they do not know that, in not a few cases, boys and
girls from eight to sixteen years of age, even while attending
school, draw from three to six volumes a week to read, and often
come for two volumes a day. That they fail to realize the effects
of so much reading on their children's minds is evident when we
hear them say, and with no little pride, too, 'Our children are
great readers; they read all the time.' Such parents ought to
know that instead of turning out to be prodigies of learning,
these library gluttons are far more likely to become prodigious
idiots, and that teachers find them, as a rule, the poorest
scholars and the worst thinkers." He adds an appeal to teachers:
"Give out questions that demand research, and send out pupils to
the library for information if necessary, and be assured that a
true librarian enjoys nothing so much as a search, with an
earnest seeker, after truths that are hidden away in his books.
Do not hesitate even to ask questions that you cannot answer, and
rely upon your pupils to answer them, and to give authorities,
and do not be ashamed to learn of your pupils. Work with them as
well as for them. But, whatever else you do, do not waste your
time in urging your pupils to stop story-reading and to devote
their time to good books. A parent can command this, you cannot;
but you can make the use of good books, and the acquisition of
knowledge not found in books, attractive and even necessary, and
your ability to do this determines your real value as a teacher.
Your work is to change your earth-loving moles into eagle-eyed
and intelligent observers of all that is on, in, above, and under
the earth." Mr. Bassett writes that as a result of this appeal
there was in November, December, January, and February, an
increase of nineteen (19) per cent in the circulation of general
literature, science, history, travel, and biography, and a
decrease in juveniles of ten (10) per cent for January and
February, 1882, as compared with the same months of 1881, For the
first nineteen days of March the increase of the classes
first-named was thirty-seven (37) per cent over last year, and
the decrease in juvenile fiction twenty-seven (27) per cent. He
ends his letter: "As a school officer and acting school visitor,
I find that those teachers whose education is not limited to
textbooks, and who are able to guide their pupils to full and
accurate knowledge of subjects of study, are not only the best,
but the only ones worth having."

Mr. Rogers, of the Fletcher Free Library, Burlington, Vermont,
says: "I have withdrawn permanently all of Alger, Fosdick,
Thomes, and Oliver Optic. I have for some time past been making
the teachers in the primary schools my assistants without pay. I
give them packages of books to circulate among their respective
schools. Very good results have been obtained. The Police Gazette
and other vile weeklies have been discarded for books from the
Fletcher Library. Most of the young folks are not old enough to
draw at the library themselves, and this method has to be used,
as in many instances the parents will not or cannot draw books
for their children. Each teacher has a copy of Mr. Smart's
excellent book, 'Reading for Young People.' Such books as are in
our collection are designated in their copies."

The New York Free Circulating Library is quietly doing good by
the establishment of carefully selected branch libraries in the
poorest and most thickly settled parts of the city In the words
of the last report: "The librarian has been constantly instructed
to aid all readers in search of information, however trivial may
be the subject, and, while the readers are to have free scope in
their choice of books, librarians have attempted, when they
properly could do so, free from seeming officiousness, to suggest
books of the best character, and induce the cultivation of a good
literary taste." Miss Coe, the librarian, adds, "Boys will read
the best books, if they can get them."

Mr. Schwartz, of the Apprentices' Library, New York, says: "We
are always ready and willing to direct and advise in special
cases, but have not as yet been able to come across any general
plan that seemed to us to promise success. The term 'good
reading' is relative, and must vary according to the taste of
each reader, and it is just this variety of standards that seems
to present an unsurmountable obstacle to any general and
comprehensive system of suggestions."

Miss Bullard, of the Seymour Library, Auburn, N. Y., reports a
decrease in fiction from sixty-five (65) to fifty-eight (58) per
cent in the last five years. She says: "I have endeavored, year
by year, to gain the confidence of the younger portion of our
subscribers in my ability to always furnish them with interesting
reading, and have thus been able to turn them from the domain of
fiction into the more useful fields of literature. Another
noticeable and encouraging feature of the library is the
increasing use made of it by pupils in the high school in
connection with school-work."

Mr. Larned, of the Young Men's Library of Buffalo, N. Y., writes:
"I think the little catalogue is doing a great deal of good among
our young readers and among parents and teachers. We exert what
personal influence we can in the library, but there are no other
special measures that we employ." The catalogue, a carefully
chosen list of books for young readers, with stars placed against
those specially recommended, includes, besides books mentioned in
other letters, the Boy's Froissart and King Arthur, Miss Tuckey's
Joan of Arc, Le Liefde's Great Dutch Admirals, Eggleston's Famous
American Indians, Bryan's History of the United States, Verne's
Exploration of the World, Du Chaillu's books, What Mr. Darwin
Saw, Science Primers, Faraday's Chemical History of a Candle,
Smiles's Biographies, Clodd's Childhood of the World, Viollet Le
Duc's Learning to Draw, Dana's Household Book of Poetry, Uncle
Remus, Sir Roger de Coverley, several pages on out and in door
games, hunting and fishing, with plenty of myths and fairy tales,
an annotated selection of historical novels, and a short list of
good stories.

The Friends' Free Library, Germantown, Pa., still excludes all
fiction except a few carefully chosen stories for children. The
report of the committee says: "Our example has been serviceable
in stimulating some other library committees and communities to
use more discrimination in their selection of books than may have
been the case with them in the past. From our own precious
children we would fain keep away the threatening contamination,
if in our power to do so, the divine law of love to our neighbor
thence instructs us to use the opportunity to put far away the
evil from him also." The representatives of the religious Society
of Friends for Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware, have
published during the year a protest against demoralizing
literature and art, taking the ground that the national standard
of moral purity is lowered, and the sanctity of marriage
weakened, by most of the books, pictures, and theatrical
exhibitions of to-day.

The current report of the Cincinnati public schools gives a full
account of the celebrations of authors' birthdays in the last two
years, and the superintendent, the Hon. John B. Peaslee, LL.D.,
in an address on moral and literary training in school, urges
that the custom, so successfully begun, shall be kept up, and
that children in all grades of schools shall be required to learn
every week a few lines of good poetry, instead of choosing for
themselves either verse or prose for declamation. Mr. Merrill
asks in his last report for coooperation between the school and
the library, and says in a letter: "I read a paper some time ago
which was published in a teachers' magazine, and have addressed
our Cincinnati teachers. We purchased a number of the catalogues
of the Young Men's Library of Buffalo, and have written in our
corresponding shelf numbers. A few of our teachers have also
obtained these catalogues. I judge that the children are
beginning to take out better books than formerly. The celebration
of authors' days in the schools has been very beneficial in
making the children acquainted with some of the best literature
in the libraries as well as with the use of books of reference."

Miss Stevens, of the Public Library, Toledo, Ohio, says: "We are
fond of children, and suggest to them books that they will like.
Give a popular boy a good book, and there is not much rest for
that book. Librarians should like children."

Mr. Poole, of the Chicago Public Library, writes: "I have met the
principals of the schools, and have addressed them on their
duties in regulating the reading of their pupils, and advising
their pupils as to what to read and how to read. My talk has
awakened some interest in the teachers, and a committee has been
appointed to consider what can be done about it."

Mr. Carnes, of the Odd Fellows' Library Association, San
Francisco, fires this shot in his report: "Even the child knows
that forbidden fruit is the sweetest on the branch. If you wish
to compel a boy to read a given book, strictly forbid him even to
take it from the shelves. The tabooed books will somehow be
secured in spite of their withdrawal."

Mr. Metcalf, of the Wells School, Boston, who told at the
conference of 1879 of his work in encouraging a love for good,
careful, and critical reading, writes: "My girls have bought
Scott's Talisman, and we have read it together. I have now sent
in a request for forty copies of Ivanhoe. My second class have
read, on the same plan, this year, Mrs. Whitney's We Girls, and
the third class have finished Towle's Pizarro, and are now
reading Leslie Goldthwaite. The City Council refused, last year,
to appropriate the $1,000 asked for. When we have the means, all
our grammar and high school masters will be able to order from
the library such books as are suited to their classes. This plan
introduces the children to a kind of reading somewhat better than
would otherwise reach them, and, best of all, it gives them great
facility in expression."

Hartford, which has now no free circulating library, but hopes
for one within two years, still keeps the old district system of
schools, and several of these schools have a library fund. Mr.
Barrows, principal of the Brown School, writes: "Our library
contains the usual school reference-books. Recently we have added
quite a number of books especially adapted to interest and
instruct children, such as The Boy Travellers, Miss Yonge's
Histories, Butterworth's Zigzag Journeys, Forbes's Fairy
Geography, etc. The children are not permitted to take these
books away from the building. Pupils are invited to bring such
additional facts in geography, or history, as they may obtain by
reading. Topics are assigned. Should spices be the topic, one
pupil would read up concerning cloves; another nutmeg, etc.
Again, pupils are allowed to make their own selections, and
invited to give, at a specified time, any facts in geography,
history, natural science, manufactures, inventions, etc. For
this extra work extra credits are given. Our object is to cause
pupils to realize the conscious and abiding pleasure that comes
by instructive reading; to encourage such as have not been
readers to read, and to influence such as have been readers of
trash to become readers of profitable books. The result, so far,
is very encouraging. Many have become enthusiastic readers, and
can give more facts and information thus obtained than we have
time to hear. As the Christmas holidays approached, many
signified a desire that their presents might be books, such as we
have in our library; for they do not have time at school to
exhaust the reading of these books, and consequently do not lose
their interest."

Within the last few months Mr. Northrop, Secretary of the Board
of Education of Connecticut, has distributed in the high schools
and upper classes of the grammar schools of the State, blanks to
be filled by the pupils with the kind of reading that they like
best, and the names of their favorite authors. Several hundred of
these circulars were destroyed when the Hartford High School was
burned last winter. The publication of a list of books suitable
for boys and girls has been delayed, but Mr. Holbrook, of the
Morgan School, Clinton, Conn., who prepared the list, writes
concerning his work in school: "I have the practical disbursement
of three or four hundred dollars a year for books. In the high
school, in my walks at recess among the pupils, I inquire into
their reading, try to arouse some enthusiasm, and then, when the
iron is hot, I make the proposition that if they will promise to
read nothing but what I give them I will make out a schedule for
them. A pupil spending one hour, even less, a day, religiously
observing the time, will, in five years, have read every book
that should be read in the library. Those who agree to the above
proposition I immediately start on the Epochs of History, turning
aside at proper times to read some historical novel. When that is
done I give them Motley, then Dickens, or Prescott, or Macaulay,
Hawthorne, Thackeray, Don Quixote. Cooper I depend on as a lure
for younger readers. When they have read about enough (in my
opinion), I invite them to go a little higher. Whenever they come
to the office and look helplessly about, I immediately jump up
from my work, and, solving the personal equation, pick out two or
three books which I think adapted first to interest, and then
instruct. I try to welcome their appearance, assuring them that
the books are to be read, urging the older ones to read carefully
and with thought. Some I benefit; others are too firmly wedded to
their idols, Mrs. Holmes and Southworth. Finally, it is my aim to
send them away from school with their eyes opened to the fact
that they have, the majority, been reading to no purpose; that
there are better, higher, and nobler books than they ever dreamed
of. Of course I don't always accomplish this; but he who aims at
the sun will go higher than one aiming at the top of the barn."

A commission of sixteen ladies was appointed last year, by the
Connecticut Congregational Club, to select and print a catalogue
of books for Sunday Schools. During the year it has examined one
hundred and eighty-four, almost all reprints of well-known books,
and has selected one hundred. At least one annotated
Sunday-School catalogue was prepared before the appointment of
the commission, directing the attention of children to such books
as Tom Brown's School Days and Higginson's Young Folks' Book of
American Explorers, and of older readers to Stanley's Jewish
Church, Martineau's Household Education, Robertson's Sermons,
Sister Dora, Hypatia, Charles Kingsley's Life, and Atkinson's
Right Use of Books.

The conclusions to which these opinions, from libraries and
schools in ten different States, lead us, are these: 1. The
number of fathers and mothers who directly supervise their
children's reading, limiting their number of library books to
those which they themselves have read, and requiring a verbal or
written account of each before another is taken, is small.

2. The number of teachers who read and appreciate the best books,
or take pains to search in libraries for those which illustrate
lessons, or are good outside reading for the pupils, is also

3. The high schools, normal schools, and colleges are every year
sending out young men and women with little knowledge of books
except text-books and poor novels.

4. In towns and cities with free libraries, much may be and has
been done by establishing direct communication between libraries
and schools, making schools branch libraries.

5. This can be done only by insisting that teachers in such towns
and cities shall know something of literature, and by refusing to
grant certificates to teachers who, in the course of an hour's
talk, do not show themselves well enough informed to guide
children to a love of good books. The classes now reading under
Mr. Metcalf's direction in Boston, or celebrating authors' days
and the founding of their own state in Cincinnati, will be, in a
few years, the teachers, the fathers, or the mothers of a new
generation, and the result of their reading may be expected to
appear in the awakened intelligence of their pupils and children.

6. Daily newspapers may be used with advantage in schools to
encourage children to read on current events and to verify

7. Direct personal intercourse of librarians and assistants with
children is the surest way of gaining influence over them. Miss
Stevens, of Toledo, has put the secret of the whole matter, so
far as we are concerned, into four words: "Librarians should like
children." It may be added that a librarian or assistant in
charge of circulation should never be too busy to talk with
children and find out what they need. Bibliography and learning
of all kinds have their places in a library; but the counter
where children go needs no abstracted scholar, absorbed in first
editions or black-letter, but a winsome friend, to meet them more
than halfway, patiently answer their questions, "and by slow
degrees subdue them to the useful and the good."


Miss Hewins made a later report on the same subject [see the
previous article] in a paper presented before the World's Library
Congress in 1893. In this paper, given below, she has summarized
several of the early yearly reports made at the meetings of the
A. L. A., all of which are of great interest as a record of the
work of various libraries.

In the Government report on libraries, 1876, the relation of
public libraries and the young was treated by Mr. W. I. Fletcher,
who discussed age-restrictions, direction of reading, choice of
books, and incidentally the relation of libraries to schools,
referring to librarians and trustees as "the trainers of gymnasts
who seek to provide that which will be of greatest service to
their men." The report was suggestive, and called for several
radical changes in the usual management of libraries. No
statistics were given, for none had been called for, and the
number of libraries which were working in the modern spirit was
not large. Mr. Green, in his paper at the Philadelphia
conference of 1876 (L. j. 1: 74), gave some suggestions as to how
to teach school boys and girls the use of books, and in one or
two of the discussions the influence of a librarian on young
readers was noticed, but the American Library Association did not
give much time to the subject till the Boston conference of 1879,
when a whole session was devoted to schools, libraries, and
fiction (L. j. 4:319), the general expression of opinion being
similar to the formula expressed in the paper by Miss Mary A.
Bean, "Lessen the quantity and improve the quality." In 1881, Mr.
J. N. Larned, of the Buffalo Young Men's Library, issued his
pamphlet, "Books for young readers." The report on "Boys' and
girls' reading" which I had the honor of making at the Cincinnati
conference of 1882 has answers from some 25 librarians to the
question "What are you doing to encourage a love of good reading
in boys and girls?" (L. j. 7:182.) Several speak of special
catalogs or bulletins, most of personal interest in and
friendship with young readers. One writes, "Give a popular boy a
good book, and there is not much rest for that book. Librarians
should like children." It was in 1883 that, by the suggestion and
advice of our lamented friend, Frederick Leypoldt, I published a
little classified pamphlet, "Books for the young." In January of
the same year the Library Journal began a department of
"Literature for the young," which was transferred at the end of
the year to the Publishers' Weekly, where it still remains. The
report on the subject, made for the Buffalo conference by Miss
Bean, is on the same lines as the former one, with the addition
of the experience of some smaller libraries. She says, "I believe
the Lynn library has hit a fundamental truth, and applied the
sovereign remedy, so far as the question concerns public
libraries, in its 'one-book-a-week' rule for pupils of the

Miss Hannah P. James's report at the Lake George conference in
1885 (L. j. 10:278) sums up the information received from 75
sources in some suggestions for work in connection with school
and home, suggesting the publication of book lists in local
papers, supervision of children's reading if authority is given
by parents, and the limitation of school children's book to one
or two a week. At the St. Louis conference of 1889 Miss Mary
Sargent reported on "Reading for the young" (L. j. 14:226), One
librarian fears that lists of books prepared for boys and girls
will soon become lists to be avoided by them, on account of young
people's jealous suspicion of undue influence. Sargent's
"Reading for the young" was published just after the White
Mountain conference of 1890, and the subject was not discussed in
San Francisco in 1891 or at Lakewood in 1892 except in relation
to schools.

The Ladies' Commission on Sunday school books is at least five
years older than the American Library Association. It has done
good service in printing lists of books specially adapted to
Unitarian Sunday schools, others unfitted for them only by a few
doctrinal pages or sentences, and a third class recommended as
household friends on account of their interests, literary value,
and good tone. The Church Library Association stands in the same
relation to Episcopal Sunday schools, recommending in yearly

1. Books bearing directly on church life, history, and doctrine.

2. Books recommended, but not distinctly church books.

The Connecticut Ladies' Commission has, at the request of the
Connecticut Congregational Club, published since 1881 several
carefully chosen and annotated lists.

The National Young Folks' Reading Circle, the Chautauqua Young
Folks' Reading Union, and the Columbian Reading Union, the latter
a Catholic society, the others undenominational, have published
good lists for young readers. The Catholic Church also recommends
many recent stories for children which have no reference to
doctrines or differences in belief.

One hundred and fifty-two out of 160 libraries have answered the
following questions:

1. Are your children's books kept by themselves?

2. Are they classified, and how?

3. Have they a separate card catalog or printed finding list?

4. Are they covered?

5. Do you enforce rules with regard to clean hands?

6. Have you an age limit, and if so, what is it?

7. Do you allow more than one book a week on a child's card?

8. Are children's cards different in color from others?

9. What authors are most read by children who take books from
your library?

10. What methods have you of directing their reading? Have you a
special assistant for them, or are they encouraged to consult the
librarian and all the assistants?

11. Have you a children's reading room?

Seventy-seven reply to the first question that their children's
books are kept by themselves, 22 that stories or other books are
separate from the rest of the library, and 53 that there is no
juvenile division.

Three answer simply "Yes" to the second question, 24 have adopted
the Dewey system, in two or three cases with the Cutter author
marks, 4 the Cutter, and 1 the Linderfelt system; 10 arrange by
authors, 18 by subjects, 4 by authors and subjects, 42 report
methods of their own or classification like the rest of the
library, and 46 do not classify children's books at all.

In answer to the third question, 6 libraries report both a
separate card catalog and finding list, 43 a finding list for
sale or distribution, 15 a card catalog for children, and 88 no
separate list. Of the printed finding lists 4 are Sargent's, 1
Larned's, 2 Hardy's, and 2 Miss James's.

The fourth question relates to covering books for children.
Eighty-five libraries do not cover them, 30 cover some, either
those with light bindings or others that have become soiled and
worn, 35 cover all, and 2 do not report.

In reply to the fifth question, 45 libraries require that
children's  hands shall be clean before they can take books from
the library, or at least when they use books or periodicals in
the building, and 50 have no such rules. Others try various
methods of moral suasion, including in one instance a janitor who
directs the unwashed to a lavatory, and in another a fine of a
few cents for a second offense.

The sixth question, whether there is an age limit or not, brings
various replies. Thirty-six libraries have none, five base it on
ability to read or write, one fixes it at 6, one at 7, and one
at 8. Ten libraries allow a child a card in his own name at 10,
two at 11, forty-seven at 12, six at 13, thirty-three at 14, four
at 15, and six at 16. They qualify their statements in many cases
by adding that children may use the cards of older persons, or
may have them if they bring a written guarantee from their
parents or are in certain classes in the public schools.

Question 7 deals with the number of books a week allowed to
children. Ninety-five libraries allow them to change a book every
day; one (subscription) gives them a dozen a day if they wish.
Fifteen limit them to two, and 3 to three a week, and 16 to only
one. Several librarians in libraries where children are allowed a
book a day express their disapproval of the custom, and one has
entered into an engagement with her young readers to take 1 book
in every 4 from some other class than fiction. Others do not
answer definitely. A few libraries issuing two cards, or two-book
cards, allow children the use of two books a week, if one is not
a novel or story.

Question 8 is a less important one, whether children's cards are
of a different color from others. There is no difference between
the cards of adults and children in 124 libraries, except in case
of school cards in 2. In 4 the color of cards for home use
varies, and 4 report other distinctions, like punches or
different charging slips. Eight do not charge on cards and 12 do
not answer.

With regard to question 9, "What authors are most read by
children who take books from your library?" the lists vary so
much in length that it is impossible to give a fair idea of them
in in few sentences. Some libraries mention only two or three
authors, others ten times as many. Miss Alcott's name is in more
lists than any other. Where only two or three authors are given,
they are usually of the Alger, Castlemon, Finley, Optic grade.
These four do not appear in the reports from 35 libraries, where
Alden, Ballantyne, Mrs. Burnett, Susan Coolidge, Ellis, Henty,
Kellogg, Lucy Lillie, Munroe, Otis, Stoddard, and various fairy
tales fill their places. Seven are allowing Alger, Castlemon,
Finley, and Optic to wear out without being replaced, and soon
find that books of a higher type are just as interesting to young

Question 10 asks what methods are used in directing children's
reading, and if a special assistant is at their service, or if
they are encouraged to consult the librarian and all the
assistants. Many librarians overconscientiously say, "No
methods," but at the same time acknowledge the personal
supervision and friendly interest that were meant in the query.
Only nine do not report something of this kind. Six have, or are
about to have, a special assistant, or have already opened a
bureau of information. Five say that they pay special attention
to selecting the best books, 4 of the larger libraries have open
shelves, and 2 are careful in the choice and supervision of

In answer to question 11, 5 report special reading rooms, present
or prospective, for children; 3 more wish that they had them,
while others believe that the use of a room in common with older
readers teaches them to be courteous and considerate to others.
Most reading rooms are open to children, who sometimes have a
table of their own, but in a few cases those under are excluded.

My own opinion on the subjects treated in the questions are:

1. It is easier for a librarian or assistant to find a book for a
child if whatever is adapted to his intelligence on a certain
subject is kept by itself, and not with other books which may be
dry, out of date, or written for a trained student of mature

2. It is easier to help a child work up a subject if the books
which he can use are divided into classes, not all alphabeted
under authors.

3. A separate card catalog for children often relieves a crowd at
the other cases. A printed dictionary catalog without notes does
not help a child.

A public library can make no better investment than in printing a
classified list for children, with short notes on stories
illustrating history or life in different countries, and
references to interesting books written for older readers. Such a
list should be sold for 5 cents, much less than cost.

4. The money spent in paying for the paper and time used in
covering books is just as well employed in binding, and the
attractive covers are pleasant to look at.

5. The books can be kept reasonably clean if children are made to
understand that they must not be taken away, returned, or if
possible, read with unwashed hands. City children soon begin to
understand this if they are spoken to pleasantly and sent away
without a book till they come back in a fit state to handle it.

6. As soon as a child can read and write he should be allowed to
use books. A proper guarantee from parent or teacher should, of
course, be required.

7. A child in school cannot read more than one story book a week
without neglecting his work. If he needs another book in
connection with his studies he should take it on a school
teacher's, or nonfiction card.

8. It is best, if a child has only one book a week, for his card
to be of a different color from others, that it may be more
easily distinguished at the charging desk.

9. It has been proved by actual experiment that children will
read books which are good in a literary sense if they are
interesting. New libraries have the advantage over old ones, that
they are not obliged to struggle against a demand for the boys'
series that were supplied in large quantities fifteen or twenty
years ago.

10. As soon as children learn that in a library there are books
and people to help them on any subject, from the care of a sick
rabbit to a costume for the Landing of the Pilgrims, they begin
to ask advice about their reading. It is a good thing if some of
the library assistants are elder sisters in large families who
have tumbled about among books, and if some of the questions
asked of applicants for library positions relate to what they
would give boys or girls to read. If an assistant in a large
library shows a special fitness for work with children, it is
best to give it into her charge. If all the assistants like it,
let them have their share of it.

11. The question of a children's reading room depends on the size
of the room for older readers, and how much it is used by them in
the afternoons. Conditions vary so much in libraries that it is
impossible for one to make a rule for another in this case.


The Library Journal for February, 1914, says: "One of the
pleasantest features of 'Library week' at Lake George in 1913 was
the welcome given to Miss Hewins, that typical New England woman,
whose sympathy with children and child life has made this
relation of her public library work a type and model for all who
have to do with children.... Miss Hewins's paper was really a
delightful bit of literary autobiography, and she has now happily
acceded to a request from the Journal to fill out the outlines
into a more complete record."

Not long ago I went into the public library of a university town
in England and established confidence by saying, "I see that
Chivers does your binding," whereupon the librarian invited me
inside the railing. A boy ten or twelve years old was standing in
a Napoleonic attitude, with his feet very far apart, before the
fiction shelves, where the books were alphabetized under authors,
but with apparently nothing to show him whether a story was a
problem-novel or a tale for children. My thoughts went back many
years to the days when I first became the librarian of a
subscription library in Hartford, where novels and children's
stories were roughly arranged under the first letter of the
title, and not by authors. There was a printed catalog, but
without anything to indicate in what series or where in order of
the series a story-book belonged, and it was impossible when a
child had read one to find out what the next was except from the
last page of the book itself or the advertisements in the back
and they had often been torn out for convenient reference.

My technical equipment was some volunteer work in a town library,
a little experience in buying for a Sunday-school library, and
about a year in the Boston Athenaeum. The preparation that I had
had for meeting children and young people in the library was,
besides some years of teaching, a working knowledge of the books
that had been read and re-read in a large family for twenty-five
years, from Miss Edgeworth and Jacob Abbott, an old copy of
"Aesop's fables," Andersen, Grimm, Hawthorne, "The Arabian
nights," Mayne Reid's earlier innocent even if unscientific
stories, down through "Tom Brown," "Alice in Wonderland," Our
Young Folks, the Riverside Magazine, "Little women," to Scott,
Dickens, Thackeray, George Eliot, Charlotte Bronte and Mrs.
Gaskell. These books were in the Hartford Young Men's Institute,
but they were little read in comparison with the works of the
"immortal four," who were then writing series at the rate of two
or more volumes a year--Optic, Alger, Castlemon and Martha
Finley--and still refuse to be forgotten. The older girls
demanded Ouida, a new name to me, but I read some of her novels
before I had been in the library many weeks, and remember writing
a letter to a daily paper giving an outline of the plot of one of
them as a hint to fathers and mothers of what their schoolgirl
daughters were reading. I think that there was something about
boys, too, in the letter, and a plea for "Ivanhoe" and other
books of knightly adventure.

The Young Men's Institute Library in Hartford was a survival from
the days of subscription libraries and lecture courses. The city
had then a population of about fifty thousand, of whom some five
or six hundred were subscribers to the library, paying three
dollars for the use of one book at a time or five dollars for
two, including admission to the periodical room. Hartford had a
large number of Irish inhabitants, some Germans, a few of whom
were intelligent and prosperous Jews, a few French Canadians,
possibly still fewer Scandinavians. It was several years before
the first persecution of the Russian and Polish Jews sent them to
this country. In the year when I came, 1875, there were
forty-six boys and girls in the high school graduating class,
all, from their names and what I know of some of them, apparently
of English descent, except one whose name is Scotch.

The class which was graduated last June had about 650 members on
entering, and 250 at the end of its course. Among the names are
Italian, Hebrew, Swedish, Irish, German, Danish, Spanish,
Bohemian, Armenian--the largest percentage from families not of
English descent being Hebrew.

It is fair to say that at least half of the boys and girls of the
earlier graduating class, or their families, had library
subscriptions, but little use of the library was recommended even
by the high school teachers, and none by the teachers of the
graded schools. How could there be? Five dollars is a large sum
in most families, and children at that time had to read what they
could get at home or from the Sunday-school libraries, which were
no better nor worse than others of the period.

The first effort that I remember making for a better choice of
books was showing the library president some volumes by Thomes, a
writer for the older boys, whose stories were full of profanity
and brutal vulgarity. There was no question about discarding them
and some of Mayne Reid's books like "The scalp hunters" and "Lost
Lenore," which are much of the same type, very different from his
earlier stories, and in a short time we did not renew books by
some other authors, but let them die out, replacing them if
possible by stories a little better, giving preference to those
complete in themselves.

Within a short time, in 1878, we began to publish a quarterly
bulletin. In the first number "Library notes" begins: "Much time
and thought have been given to suggesting in this bulletin good
books for boys and girls. As a rule, they read too much. Our
accounts show that one boy has taken 102 story-books in six
months, and one girl 112 novels in the same time. One book a week
is certainly enough, with school studies. Within the last month
one boy has asked us for Jack Harkaway's stories, another for
bound volumes of the Police News, and a third for 'The murderer
and the fortune teller,' 'The two sisters and the avenger' and
'The model town and the detective.' These are not in the library
and will not be. The demand for girls for the New York Weekly
novels is not small. We shall gladly cooperate with fathers and
mothers in the choice of children's books."

Of what we now call nature-books there were very few written or
well illustrated for children, though the library had John
Burroughs, Harris's "Insects injurious to vegetation" and
Samuels's "Birds of New England and the adjacent states." There
was little interest in out-of-door study, and I have never
forgotten the contempt on the face of one boy when instead of
Mayne Reid's "Boy hunters," which was out, he was offered "The
butter- fly hunters," or the scorn with which he repeated the
title. All that is changed, thanks to the influence of schools
and teachers, and children are no longer ignorant of common birds
and insects. St. Nicholas helped in opening their eyes, when a
librarian, Harlan H. Ballard, of Pittsfield, organized the
Agassiz Association with a monthly report in the magazine. We had
a chapter, Hartford B., that met for years out of doors on
Saturday mornings through the spring, early summer and autumn,
and even through one winter when some specimens of the redheaded
woodpecker were on the edge of the city. Usually our winter
meetings were in the library, and we often had readings from
Burroughs, Thoreau, Frank Buckland and others of the earlier
nature-lovers. The children came from families of more than usual
intelligence, and some of them who now have well-grown children
of their own often refer with pleasure to our walks and talks.

I had taught for three years in a school where the children and I
were taken out of doors every week in spring and autumn by an
ornithologist and an entomologist. At this time we were beginning
to buy more books on out-of-door subjects, and I had learned
enough in my teaching to be able to evaluate them in a bulletin.

The years went on, with once in a while an encouraging report
about a boy who had made experiments from works on chemistry or
beguiled a fortnight's illness with Wordsworth's "Greece," or
Guhl and Koner's "Life of the Greeks and Romans," or had gone on
from Alger and Optic to Cooper, Lossing, Help's "Life of
Columbus" and Barber's "History of New England." Both boys and
girls were beginning to apologize for taking poor stories.

In one of our bulletins, January, 1881, is an acknowledgment of
Christmas material received from the advance sheets of Poole's
Index, then in preparation in the Watkinson Library, on the other
side of the building. Imagine life in a library without it, you
who have the Readers' Guide and all the debates and Granger's
Index to Poetry and the Portrait Index! Nevertheless, we were not
entirely without printed aids, for we had the Brooklyn catalog,
the Providence bulletins, and the lists of children's books
prepared by the Buffalo and Quincy libraries.

In 1882, at the request of Frederick Leypoldt, editor of the
Publishers' Weekly, I compiled a list of "Books for the young,"
some of which are of permanent value. In a second edition, in
1884, I reprinted from our bulletin a list of English and
American history for children, between twelve and fifteen, based
on my own experience with boys and girls. I can laugh at it now,
after years of meeting child-readers, seventy-five per cent of
whom have no books at home, and can also find food for mirth in
my belief that a list of books recommended for vacation reading
in another bulletin would attract most boys and girls under

One school, under a wise and far-seeing principal, who is now an
authority on United States history and the author of several
school books on the subject, had in 1884 an arrangement with us
for a supply of historical stories for reading, and we printed a
list of these and of other books on American history which would
be interesting if read by or to the older pupils in the grammar

Sets of fifty copies each of books for supplementary reading in
school were bought by the library in 1894, and apportioned by the
school principals at their monthly meetings. Several new sets
were bought every year till 1905, when the collection numbered
about three thousand, and was outgrowing the space that we could
spare for it. The schools then provided a place for the school
duplicates, and relieved the library of the care of them. Since
1899 the graded schools have received on request libraries of
fifty books to a room, from the third grade to the ninth, to be
kept until the summer vacation, when they are returned for
repairs and renewal. The number circulated during the school
year has grown from 6,384 in 1899-1900 to 17,270 in 1912-13. The
children's applications are sent to the main library, and no
child may have a card there and in a school branch at the same

There were rumors for several years that the library would be
made free, and when it was at last announced in 1888 that
$250,000 had been given by the late J. Pierpont Morgan, his
father and two families related to them, on condition that
$150,000 more should be raised by private subscription to remodel
the Wadsworth Athenaeum, which then housed three libraries and a
picture- gallery, and to provide for its maintenance, the rumor
bade fair to come true. That the money came in, is largely due to
the personal efforts of Charles Hopkins Clark, editor-in-chief of
the Hartford Courant, for many years treasurer of the Athenaeum,
the Watkinson Library and the Hartford Public Library, and the
sum required was promised in 1890. Later the library offered the
free use of its books, and also the income of about $50,000 to
the city, on condition of keeping its form of government by a
self-perpetuating corporation.

The first step towards the enlarged use of the library was to
separate the children's books and classify them. We had had a
fixed location up to that time, and I had not yet broken loose
from it, but I numbered them according to the best light I had,
though in a very short time I saw that with the increased number
of duplicates we had to buy, only a movable location was of the
least practical use. It was several years before the Dewey
classification was finally adopted for the children, although we
classified our grown-up books by it before we opened to the

When the library became free, in 1892, the annual circulation of
children's books rose at once to 50,000, 25 per cent of the
whole, and as large as the largest total in the subscription
days. We immediately had to buy a large supply of new books,
carefully chosen, and printed a too fully annotated list, which
we found useful for some years and discarded when we were able to
open the shelves. We had only a corner for children's books,
almost none for children under ten, and no admission to the
shelves. We struggled on as well as we could for the next few

A dialogue between a reader and the librarian in 1897 shows what
we were trying to do at this time. It is really true, and
illustrates the lack of knowledge in one of the most intelligent
women in the city of the many points of contact between the
library and the boys and girls of the city.

Reader: "There ought to be somebody in the library to tell
people, especially children, what to read."

Librarian: "Have you ever seen the children's printed list, with
notes on books connected with school work, and others written for
older readers but interesting to children, hints on how and what
to read, and a letter R against the best books?"

Reader: "No, I never heard of it."

Librarian: "It was ready the day after the library opened, was
sold for five cents, and the first edition of a thousand copies
was exhausted so soon that a second had to be printed. Have you
ever heard of the lists of interesting books in connection with
Greek, Roman and English history given to high school pupils' or
the records kept for years by the North School children of books
which they have read, and sent to the librarian to be commented
on and criticised in an hour's friendly talk in the school room,
or the letters written on the use of the library by pupils in the
other schools?"

Reader: "No."

Librarian: "Have you ever seen the lists of good novels for boys
and girls growing away from books written for children and also a
list of interesting love-stories for readers who have heard of
only a few authors?"

Reader: "No."

Librarian: "Have you ever noticed the printed lists of new books,
with notes, hung on the bulletin board every Monday?"

Reader: "No."

Librarian: "Do you know that the library has twelve hundred
volumes of the best books by the best authors, fifty of each, for
use in the public schools?"

Reader: "No."

The library opened in 1895 a branch for children in the Social
Settlement, and in 1897 reading rooms in connection with vacation
schools, established by the Civic Club and afterwards taken in
charge by the city.

The Educational Club, an organization of parents, teachers and
others interested in education, began in 1897 with very informal
meetings, suggested by the school section of the Civic Club,
which were held in my office for three years, until they outgrew
it and needed a more formal organization. The directors of the
Civic Club and managers of the Social Settlement have met there
for years, and the Connecticut Public Library Committee found it
a convenient meeting place until it seemed better to hold
sessions in the Capitol, where its office is.

The history classes of the North School, of whose principal I
have spoken, used to make a pilgrimage every year to points of
interest in the city, ending with an hour in the rooms of the
Historical Society in the building, where they impersonated
historical characters or looked at colonial furniture and
implements. After the hour was over they used to come to the
office for gingerbread and lemonade, which strengthened their
friendly feeling for the library. This lasted until the
principal went to another city.

In 1898, in a talk to some children in one of the schools just
before the summer vacation, I asked those who were not going out
of town to come to the library one afternoon every week for a
book-talk, with a tableful of books such as they would not be
likely to find for themselves. The subjects the first year were:

Out-of-door books and stories about animals, Books about Indians,
Travellers' tales and stories of adventure, Books that tell how
to do things, Books about pictures and music, A great author and
his friends (Sir Walter Scott), Another great author and his
short stories (Washington Irving), Old-fashioned books for boys
and girls. The talks have been kept up ever since.

The series in 1900 was on Books about knights and tournaments,
what happened to a man who read too much about knights (Don
Quixote), Books about horses, Two dream-stories, (The divine
comedy and The pilgrim's progress), Some funny adventures (A
traveller's true tale and others), Some new books, How a book is
made, Stories about India, Pictures and scrap-books.

The next year, 1901, the talks were about stories connected with
English history, the Old-English, the Normans, the Plantagenet
times, King Henry V., the Wars of the Roses, King Henry VII, and
King Henry VIII, Queen Elizabeth and Mary, Queen of Scots, the
Stuarts, and the English Revolution and eighteenth- century

The year after, 1902, the talks were on "Books that you have not
read," under the titles Sea stories, Indian stories, Horse
stories, Wonder stories, Hero stories, African stories, South Sea
stories, School and college stories, Old stories. A table of
books was in the room, and I took them up one by one and told a
little about the story, sometimes reading aloud and stopping at a
very interesting point.

In 1903, the subjects were Stories about dragons, Stories about
soldiers, Stories about shipwrecks, Stories about out-of- doors,
Stories of real people told by themselves, Stories about
adventures, Stories about pictures, Stories about the West, the
object being to give the children of the upper grammar grades a
glimpse into interesting books of which they might otherwise
never hear. In that year we printed a list of novels for young
readers that is now ten years old and needs revision, but still
has its uses.

The use of the reference-room by children steadily increased,
until the need of a room for them became evident, both on
weekdays and Sundays. The Bulletin for March 1, 1900, says: "On
Sunday, Feb. 25, there were eighty-one children in the small
room, filling not only chairs too high for their short legs, but
benches extending into the circulation room. They were all quiet
and orderly, and some of them read seriously and absorbedly for
several hours on 'The twentieth century,' 'The boundaries of the
United States,' and 'The comparative greatness of Napoleon and
Alexander.' The younger children read storybooks in the same
quiet manner. A children's room would relieve the pressure on all
three departments of the library." The "last straw" that led to
the grant of rooms was a newspaper article illustrated by a
photograph of the reference-room on a Sunday afternoon with one
man, one woman and fifty-one children in it.

In 1904, the library came into possession of two large, bright
sunny rooms and a smaller one adjoining in an old-fashioned house
next door, which belonged to the Athenaeum and had been released
by the removal of the Hartford Club to a large new house across
the street. We opened rooms in November, just before
Thanksgiving, and from then till New Year's Day we received gifts
from many friends: a pair of andirons for the open fireplace,
several pictures, a check "for unnecessary things" from one of
the women's clubs, another for wall-decoration from teachers,
students and graduates of the Albany Library School, fifty
Japanese color-prints of chrysanthemums from the Pratt Institute
children's room, a cuckoo clock that is still going, though it
demands a vacation about once a year, and a Boston fern that is
now in flourishing condition. A large Braun photograph of the
Madonna del Granduca came later from the Pittsburgh School for
Children's Librarians.

The furniture is of the simplest kind. We used some tables that
we had, and bought one new one, some bentwood chairs for the
older children and others such as are used in kindergartens for
the younger. Pratt Institute lent us that first winter the very
attractive illustrations by the Misses Whitney for Louisa
Alcott's "Candy country." Some friends who were breaking up
housekeeping gave the room a case of native and foreign stuffed
birds with the hope that they might be as great a source of
pleasure to the children as they had been to them in their
childhood. Another friend sent us two trunks of curiosities from
Europe, Asia, Africa and North America, which are shown a few at
a time.

The next summer, 1905, the book-talks were about pictures in the
room, most of which had been bought with our friends' gifts.
Windsor Castle, Kenilworth, Heidelberg Castle, The Alhambra, St.
George, King Arthur, Sir Walter Scott, the Canterbury Pilgrims,
some Shakespeare stories. On the Alhambra afternoon, a girl who
had spent her first year out of college in Spain described the
palace and showed curiosities from Granada. One day a Civil War
nurse who happened in was persuaded to tell the boys and girls in
the room about the three weeks she spent in the White House,
taking care of Tad Lincoln through a fever. Some years later we
were fortunate enough to hear her again in the room above, on
Abraham Lincoln's hundredth birthday, when she held the attention
of a large number of boys and girls for more than an hour.

The next summer "What you can get out of a Henty book" was used
as an excuse for showing books and pictures about the Crusades,
Venice, the knights of Malta, the Rebellion of the Forty-five,
the East India Company, the siege of Gibraltar, the Peninsula
war, and modern Italy.

That summer we had a puzzle-club to show younger children how to
work the puzzles in St. Nicholas and other magazines and
newspapers. We held our first Christmas exhibition that year,
1906, in the room itself, for one day only, before the hour of

After an exhibition of lace in the Athenaeum the next spring, the
specialist who arranged it held the attention of her audience of
girls between ten and fourteen, giving a practical illustration
of the making of pillow-lace, showing specimens of different
kinds, pointing out the use of lace in old-fashioned costumes for
children, and exhibiting a piece of Valenciennes which had been
stolen by a catbird and recovered before it was woven into a
nest. This talk was given at my request, because we could find
almost nothing on lace in books for children, and the exhibit was
then attracting much notice.

That year our first children's librarian, who had given only a
part of her working hours to the room, the rest to the loan-
desk, left us to be married. The school work had grown so fast
that it had become necessary for us to find a successor who was
equal to it, and whose sole time could be given to that and the
care of the room, which is open only from 3.30 to 6 on school-
days, except on Wednesdays, Saturdays and in vacations, when we
have all-day hours. The children in vacation-time may change
story-books every day if they like--practically none of them do
it--but in school time they are allowed only one a week. This is
not a hardship, for they may use their non-fiction cards, which
give them anything else, including bound magazines.

Our children's librarian makes up for lack of library technique
by her acquaintance with teachers, and experience in day, evening
and vacation schools, that have brought her into contact with
children of all sorts and conditions.

The summer before her coming I had charge of the room for a part
of every day, and observing that children under fourteen were
beginning to think that they had read everything in the room and
were asking to be transferred, I made a collection of books,
principally novels, from the main library, marked them and the
bookcards with a red star, and placed them on side shelves, where
the younger children soon learned that they would find nothing to
interest them. This keeps the older boys and girls in the room
until they are ready for the main library, and when they are
transferred they are sent to me in my office, where they are told
that some one is always ready to give them help if they ask for
it. The list of books for the first year after coming into the
library is handed to them, and they are also referred to the high
school shelves, to be mentioned later.

We insist on a father or mother coming with a child and leaving a
signature or mark on the back of the application-card. This is
placing responsibility where it belongs, and as we always have at
least one of the staff who can speak Yiddish, and others who
speak Italian, the parents are usually willing to come.

We are very strict in exacting fines as a means of teaching
children to be responsible and careful of public property.

One summer the children acted simple impromptu plays, Cinderella,
Blue Beard, Beauty and the beast, on the lawn outside the long
windows. The lawn has been in bad condition for nearly two years,
on account of the building of the Morgan memorial, but has now
been planted again. One May-day we had an old English festival
around a Maypole on the green, with Robin Hood, Maid Marian,
Friar Tuck, Will Scarlett, the hobby- horse, the dragon and all
the rest, including Jack in the Green and an elephant. This was
such a success that we were asked to repeat it across the river
on the East Hartford Library green, where it was highly
complimented on account of being so full of the spirit of play.

Our Christmas exhibits have been held every year, at first, as I
have said, for one day only, then for two or three in the rooms
above, and for the last two years in a large room used by the
Hartford Art Society as a studio until it moved to a whole house
across the street. This room has space for our school libraries,
and the room which they had outgrown was fitted up at no expense
except for chairs and a change in the lighting, as a study-room
for the older boys and girls, who also have the privilege of
reading any stories they find on the shelves, which are on one
side only. The other shelves, placed across the room, were moved
to the studio, which is so large that it has space for
story-telling, or oftener story-reading. The winter of the
Dickens centennial, through the month of February, the beginnings
of "David Copperfield," "Nicholas Nickleby," "Dombey and son" and
"Great expectations" were read.

In 1911, a gift of twenty-five dollars from a friend was spent
for the boys' and girls' room, and has bought specimens of
illustration, Grimm's "Fairy tales," illustrated by Arthur
Rackham; Kate Greenaway's "Under the window," "Marigold garden,"
"Little Ann" and "Pied piper", Laura Starr's "Doll book," and a
fine copy of Knight's "Old England," full of engravings,
including a morris dance such as has been performed here, and
Hare's "Portrait book of our kings and queens." The rest of the
money bought a globe for the older boys' and girls'
reading-table, and sent from Venice a reproduction of a complete
"armatura," or suit of Italian armor, eighteen inches high.

In 1912 the boys and girls of grades 7 to 9 in the district and
parochial schools were invited to listen to stories from English
history in the Librarian's office of the Hartford Public Library
on Tuesday afternoons in July and August. Some of the subjects
were The Roman wall, The Danish invasion, King Alfred and the
white horses said to have been cut to commemorate his victories,
The Crusades, and The captivity of James I. of Scotland. The
Longman series of colored wall-prints was used as a starting
point for the stories. Children in grades 4 to 6 listened at a
later hour to stories from Hawthorne's "Wonderbook" and
"Tanglewood tales."

The Hartford Public Library had an exhibit at the state fair,
September 2-7, 1912, in the Child-welfare building. In a space 11
by 6 were chairs, tables covered with picture-books, a bookcase
with libraries for school grades, probation office, and a
settlement, and another with inexpensive books worth buying for
children. Pictures of countries and national costumes were hung
on the green burlap screens which enclosed the sides of the
miniature room. At about the same time we printed a list of
pleasant books for boys and girls to read after they have been
transferred to the main library. They are not all classics, but
are interesting. The head of the high school department of
English and some of the other teachers asked the library's help
in making a list of books for suggested reading during the four
years' course. This list has been printed and distributed. Copies
are hung near two cases with the school pennant above them, and
one of the staff sees that these cases are always filled with
books mentioned in it. The high school has a trained librarian,
who borrows books from the Public Library and tries in every way
to encourage its use.

From Dec. 3 to 24, 1912 and 1913, the exhibit of Christmas books
for children and young people was kept open by the library in the
large room in the annex. The exhibit included three or four
hundred volumes, picture books by the best American, English,
French, German, Italian, Danish, and Russian illustrators,
inexpensive copies and also new and beautiful editions of old
favorites, finely illustrated books attractive to growing-up
young people, and the best of the season's output. It had many
visitors, some of them coming several times. We sent a special
invitation to the students in the Hartford Art Society, some of
whom are hoping to be illustrators, and appreciate the picture-
books highly.

The boys' and girls' room received last winter a fine photo-
graphic copy of Leighton's "Return of Persephone," in time for
Hawthorne's version of the story, which is usually read when
pomegranates are in the market and again six months later, when
Persephone comes up to earth and the grass and flowers begin to

One day John Burroughs made an unexpected visit to the room, and
it happened that when the children reading at the tables were
told who he was, and asked who of them had read "Squirrels and
furbearers," the boy nearest him held up his hand with the book
in it. That boy will probably never forget his first sight of a
real live author!

Last winter we received a gift of a handsome bookcase with glass
doors, which we keep in the main library, filled with finely
illustrated books for children to be taken out on grown-up cards
only. This is to insure good care.

For several years we have been collecting a family of foreign
dolls, who are now forty-five in number, of all sorts and sizes,
counting seventeen marionettes such as the poor children in
Venice play with, half a dozen Chinese actors, and nine brightly
colored Russian peasants in wood. The others are Tairo, a very
old Japanese doll in the costume of the feudal warriors, Thora
from Iceland, Marit the Norwegian bride, Erik and Brita from
Sweden, Giuseppe and Marietta from Rome, Heidi and Peter from the
Alps, Gisela from Thuringia, Cecilia from Hungary, Annetje from
Holland, Lewie Gordon from Edinburgh, Christie Johnstone the
Newhaven fishwife, Sambo and Dinah the cotton- pickers. Mammy
Chloe from Florida, an Indian brave and squaw from British
America, Laila from Jerusalem, Lady Geraldine of 1830 and
Victoria of 1840. Every New Year's Day, in answer to a picture
bulletin which announces a doll-story and says "Bring your doll,"
the little girls come with fresh, clean, Christmas dolls, and
every one who has a name is formally presented to the foreign
guests, who sit in chairs on a table. Lack of imagination is
shown in being willing to own a doll without a name, and this
year the subject of names was mentioned in time for the little
girls to have them ready. Mrs. Mary Hazelton Wade, author of many
of the "Little cousins," lives in Hartford, and lately gave us a
copy of her "Dolls of many countries." I told her about the party
and invited her, and she told the fifty children who were
listening about the Feasts of Dolls in Japan. The doll-story was
E. V. Lucas's "Doll doctor," and it was followed by William
Brightly Rands's "Doll poems."

In 1893, the year after the library became free, the Connecticut
Public Library Committee was organized. For about ten years it
had no paid visitor and inspector, and I, as secretary of the
committee, had to go about the state in the little time I could
spare from regular duties, trying to arouse library interest in
country towns. Now most of the field work is done by the visitor,
but I have spoken many times at teachers' meetings and library
meetings. We began by sending out pamphlets--"What a free library
can do for a country town"--emphasizing what its possibilities
are of interesting children, and "What a library and school can
do for each other." Every year the libraries receive a grant of
books from the state, and send in lists subject to approval. We
often found the novels and children's books asked for unworthy of
being bought with state money by a committee appointed by the
Board of Education, and began to print yearly lists of
recommended titles of new books, from which all requested must be
chosen. The standard is gradually growing higher. The Colonial
Dames have for years paid for traveling libraries, largely on
subjects connected with colonial history, to be sent to country
schools from the office of the committee, and have also given
traveling portfolios of pictures illustrating history, chosen and
mounted by one of their number. The Audubon Society sends books,
largely on out-of-door subjects, and bird-charts, to schools and
libraries all over the state. Traveling libraries, miscellaneous
or on special subjects, are sent out on request.

A Library Institute has been held every summer for five years
under the direction of the visitor and inspector. It lasts for
two weeks, and several lectures are always given by specialists
in work with children.

The choice of books, sources of stories for children, and what to
recommend to them are frequently discussed in meetings for
teachers and librarians.

A book-wagon has for the last two or three years gone through a
few towns where there is no public library, circulating several
thousand books a year for adults and children, and exciting an
interest which may later develop into the establishment of public
libraries. The committee has now 105 which receive the state
grant. Wherever a new library is opened, a special effort is made
through the schools to make it attractive to children.

At this time of year the mothers' clubs in the city and adjoining
towns often ask for talks on what to buy, and boxes of books are
taken to them, not only expensive and finely illustrated copies,
but the best editions that can be bought for a very little money.
These exhibitions have been also given at country meetings held
by the Connecticut Public Library Committee.

A library column in a Hartford Sunday paper is useful in showing
the public what libraries in other states and cities are doing,
and in attracting attention to work with children. Letters to the
children themselves at the beginning of vacation, printed in a
daily paper and sent to the schools, invite them to book-talks.
Other printed letters about visits to places connected with books
and authors, sent home from England and Scotland with postcards,
have excited an interest in books not always read by children.
This year the Hartford children's librarian has read the letters
and shown the books referred to, post-cards and pictures, to a
club of girls from the older grammar grades, who were invited
through the letters just spoken of to leave their names with her.

A club of children's librarians from towns within fifteen miles
around Hartford meets weekly from October to May. Meetings all
over the state under the Public Library Committee have stimulated
interest in work with children, and Library Day is celebrated
every year in the schools.

The visitor and inspector reports visits to eight towns in
December, and says: "Somewhat more than a year ago, at the
request of the supervisor, I made out a list of books for the
X---- school libraries. These were purchased, and this year the
chairman of the school board requested my assistance in arranging
the collection in groups to be sent in traveling library cases
until each school shall have had each library. I spent two days
at the town hall working with the chairman of the school board,
the supervisor, a typist and two school teachers.

"A new children's room has been opened in the Y---- library since
my visit there. It is double the size of the room formerly in
use, and much lighter and more cheerful. The first grant from the
state was expended entirely for children's books, the selection
being made in this office.

"In Z---- I gave an Audubon stereopticon lecture, prefacing it
with an account of the work on the Audubon Society, and an
enumeration of the loans to schools. The audience in a country
schoolhouse, half a mile from Z---- village, numbered 102."


The following account of the beginning of children's work in
Arlington, Mass., in 1835, marks the earliest date yet claimed
for the establishment of library work with children, and was
written for the January, 1913, number of The Library Journal.
Alice M. Jordan was born in Thomaston, Maine, and was educated in
the schools of Newton, Massachusetts. After teaching for a few
years she entered the service of the Boston Public Library in
1900, Since 1902 she has been Chief of the Children's Department
in that library, and since 1911 a member of the staff of Simmons
College Library School.

"In consequence of a grateful remembrance of hospitality and
friendship, as well as an uncommon share or patronage, afforded
me by the inhabitants of West Cambridge, in the Commonwealth of
Massachusetts, in the early part of my life when patronage was
most needful to me, I give to the said town of West Cambridge one
hundred dollars for the purpose of establishing a juvenile
library in said town. The Selectmen, Ministers of the Gospel, and
Physicians of the town of West Cambridge, for the time being
shall receive this sum, select and purchase the books for the
library which shall be such books as, in their opinion, will best
promote useful knowledge and the Christian virtues among the
inhabitants of the town who are scholars, or by usage have a
right to attend as scholars in their primary schools. Other
persons may be admitted to the privilege of said library under
the direction of said town, by paying a sum for membership and an
annual tax for the increase of the same. And my said executors
are directed to pay the same within one year after my decease."

This "extract from the last will and testament of Dr. Ebenezer
Learned, late of Hopkinton, N. H.," forms the first book plate of
the Arlington (Mass.) Public Library, founded in 1835. It appears
to be the earliest record we have of a specific bequest for a
children's library, free to all the children of the town
receiving it.

In the late eighteenth century it was the custom at Harvard
College to grant a six-weeks' vacation in winter and summer, when
students could earn money for college expenses. The popular way
of doing this was to teach school. Ebenezer Learned, a young man
in the class of 1787, availed himself of this opportunity and
taught in West Cambridge, or Menotomy. His associations there
were pleasant ones, and the memory of the friends then made
persisted through his later successful career. Dr. Learned became
a practicing physician, first in Leominster (Mass.) and later in
Hopkinton, N. H. He is said to have been warmly interested in
education and science throughout his life, and was the
originator of the New Hampshire Agricultural Society and
vice-president of the New Hampshire Medical Society. And yet with
all these later interests, his thought, toward the end of his
life, was of the little town where he taught his first school.

At the time of receiving this legacy there were in West Cambridge
two ministers--a Unitarian and a Baptist--and one physician.
Together with the selectmen, they formed the first board of
trustees, which met on Nov. 30, 1835, and voted that the books
selected for the library should be such as were directed by Dr.
Learned's will, "the same not being of a sectarian character."
Selection of books was left largely to Mr. Brown, of the newly
formed firm of Little & Brown, publishers. He was directed to
spend at least half of the bequest for books suitable for the
purpose, and these were sent to the home of Dr. Wellington, the
physician on the board.

Then followed the task of selecting a librarian, and the obvious
choice was Mr. Dexter, a hatter by trade and already in charge of
the West Cambridge Social Library. This was a subscription
library, founded in 1807, and consisting mainly of volumes of
sermons and "serious reading." The question of the librarian's
salary was the next care, for the state law authorizing towns to
appropriate tax money for libraries was yet ten years in the
future. At town meeting, in 1837, however, one of the trustees
called attention to the clause in Dr. Learned's will which
provided that others, beside children, might use the library by
paying a sum for membership and an annual assessment. "Why should
not the town pay the tax, and thus make it free to all the
inhabitants?" he asked. And this was done. The town at once
appropriated thirty dollars for the library, and the right to
take books was extended to all the families in town. From this
time the institution has been a free town library, the earliest
of its class in Massachusetts.

The little collection of books for the West Cambridge Juvenile
Library traveled to its first home on a wheelbarrow. "Uncle"
Dexter would make hats during the week, and on Saturday
afternoons open the library for the children. Three books were
the limit for a family, and they could be retained for thirty
days. That the books were actually read by the children is
vouched for by those who remember the library from its beginning.
Even free access to the shelves was permitted for a while. But we
come to a period, later, when the by-laws declare, "No person
except the librarian shall remove a book from the shelves."

One would like to know just what those books were for which
one-half of that precious bequest was first spent. The earliest
extant catalog of the juvenile library is dated 1855, though
there exists an earlier list (1835) of the Social Library.
Tradition has handed down the names of two books said to be in
the first collection, but one of these is certainly of later
date. The first is still in existence, a copy of the "History of
Corsica," by James Boswell. One who as a boy read this book,
years ago, in the West Cambridge Juvenile Library, recalled it
with delight when he visited Corsica years afterward.

The other title, mentioned as belonging to the first library, is
"The history of a London doll." But this delightful child's
story, by Richard Hengist Home, was not published until 1846.
Some of the Waverley novels are also remembered as being among
the earliest purchases. Of course, we realize that books which
"will best promote useful knowledge and the Christian virtues" in
school children are not necessarily children's books. So we may
be tolerably sure that Rollins' and Robertson's histories, as
well as Goldsmith and Irving, would have appeared in the catalog
had there been one.

The juvenile library remained a year in its first home, the frame
house still standing near the railroad which runs through
Arlington. There have been five library homes since then,
including the meeting house, where the collection of books was
nearly doubled by the addition of the district school libraries
and a part of the Social Library.

In 1867 the town changed its name to Arlington, discarding the
Indian name of Menotomy, by which it was known before its
incorporation as West Cambridge. The library then became known as
the Arlington Juvenile Library, and, in 1872, its name was
formally changed to Arlington Public Library. With the gift of a
memorial building, in 1892, the present name, the Robbins
Library, was adopted by the town.

It is characteristic of our modern carelessness of what the past
has given us, that we have lost sight of this first children's
library. Not Brookline in 1890, not New York in 1888, but
Arlington in 1835 marks the beginning of public library work with
children. Here is one public library, with a history stretching
back over seventy-five years, which need not apologize for any
expenditure in its work with children. Its very being is rooted
in one man's thought for the children of the primary schools. Dr.
Learned could think of no better way of repaying the kindnesses
done to a boy than by putting books into the hands of other boys
and girls. A children's librarian may well be grateful for the
memory of this far-seeing friend of children, who held the belief
that books may be more than amusement, and that the civic virtues
can be nourished by and in a "juvenile library."


The leading editorial in The Library Journal for May, 1887, says:
"The plan of providing good reading for very little children
begins at the beginning, and the work of the Children's Library
Association, outlined in a paper in this number, may prove to be
the start of a movement of great social importance." This
interesting personal account was written by Miss Emily S.
Hanaway, principal of the primary department of Grammar School
No. 28, in New York City, to whom came the thought, "Why not give
the children reading-rooms?", and through whose efforts the
Association was organized.

Emily S. Hanaway was married in 1891 to the Reverend Peter
Stryker. She died in 1915 in her eightieth year. Her library was
ultimately forced to close its doors, but its influence remains.

For several years it had caused me much pain to find that many of
the children in our school were either without suitable reading
or were reading books of a most injurious kind. The more I
pondered the matter the more I became convinced that much of the
poison infused into the mind of a child begins at a very early
age. As soon as a child takes interest in pictures the taste
begins to be formed. Give him only common comic or sensational
ones, and he will seize them and look no higher. On the other
hand, give him finely-wrought sketches and paintings, tell him to
be very careful how he handles them, and he will despise the
trash of the present day. Place in his hand clear print, and he
will never want the vile copy of a sensational paper often thrown
in at our doors. Place in his hand Babyland, tell him that he is
an annual subscriber, and the importance of having his name
printed on the copy will induce him to do as a little relative of
mine has frequently done. He will run after the postman and ask
him how long before the next number will arrive.

Upon one occasion we endeavored to find out what sort of books
our school-children were reading, and asked them to bring a few
for us to examine. Some of them, having been directed in their
reading by discreet, faithful parents, brought such periodicals
as St. Nicholas, Chatterbox, Harper's Young People, etc., while
others brought the vilest kind of literature, and one little
fellow brought a large copy of the "Annual Report of the Croton

In the summer of 1885, while seated in a room where the National
Association of Teachers had assembled, a thought, as if some one
had leaned over my shoulder and suggested it, came suddenly into
my mind: "Why not give the children reading- rooms?" There was no
getting rid of the thought. All that afternoon and evening it
followed me. After the meeting, in the evening, I asked Prof. E.
E. White, of Ohio, if he thought such an undertaking could be
carried out. He answered, "Yes; but it is gigantic." I came home
fully persuaded that it must be tried; but where should I begin?
As soon as school opened in September, it occurred to me that
almost opposite our school- building there was a day-nursery, the
lady in charge of which appeared to be a very earnest worker. She
said she would be very glad to help, as she had a small library
at that time, which her children used in the nursery.

On visiting the publishers, generous donations were promised from
Treat, Scribner, Taintor & Merrill, Barnes, and others. These
were sent to the nursery. A few years before, a former principal
in our school, Miss Victoria Graham, had worked with great energy
to have a library in P. D., G. S. 28, and the proceeds of an
entertainment given in 1872 in the Academy of Music had furnished
two or three hundred books. Miss Graham died the same year, and
as we had no regular librarian, many of the books were lost.
About sixty were left. These also were sent to the nursery, and
our children went over every week to draw books. This was the
first attempt. But we felt that it was but a small beginning, and
that if we wished to bring in all creeds we must free the public
mind from suspicion, and have a representation from every
denomination, Protestant, Roman Catholic, and Hebrew.
Accordingly, we planned that when a committee should be
organized, every religious faith should be represented among
those who were to choose the books. As we wished to have many of
these rooms throughout the city, and as our friends at the
day-nursery, under their arrangements, could not have a
committee, we thought it would do no harm to start anew. So we
conferred with the various clergymen of all denominations, in a
neighborhood well known to us, and received great encouragement.
Dr. Mendez became a member of our organization committee, and has
been present at very many of our business meetings.

We then visited the persons named by these gentlemen, for our
organization committee, and when we had found eleven willing to
serve, a kind friend in West 22d St., Mrs. Hanford Smith, gave us
the use of her parlors for our meeting. A more gloomy committee
has been seldom seen. "Have you a room for a library?" was asked.
"No." "Any money?" "No." "Any books?" "No." "Absurd! How do you
expect to start such a work?" "On faith." Next a vote was taken
whether to organize or not. It was decided to organize. Mr.
Edward Chichester was elected president, Mr. Edward Vanderbiit
secretary, and Mr. E. P. Pitcher to the very responsible position
of treasurer, without a cent in the treasury.

Here it is only due to Rev. Dr. Terry to speak of the
encouragement he gave. The Y. M. C. A. connected with the South
Reformed Church, on 21st St. and 5th Ave., were talking of taking
rooms at 243 9th Ave., for a young men's club, and through the
doctor's efforts we were allowed to come into these rooms from 4
to 6 p. m., all through the season, from December to May, with
the understanding that we might pay or not, according to our
success in obtaining funds. One trouble was over. We then began
our circuit once again through the city, after school hours,
visiting every publishing-house named in the directory, beside
making many personal visits to friends, who encouraged us by
gifts of books.

We are largely indebted to Dodd, Mead & Co., Carter, Taintor,
Merrill & Co., and many others, who have given most liberally;
also to friends, who have given us many $5 bills, and enabled us
not only to pay expenses, including librarian, tickets of
admission, covers for books, circulars, etc., but also to hand
over most joyfully to Dr. Terry $40 for the use of room at the
close of the season.

Last fall we tried to begin our work once more, and after walking
from 40th to 23d St., along 8th and 9th Avenues, I at last found
rooms on W. 35th Street. Dr. Terry kindly loaned us furniture,
and the Women's Christian Temperance Union shared with us the
modest rent of $13 per month, $6.50 each.

Last year P. D. No. 45, in West 24th St., sent a large
representation from their school. This year they asked for and
received tickets. We had about 350 books, and issued about 700
admission tickets. At one time during the winter the librarian
sent me this message: "Only eight books are left on the shelves.
Do you think it best to close the room to-day?" I returned word:
"Get in all the books you can; do not give out any for a short
time, but let the children come in and look at the stereoscopic
views, play games, look at or read pamphlets. When they have
returned a sufficient number, begin to distribute again." That
week we received several parcels of books, and started up again.
We had applications for tickets from P. D., G. S. No. 11, 37th
St. Prim. Deptt, 34th St. R. Ch. S. School, Ind. School, West
415t St., and others. Male Dep't, G. S. No. 67, asked for 91
tickets. Some of the children in P. D., G. S. No. 28, shed tears
when their teacher informed them that we had no more tickets.

The children stood on the sidewalk on a Friday afternoon, not
long ago, from 2:30 until 5:30, patiently waiting for their turn
to enter the room, as the librarian could only allow a certain
number to enter at one time.

Dr. Barnett visited the rooms with the intention of putting up
chest-expanders for exercise, but he found them too small, and
the woodwork too frail, for any such purposes.

We have a number of subscribers at $1 per year, although some
have gone far beyond this in subscriptions. We closed on May 1,
to reopen in the fall.

One great reason for keeping open through the year is that many
parents are obliged to work all day, and the children run the
risk of getting into all sorts of crime. As an instance, not long
since I found a little girl in our department who had been
frequently caught pilfering. At last we thought it necessary to
send for the mother. She burst into tears and said: "What am I to
do? My children are alone after school hours until I return, and
I do not know what they are doing." I asked if the children had
tickets for the reading-room, and here found another difficulty.
"Not on the same day," she said. We had been obliged to send the
girls on three days of the week, and the boys on two days,
because of the lack of room, and of helpers. Several teachers
have since come forward and offered their services. Two teachers
in our department have gone every Monday, and two others every
Friday, and appeared to take great pleasure in the work. All
honor to such young, earnest workers, for they deserve it!

We have recently received a box of books, toys, etc., from the
"Little Helpers" in Elyria, Ohio, and Columbia College is taking
an active interest in our work. We are leaning upon our friends
of the college library for support and help, in time to come. All
our meetings are held at Columbia College.

We hope for liberal donations, and we feel quite sure--yes, as
sure as we felt on that gloomy evening last winter, when we
decided to go on--that from the kind words of encouragement, and
the liberal gifts that we have received in the past, the gifts
are coming in the future; and when we are resting from our
labors, others yet unborn shall rise up and call those blessed
who have strengthened our hands. And we believe that when this
comes the prison doors will open less frequently.


In the following paper, read in 1897 before the Friends' Library
Association of Philadelphia, and the New York Library Club, Miss
Mary W. Plummer discussed some of the "experiences and theories"
of a number of libraries and the "requisites for the ideal
children's library." Mary Wright Plummer was born in Richmond,
Indiana, in 1856, was graduated from the Friends' Academy there,
and was a special student at Wellesley College, 1881-1882. She
entered the "first class of the first library school," and in
1888 became a certified graduate of the Library School of
Columbia College. For the next two years she was the head of the
Cataloguing department of the St. Louis Public Library. She was
Librarian of the Pratt Institute Free Library from 1890 to 1904,
and Director of the Pratt Institute of Library Science until
1911. She then became Principal of the Library School of the New
York Public Library, the position she held until her death in
1916. Miss Plummer was President of the A. L. A. in 1915-1916.
She contributed many articles to library periodicals, and has
written numerous books, several of which are for children.

It is so early in the movement for children's libraries that by
taking some thought now it would seem possible to avoid much
retracing of steps hereafter, and it is for this reason that even
at this early day a comparison of experiences and theories by
those libraries which have undertaken the work is desirable and
even necessary. It is as well, perhaps, to begin with a few
historical statistics, gathered from questions sent out last
December and from perusal of the Library Journal reports since

Many libraries, probably the majority, have had an age-limit for
borrowers, and the admission of children under 12 to membership
is of comparatively recent date. The separation of children from
the adult users of the library by means of a room of their own
was probably originated by the Public Library of Brookline, which
in 1890 set aside an unused room in its basement for a children's
reading-room. In 1893 the Minneapolis Public Library fitted up a
library for children, from which books circulate also, where they
had (as reported in December, 1896) 20,000 volumes, the largest
children's library yet reported. In 1894 the Cambridge Public
Library opened a reading-room and the Denver Public Library a
circulating library for children. An article on the latter
undertaking may be found in the Outlook for September 26, 1896.
In 1895 Boston, Omaha, Seattle, New Haven and San Francisco, all
opened either circulating libraries or reading-rooms for
children, and in 1896 Detroit, Buffalo, Pittsburgh, Pratt
Institute of Brooklyn, Everett (Mass.) and Kalamazoo (Mich.)
followed suit. The libraries of Circleville (O.), Milwaukee,
Cleveland, and Helena (Mont.) are all projecting plans for the
same, and probably this year will show a notable increase. The
new Public Library of Chicago has made no especial provision for
children, from the fact that its situation in the heart of the
business district of the city will prevent many children from
coming to it, but provision of some sort will be made for them at
the various branch reading-rooms throughout the city. In the new
building of the Providence Library considerations of cost made it
necessary to give up the addition of a children's library, a
matter of great disappointment to every one.

From all these libraries except the last two, reports were
received by us in December, 1896, on comparing which we found
considerable similarity of usage, though as there had been but
little in print on the subject up to 1896 this probably arose not
from communication between the libraries but from the fact that
like circumstances and causes produced like effects in different

Of the 15 libraries reporting, 11 circulated books from the
children's room, three making an age-limit for this, while the
four remaining contented themselves with giving the children a
reading-room, in which a number of books--about 300--were placed,
for reading on the premises. The temptation for a child who
becomes interested in a book, to carry it off when closing- hour
comes, in order to finish it, is a strong one, and of these four
libraries one reported 35 books missing in its first six months,
or over one-tenth of its stock. Two others which circulate from
open shelves to all borrowers lost 100 children's books in a
little over 12 months. A number of others reported that as yet
they had taken no inventory of the books in the room, and were
evidently willing that ignorance should remain bliss a little
longer. Several report that very few books are unaccounted for,
and one or two that not a book has been taken. Free access to the
children's books is allowed in all the 15, and in about half of
them the room is open all day, and in two cases in the evening

The number of volumes shelved ranges all the way from 300 to
20,000, the average number being from 3,000 to 4,000. An age-
limit for the use of the room is set by seven libraries, three of
these making the limit for circulation only, while eight admit
children of any age, and doubtless make provision for the very
youngest The circulation of these rooms that lend books ranges
from 65 to 350 as a daily average, frequently exceeding this. As
a rule, one attendant is kept in the room, with assistance when
necessary, two libraries only reporting two regular assistants
and the Boston Public Library three. The Detroit Library has two
attendants in order to give the children personal attention. The
library at Kalamazoo has for one of its assistants a trained
kindergarten. Eight libraries report no reference-books on the
children's shelves and the majority of the others only a few such
works. The largest number of periodicals taken appears to be our
own list of 10, though by this time the libraries reporting in
1896 may have increased their number. Instead of taking a
variety of periodicals, they seem to prefer duplicating a few
favorites. One library reports a number of copies of Puck taken
for children, the wisdom of which I should doubt, and two
subscribe for Golden Days. The Minneapolis Library circulates 10
copies of St. Nicholas. The Boston Public Library, having a large
foreign clientele among children as well as adults, takes one
German and one French periodical for them. In the Detroit Library
the Scientific American is on the list, and in our children's
library we take a copy of Harper's Weekly.

A number of libraries report crowding and lack of time and space.
In one no periodicals can be kept in the children's library,
because there is no room for the children to sit down to read
them. Another reports as many as 75 children frequently in the
room at once, a third that the room is so full children have
often to be sent out, and a fourth, which at the time was only a
reading-room, that the attendance was so large very little could
be done except to keep order. Most of the libraries report a fair
proportion of foreigners among the children, and one speaks of
having many colored children among the readers.

Turning from these reports to a general consideration of the
subject, we must admit, first, that a definite decision as to the
object of a children's library is the first thing needful.

This decision will doubtless vary in different libraries, and the
results will differ accordingly, but almost any decision is
better than none, since one cannot be arrived at without giving
much thought to the subject, and the desirable thing is that the
work should be entered upon thoughtfully.

We have passed the time when reading in itself was considered a
vast good. The ability to read may easily be a curse to the
child, for unless he be provided something fit to read, it is an
ability as powerful for evil as for good. When we consider the
dime-novels, the class of literature known as Sunday- school
books, the sensational newspapers, the vicious literature
insinuated into schools, and the tons of printed matter issued by
reputable publishers, written by reputable people, good enough in
its intention but utterly lacking in nourishment, and, therefore,
doing a positive harm in occupying the place of better things--
when we consider that all these are brought within a child's
reach by the ability to read, we cannot help seeing that the
librarian, in his capacity as selector of books for the library,
has the initial responsibility. Certain classes of the printed
stuff just spoken of do not, of course, find their way into
children's libraries, since they are barred out from all
respectable shelves; but we are still too lenient with print
because it is print, and every single book should be carefully
examined before it goes into a library where children should have
access to the shelves.

But given an ideal selection of books, or as near it as we can
get and still have enough books to go around, is just the reading
of them--that is, the passing of the eye over the types, gaining
a momentary impression--the most desirable thing to be got out of
them? Are there not here and there children who are reading to
the lasting detriment of their memories and powers of observation
and reflection, stuffing themselves with type, as it were? Nearly
every observant librarian knows of such cases. Are there not days
when the shining of the sun, the briskness of the air, the
greenness of the turf and of the trees, should have their
invitation seconded by the librarian, and the child be persuaded
AWAY from the library instead of TO it? We are supposed to
contribute with our books toward the sound mind, but we should be
none the less advocates of the sound body--and the child who
reads all day indoors when he ought to be out in the fresh air
among his kind, should have our especial watching.

But, granted the suitable book and the suitable time for reading,
what do we know of the effect our books are having? We count our
circulation just the same whether a book is kept two days--about
long enough for the family to look at the pictures-- or a week.
Whether it has been really read we do not know. Sometimes I think
those pencilled notes on the margin, recording the child's
disgust or satisfaction, should have more meaning for us than
they do. At least, they prove that the book has taken hold of the
reader's imagination and sympathies. Don't let us be too severe
with a criticism written in the honest feeling of the moment (if
it be in pencil); we are really gathering psychological and
sociological data for which the child-study clubs would thank us,

I see only one way in which we can be enabled to estimate fairly
the value of what we are doing, and that is by so gaining the
good-will and confidence of the children as to get them to answer
our questions as to their reading or to tell us of their own
accord what they get from it. From this information we may make
our inferences as to the value of our books in themselves, and
may be enabled to regulate their use. A child whose exclusive
diet is fairy-tales is evidently over-cultivating the
imagination; a girl who has outgrown children's books and dipped
into the premature love-stories that are written for her class
needs our most careful guidance; a boy whose whole thought is of
adventure, or who cannot read anything but jokes, is also in a
critical condition.

In short, the judicious regulation of the children's reading
should be made practicable for the librarian, if the children's
library is to be the important agency in education which it may
be made.

In regard to the desirability of amusements in the library, I own
that I am somewhat sceptical. The library has its own division of
labor in the work of education, and that division is the training
of the people to the use and appreciation of books and
literature. An argument in favor of games is that they draw in
children who might not otherwise come, but I should fear they
would be drawn in finally in such crowds as to be unmanageable.
Books properly administered should have the same drawing power,
and their influence, once felt, is toward quietness and thought,
rather than toward activity and skill with the complications of
dispute and cheating that may arise from the use of games.
Children are natural propagandists. Let one child find that at
the children's library he may select his own books from a
good-sized collection, may find help in his composition-work, the
news of what is going on in the world in the shape of an
attractive illustrated bulletin-board, different every week--and
tomorrow 10 children will know of it, and each of these will tell
other 10, and so on. The library will have all the children it
can attend to eventually, and they will have come gradually so
that the assistants shall have been able to get a proper grasp of
the situation, while the earlier children will have been somewhat
trained to help, like the elder brothers and sisters in a family.

Certain freedoms may be granted in the children's library as an
education for the adult constituency of the future; for instance,
the guarantee may be done away with, thus putting the child on
his honor to pay his own fines and damages--the only penalties
for not doing so being those which society naturally inflicts on
offenders--the debarring from privileges and from association. If
there is nothing injurious or doubtful on the shelves, freedom in
choice of books may be allowed to the smallest child, only he
must know that help and guidance are at hand if he wishes them,
and if a tendency to over-read in any one direction or in all is
noticed, the librarian should feel at liberty to make
suggestions. And as to freedom of action, the maxim should be
that one man's liberty ends where another man's begins. No child
should be allowed to disturb the room or to interfere with the
quiet of those who are studying, for many children, more than one
would think, really come to study. But the stiffness and enforced
routine of the school-room should by all means be avoided. There
should be no set rules as to silence, but consideration for
others should be inculcated, and in time the room will come to
have a subduing, quiet atmosphere that will insensibly affect
those who enter. Whispering, or talking in a low tone, where
several little heads are bent together over picture-books, is
certainly admissible, and the older heads are very soon quiet of
their own accord, each over its own book or magazine.

After the selection of the books themselves there is nothing so
important as thoughtful administration, a practical question,
since the employment of assistants comes in under this head.
Educators have for some time seen the mistake of putting the
cheapest teachers over the primary schools--kindergartners have
seen it--and it remains for the library to profit by their
experience without going through a similar one. If there is on
the library staff an assistant well read and well educated,
broad- minded, tactful, with common sense and judgment,
attractive to children in manner and person, possessed, in short,
of all desirable qualities, she should be taken from wherever she
is, put into the children's library, and paid enough to keep her
there. There is no more important work in the building, no more
delicate, critical work than that with children, no work that
pays so well in immediate as well as in far-off results. Who that
has met the fault- finding, the rudeness and coldness too
frequent in a grown-up constituency, would not expand in the
sunshine of the gratitude, the confidence, the good-will, the
natural helpfulness of children! And it rests partly with the
assistant to cultivate these qualities in them, and so modify the
adult constituency of the future.

I say THOUGHTFUL administration because the children's library is
no sooner opened than it begins to present problems. Some of
these are simply administrative and economic, others take hold of
social and ethical foundations. There will be scarcely a day on
which the librarian and the children's librarian will not have to
put their heads, and sometimes their hearts, together over
puzzling cases--cases of fraud, of mischief-making, of ignorant
evil-doing, of inherited tendencies, physical, mental, and
moral-- and sometimes it will seem as if the whole human creation
were incurably ailing, and the doctrine of total depravity will
take on alarming probability. But at this point some sound,
smiling, active boy or girl comes in with a cheerful greeting,
and pessimism retires into the background. And all this reminds
me of one more quality which the children's librarian must
have--a sense of humor. It is literally saving in some

Our own experience has led to the following suggestions, made by
the children's librarian in our library to those who come in at
given hours from the other departments to take her place or to
assist her. It will be seen that most of them are the product of
observation and thought arising from the daily evidence of the
room itself:

"Always tell a child how to fill out his application-blank, even
when you are busy. Tell him just where to write his name in the
register and stay near him till it is completed. Whenever it is
possible, go to the shelves with a child who has just received
his card of membership. Show him where different kinds of books
are to be found. Ask him what kind of book he likes. Show him one
or two answering to his description and then leave him to make
his own selection.

"Explain the routine carefully and fully to children just
beginning to use the library.

"Let no child sign the register, look at a book, receive or
present an application, with soiled hands. Soiled and crumpled
applications are considered defective and cannot be accepted.

"Do not expect or demand perfect quiet. Frequent tapping upon the
desk excites the children and betrays nervousness on the part of
the person in charge. Let the discipline of the room seem to be
incidental; let the child feel that it is first and foremost a
library where books are to be had for the asking, and that you
are there to make it easier to get them.

"Never call children's numbers, but use their names if necessary,
though a glance of recognition pleases them better. Do not force
acquaintance. Children like it even less than grown people. Be
sympathetic and responsive, but beware of mannerism or
effusiveness. Remember, too, that questioning is a fine art, and
one should take care not to offend.

"Speed is not the first requisite at a children's desk. Children
have more patience with necessary formalities than grown people.

"Let some of the children help in the work of the room, but do
not urge them to do so.

"Avoid stereotyped forms of expression when reproving a child or
conversing with him. Let him feel you are speaking to him
personally; he will not feel this if he hears the same words used
for 50 other boys."

For evening work, when there is no circulation of books: "read to
them sometimes; talk to them at others; and sometimes leave them
quite alone. They are more appreciative when they find you are
leaving work to give them pleasure than they would be if they
found you were making their pleasure your work."

These are a few of the instructions or suggestions consequent
upon daily observation and experience. Doubtless every children's
librarian could supplement them with many more, but they are
enough to show what I mean by "thoughtful administration."

Occasionally the librarian who serves children will have to take
account of stock, sum up the changes for better or for worse in
the use and treatment of the room, in the manners and habits of
the children and in their reading. She will have to retire a
little from her work, take a bird's-eye view of it, and decide if
on the whole progress is making toward her ideal. Without
identifying itself with any of the movements such as the
kindergarten, child-study, and social settlement, without losing
control of itself and resigning itself to any outside guidance,
the children's library should still absorb what is to its purpose
in the work of all these agencies. "This one thing I do," the
librarian may have to keep reminding herself, to keep from being
drawn off into other issues, but by standing a little apart she
may see what is to her advantage without being sucked in by the
draft as some enthusiastic movement sweeps by. Must she have no
enthusiasm? Yes, indeed; but is not that a better enthusiasm
which enables one to work on steadily for years with undiminished
courage than the kind that exhausts itself in the great vivacity
of its first feeling and effort?

It will not be long after the opening of the children's library
before an insight will be gained into domestic interiors and
private lives that will make the librarian wish she could follow
many a child to his home, in order to secure for him and his
something better than the few hours' respite from practical life
which they may get from the reading of books. When the boy who
steals and the girl who is vicious before they are in their
teens, have to be sent away lest other children suffer, it is
borne in upon the librarian that a staff of home-missionaries
connected with the library to follow up and minister in such
cases would not be a bad thing--and she has to remind herself
again and again that it is not incumbent on any one person to
attempt everything, and that Providence has other
instrumentalities at work besides herself. The humors of the
situation, on the other hand, are many. The boys who, being sent
home to wash their hands, return in an incredibly short time with
purified palms and suppressed giggles, and on persistent inquiry
confess, "We just licked 'em," present to one who is "particular"
only a serio-comic aspect; and the little squirrel who wriggles
to the top of the librarian's chair until he can reach her ear,
and then whispers into it, "There couldn't be no library here
'thout you, could there?" is not altogether laughable; but
incidents of pure comedy are occasionally to be set over against
the serious side.

Last spring, with a view to gaining information directly in the
answers to our questions and indirectly in the light the answers
should throw on the character of the children, we chose 150 boys
and girls who were regularly using the library and sent to them a
series of questions to be answered in writing. They were
apparently greatly pleased to be consulted in this way, and it
seemed to us that very few of the replies were insincere in tone,
or intended merely to win approbation. From the 100 replies worth
any consideration I have drawn these specimen answers:

One of the first questions we asked was, "How long have you been
using the library?" Of 100 who answered, 25 had used the library
more than six months, 33 more than a year, 22 more than two
years, 11 more than three years, nine more than four years, and
one six years, since books were first given out to children. Many
children first hear of the library when they are 13 and over, and
after 14 they have the use of the main library, so that in their
case the time of use is necessarily shorter. However, if a child
has not done with the children's library by the time he is 14, we
allow him to continue using it until he wishes to be transferred.

Of 100 children, 68 reported that other members of their families
used the library, while 32 reported themselves the only
borrowers. This is interesting in connection with their answers
to the question, "Does any one at home or at school tell you good
books to read?" 71 reported yes and 29 no, about the same
proportion. In many families the parents are of a mental calibre
or at a stage in education to enjoy books written for children,
and we have found that children often drew books with their
parents' tastes in view. One little girl whose own tastes led her
to select a charming little book on natural history was sent back
with it by an aunt who said it was not suitable and requested
one of the semi-demi-novels that are provided for quite young
girls, as being much more appropriate. The difficulty in keeping
"hands off" in a case where grown people are thus influencing
children injuriously can be fully appreciated only by one who
knows and cares for the children.

Fifty-seven children reported that they were read to at home or
that they read to their younger brothers and sisters, while 43
stated that their reading was a pleasure all to themselves. The
large number who shared their reading was a pleasant surprise to
us, evincing a companionship at home that we had hardly

Twenty-eight children stated that they preferred to have help in
selecting their books, 63 that they preferred to make their own
choice, while nine said it depended. 49 said that they came to
the library to get help in writing their compositions or in other
school-work, while 51 said they did not, one proudly asserting,
"I am capable of writing all my compositions myself," and
another, seeming to think help a sort of disgrace, "I do not come
to the library for help about anything at all."

Seventy out of the 100 children answering used no library but
ours--the others made use of their Sunday-school libraries also.

An inquiry as to the books read since New Year's, the questions
being sent out in May, brought out the fact that an average of
six books in the four and a half months had been read--not a bad
average, considering that it was during term-time in the schools,
when studies take up much of the child's otherwise spare time.
Boys proved to prefer history and books of adventure, travel and
biography, to any other class of reading; girls, books about boys
and girls, fairy stories and poetry. The tastes of the boys on
the whole were more wholesome, and the girls need most help here.
It is not at all unlikely that it is chiefly the wars and combats
in history which make it interesting to the boys, as they seem to
go through a sanguinary phase in their development that nothing
else will satisfy; but many of them will get their history in no
other way, and since wars have been prominent in the past it is
of no use to disguise the fact. Fairness to both sides would
seem to be the essential in the writing of these children's
histories and historical tales, since the ability to stop and
deliberate and to make allowances is rare even in grown people
and needs cultivation.

The question as to the best book the child had ever read brought
in a bewildering variety of answers, proving beyond a doubt that
there had been no copying or using of other children's opinions.
While no list can be given, the reasons they offered in response
to a request for them were often interesting. Girls wrote of
"Little women": "It is so real, the characters are so real and
sweet." "I feel as if I could act the whole book." "This story
has helped me a very great deal in leading a better and a happier
life." "It shows us how to persevere," etc. Boys like "The Swiss
family Robinson" "because it describes accurately the points of a
shipwreck and graphically describes how a man with common sense
can make the best of everything." Another, "because it shows how
some people made the most of what they had." Another, "It shows
how progressive the people were." One liked "Uncle Tom's cabin"
"because it describes life among the colored people and shows
how they were treated before the war"; another, "because it is a
true story and some parts of it are pitiful and other parts are
pleasant." A boy of 12 says of "Grimm's fairy tales," "They are
interesting to read, and I learn there is no one to give you
wings and sandals to fly--you have to make your own." Another
likes "John Halifax" "because it tells how a boy who had pluck
obtained what he wanted and made his mark in the world." "Pluck,"
I imagine, in a boy's mind stands for the old virtue of the
poets, "magnanimity," that included all the rest. Harper's
story-books are still read and appreciated "because they tell me
about different kinds of people's ways, about animals, and a
little about history." Another child "learned games out of them,
and how to tell the truth and the use of the truth."

A child of eight puts in a pathetic plea worth considering for
the Prudy books, "because I understand them better than any books
I have read." An incipient author says that she uses the library
because "I make a good deal of stories and find pretty ideas."

Perhaps the most enlightening replies came in answer to the
question, "Can you suggest anything which would make the library
more interesting that it is now?" One delightfully reassuring boy
says, "I like the children's library to stay just the same, and a
boy who never went there would like it. I'll bring more boys."
"Pictures of art" are requested, and "a set of curiosities from
all parts of the world." As we regard the children of all
nationalities and types crowding about the desk on our busy days
we sometimes think we already have this latter item. "A prize for
the best story every month." "More histories." "Pictures of noted
men on the walls." "More fairy-tales." "More magazines." "Books
showing how to draw." "A pencil fastened to each table." "Stories
in Scottish history." "More books of adventure." "More funny
books." "A chart of real and genuine foreign stamps." "Lectures
for children between 10 and 14, with experiments accompanying
them." "A one-hour lecture once a week by noted men on different
subjects." "A book giving the value of celebrated paintings."
"More books. The shelves look bare," as indeed they do after a
rush-day. "Rules to keep the children in order," from a
nine-year-old who has doubtless suffered. "Not to be disturbed by
other boys for unknown crimes," says one mysterious victim of
something or other. "Historical fiction." "Catholic books."
"Tanks with fishes, in the windows." "An aquarium; children would
enjoy seeing pollywogs change to frogs every time they came to
the library." This is the comment of a little girl, I am glad to
say. "School-books." "More amusement for little children." This
was before we bought our linen picture-books. And the "Elsie
books," and Oliver Optic, and Castlemon are vainly desired by two
or three. The general sentiment is pretty well voiced by one
child who says, "The library is just perfect in about every

We feel that with this enumeration of desiderata, the children's
library has its work cut out for it for some time to come, and
that these evidences of the children's likings and needs have
removed a certain vagueness from our ambitions. With lectures and
experiments, reading clubs, and possibly original stories, in
contemplation, there is no danger of rust from inaction,
especially as to obtain any one of these there are serious
obstacles to overcome. But always and everywhere the library
should put forward its proper claim of the value and use of the
book--though in the word book I by no means include all that goes
under the name. If there are lectures with experiments or
lantern-slides, they should be attended by information as to the
best literature on the subject and the children encouraged to
investigate what has been printed, as well as to take in through
the ear. There is no "digging" in lecture-going, and it is
"digging" that leaves a permanent impression on the mind. The
lecture should stimulate to personal research. From reading aloud
together at the library in the evening, reading clubs may come to
be formed, each with a specialty, decided by the tastes of the
members. The writing of stories, particularly if the library
selected the subject, might be made the occasion of the use of
histories, biographies, travels, etc. Quiet games in the evening
for the older children, of a nature to require the use of
reference-books, would be strictly within the library's province.
Personal talks with the children about their reading, if
judiciously conducted, are always in order. With a generation of
children influenced in this way to use books as tools and a
mental resource as well as for recreation, and to find recreation
only in the best-written books, the library constituency of the
future would be worthy of the best library that could be

The bulletin-board is attracting attention generally as a means
of interesting children in topics of current interest, and such a
periodical as Harper's Weekly is invaluable when it comes to
securing illustrations for this purpose. Sandwiched in among the
pictures, we have occasionally smuggled in a printed paragraph of
useful information or a set of verses, and our latest move, to
induce more general reading of the periodicals, has been to
analyze their contents on the bulletin, under the head of
"Animals," "Sports," "Engines," "Short stories," "Long stories,"
etc. Boys who "know what they like" are beginning to turn to this
analysis to see if there is anything new on their favorite topic
and to explain the workings of the board to other boys, and the
desired end is gradually being brought about. As the references
are taken down to make way for new ones, they are filed away by
subject, making the beginnings of a permanent reference list.

Birds, the new magazine with its colored plates, is a boon for
the children's room, The Great Round World is good for the
assistant-in-charge and the teachers who come to the room, as
well as for the children.

In order to add to the number of books without overstepping our
rules as to quality, we are beginning, though not yet very
systematically, to look over the works of certain authors of
grown-up books with a view to finding material that can be
understood sufficiently by children to interest them. A number of
Stevenson's books can be given to boys and girls, and we hope to
find many others. Most children, I think, read books without
knowing who has written them, and if we can induce them to learn
to know authors and can interest them in a writer like Stevenson,
we can feel fairly secure that they will not drop him when they
are transferred from the children's room to the main library.

Perhaps it is best always to have a working hypothesis to begin
with, in children's libraries as elsewhere; but we can assure
those who have not tried it that facts are stubborn things, and
the hypothesis has frequently to be made over in accordance with
newly-observed facts, and theories may or may not be proven
correct. The whole subject is as yet in the empirical stage, and
the way must be felt from day to day. If the children's librarian
lives in a continual rush, what "leisure to grow wise" on her
chosen subject does she have? and if she is hurried constantly
from one child to another, what chance have the children for
learning by contact with the individual? which, as Mr. Horace E.
Scudder truly says, is the method most sure of results. This
contact may be had most naturally, it seems to us, through the
ordinary channels of waiting on the children, provided it is
quiet, deliberate waiting upon them. We go out of our way to
think out new philanthropies and are too likely to forget that,
as we go about our every-day business, natural opportunities are
constantly presenting for strengthening our knowledge of and our
hold upon the people who come to us--who are sent to us, I might
almost say.

The registry and the charging-desks offer chances for
acquaintance to begin naturally and unconsciously and for much
incidental imparting of seed-thoughts. And it is in these
every-day chances, if appreciated and made the most of, that the
work of the children's library is going to tell. The necessity of
especial training in psychology, pedagogy, child study, and
kindergarten ideas, has been treated of recently in a paper
before the A. L. A. There is no doubt that the "called" worker in
this field will be better for scientific training, but let him or
her first be sure of the call. It is quite as serious as one to
the ministry, if not more so, and no amount of intellectual
training will make up for the lack of patience and fairness and
of a genuine interest in children and realization of their
importance in the general scheme.

To sum up, the requisites for the ideal children's library, as we
begin to see it, are suitable books, plenty of room, plenty of
assistance, and thoughtful administration. Better a number of
children's libraries scattered over a town or city than a large
central one, since only in this way can the children be divided
up so as to make individual attention to them easy. But if it
devolves upon one library to do the work for the entire town, and
branches are out of the question, something of the same result
may be obtained by providing at certain hours an extra number of
assistants. I can imagine a large room with several desks, at
each of which should preside an assistant having charge of only
certain classes of books, so that in time she might come to be an
authority on historical or biographical or scientific or literary
books for children, and the children might learn to go to her as
their specialist on the class of books they cared most for.
Perhaps this may sound Utopian. I believe there are libraries
present and to come for which it is entirely practicable.


An investigation of rural libraries in North Carolina and of
library work with children in Boston and New England towns led
Miss Caroline Matthews, a member of the Examining Committee of
the Public Library of Boston to believe that "exaggerated leaning
toward one phase of library work must throw out of the true the
work as a whole." The following paper explaining her conclusions
was read before the Massachusetts Library Club in October, 1907.

Caroline Matthews was born in Boston in 1855. She has contributed
articles to the Educational Review and to the Atlantic Monthly.
Miss Matthews is at present living in Switzerland.

I have been asked to speak on this subject, not because I have
professional or technical knowledge of the subject to be
discussed, but rather because I have not. This does not mean that
I have no knowledge whatever of this or other phases of library
work. It simply means that the little knowledge I do possess is
non-professional, and that my impressions, points of view,
conclusions, are wholly those of an outsider.

Up to three years ago I had had no connection with public
libraries beyond being an occasional borrower of books. Then
suddenly, through making a comparative study of the financing of
public school systems here and in France, I found myself in touch
with the public schools of an American city, and through them
with the school deposits of the Public Library of the same city.
Even so, I did not come in touch with the library side of the
work. It was always the school or teachers' side, or the pupils'
side, never any other.

The second year I became a member of the Examining Committee of
the Public Library of the city of Boston. My position on this
committee for my first year of service was a minor one. There was
never anything very important to do, certainly not enough to keep
up one's interest to the point of being a live interest.
Moreover, I spent the winter away from town. But I had the great
good fortune to pass it in the mountains of North Carolina. There
I lived for weeks at a time in the homes and cabins of the
mountain whites. I knew the men their wives, their children. I
visited the logging camps, the mines, the missions, the mills,
the schools. The life was rough, but it was worth while. It gave
me an intimate knowledge of the social surroundings of the
people, and I found the one vital problem, the problem touching
the citizen the nearest, to be that of the rural school, and
affiliated with the rural school, though affiliated in a crude
way, was the library.

Thus, for the second time in my life, I came into contact with
the library by means of the school. This coincidence led me to
think, and I reasoned out that library workers North and South
must be working along similar lines toward unity in practice.
Both were doing educative work. And both, apparently, had the
same goal--the reaching of the parent or adult through the child
or through child growth.

How far such work was legitimate work, how far such work had
intellectual or educational value, how far such work lacked or
had balance, I now wished to determine. To do this it was
necessary to assume some line of active investigation; also to
study results from the standpoint of the library, as well as from
that of the school and the citizen.

There was no need to search for a subject. I had it at hand.
Living as I did with the people I found myself in the very center
of the rural library movement--a movement so splendid in
conception; so successful in results, if statistics are credited;
so direct as to method, the entire appropriation being expended
on but two things, books and bookcases; so naively simple as to
administration, there being neither librarians, libraries, or
pay-rolls--that a study of it could not fail to prove helpful.

What were the actual conditions? First, the name "rural
libraries" I found a misnomer. It in no sense represents facts.
The words imply community interests, interests alike of adult and
child, whilst the reality is that these libraries are simply
school deposits, composed wholly of "juvenile books," graded up
to but not beyond the seventh grade. When one realizes that these
books reach a total of 200,000 volumes, that they are sent to
people living in scattered communities strung shoe-string fashion
high along mountain ridges--back and apart from civilization-- to
a people of rugged character, demanding strength in books as in
life, capable of appreciating strength, one sees what a
stupendous opportunity for community uplift has been wasted, and
one stands aghast at the folly, economic and intellectual, of the
limitations imposed. Why should children alone be considered? And
if they alone are to be considered why should they be fed nothing
but "juvenile" literature? It is both over-emphasis and false
emphasis of the most harmful kind.

Second, far and away the most interesting phase of this library
work in North Carolina is that the whole movement lies outside of
the hands of professionally trained librarians. To understand why
this is so it is necessary to turn to the Department of
Education. Education in North Carolina is a state affair and
centralized, the state being for all practical purposes
autocratic in every educational matter. Decentralization has set
in to the extent of admitting local taxation; otherwise
education in North Carolina to-day is as highly centralized as it
is in France. There is no difference whatever between the power
of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction at Raleigh,
and that of the Minister of Public Instruction in France. Such
being the case it is but natural that the rural library movement
should be absorbed by the state, incorporated into the Department
of Education, and administered by the State Superintendent of
Public Instruction. Neither would it be wise to change this. It
would be wise, however, to appoint as one of the county
superintendents of public instruction a trained librarian, having
as his charge the entire supervision and administration of
library interests.

Third, all responsibility for the care of these libraries rests
with teachers. The teachers should never have such
responsibility. It is entirely beyond and outside of their proper
work. I feel sure that this problem of how to care for school
deposits of library books, a problem which is an issue North as
it is South, is not so difficult of solution as library workers
would have us believe. Disabuse yourselves of the notion that it
is the teachers' work, and a way out of the difficulty will be

Fourth, not only is there a growing dissatisfaction with the
library act as administered, but there is actually active
opposition to it--on the part of some teachers, and on the part
of certain public-spirited citizens. So much so is this a fact
that a counter movement is already in progress. This consists in
the establishment of rural libraries by private gift, by the
citizens at large, and by certain societies. Tryon has such a
library, a delightful building with two rooms and an ample
supply of standard books; Lenoir has one; Boone has one. Yet
these are small towns, two of them not exceeding 300 inhabitants
each. An interesting feature of one of these libraries is that it
serves largely as a social center for community life. Afternoon
tea is served in it; musicals held; club papers read; even the
Woman's Exchange meets and exhibits once a week. I had no means
of discovering how general this movement was, nor yet of
determining the ratio of emphasis laid on the social side of the
work. But I want you to note one point--the movement starts with
the adult and with standard works, and only by means of the
adult, or through the parent, is the child reached. It is the
exact antithesis of the state movement.

Fifth, the libraries are neglected. In no school did I find a
well-appointed one, and where there were bookcases they were
tucked aside in corner or entry, thick with dust, unused.

The state statistics as to the growth of this movement ignore
absolutely the facts I have mentioned. Therefore, I claim that in
no true sense are these statistics representative. The movement,
however, has interest. It is alive. It is sweeping through the
state. It spends thousands of dollars a year. It concerns itself
wholly with children. These are its characteristics. There can be
no two opinions as to its lack of balance, for the adult is not
even considered. There can be no two opinions as to its
intellectual and educational values. Buying only "juvenile
literature" they are of the smallest. There can be no two
opinions as to its morality: the people are taxed, yet only a
fraction of the people, only those who have children below the
seventh and above the first grades, receive a return.

How far North Carolina was seeking guidance of the North, how far
the North was also over-emphasizing, if it was, the children's
side in library work, I next wished to determine.

This brought me back to Boston, and to my second and final year
of service on the Examining Committee. The chairmanship of the
sub-committee on branches gave me opportunity for studying
library work as it touched the child and the school in cities.
This I supplemented by a less intensive study of library
conditions in towns, in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New
Hampshire, seeking to make my knowledge comprehensive.

The first impression I received was that of the many
interpretations put upon library work. These were almost as
numerous as were the librarians and custodians. Viewing the work
as a whole such divergence in practice seemed an error. There is
power in unity; results worth while follow. There is loss in the
frittering away of time caused by casual experiment; moreover, it
bears heavily on the child. To this you may be inclined to answer
that social and moral conditions vary so in each city and town
that the individual condition must be faced individually.
Granted, but not to the extent you might wish. To illustrate:
there is wisdom in allowing a certain station of the Boston
system complete liberty of action. But the situation at this
station is unique. It could not be duplicated even in Boston. The
work is in the hands of a skilled leader, and it forms part of a
large private work, financed by a philanthropist noted for
leadership in wise experimentation. The library shows breadth in
accepting the situation. But it is not wisdom to allow the
introduction of the story hour, or, as is the case in a
neighboring town, the throwing wide open of the children's room
to tots so tiny that picture blocks have to be furnished them to
play with--before the educational authorities have pronounced
such work necessary and just.

I next noticed and with some alarm the feminization of the
library corps. And I confess that I see no remedy. The schools
are facing the same difficulty, but eventually it will be solved
for them in the raising of certain salaries to a man's standard.
This is not likely to happen in library work. Consequently we
have this feminization to reckon with, and to me it is an active
factor in the diversity of library practice to which I have
referred, for women far more than men are prone to indulge
individual fads.

A third impression was the lack of fitness of some library
workers for their posts. This is particularly unfortunate when it
occurs in a children's room. Unless the person in charge possess
the requisite qualifications, better far close the room. The
fault lies perhaps with the colleges offering library courses. It
may well be that the training in these should be more specialized
than it is. Take the case of a student intending to pursue a
given line of work--say children's departments. Something
definite should be offered her, something corresponding in worth
to the graduate courses in practice and observation offered
students of education in departments of education at
universities. This is a practical suggestion; it only requires on
the part of colleges and libraries similar agreements to those
already existing between universities and schools. A second phase
of this question is that of libraries whose employees are not
drawn from library schools or colleges, but who reach the several
posts by a system of promotion based on efficiency and faithful
service. Is there any reason why employees of such a system,
specializing in children's work should not serve an
apprenticeship in the children's department at central and be
required to return to it again and again for further instruction?
As far as I know the heads of these children's departments have
no duties of this kind. But would not the value of a library
corps be increased tenfold if they had? They seize eagerly the
opportunity to go out and instruct the teacher, to go out and
instruct the parent. They have classes for the schools in the use
of the library. But they neglect utterly the training of the
library employee who is to serve as assistant first, as chief
later, in the children's room at branch or station. Yet the
knowledge acquired by only one day of observation under skillful
guidance in the children's department at central would prove
invaluable to these women. Broaden the training given employees,
and centralize experimentation.

I found no TRUE affiliation with the schools. There was none in
North Carolina; there is none here. In countless ways the library
and the school are overlapping. Why there should not be a clearer
vision as to what is library work and what is school work is
incomprehensible to an outsider.

I grew to have a horror of children's rooms--as distinct from
children's departments. Intellectually, physically, morally, I
believe them harmful. Neither can I see their necessity.

As regards classification of books, I received the impression
that the broad division into "adult" and "juvenile" is too
dogmatic, too arbitrary. Whatever other forms or divisions are
necessary, this particular one should be abolished. It lowers the
intellectual standing of the library with the community.

The splendid character of library work in tenement districts
stood out strongly. It is vigorous, alive, with an
ever-broadening opportunity.

More vivid, however, than any other impression, stronger still,
was that of the time and thought and care bestowed on the Child.
Everywhere, in city, town and suburban library, the effort to
reach the Child is apparent. Special attendants are in readiness
to meet him the instant he comes into reading room and station
after school hours. Thoughtful women are assigned to overlook and
guide his reference work. Entertainment is offered him in the
form of blocks to play with, scrap-books to look at, story hours
to attend. Books specially selected with regard to his supposedly
individual needs are placed on the shelves. Picture bulletins are
made for his use in the schools. Where he is not segregated he is
allowed to monopolize tables and chairs. I find no corresponding
effort made to reach the adult, to reach the young mechanic, to
draw to the library the parent. I at times wonder whether
librarians and custodians are even aware that exaggerated leaning
toward one phase of library work must throw out of the true the
work as a whole.

Nothing has astonished me more than this new development in
library practice--the placing of the child in importance before
the adult. The old belief that the library is primarily for
adults and only incidentally for children still holds good at the
central buildings of large city public library systems. In these
we find the children's department only one of many
departments--the child always subordinate, the adult
dominant--the result of a well balanced, admirable whole, each
unit in its proper place, all forces pulling together. I fail to
see why the same relative balance should not be maintained
throughout the entire system, from branch to station, not always
in kind and measure, but approximately.

A second thought to which I cannot adjust myself--is that of the
parent as a factor in school and library work. The parent
believes in the public school, and he pays heavily in taxes for
the education of his children by means of it. The parent believes
in the establishment of public libraries and he pays heavily in
taxes for their equipment. Both sums raised are sufficiently
generous to enable school and library to furnish trained,
capable, efficient teachers and librarians. Such being the case
does not the parent show intelligence in turning over to the
public care the direction of his children's education and
reading? Is he not justified in so doing? Why then should he be
held ignorant or selfish? Eliminate the parent as a factor in
library practice. Give the children quality in books. Strike off
50 per cent., if you only will, of the titles to be found on the
shelves of children's rooms. Substitute "adult" books, and you
will not need to appeal to the parent to guide the child's

That there is similarity of practice in library work, in North
Carolina and here, you can hardly deny. Point by point, in so far
as the work relates to the child, the problems are mutual. Their
solution lies in the getting together of school and library
authorities, and the setting aside of the modern thought that
library work is primarily educative and primarily for the child.
Let the schools educate the children; and, if you can, let the
adult once more dominate in library practice. You will then have
a well-balanced whole, free from over-emphasis on the child's


A conception of the meaning and the possibilities of children's
work interpreted by means of present day social and industrial
conditions is given by Henry E. Legler, librarian of the Chicago
Public Library, in a paper on "Library work with children," read
at the Pasadena Conference of the A L. A. in 1911. Henry Eduard
Legler was born in Palermo, Italy, June 22, 1861. He was educated
in Switzerland and the United States. In 1889 he was a member of
the Wisconsin Assembly; from 1890 to 1894 secretary of the
Milwaukee School Board; from 1904 to 1909 secretary of the
Wisconsin Library Commission, and since 1909 has been librarian
of the Chicago Public Library. In 1912-1913 Mr. Legler was
President of the A. L. A.

Not long since a man of genius took a lump of formless clay, and
beneath the cunning of his hand there grew a great symbol of
life. He called it Earthbound. An old man is bowed beneath the
sorrow of the world. Under the weight of burdens that seemingly
they cannot escape, a younger man and his faithful mate stagger
with bent forms. Between them is a little child. Instead of a
body supple and straight and instinct with freedom and vigor, the
child's body yields to the weight of heredity and environment,
whose crushing influence press the shoulders down.

In this striking group the artist pictures for us the world-old
story of conditions which meet the young lives of one generation,
and are transmitted to the next. It is a picture that was true a
thousand years ago; it is a picture that is faithful of
conditions today. Perhaps its modern guise might be more aptly
and perhaps no less strikingly shown, as it recently appeared in
the form of a cartoon illustrating Mrs. Elizabeth Barrett
Browning's verse:

 The Cry of the Children

 Do ye hear the children weeping, O my brothers,      Ere the
sorrow comes with years?  They are leaning their young heads
against their mothers,      And THAT cannot stop their tears.
The young lambs are bleating in the meadows,      The young birds
are chirping in the nest,  The young fawns are playing with the
shadows,      The young flowers are blowing towards the west--
But the young, young children, O my brothers,      They are
weeping bitterly!  They are weeping in the playtime of the
others,      In the country of the free.

 Do you question the young children in the sorrow,      Why their
tears are falling so?  The old man may weep for his to-morrow
 Which is lost in long ago;  The old tree is leafless in the
forest,      The old year is ending in the frost,  The old wound,
if stricken, is the sorest,      The old hope is hardest to be
lost;  But the young, young children, O my brothers,      Do you
ask them why they stand  Weeping sore before the bosoms of their
mothers,      In our happy Fatherland?

 Go out, children, from the mine and from the city,      Sing
out, children, as the little thrushes do.  Pluck your handfuls of
the meadow cowslips pretty,      Laugh aloud to feel your fingers
let them through!

Only in recent years has there grown into fulness a conception of
what the duty of society is towards the child. For near two
thousand years it was a world of grown-ups for grown-ups.
Children there have been--many millions of them--but they were
merely incidental to the scheme of things. Society regarded them
not as an asset, except perhaps for purposes of selfish
exploitation. If literature reflects contemporary life with
fidelity, we may well marvel that for so many hundreds of years
the boys and girls of their generation were so little regarded
that they are rarely mentioned in song or story. When they are,
we are afforded glimpses of a curious attitude of aloofness or of
harshness. Nowhere do we meet the artlessness of childhood. In a
footnote here, in a marginal gloss there, such references as
appear point to torture and cruelty, to distress and tears. In
the early legends of the Christians, in the pagan ballads of the
olden time, what there is of child life but illustrates the
brutal selfishness of the elders.

Certainly, no people understood as well as did the Jews that the
child is the prophecy of the future, and that a nation is kept
alive not by memory but by hope. Childhood to them was "the sign
of fulfillment of glorious promises; the burden of psalm and
prophecy was of a golden age to come, not of one that was in the
dim past." So in the greatest of all books we come frequently
upon phrases displaying this attitude:

"There shall yet old men and old women dwell in the streets of
Jerusalem, and every man with his staff in his hand for very age.
And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls
playing in the streets thereof."

"They shall remember me in far countries; and they shall live
with their children."

And most significant of all: "Suffer the little children to come
unto me."

In the centuries intervening, up to a hundred years ago, the men
of pen and the men of brush give us a few touches now and then
suggestive of childhood. However, they are observers rather than
interpreters of childhood and its meaning. In the works of the
great master painters, the dominant note is that of maternity, or
the motive is devotional purely. Milton's great ode on the
Nativity bears no message other than this. In the graphic tale
that Chaucer tells about Hugh of Lincoln, race hatred is the
underlying sentiment, and the innocence of the unfortunate
widow's son appears merely to heighten the evil of his captors
and not as typical of boyhood.

Of the goodly company known collectively as the Elizabethan
writers, silence as to the element of childhood is profound. In
all the comedies and the tragedies of the greatest dramatist of
all, children play but minor parts. In none of them save in King
John, where historic necessity precludes the absence of the
princes in the Tower, they might be wholly omitted without
impairment of the structure. In the Merry Wives of Windsor,
Mistress Anne Page's son is briefly introduced, and is there made
the vehicle for conversation which in this age might be regarded
as gross suggestiveness.

True, that is a rarely tender passage in the Winter's Tale
wherein Hermione speaks with her beloved boy, and the pathos of
Arthur's plea as he asks Hubert to spare his eyes is of course a
masterpiece of literature; these, however, the sum total of the
great dramatist's significant references to childhood.

In the great works on canvas, save where the Christ-child is
depicted, may be noted that same absence of the spirit of
childhood. Wealthy and royal patrons, indeed, encouraged great
artists to add favorite sons and daughters to the array of
portraits in their family galleries. In time, the artists gave to
the progeny of the nobility and the aristocracy generally, such
creations as to them seemed appropriate to their years. These
poses are but the caricature of childhood. Morland,
Gainsborough, Sir Joshua Reynolds and other artists of their day
represented the children of their wealthy patrons in attitudes
which savor somewhat of burlesque, though it may have been
intended quite seriously to hedge them about with spontaneity.

It has been said that "a child's life finds its chief expression
in play, and that in play its social instincts are developed." If
this be true, we find in some contemporary canvases of this
English school a curious reproduction of the favorite pastimes of
children. One is called "bird-nesting," the title descriptive of
the favorite diversion thus depicted. Another bears the legend
"Snow-balling," and with no apparent disapproval save on the part
of the little victims, shows a group of larger children
ruthlessly snow-balling some smaller ones who have sought shelter
in the portico of a church. Some distance down the street the
form of an aged woman suggests another victim of youthful

A century and a half ago there was born, frail at first but with
constant growth, a perception that the great moving forces of
life contain elements hitherto disregarded. Rousseau sounded his
thesis, Pestalozzi began to teach, and but a little later on,
Froebel expounded his tenets. We need not be concerned as to the
controversial disputation of rival schools of pedagogues whose
claims for one ignore the merits of the other. A new thought came
into being, and both Pestalozzi and Froebel contributed to its
diffusion--whether in the form of Pestalozzi's ideal, "I must do
good to the child," or Froebel's, "I must do good through the
child," or perhaps a measurable merging of the two.

Responsive to the note of life and thought around them, the great
authors of prose and verse began to inject the new expression of
feeling into what they wrote. Perhaps best reflected, as indeed
it proved most potent in molding public opinion, this thought
entered into the novels of Charles Dickens. These, in the
development of child life as a social force, not only recorded
history; they made history, and the virile pencils of Leech and
Phiz and Cruikshank aided what became a movement.

For the first time in literature, with sympathetic insight, there
was laid bare the misery of childhood among the lowly and
unfortunate, and the pathos of unhappy childhood was pictured
with all its tragic consequences to society as a whole. In the
story of Poor Joe, the street-crossing sweeper, who was always
told to move on, we read the stories of thousands of the boys of
to-day. His brief tenantry of Tom-all-Alones shows us the
prototype of many thousands of living places in the slums of our
own time. Conditions which environ growing boys and girls --not
only thousands of men, but many millions--in the congested cities
of the Anglo-Saxon world, are well suggested by the names which
have been given in derision, or brutally descriptive as the case
may be, to such centers of human hiving as the Houses of Blazes
and Chicken-foot Alley, in Providence; Hell's Kitchen in New
York; the Bad Lands in Milwaukee; Tin Can Alley, Bubbly Creek and
Whiskey Row back of the stockyards in Chicago. In these regions
and in others like them darkness and filth hold forth together
where the macaroni are drying; broken pipes discharge sewage in
the basement living quarters where the bananas are ripening;
darkness and filth dwell together in the tenement cellars where
the garment-worker sews the buttons on for the sweat-shop
taskmaster; goats live amiably with human kids in the cob-webbed
basements where little hands are twisting stems for flowers; in
the unlovely stable lofts where dwell a dozen persons in a place
never intended for one; in windowless attics of tall tenements
where frail lives grow frailer day by day.

 Lisabetta, Marianna, Fiametta, Teresina,      They are winding
stems of roses, one by one, one by one--  Little children who
have never learned to play;      Teresina softly crying that her
fingers ache today,  Tiny Fiametta nodding when the twilight
slips in, gray.

 High above the clattering street, ambulance and fire-gong beat;
    They sit, curling crimson petals, one by one, one by one.
Lisabetta, Marianna, Fiametta, Teresina,      They have never
seen a rosebush nor a dewdrop in the sun.  They will dream of the
vendetta, Teresina, Fiametta,

 Of a Black Hand and a Face behind a grating;      They will
dream of cotton petals, endless, crimson, suffocating,  Never of
a wild rose thicket, nor the singing of a cricket;      But the
ambulance will bellow through the wanness of their dreams,  And
their tired lids will flutter with the street's hysteric screams

 Lisabetta, Marianna, Fiametta, Teresina,      They are winding
stems of roses, one by one, one by one;  Let them have a long,
long playtime, Lord of Toil, when toil is done;      Fill their
baby hands with roses, joyous roses of the sun.

Reverting to Poor Tom, well may the words of Dickens in Bleak
House serve as a text for to-day: "There is not an atom of Tom's
shrine, not a cubic inch of any pestilential gas in which he
lives, nor an obscurity or degradation about him, nor an
ignorance, nor a wickedness, nor a brutality of his committing,
but shall work its retribution, through every order of society up
to the proudest of the proud and the highest of the high."

Whatever of permanence the ideal democracy which underlies our
institutions may achieve, it will not be the survival of
conditions such as these, but the fruition of their betterment.
Recognition of the sinister elements involved determines the
modern type of library work with children. That work rests upon a
knowledge of the background which has been pictured, upon the use
of methods that shall reach sanely and effectively the
contributing causes, upon correlation of all the social forces
that can be brought to bear unitedly.

Recognition of conditions and causation gives power to, and
justifies the modern trend of, library work with children as the
most important and far-reaching of all its great work. Of thirty
million men and women, and their children, who have come from
Over-seas in two generations, 83 per cent were dwellers along the
rim of the Mediterranean. Largely from that source have our towns
grown overnight into swarming cities. Their children of to-day
will be the men and women who in a generation will make or unmake
the Republic. Ignorance and greed, rather than necessity, breed
the chief menace in our national life. Alone as a detached social
force, the library cannot hope to combat these, but in
correlation with other forces may serve as one of the most potent
agencies. In the children's rooms and in kindred places, the
missionaries of the book take the disregarded bits of life about
them and weave them into a human element of power. The children's
rooms in the library and what they imply in the life of the
people, are of such recent origin and growth that the complete
force of their present-day work will not be fully apparent for a
quarter century. What they hope to do, the instruments they
purpose to use, are given succinctly in the pronouncement of one
of our most progressive libraries


To make good books available to all children of a community.

To train boys and girls to use with discrimination the adult

To reinforce and supplement the class work of the city schools
(public, private, parochial and "Sunday" schools).

To cooperate with institutions for civic and social betterment,
such as playgrounds, settlements, missions, boys' and girls'
clubs; and with commercial institutions employing boys and girls,
such as factories, postoffice special delivery division,
telegraph and telephone agencies and department stores.

And first and last to build character and develop literary taste
through the medium of books and the influence of the children's

Pursuing these purposes, endeavoring to meet these tests. library
work with children will make for better citizenship. It will take
account not only of the children of the poor, but of the children
of the well-to-do, who may need that influence even more. In the
cities, which now overshadow our national life, there are no
longer homes; there are flats, where the boys and girls are

"Our problem is not the bad boy, but rather the modern city,"
says Prof. Allen Hoben. "The normal boy has come honestly by his
love of adventure, his motor propensities and his gang instincts.
It is when you take this healthy biological product and set him
down in the midst of city restrictions that serious trouble
ensues. For the city has been built for economic convenience, and
with little thought for human welfare. Industrial aim is
evidenced to every sense. You smell industrialism in the far-
reaching odors of the stockyards. You hear it in the roar of the
elevated hard by the windows of the poor. You see it in a water
front that people cannot use, and you touch it in the fleck of
soot that is usually on your nose. The proof of industrial
aggression ceases to be humorous, however, when it shows itself
in the small living quarters of many a city flat where boys are
supposed to find the equivalent of the old-time house.
Constituted as he is, the boy cannot but be a nuisance in the
flat community. And because the flat dweller moves frequently, he
will be without those real neighbors of long standing whose
leniency formerly robbed the law of its victims. Furthermore, he
has no particular quarters of his own where he may satisfy his
sense of proprietorship and save up the numerous things he
collects with a view to using them in construction. The flat
dwellers will not permit the noise or litter incident to such
building as a boy likes; and he has little if any part in the
labor of conducting the house. He loses dignity as a helpful and
necessary member of the family, he loses that loyalty which
attaches to the old familiar places of boyhood experience and
strengthens many a man to-day, making him more kind and
consistent in his living by virtue of homestead memories."

So the boy is driven to the street as his domain. It is his
playground. And here he encounters the policeman. Of 717 children
arrested in one month in New York City, more than half were
arrested for playing games. Parenthetically, the fact may be
quoted that in this children's chief playground in a period of
ten months 67 children were killed and 196 injured.

Unerringly, these facts point to a union of social forces--the
children's library and the children's playground, a realization
of that clear comprehension which the ancient Greeks had of the
unity between the body and the mind. Quoting Plato: "If children
are trained to submit to laws in their plays' the love of law
enters their souls with the music accompanying their games, never
leaves them, and helps them in their development."

Having in thought physical recreation as a stimulus to mental
development, in combination bringing home the joyousness of life,
an ideal union of forces is being effected in some of the larger
cities. In some places, the movement has assumed but an initial
stage--a bit of tent shelter for distribution of books to
children gathered at the sand pile. In some instances co-
operation has joined the work of park breathing centers and
library organizations. This has reached completed form in the
placement of branch libraries as part of the park equipment,
either quarters within a general building, or a separate little
building adjacent to or on the athletic field.

But whether in place of high or low degree; whether in rented
store or memorial building of monumental type; whether in the
rooms of a school building or a corner in a factory; whether by
this method or by that, the children's librarian employs the
printed page to serve as instrument to these ends:

The building of character, making for the best in citizenship.

The enlargement of narrow lives, bringing the joy and savour and
beauty of life to the individual.

The opening of opportunity to all alike, which is the essence of

And in, the doing, an incidental and a great contribution is made
to society as a whole. For, as the story hour unfolds a new world
to the listener whose life has been bounded by a litter- covered
alley and three bare walls, or whose look into the outside world
has been perhaps a roof of tar and gravel and a yawning chasm
beyond, so the development of the imagination through the right
sort of books shall make possible the fullest development of the
individual boy and girl. In many a life there has been a supreme
moment when some circumstance, some stimulus has changed that
life for good or ill. For want of that stimulus, the dormant
power of many a man has gone to waste. Half the derelicts of
humanity who are but outcasts of the night had in them the making
of good men--perhaps some of them of great men, in science or in
art. There is no waste that is greater than lost opportunity;
there is no loss so great as undiscovered resource. Speaking of
imagination in work, Mr. Hamilton Wright Mabie points out that:

"So long as the uses of the imagination in creative work are so
little comprehended by the great majority of men, it can hardly
be expected that its practical uses will be understood. There is
a general if somewhat vague recognition of the force and beauty
of its achievements as illustrated in the work of Dante, Raphael,
Rembrandt and Wagner; but very few people perceive the play of
this supreme architectural and structural faculty in the great
works of engineering, or in the sublime guesses at truth which
science sometimes makes when she comes to the end of the solid
road of fact along which she has traveled. The scientist the
engineer, the constructive man in every department of work uses
the imagination quite as much as the artist; for the imagination
is not a decorator and embellisher, as so many appear to think;
it is a creator and constructor. Wherever work is done on great
lines or life is lived in field of constant fertility, the
imagination is always the central and shaping power."

I would have liked in this over-lengthy, but yet fragmentary
survey of the field from the viewpoint of the library, to say
something of the mistakes which have perhaps been made, and which
may still be made unguardedly by reason of over-zeal whereby the
relationship of the work to other things may be ignored or
misunderstood; of the danger that over-strong consciousness as to
possession of high ideals may dictate too urgent use of books
that may have literary style, but do not reach the heart of the
boy--driving him to the comic supplement and to the dregs of
print for his reading hours. These, and other comments must be
left for another occasion.

I would also have liked to say something of the history of work
with children in libraries, but Miss Josephine Rathbone has told
the story fully and well. In that history, when it shall be
written a quarter century hence, it will be fitting to give full
meed of honor to Samuel Sweet Greene, Edwin H. Anderson, Mrs. H.
L. Elmendorf, Miss Frances J. Olcott, Miss Linda A. Eastman and
some of the other splendid women of the profession whose presence
here precludes the mention of their names.

So, too, I would have liked to give the result, statistically, of
an inquiry, which the helpful kindness of Miss Faith E. Smith,
chairman of this section, has enabled me to make. It must suffice
here to limit the statement to a brief summary that shows less
what has been accomplished than what remains to be attempted:

There are in the United States to-day approximately 1,500 public
libraries containing each more than 5,000 volumes. The number
reporting children's work is 525, with a total of 676 rooms
having an aggregate seating capacity of 21,821, and an available
combined supply of 1,771,161 volumes on open shelves. The number
of libraries in which story hours are held is 152, and 304 report
work with schools. Of course, this work is pitifully meager as to
many libraries. The number of children who come more or less
under the direct influence of children's librarians is generously
estimated as 1,035,195 (103 libraries, including all the large
systems reporting). There are in the United States of children
from 6 to 16 years of age, approximately thirty-three millions.

Behind the work of the children's librarians there is a fine
spirit of optimism--not blind to difficulties, but courageous,
ardent and hopeful.

Disregarding ridicule, which is but a cheap substitute for wit;
regardful of criticism, which is often provocative or promotive
of improvement, inspired with the dignity of their high calling,
and with a fine vision that projects itself into the future, the
librarians engaged in the work with children willingly give
thereto the finest and the best of personality that they possess.
Descriptive of their spirit, we may aptly paraphrase the words of
a great humanitarian of our own generation:

"Some there are, the builders of humanity's temples, who are
laboring to give a vast heritage to the children of all the
world. They build patiently, for they have faith in their work.

"And this is their faith--that the power of the world springs
from the common labor and strife and conquest of the countless
age of human life and struggle; that not for a few was that labor
and that struggle, but for all. And the common labor of the race
for the common good and the common joy will bring that fulness of
life which sordid greed and blighting ignorance would make

And you have the faith of the builders.


The function of library work with children as a factor in
community life is further shown in the following articles. This
function includes, in the minds of the writers, a recognition
that the chief aim in education is character building; the
necessity of the careful selection of books for all classes of
children; the understanding of the personal relationship of the
child to the library; the development of a sense of ownership on
the part of the child; the possibility of being a factor in the
assimilation of the foreign element of the population; and the
realization that all are workers in a common cause, thus bringing
encouragement and inspiration.


One of the sessions of the Children's librarians section of the
A. L. A. meeting at Minnetonka in 1908 was given up to the
discussion of the place of children's library work in the
community. The library point of view was presented by Miss Moore.

Annie Carroll Moore was born in Limerick, Maine, and was
graduated from Limerick Academy in 1889 and Bradford Academy in
1891. After completing her work in the Pratt Institute Library
School in 1896 she became children's librarian in the Pratt Free
Library where she remained until 1906. She then organized the
children's department in the New York Public Library, of which
she is still supervisor. Miss Moore has lectured on library work
with children and has contributed many articles on the subject to
library periodicals.

Fifteen years ago the Minneapolis public library opened a
children's room from which books were circulated. Previous to
1893 a reading room for children was opened in the Brookline
(Mass.) public library but the Minneapolis public library was the
first to recognize the importance of work with children by
setting aside a room for their use with open shelf privileges and
with a special assistant in charge of it.

Since 1893 children's rooms and children's departments have
sprung up like mushrooms, all over the country, and first in
Pittsburg, then in Brooklyn, Cleveland, Philadelphia, New York
City and Queens Borough, children's rooms in branch libraries
have been organized into departments from which a third, at
least, of the entire circulation of the libraries is carried on
by assistants, either trained or in training to become children's

It has been the inevitable accompaniment of such rapid growth
that the work should suffer growing pains in the form of
criticism and even caricature at the hands of casual observers
and clever writers. Those of us who have been identified with the
movement since its inception have somehow managed to preserve our
faith in a survival of the fittest by remembering that there was
a time when everything was new, and have felt that if we could
keep a firm grip on the active principles which inspire all
successful work with children, whether it is the work of a small
independent library or that of a large system of libraries, our
labor was not likely to be lost. The children, the books and
ourselves are the three elements to be combined and the success
of the combination does not depend upon time, nor place, nor
circumstance. It depends upon whether we have a clear vision of
our surroundings and are able to adapt ourselves to them, a
growing appreciation of the value of books to the persons who
read them, and the power of holding the interest and inspiring
the respect and confidence of children.

If we can do all these things for a period of years we have
little need to worry about the future success of the work. The
boys and girls will look after that. In many instances they have
already begun to look after it and the best assurance for the
future maintenance of free libraries in America rests with those
who, having tried them and liked them during the most
impressionable years of their lives, believe in the value of them
for others as well as for themselves to the extent of being ready
and willing to support them.

In passing from a long and intimate experience in the active work
of a children's room in an independent library to the guidance of
work in the children's rooms of a system of branch libraries, a
great deal of thought has been given to deepening the sense of
responsibility for library membership by regarding every form of
daily work as a contributory means to this end.

The term "library membership" is a survival of the old
subscription library but it defines a much closer relationship
than the terms "borrower" or "user" and broadens rather than
restricts the activities of a free library by making it seem more
desirable to "belong to the library" than to "take out books."

It is the purpose of this paper to present in outline for
discussion such aspects of the work as may help to substantiate
the claim of its ambitious and perhaps ambigious title: Library
Membership as a Civic Force.

1. Our first and chief concern is with the selection of books and
right here we are confronted by so many problems that we might
profitably spend the entire week discussing them.

In general, the selection of books for a children's room which is
seeking to make and to sustain a place in the life of a community
should offer sufficient variety to meet the needs and desires of
boys and girls from the picture book age to that experience of
life which is not always measured by years nor by school grade
but is tipified by a Jewish girl under 14 years old, who, on
being asked how she liked the book she had just read, "Rebecca of
Sunnybrook Farm," said to the librarian, "It's not the kind of
book you would enjoy yourself, is it?", and on being answered in
the affirmative, tactfully stated her own point of view: "Well,
you see it is just this way, children have their little troubles
and grown people have their great troubles. I guess it's the
great troubles that interest me." We have been quick to recognize
the claim of the foreign boy or girl who is learning our language
and studying our history but we are only just beginning to
recognize the claims of those, who, having acquired the language,
are seeking in books that which they are experiencing in their
own natures. Human nature may be the same the world over, but
there is a vast difference in its manifestations between the ages
of ten and sixteen in a New England village or town and in a
foreign neighborhood of one of our large cities.

The selection of adult books in all classes, especially in
biography, travel, history and literature is too limited in the
children's rooms of many libraries and should be enlarged to the
point of making the shelves of classed books look more like those
of a library and less like those of a school room. Titles in
adult fiction should include as much of Jane Austen as girls will
read and an introduction to Barrie in "Peter Pan" and the "Little
Minister." "Jane Eyre" will supply the demand for melodrama in
its best form, while "Villette," and possibly "Shirley," may
carry some girls far enough with Charlotte Bronte to incline them
to read her life by Mrs. Gaskell. William Black's "Princess of
Thule" and "Judith Shakespeare" will find occasional readers.
"Lorna Doone" will be more popular, although there are girls who
find it very tedious. There should be a full set of Dickens in an
edition attractive to boys and girls. A complete set of the
Waverly novels in a new large print edition, well paragraphed and
well illustrated, with the introductions left out and with
sufficient variation in the bindings to present an inviting
appearance on the shelves would lead, I believe, to a very much
more general reading of Scott.

Conan Doyle's "Adventures of Sherlock Holmes," "The Refugees,"
"The White company," "Micah Clarke" and "At the Sign of the four"
will need no urging, nor will Dumas' "Count of Monte Cristo,"
"The Three guardsmen" and "The Black tulip." "Les Miserables" and
"The Mill on the Floss" will fully satisfy the demand for "great
troubles," treated in a masterly fashion. We should include
Thackeray's "Henry Esmond," "The Newcomes" and "The Virginians";
Bulwer's "Last Days of Pompeii," "Harold," "Rienzi" and "The Last
of the barons"; Charles Kingsley's "Westward Ho," "Hereward the
Wake" and "Hypatia"; Charles Reade's "Cloister and the hearth,"
"Peg Woffington," "Foul play" and "Put yourself in his place";
Besant's "All sorts and conditions of men" and "The Children of
Gibeon"; Wilkie Collins' "The Moonstone" and "The Woman in white"
as many of Robert Louis Stevenson's stories as will be read
"Cranford" and "The Vicar of Wakefield" with the Hugh Thomson
illustrations; Miss Mulock's "John Halifax," "A Noble life," "A
Brave lady" and "A Life for a life"; Lever's "Charles O'Malley"
and "Harry Lorrequer", Lew Wallace's "Ben Hur" and "The Fair
god"; Stockton's "Rudder Grange," "The Casting away of Mrs. Lecks
and Mrs. Aleshine" and "The Adventures of Captain Horn"; Mrs.
Stowe's "Uncle Tom's cabin" and "Oldtown folks"; Howells' "Lady
of the Aroostook," "A Chance acquaintance," "The Quality of
mercy" and "The Rise of Silas Lapham"; Gilbert Parker's "Seats of
the mighty" and "When Valmond came to Pontiac"; Paul Leicester
Ford's "The Honorable Peter Stirling"; Richard Harding Davis'
"Van gibber," "Gallagher," "Soldiers of fortune" and "The Bar
sinister"; Rider Haggard's "King Solomon's mines" and "Allen
Quartermain"; Weir Mitchell's "Hugh Wynne", Marion Crawford's
"Marietta", "Marzio's crucifix", and "Arethusa"; Kipling's "The
Day's work", "Kim" and "Many inventions" and, if they have been
removed as juvenile titles, I think we should restore "Tom
Sawyer" and "Huckleberry Finn" under the head of adult fiction.

Other titles will be freely and frequently used in a children's
room, which is taking into active account the interests of its
users and is seeking to establish a genuine taste for good
reading which will not be abandoned later on as artificial or
forced. In general, the principle of selection should be to
provide the best standard novels in order that the boys and girls
who go out from the children's room may know what good novels are
and so much of modern fiction as shall serve to give the
collection the appearance of being interesting and up to date
without lowering the standard of that taste for good reading
which is the chief purpose in shelving such a collection in a
children's room. The presence of the books is good for the
children's librarian as well as for the children and it goes
without saying that she must be familiar with them if she is to
use them intelligently.

The point to stop in the purchase of books designed for
supplementary reading is with the smallest number that will meet
the active demands which are not met by REAL books. We may well
stop with the third book in most cases of purchase of books in
sets. Does anybody know whether informational readers on the
shelves of a children's room leads to genuine interest in the
subject so presented? To quote one boy's opinion of nature
readers, "The nature you get in books is the most disinteresting
subject there is." The cheapness of these publications has led to
a larger duplication of them in libraries than seems desirable
for the best interests of the work. We need in place of them such
books, with certain modifications in treatment, as were indicated
by Dr. Stanley Hall in his recent and very suggestive address on
Reading as a factor in the education of children (Library
Journal, April, 1908). Most of all do we need a series of books
which will put foreign children and their parents in touch and in
sympathy with the countries from which they came by spirited
illustrations in color of street scenes, festivals and scenes
from home life accompanied by simple direct statements and with
translations of such stories and poems as may aid in making and
keeping the impressions of their country vivid and lasting. There
has been a rising wave of production of primers and first reading
books during the past five years. Some libraries have
experienced a primer craze and it becomes exceedingly difficult
to decide which ones to buy and bow freely to duplicate them.
Primers and "easy books" have a use for children who are learning
to read but too free a use of them may be one of the influences
responsible for that lack of power of sustained attention and
limitation in vocabulary which is frequently shown by boys and
girls from twelve to fourteen years old.

The edition in which a book for children appears is a matter of
very much greater importance than is realized by those who view
the work from a distance. It is not purely an aesthetic
consideration. It has a very practical bearing on whether the
book will be read or not and libraries which have the least money
to spend should be most careful to spend it for books in editions
which are attractive to children.

2. The only thoroughly successful means of securing respect and
good care of library books is for libraries to maintain higher
standards of excellence in respect to intelligent repairing and
binding, to discard promptly a book which is to any extent
mutilated or which is so soiled as to make it seem unwarrantable
to ask a boy to wash his hands before touching it. The books on
the circulating shelves should be the most attractive part of a
children's room. That it is possible to make and to keep them so
is not a theory but a demonstrable fact. Three years ago a branch
library was opened in one of the poor districts of a large city.
The usual problems in the discipline of individuals and of gangs
were present. Many of the new books were soiled, others were
mutilated and several were missing at inventory taking. The
librarian believed the moral lesson conveyed to children by
training them to take care of library books to be one of the
first requirements of good citizenship. She determined that no
boy or girl should be able to say: "I took it that way", in
returning a soiled or mutilated book. In order to carry out her
ideas to a successful issue it has been necessary for her to
inspire her entire staff with a sense of the value of such
training and to impress upon them that careful handling of books
by library assistants is the first requisite to securing like
care on the part of the children. Every book is examined at the
time it is returned and before it is placed on the shelves it is
given such repair as it may need. By careful washing, skillful
varnishing and by the use of a preparation for removing grease
spots many books are given an extended turn of service without
lowering the standards established. Paper covers are provided as
wrappers on rainy days and on sticky days. Such care of books
requires time and sustained interest but I believe that it pays
in the immediate as well as in the future results, when grown
into men and women, the boys and girls who were taught this first
lesson in citizenship will look back upon it with feelings of
respect and satisfaction.

The cost to the library is less in expenditure for books and for
service. The library mentioned affords direct evidence that loss
of books by theft is very largely controlled by such simple means
provided the means are consciously and consistently related to
the larger end of regarding the property rights of others. It is
interesting to note that three-fourths of its membership has been
sustained during the three years.

3. In dealing with large numbers of children of foreign parentage
it is evident that we need to define their relationship to the
library more clearly than we have done as yet. Quite frequently
they do not distinguish between the building and the books and
refer to the latter as "taking libraries". Now "taking a library"
home is a very different matter from playing a part in the life
of a civic institution and the parents as well as the boys and
girls are quick to feel a difference which they are not always
able to express in words. Quite early in my experience this was
brought home to me by a visit from the mother of a Jewish boy who
had been coming to the children's room for about a year. She came
on a busy Saturday afternoon and after looking about the room
seated herself near the desk while the boy selected his books. As
Leopold always tested the interest of several books before
committing himself to a choice the visit lasted the entire
afternoon. When they were ready to go she explained why she had
come. She had been curious to discover for herself, she said,
what it was Leopold got from the Library that made him so much
easier to get on with at home. He had grown more thoughtful of
his younger brothers and sisters, more careful of his books and
other belongings and more considerate of his mother. "I wouldn't
have him know the difference I see," she continued, "but he told
me you were always asking him to bring me here and I made up my
mind to come and see for myself and I have.

"These children are learning how to BEHAVE in PUBLIC as well as
how to choose good books and I think it comes from the feeling
they have of belonging to the Library, and being treated in the
way they like, whether they are as young as my Simon, who is six
years old, or as old as Leopold, who will be fourteen next month.
If they were all boys of Leopold's age it would be the same as it
is at school; but having the younger ones here makes it more as
it is at home."

Should it not be the plan and purpose of a children's room to
make every boy and girl feel at home there from the moment of
signing an application blank? Forms of application blanks and the
manner of registration differ in nearly every library. Whatever
form is used, personal explanation is always essential and it
does not seem worth while to advocate a simplified form for the
use of children. I believe there are very decided advantages in a
system of registration which requires the children to write their
own names in a book. The impression made upon their memories is
distinctly different and more binding than that made by writing
the name on a slip of paper and has frequently been of great
service in cases of discipline as the signature is headed by a
reminder of obligations:

"When I write my name in this book I promise to take good care of
all the books I read in the Library and of those I take home and
to obey the rules of the Library." Such a method of registration
is not impractical, even in a large library provided the work is
carefully planned to admit of it.

Recent inquiries and investigation show very convincingly that a
large proportion of parents, both foreign born and American, and
a considerable number of educators, social workers and persons
connected with libraries in England and in this country, have
exceedingly hazy ideas respecting the work public libraries are
doing for children. The issue of an admirable illustrated hand
book on "The Work of the Cleveland public library with children"
and the means used to reach them, should make clear to the latter
whatever has seemed vague or indefinite in the work.

But there are many parents in large cities and in manufacturing
towns, who cannot be induced to visit libraries and see for
themselves as Leopold's mother did, and they are frequently
averse to having their children go to a place they know nothing
about, believing that they are being drawn away from their school
tasks by the mere reading of story books. How is it possible to
stimulate their curiosity and interest to the point of making a
Library seem desirable and even necessary in the education of
their children to become citizens and wage earners? Printed
explanations and rules issued by libraries are either not read or
not understood by the majority of persons to whom they are
addressed. There is something very deadening to the person of
average intelligence about most printed explanations of library
work. Pictures which bring the work before people from the human
side might be more successful and I wish to submit an outline for
a pictorial folder designed to accompany an application blank to
the home of an Italian child.


In size it is five inches long and three inches wide. On the
outer cover appears a picture of the exterior of the library,
underneath the picture the name of the library, its location and
the hours it is open.

On the first page a picture of the children's room with this
inscription underneath:

Boys and Girls come here to read and to study their lessons for
school. Picture Books for little children.

On the second page a picture of the adult department, showing its
use and giving the information all foreigners seem desirous to

Men and Women come here to read and to study.

Books on the Laws and Customs of America.

Books, Papers and Magazines in Italian and other foreign

Books from which to learn to read English.

On the back of the cover these simple directions:


The use of the Library is Free to anyone who comes to Read or to
Study in its rooms.

If you wish to take Books home you must sign an application blank
and give the name and address of some one who knows you.

The information on the folder should be given in the language or
languages of the neighborhood in which the library is situated.

This folder was designed for a branch library in an Italian
neighborhood but a similar folder might be utilized in any
community provided the information is given in simple, direct
form and the pictures show the Library with people using it.

4. Joining the library is not all. However carefully and
impressively the connection is made we are all conscious of those
files of cards "left by borrower," which indicate that a
connection must be sustained if library membership is to prove
its claim as a civic force. There are those who regard a
restriction of circulation to one or two story books a week as a
desirable means to this end, believing that interest in reading
is heightened by such limitation. That many boys and girls read
too much we all know, but I am inclined to think that whatever
restriction is made should be made for the individual rather than
laid down as a library rule. Other libraries advocate a remission
of fines, at the same time imposing a deprivation in time of such
length that it would seem to defeat the chief end of the
children's room which is to encourage the reading habit. Children
who leave their cards for six months at a time are not likely to
be very actively interested in their library. There seem to be
three viewpoints regarding fines for children.

1. Children should be required to pay their fines as a lesson in
civic righteousness. Persons holding this view would allow the
working out of fines under some circumstances but regard the fine
as a debt.

2. Any system of fines is a wrong one, therefore all fines should
be remitted and some other punishment for negligence substituted.
Persons holding this view would deprive children of the use of
the library for a stated period.

3. A fine is regarded as slightly punitive and probably the most
effective means of teaching children to respect the rights of
others in their time use of books. Persons holding this view
would reduce the fine to one cent, wherever a fine is exacted and
would exercise a great deal of latitude in dealing with
individual cases, remitting or cutting down fines whenever it
seems wise to do so and imposing brief and variable time
deprivations of the use of the library rather than a long fixed

Whatever viewpoint is taken it will be necessary to remind
children constantly that by keeping their books overtime other
boys and girls are being deprived of the reading of them.

One of the most effective means of sustaining and promoting such
a sense of library membership as I have indicated is the
extension of reading-room work by placing on open, or on closed
shelves, if necessary, a collection of the best children's books
in the best editions obtainable, to be used as reading-room
books. Children may be so trained in the careful handling of
these books as to become very much more careful of their
treatment of the book they take home and the experiment is not a
matter of large expense to the library. The reading-room books
should never be allowed to become unsightly in appearance if they
are to do their full work in the room as an added attraction to
the children and as suggestive to parents, teachers and other
visitors who may wish to purchase books as gifts.

The value of a well conducted Story hour or Reading club as a
means of sustaining the library connection and of influencing the
spontaneous choice of books by boys and girls has not been fully
recognized because it has been only partially understood. There
are various methods of conducting Story hours and Reading clubs.
There are many differences of opinion as to whether the groups
should be large or small, differentiated by age or by sex,
whether the groups should be made up entirely of children or
whether an occasional adult may be admitted without changing the
relation between the story teller and the children. Those who
desire suggestion of material and specific information as to
method and practice will find much that is valuable and practical
in the publication of the Carnegie library of Pittsburg and in
the Handbook of the Cleveland public library. Those who are
seeking to place a Story hour in work already established will do
well to remember that it is a distinctly social institution and
as such is bound to be colored by the personality of its
originator whether she tells the stories herself or finds others
to carry out her ideas. Make your Story hour the simple and
natural expression of the best you have to give and do not
attempt more than you can perform. I believe the Story hour is
the simplest and most effective means of enlisting the interest
of parents and of stirring that active recollection of their own
childhood which leads to sharing its experiences with their
children. Folk tales told in the language his father and mother
speak should give to the child of foreign parentage a feeling of
pride in the beautiful things of the country his parents have
left in place of the sense of shame with which he too often
regards it. The possibilities in this field are unlimited if
wisely directed.

The value of exhibits depends upon the subject chosen and the
exercise of imagination, good taste and practical knowledge of
children's tastes in selecting and arranging the objects or
pictures. The subject must be one which makes an immediate appeal
to the passing visitor. There should not be too much of it and it
should not be allowed to remain too long in the room. A single
striking object is often more effective than a collection of
objects. Some interpretation of an exhibit in the form of
explanation or story is needed if the children are to become very
much interested in reading about a subject.

To those who believe that Story hours, Clubs, Exhibits, and
Picture bulletins are not "legitimate library work," I would say,
suspend your judgment until you have watched or studied the
visible effects of such work in a place where it is properly
related to the other activities of the library and to the needs
of the community in which it is situated. If by the presence of
an Arctic exhibit in an Italian and Irish-American non-reading
neighborhood an interest is stimulated which results in the
circulation and the reading of several hundred books on the
subject during the time of the exhibition and for months
afterward, the exhibit certainly seems legitimate.

5. Since it is true that social conditions, racial
characteristics and individuality in temperament enter very
actively into the problems of the care of children in libraries
and since it is also true that the books children read and the
care which is given to them in libraries are frequently
reflected in their conduct in relation to the School, the Church,
the Social settlement, the Playground, the Juvenile court and to
civic clubs as well as to the Home, a more enlightened
conception of the work of all these institutions is essential if
the Children's library is to play its full part in the absorption
of children of different nations into a larger national life.
This need is being recognized and partially met by lecture
courses and by the practice work of students in library training
schools but listening to lectures, reading, and regulated student
practice does not take the place of that spontaneous eagerness to
see for one's self, the social activities of a neighborhood or
town which makes a library in its town a place of living
interest. Librarians, en masse, in relation to other
institutions, stand in a similar position to that of the
representative of those institutions. On both sides a firsthand
knowledge of the aims and objects and methods of work of all the
forces at work in a given community and a perception of their
interrelationship is essential if we wish to do away with the
present tendency to duplicate work which is already being
carried on by more effective agencies. How far a library should
go in relating its work to that of other institutions it is
impossible to prescribe. The aim should be to make its own work
so clear to the community in which it is placed that it will
command the respect and the support of every citizen.


The second paper at the Minnetonka sectional meeting, mentioned
in the introduction to the preceding article, was presented by
Dr. Graham Taylor, Director of the Chicago School of Civics and
Philanthropy, who believes that "equally with the schools and
playgrounds, our library centers are essential to American
democracy." Dr. Taylor was born in Schenectady, N. Y., in 1851;
received the degree of A.B. from Rutgers College in 1870, and was
graduated from the Reformed Theological Seminary, New Brunswick,
N. J., in 1873. He has since been granted the honorary degrees of
D.D. and LL.D. From 1873 to 1892 he remained in the pastorale;
from 1888 to 1892 was Professor of Practical Theology in Hartford
Theological Seminary, and in 1892 became Professor of Social
Economics in the Chicago Theological Seminary. In 1894 he became
the founder and resident warden of the Chicago Commons Social
Settlement. Dr. Taylor is associate editor of the Survey.

The child is coming to be as much of a civic problem as it ever
has been a family problem. Upon the normality of its children the
strength and perpetuity of the state depend, as surely as the
dependency and delinquency of its children undermine the prowess
and menace the life of the state. The education and discipline,
labor and recreation of the child figure larger all the while in
our legislation and taxes, our thinking and literature.

Democracy, machine industry, immigration and child psychology
combine to make the child a new problem to the modern state and
city, especially in America. With the problems of the child's
normality and defectiveness, discipline and delinquency, work and
play, and its assimilation into the body politic, our towns and
cities, states and nation have been forced to deal. Hitherto we
have dealt far more with the negative and repressive aspects of
these problems than with any constructive ideal, purpose and
method respecting them. We have, for instance, paid more
attention to defective children than to the prenatal antecedents
and early conditions of child life. We have been too long
punishing juvenile delinquency without trying to help the
backward and wayward child. We have let young children work
without regard to the industrial efficiency of their whole life.
We are only beginning to share the attention we have paid to the
education of our children with the equally serious problem of
their recreation. We have been content merely with their physical
exercise and have been stupidly obtuse to awaking and satisfying
the pleasurable interest of the child in his play and the
organization of it. Where there have been an un-American fear of
immigration and feeling against the immigrant there has been all
too little effort put forth to assimilate the foreign elements of
our local population.

But we are coming to see that to prepossess is better than to
dispossess. Prevention is found to be a surer and cheaper solvent
of our child problems than punishment. The child's own resources
for self development and self mastery prove to be greater than
all the repressive measures to obtain and maintain our control
over him. Thus our very disciplinary measures have become saner
and more effective. No way-mark of our civilization registers
greater progress than our abandonment of the criminal procedure
against children and our adoption of the paternal spirit and
method of our juvenile courts and reformatory measures. To our
agencies for dealing with defectives and delinquents we have
added the kindergarten and all the kindred principles, methods
and instrumentalities of constructive work with children.

Chief among these is the use we are making of the child's
instinct for play and mental diversion as a means of building up
both the individual and the social life. Chicago has made the
discovery of the civic value of recreation centers for the play
of the people. Not since old Rome's circus maximus and the
Olympic games of Greece has any city made such provision for the
recreation of its people as is to be found in these great
playfields, surrounding the beautifully designed and well
equipped field houses, which at a cost of $12,000,000 of the tax
payers' money have been built in the most crowded districts of
Chicago. The recreation centers illustrate the civic opportunity
and value of library work with children. For the Chicago public
library was quick to see and seize the advantage thus offered to
serve the city. The delivery stations and reading rooms
established in these field houses are already recognized to be
the most useful of its centers to the child life of the city. The
organized volunteer cooperation of several groups of women has
added the story hour as a regular feature of the library work at
these playgrounds, and at two public school buildings where
similar stations are to be established in cooperation with the
Board of education. At the central library building the work in
the Thomas Hughes Young people's reading room has also been
successfully supplemented by the story hour appointments in a
large hall, with the same efficient cooperation.

The quick and large response given by the people to these civic
extensions of library service in every city and town where they
have been offered, demonstrates what a large field of usefulness
awaits public library enterprise and occupancy. But the
experiment has gone far enough to prove the absolute necessity of
having librarians especially trained for work with children; and
to that end, the addition of the position of children's librarian
to the classified civil service lists for which special
examinations are set.

Equally with the schools and playgrounds, our library centers are
essential to American democracy. All three are to be classed
together as our most democratic and efficient agencies for
training our people into their citizenship and assimilating them
into the American body politic. Nowhere are we on a more common
footing of an equality of opportunity than in the public schools,
the public playground and the public library.

The public school stands upon that bit of mother earth which
belongs equally to us all. The playground is open alike to all
comers. And the public library is not only as free and open to
all as to any of our whole people, but also confers citizenship
in that time-long, world wide democracy of the Republic of

The civic service thus democratically to be rendered by library
work with children is indispensably valuable. It may be made more
and more invaluable to any community by intelligent insight into
the needs of the people, and by the practical and prompt
application of library resources which are limited only by our
capacity, enterprise and energy to develop and apply them.


A broader idea of library work with children necessitates greater
knowledge of other agencies which work with them and a spirit of
willing cooperation on the part of the children's librarian. From
her experience in the city of Washington Miss Herbert contributed
the following article of The Library Journal. Clara Wells Herbert
was born in Stockbridge, Mass.; was a student in Vassar from 1894
to 1896; received a special certificate from the Training School
for Children's Librarians in 1904; was children's librarian in
the Brooklyn Public Library from 1904 to 1907, and since that
time has been the head of the Children's department in the Public
Library of the District of Columbia.

The children's departments of many city libraries are carrying on
a fine aggressive work and through branch children's rooms, close
work with schools, including deposits of books in classrooms,
deposits of books and story-telling in playgrounds, home
libraries and home visiting, are coming close to the children and
putting good books within their reach. Such work rests upon a
large staff and a generous appropriation. On the other hand, the
small town library has the advantage of informal relations with
its people and is a part of the various activities of the town.
Between these two types of libraries is a third. It is located in
a city too large for the helpful informal relations of the town
library. It cannot, on the other hand, carry on its own
aggressive work, for it is hampered by the smallness of its staff
and the meagerness of its appropriation.

To libraries of this sort the effecting of cordial relations with
other civic institutions is of the utmost importance. Upon it
depends largely the outside work of the library and a specialized
knowledge of conditions very essential for intelligent work.

Nor is the library the only one to profit by cooperation.

"I never thought of asking for help there," said a probation
officer recently when talking of her difficulties in keeping a
record of the use of the withdrawn books given to the court by
the library. Not more than we need the benefit of the intimate
personal knowledge of conditions of such workers, do they often
need the help the library stands ready and eager to give but
which they do not think to ask.

The work of the children's department should be then twofold in
purpose--to reach the children directly as far as possible, and
to establish such relations with other organizations as will
render it a vital interested force in the community, a place
where people will naturally turn for help along the line of its

Certain practices which have been found useful in effecting this
cooperation may be suggestive, but the basis of any satisfactory
relationship is interest and the desire to help and has its
beginnings in the children's room.

The children's librarian should keep always in mind that the city
is full of workers who, strong in the belief that the hope of the
future is in the children, are doing devoted work in their
behalf. Sooner or later they will visit the children's room and
the opportunity presents itself to know their particular line of
work. It is interesting to note in how many of such cases the
conversation contains something which may be applied with
advantage to the library's activities. At least, the visitor
receives the impression that the library assistant is interested
in any work done for children and, if at some future time a need
presents itself, turns to her for assistance.

This interest is also shown if the children's librarians attend
meetings or conferences held in behalf of children or from which
they may gather information on home conditions. Frequently there
are courses of lectures given by charity organizations or club
meetings of sociological workers where the problems of the city
are discussed.

Libraries having staff or apprentice meetings frequently invite
as speakers persons representing some particular phase of work,
and these occasions engender mutual interest. In other cases
librarians have added to their staffs former kindergartners and
charity workers that they might profit by their special training
and the knowledge of conditions gathered from their former

Much may be said of the undesirability of distributing withdrawn
books among institutions. But in libraries where the maintenance
of travelling collections is limited they afford perhaps the only
opportunity of reaching the children in orphanages, reform
schools and similar institutions. Such distributions should be
followed by visits to the institutions to talk, if possible, to
the children and to get an idea of their needs and tastes.

Collections of withdrawn books at the juvenile court are used by
the children while on probation and often after release, and by
the grown people of their families as well. In Cleveland the list
of official parents and paroled boys is furnished the library and
booklists and information about the nearest branch are sent them.
In Washington the library supplies the probation officers with
application blanks. When a child who has shown a taste for
reading is to be discharged the officer on the last visit to his
home takes the application blank and secures the parent's
signature. The child brings the application to the library,
obtains cards immediately and is helped in his selection of

The attendance or truant officers of the schools know home
conditions better than teachers. They have a general knowledge of
the city and the peculiarities of the different sections that is
most helpful in the selection of places for home libraries or
deposit stations. Their knowledge of the home life of troublesome
children will often throw light on difficult cases of discipline.

In Washington the attendance officer issues permits under the
child labor law. From this office may be secured a list of stores
and other places of employment for children. The library should
send notices to such buildings and place at the office
invitations to use the library to be distributed at the time the
permits for work are issued.

The Cleveland Public Library uses for a mailing list for
publications pertaining to children's work a card directory of
social workers. This directory gives the name, address and
connection of each individual and includes board members of set-
tlement houses, associated charities, visiting nurses'
associations, pastors and their assistants, of churches
conducting club work, and others similarly engaged. In some
cities this same information may be gathered from the published
directory of philanthropic agencies and their reports. Lists such
as those published by the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh,
"Stories to tell to children," "Books for reading circles,"
"Games," or lists made especially in connection with the
activities of a settlement, playground, etc., mailed to its club
workers attract them to the library.

Rainy days when the hours drag and the children cannot be out of
doors are good times to visit summer camps and vacation homes.
There may be an opportunity to tell stories or for a talk to the
children which, when their vacation is over, they are glad to

There are two special collections which it is well for the
children's department to have--one for the children and one for
grown people.

It should follow Newark's notable example in putting into form,
adapted for children's use, all the information regarding the
city, its institutions, historic spots, etc. The collection of
such material informs the assistants, attracts the cooperation of
those from whom the information is sought and by acquainting the
child with the manifold features of the life of the city, helps
to prepare him for intelligent citizenship.

It should collect, also, all material relative to the children of
the city. It should have reports of settlements, institutions,
summer camps and homes, day nurseries, work with foreigners,
mounted maps of the location of schools and playgrounds, copies
of the child labor law, compulsory education act, in fact, any
information obtainable about the conditions of the child life of
the city. Such material will draw interested people to the
library and thus open up opportunities for further cooperation.

Such are a few of the many ways in which the children's room may
be tied to other organizations working for children. Under the
varied conditions of different cities they develop indefinitely.
Only a few could be mentioned here. Even the work with schools
and playgrounds, the importance of which is generally
established, has not been included. As these relations grow
closer and closer the library's work broadens and deepens and the
realization that all are workers in a common cause brings
encouragement and inspiration for the daily task.


The "possibility and duty," on the part of the children's
library, of being a moral force in the community, was discussed
by Clara W. Hunt in a paper presented at the Narragansett Pier
Conference of the A. L. A. in 1906. Seven years later, at the
Kaaterskill Conference in 1913, Miss Hunt again considered the
influence of children's libraries as a civic force. This later
paper, representing more fully her point of view, and embodying
her later experience, is here reprinted.

Clara Whitehill Hunt was born in Utica, N. Y., in 1871. She was
graduated from the Utica Free Academy in 1889, and from the New
York State Library School in 1898. From 1893 to 1896 she was a
public school principal in Utica. She organized work with
children in the Apprentices' Library, Philadelphia, in 1898, and
had charge of it in the Newark, N. J., Free Public Library from
1898 to 1902. Since 1903 she has been Superintendent of the
Children's Department of the Brooklyn Public Library. Miss Hunt
has been a lecturer and contributor to magazines on children's
literature, library work with children and related topics, and
has published a book on "What shall we read to the children?"

You are probably familiar with the story of the man who, being
asked by his host which part of the chicken he liked best replied
that "he'd never had a chance to find out; that when he was a boy
it was the fashion to give the grown people first choice, and by
the time he'd grown up the children had the pick, so he'd never
tasted anything but the drumstick."

It will doubtless be looked upon as heresy for a children's
librarian to own that she has a deal of sympathy for the
down-trodden adult of the present; that there have been moments
when she has even gone so far as to say an "amen"--under her
breath--to the librarian who, after a day of vexations at the
hands of the exasperating young person represented in our current
social writings as a much-sinned-against innocent, wrathfully
exploded, "Children ought to be put in a barrel and fed through
the bung till they are twenty-one years old!"

During the scant quarter century which has seen the birth and
marvelous growth of modern library work with children, the "new
education" has been putting its stamp upon the youth of America
and upon the ideas of their parents regarding the upbringing of
children. And it has come to pass that one must be very bold to
venture to brush off the dust of disuse from certain old saws and
educational truisms, such as "All play and no work make Jack a
mere toy," "No gains without pains," "We learn to do by doing,"
"Train up a child in the way he should go," and so on.

Our kindergartens, our playground agitators, our juvenile courts,
our child welfare exhibits are so persistently--and rightly
--showing the wrongdoing child as the helpless victim of heredity
and environment that hasty thinkers are jumping to the conclusion
that, since a child is not to blame for his thieving tendencies,
it is our duty, rather than punish, to let him go on stealing;
since it is a natural instinct for a boy to like the sound of
crashing glass and the exercise of skill needed to hit a mark, we
must not reprove him for throwing stones at windows; because a
child does not like to work, we should let him play--play all the

The painless methods of the new education, which tend to make
life too soft for children, and to lead parents to believe that
everything a child craves he must have, these tendencies have had
their effect upon the production and distribution of juvenile
books, and have added to the librarian's task the necessity not
only of fighting against the worst reading, but against the third
rate lest it crowd out the best.

It is the importance of this latter warfare which I wish mainly
to discuss.

We children's librarians, in the past fifteen or twenty years,
have had to take a good many knocks, more or less facetious, from
spectators of the sterner sex who are worried about the
"feminization of the library," and who declare that no woman,
certainly no spinster, can possibly understand the nature of the
boy. Perhaps sometimes we are inclined to droop apologetic heads,
because we know that some women are sentimental, that they don't
all "look at things in the large," as men invariably do. In view,
however, of the record of this youthful movement of ours, we have
a right rather to swagger than to apologize.

The influence of the children's libraries upon the ideals, the
tastes, the occupations, the amusements, the language, the
manners, the home standards, the choice of careers, upon the
whole life, in fact, of thousands upon thousands of boys and
girls has been beyond all count as a civic force in America.

And yet, while teachers tell us that the opening of every new
library witnesses a substitution of wholesome books for "yellow"
novels in pupils' hands; while men in their prime remark their
infrequent sight of the sensational periodicals left on every
doorstep twenty years ago; while publishers of children's books
are trying to give us a clean, safe, juvenile literature, and
while some nickel novel publishers are even admitting a decline
in the sale of their wares; in spite of these evidences of
success, a warfare is still on, though its character is changing.

Every librarian who has examined children's books for a few years
back knows exactly what to expect when she tackles the
"juveniles" of 1913.

There will be a generous number of books so fine in point of
matter and makeup that we shall lament having been born too late
to read these in our childhood. The information and the taste
acquired by children who have read the best juvenile publications
of the past ten years is perfectly amazing, and those extremists
who decry the buying of any books especially written for children
are nearly as nonsensical as the ones who would buy everything
the child wishes.

But when one has selected with satisfaction perhaps a hundred and
fifty titles, one begins to get into the potboiler class--the
written-to-order information book which may be guaranteed to kill
all future interest in a subject treated in style so wooden and
lifeless; the retold classic in which every semblance to the
spirit of the original is lost, and the reading of which will
give to the child that familiarity which will breed contempt for
the work itself; the atrocious picture book modeled after the
comic supplement and telling in hideous daubs of color and
caricature of line the tale of the practical joker who torments
animals, mocks at physical deformities, plays tricks on parents,
teases the newlywed, ridicules good manners, whose whole aim, in
short, is to provoke guffaws of laughter at the expense of
someone's hurt body or spirit. There will be collections of folk
and fairy tales, raked together without discrimination from the
literature of people among whom trickery and cunning are the most
admired qualities; there will be school stories in which the
masters and studious boys grovel at the feet of the football
hero; in greater number than the above will be the stories
written in series on thoroughly up-to-date subjects.

I shall be much surprised if we do not learn this fall that the
world has been deceived in supposing that to Amundsen and Scott
belong the honor of finding the South Pole, or to Gen. Goethals
the credit of engineering the Panama Canal. If we do not discover
that some young Frank or Jack or Bill was the brains behind these
achievements, I shall wonder what has become of the ingenuity of
the plotter of the series stories--the "plotter" I say advisedly,
for it is a known fact that many of these stories are first
outlined by a writer whose name makes books sell, the outlines
then being filled in by a company of underlings who literally
write to order. When we learn, also, that an author who writes
admirable stories, in which special emphasis is laid upon fair
play and a sense of honor, is at the same time writing under
another name books he is ashamed to acknowledge, we are not
surprised at the low grade of the resulting stories.

With the above extremes of good and poor there will be quantities
on the border line, books not distinctly harmful from one
standpoint--in fact, they will busily preach honesty and pluck
and refinement, etc., but they will be so lacking in imagination
and power, in the positive qualities that go to make a fine book,
that they cannot be called wholly harmless, since that which
crowds out a better thing is harmful, at least to the extent that
it usurps the room of the good.

These books we will be urged to buy in large duplicate, and when
we, holding to the ideal of the library as an educational force,
refuse to supply this intellectual pap, well-to-do parents may be
counted upon to present the same in quantities sufficient to
weaken the mental digestion of their offspring beyond cure by
teachers the most gifted.

There are two principal arguments--so-called--hurled at every
librarian who tries to maintain a high standard of book
selection. One is the "I read them when I was a child and they
did me no harm" claim; the other, based upon the doggedly clung-
to notion that our ideal of manhood is a grown-up Fauntleroy,
infers that every book rejected was offensive to the children's
librarian because of qualities dangerously likely to encourage
the boy in a taste for bloodshed and dirty hands.

Now, in this day when parents are frantically protecting their
children from the deadly house fly, the mosquito, the common
drinking cup and towel; when milk must be sterilized and water
boiled and adenoids removed; when the young father solemnly bows
to the dictum that he mustn't rock nor trot his own baby-- isn't
it really matter for the joke column to hear the "did me no harm"
idea advanced as an argument? And yet it is so offered by the
same individual who, though he has survived a boyhood of mosquito
bites and school drinking cups, refuses to allow his child to
risk what he now knows to be a possible carrier of disease.

The "what was good enough for me is good enough for my children"
idea, if soberly treated as an argument in other matters of life,
would mean death to all progress, and it is no more to be treated
seriously as a reason for buying poor juvenile books than a
contention for the fetich doctor versus the modern surgeon, or
for the return to the foot messenger in place of electrical

It would be tactless, if not positively dangerous, if we
children's librarians openly expressed our views when certain
people point boastfully to themselves as shining products of
mediocre story book childhoods. So I would hastily suppress this
thought, and instead remind these people that, as a vigorous
child is immune from disease germs which attack a delicate one,
so unquestionably have thousands of mental and moral weaklings
been retarded from their best development by books that left no
mark on healthy children. In spite of the probability that there
are to-day alive many able-bodied men who cut their first teeth
on pickles and pork chops, we do not question society's duty to
disseminate proper ideas on the care and feeding of children.

Isn't it about time that we nailed down the lid of the coffin on
the "did me no harm" argument and buried the same in the depths
of the sea?

Another notion that dies hard is one assuming that, since the
children's librarian is a woman, prone to turn white about the
gills at the sight of blood--or a mouse--she can not possibly
enter into the feelings of the ancestral barbarian surviving in
the young human breast, but must try to hasten the child's
development to twentieth century civilization by eliminating the
elemental and savage from his story books.

If those who grow hoarse shouting the above would take the
trouble to examine the lists of an up-to-date library they might
blush for their shallowness, that they have been basing their
opinions on their memory of library lists at least twenty-five
years old.

We do not believe that womanly women and manly men are most
successfully made by way of silly, shoddy, sorry-for-themselves
girlhoods, or lying, swaggering, loafing boyhoods; and it is the
empty, the vulgar, the cheap, smart, trust-to-luck story, rather
than the gory one, that we dislike.

I am coming to the statement of what I believe to be the problem
most demanding our study today. It is, briefly, the problem of
the mediocre book, its enormous and ever-increasing volume. More
fully stated it is the problem of the negatively as the enemy of
the positively good; of the cultivation of brain laziness by
"thoughts-made-easy" reading. It is a republic's, a public school
problem, viz.: How is it possible to raise to a higher average
the lowest, without reducing to a dead level of mediocrity the
citizens of superior possibilities? Our relation to publisher and
parent, to the library's adult open shelves of current fiction
enter into the problem. The children's over-reading, and their
reluctance to "graduate" from juvenile books, these and many
other perplexing questions grow out of the main one.

I said awhile ago that the new education has had a tendency to
make life too soft for children, and to give to their parents the
belief that natural instincts alone are safe guides to follow in
rearing a child. I hope I shall not seem to be a good old times
croaker, sighing for the days when school gardens and folk
dancing and glee clubs and dramatization of lessons and beautiful
text-books and fascinating handicraft and a hundred other
delightful things were undreamed-of ways of making pleasant the
paths of learning. Heaven forbid that I should join the ranks of
those who carp at a body of citizens who, at an average wage in
America less than that of the coal miner and the factory worker,
have produced in their schools results little short of the
miraculous. To visit, as I have, classrooms of children born in
slums across the sea, transplanted to tenements in New York, and
to see what our public school teachers are making of these
children--the backward, the underfed, the "incorrigible," the
blind, the anaemic--well, all I can say is, I do not recommend
these visits to Americans of the stripe of that boastful citizen
who, being shown the crater of Vesuvius with a "There, you
haven't anything like that in America!" disdainfully replied,
"Naw, but we've got Niagara, and that'd put the whole blame thing
out!" For myself I never feel quite so disposed to brag of my
Americanism as when I visit some of our New York schools.

And yet, watching the bored shrug of the bright, well-born high
school child when one suggests that "The prince and the pauper"
is quite as interesting a story as the seventh volume of her
latest series, a librarian has some feelings about the lines-of-
least-resistance method of educating our youth, which she is glad
to find voiced by some of our ablest thinkers.

Here is what J. P. Munroe says: "Many of the new methods . . .
methods of gentle cooing toward the child's inclinations, of
timidly placing a chair for him before a disordered banquet of
heterogeneous studies, may produce ladylike persons, but they
will not produce men. And when these modern methods go as far as
to compel the teacher to divide this intellectual cake and
pudding into convenient morsels and to spoon-feed them to the
child, partly in obedience to his schoolboy cravings, partly in
conformity to a pedagogical psychology, then the result is sure
to be mental and moral dyspepsia in a race of milk-sops." How
aptly "spoon-fed pudding" characterizes whole cartloads of our
current "juveniles"!

Listen to President Wilson's opinion: "To be carried along by
somebody's suggestions from the time you begin until the time
when you are thrust groping and helpless into the world, is the
very negation of education. By the nursing process, by the
coddling process you are sapping a race; and only loss can
possibly result except upon the part of individuals here and
there who are so intrinsically strong that you cannot spoil

Hugo Munsterberg is a keen observer of the product of American
schools, and contrasting their methods with those of his boyhood
he says: "My school work was not adjusted to botany at nine years
because I played with an herbarium, and at twelve to physics
because I indulged in noises with home-made electric bells, and
at fifteen to Arabic, an elective which I miss still in several
high schools, even in Brookline and Roxbury. The more my friends
and I wandered afield with our little superficial interests and
talents and passions, the more was the straight-forward
earnestness of the school our blessing; and all that beautified
and enriched our youth, and gave to it freshness and liveliness,
would have turned out to be our ruin, if our elders had taken it
seriously, and had formed a life's program out of petty caprices
and boyish inclinations."

And Prof. Munsterberg thrusts his finger into what I believe to
be the weakest joint in our educational armor when he says, "As
there is indeed a difference whether I ask what may best suit
the taste and liking of Peter, the darling, or whether I ask what
Peter, the man, will need for the battle of life in which nobody
asks what he likes, but where the question is how he is liked,
and how he suits the taste of his neighbors."

What would become of our civilization if we were to follow merely
the instincts and natural desires? Yet is there not in America a
tremendous tendency to the notion, that except in matters of
physical welfare, the child's lead is to be followed to extreme
limits? Don't we librarians feel it in the pressure brought to
bear upon us by those who fail to find certain stories, wanted by
the children, on our shelves? "Why, that's a good book," the
parent will say, "The hero is honest and kind, the book won't
hurt him any--in fact it will give the child some good ideas."

"Ideas." Yes, perhaps. There is another educator I should like to
quote, J. H. Baker in his "Education and life." "Whatever you
would wish the child to do and become, that let him practice. We
learn to do, not by knowing, but by knowing and then doing.
Ethical teaching, tales of heroic deeds, soul-stirring fiction
that awakens sympathetic emotions may accomplish but little
unless in the child's early life the ideas and feelings find
expression in action and so become a part of the child's power
and tendency. . ."

Now we believe with G. Stanley Hall that, "The chief enemy of
active virtue in the world is not vice but laziness, languor and
apathy of will;" that "mind work is infinitely harder than
physical toil;" that (as another says) "all that does not rouse,
does not set him to work, rusts and taints him the disease of
laziness destroys the whole man."

And when children of good heritage, good homes, sound bodies,
bright minds, spend hours every week curled up among cushions,
allowing a stream of cambric-tea literature gently to trickle
over their brain surfaces, we know that though the heroes and
heroines of these stories be represented as prodigies of industry
and vigor, our young swallowers of the same are being reduced to
a pulp of brain and will laziness that will not only make them
incapable of struggling with a page of Quentin Durward, for
example, but will affect their moral stamina, since fighting
fiber is the price of virtue.

Ours is, as I have said, a public education, a republic's
problem. To quote President Wilson again: "Our present plans for
teaching everybody involve certain unpleasant things quite
inevitably. It is obvious that you cannot have universal
education without restricting your teaching to such things as
can be universally understood. It is plain that you cannot impart
'university methods' to thousands, or create 'investigators' by
the score, unless you confine your university education to
matters which dull men can investigate, your laboratory training
to tasks which mere plodding diligence and submissive patience
can compass. Yet, if you do so limit and constrain what you
teach, you thrust taste and insight and delicacy of perception
out of the schools, exalt the obvious and merely useful things
above the things which are only imaginatively or spiritually
conceived, make education an affair of tasting and handling and
smelling, and so create Philistia, that country in which they
speak of 'mere literature.' "

In our zeal to serve the little alien, descendant of generations
of poverty and ignorance, let us not lose sight of the importance
to our country of the child more fortunate in birth and brains.
So strong is my feeling on the value of leaders that I hold we
should give at least as much study to the training of the
accelerate child as we give to that of the defective. Though I
boast the land of Abraham Lincoln and Booker Washington I do not
give up one iota of my belief that the child who is born into a
happy environment, of parents strong in body and mind, holds the
best possibilities of making a valuable citizen; and so I am
concerned that this child be not spoiled in the making by a
training or lack of training that fails to recognize his

It is encouraging to kind growing attention in the "Proceedings"
of the N. E. A. and other educational bodies to the problem of
the bright child who has suffered by the lock-step system which
has molded all into conformity with the capabilities of the
average child.

The librarian's difficulty is perhaps greater than that of the
teacher, because open shelves and freedom of choice are so
essential a part of our program. We must provide easy reading for
thousands of children. Milk and water stories may have an actual
value to children whose unfavorable heritage and environment have
retarded their mental development. But the deplorable thing is to
see young people, mercifully saved from the above handicaps,
making a bee line for the current diluted literature for
grown-ups, (as accessible as Scott on our open shelves) and to
realize that this taste, which is getting a life set, is the
inevitable outcome of the habit of reading mediocre juveniles.

We must not rail at publishers for trying to meet the demands of
purchasers. Our job is to influence that demand far more than we
have done as yet. Large book jobbers tell us that millions and
millions of poor juveniles are sold in America to thousands of
the sort we librarians recommend. I have seen purchase lists of
boys' club directors and Sunday School library committees calling
for just the weak and empty stuff we would destroy. I have
unwittingly been an eavesdropper at Christmas book counters and
have heard the orders given by parents and the suggestions made
by clerks. And I feel that the public library has but skirmished
along the outposts while the great field of influencing the
reading of American children remains unconquered. Until we affect
production to the extent that the book stores circulate as good
books as the best libraries we cannot be too complacent about our
position as a force in citizen making.

An "impossible" ideal, of course, but far from intimidating, the
largeness of the task makes us all the more determined.

This paper attempts no suggestion of new methods of attacking the
problem. It is rather a restatement of an old perplexity. I harp
once more on a worn theme because I think that unless we
frequently lift our eyes from the day's absorbing duties for a
look over the whole field, and unless we once and again make
searching inventory of our convictions, our purposes, our
methods, our attainments, we are in danger of letting ourselves
slip along the groove of the taken-for-granted and our work loses
in power as we allow ourselves to become leaners instead of
leaders. May we not, as if it were a new idea, rouse to the
seriousness of the mediocre habit indulged in by young people
capable of better things? Should not our work with children reach
out more to work with adults, to those who buy and sell and make
books for the young? Is it not time for the successful teller of
stories to children to use her gifts in audiences of grown
people, persuading these molders of the children's future of the
reasonableness of our objection to the third rate since it is the
enemy of the best? May it not be politic, at least, for the
librarian to descend from her disdainful height and make friends
with "the trade," with bookseller and publisher who, after all,
have as good a right to their bread and butter as the librarian
paid out of the city's taxes?

And then--is it not possible that we might be better librarians
if we refused to be librarians every hour in the day and half the
night as well? What if we were to have the courage to refuse to
indulge in nervous breakdowns, because we deliberately plan to
play, and to eat, and to sleep, to keep serene and sane and
human, believing that God in His Heaven gives His children a
world of beauty to enjoy as well as a work to do with zeal. If we
lived a little longer and not quite so wide, the gain to our
chosen work in calm nerves and breadth of interest and sympathy
would even up for dropping work on schedule time for a symphony
concert or a country walk or a visit with a friend--might even
justify saving the cost of several A. L. A. conferences toward a
trip to Italy!

This hurling at librarians advice to play more and work less
reminds me of a story told by a southern friend. Years ago, in a
sleepy little Virginia village, there lived two characters
familiar to the townspeople, whose greatest daily excitement was
a stroll down to the railroad station to watch the noon express
rush through to distant southern cities. One of these personages
was the station keeper, of dry humor and sententious habit, whom
we will call Hen Waters; the other was the station goat, named,
of course, Billy. Year after year had Billy peacefully cropped
the grass along the railroad tracks, turning an indifferent ear
to the roar of the daily express, when suddenly one day the
notion seemed to strike his goatish mind that this racket had
been quietly endured long enough. With the warning whistle of the
approaching engine, Billy, lowering his head, darted furiously up
the track, intending to butt the offending thunderer into Kingdom
Come. When, a few seconds later, the amazed spectators were
gazing after the diminishing train, Hen Waters, addressing the
spot where the redoubtable goat had last been seen, drawled out:
"Billy, I admire your pluck--but darn your discretion!"

The parallel between the the ambitions and the futility of the
goat, and the present speaker's late advice is so obvious that
only the illogicalness of woman can account for my cherishing a
hope that I may be spared the fate of the indiscreet Billy.


This second paper on Values in library work with children, was
presented at the Kaaterskill Conference of the A. L. A. in 1913
by Caroline Burnite. In it are discussed "departmental
organization as it benefits the reading child, and the principles
and policies which have developed through departmental unity."
For inclusion in this volume it has been somewhat condensed by
the author.

Caroline Burnite was born in Caroline County, Maryland, in 1875;
was graduated from the Easton, Maryland, High School in 1892 and
from Pratt Institute Library School in 1894. From 1895 to 1901
she was librarian of the Tome Institute in Port Deposit,
Maryland. She was an assistant in the Carnegie Library of
Pittsburgh from 1902 to 1904, when she became Director of
Children's Work in the Cleveland Public Library, the position she
now holds. Miss Burnite is also an instructor in the Western
Reserve Library School.

To elucidate principles of value, I shall use, by way of
illustration, the experience and structure of a children's
department where the problem of children's reading and the means
of bringing books to them has been intensively studied for some
nine years.... Probably about six out of ten of the children of
that city read library books in their homes during the year, and
each child reads about twenty books on the average. In all,
fifty- four thousand children read a million books, which reach
them through forty-three librarians assigned for special work
with these children, through three hundred teachers and about one
hundred volunteers.

Now, we know that six out of ten children is not an ideal
proportion of the total number. We know also, inversely, that the
volume of work entailed in serving fifty-four thousand children
may endanger the quality of book service given to each child.
Both of these conditions show that the experience of each reading
child should make its own peculiar contribution to the general
problem of children's reading and that the experience of large
numbers of reading children should be brought to bear upon the
problem of the individual. To accomplish this, work with the
children was given departmental organization. My concern in this
paper is with departmental organization as it benefits the
reading child, and with the principles and policies which have
been developed through departmental unity.

We think ordinarily that one who loves books has three general
hallmarks: his reading is fairly continuous, there is a
permanency of book interest, and this interest is maintained on a
plane of merit. But in the child's contact with the library there
are many evidences of modifications of normal book interests.
Instead of continuity of reading, the children's rooms are
overcrowded in winter and have far less use in summer; instead of
permanency of book interest extending over the difficult
intermediate period, large numbers of those children who leave
school before they reach high school have little or no library
contact during their first working years, and without doubt the
interesting experiences with working children, which librarians
are prone to emphasize, give us an impression that a larger
number are readers than careful investigation would show. And as
for the quality of reading of many children who are at work we
cannot maintain that it is always on a high plane.

Such results are largely due to environmental influences.
Deprived for the greater part of the year at least, of
opportunity for normal youthful activities, the child's entire
physical and mental schedule is thrown out of balance and he
turns to reading, a recreation at his service at any time, only
when there is little opportunity to follow other interests. Since
the strain upon the ear and the eye, and back and brain is so
great in the shop, the tendency in the first working years is too
often toward recreations in which the book has no place. The
power of the nickel library over the younger boy and girl can be
broken by the presence of the public library, but the quality of
the reading of the intermediate is often due to the popularity of
the mediocre modern novel, with its present-day social interests.
For these and other reasons, the whole judgment of the results of
library work with children can not rest upon such general tests
of normal book interests as we have stated. Rather such
variations from the normal are themselves conditions which
influence the structure of the work and especially the principles
of book presentation. Children with pressing social needs must
have books with social values to meet those needs; chiefest of
these are right social contacts, true social perspective,
traditions of family and race, loveliness of nature,
companionship of living things, right group association and group

Starting with the principle that books should construct a larger
social ideal for the greater number of children instead of
confirming their present one, it was first necessary to find out
from actual work with children, what their reactions to books
with various interests are. Such knowledge was supplemented by
the recorded testimony of men and women of their indebtedness to
children's books, especially such as "Tom Brown" and "Little
Women," and especially of their youthful appreciation of the
relationships and interdependence of the characters.

After we were able to evaluate books and to have some definite
idea of which were good and which poor, the question arose:
Should we have books with manifestly weak values in the library
as a concession to some children who might not read the better
books, or by having them do we harm most those very children to
whom we have conceded them? The gradual solution of this problem
seems to me to be one of the greatest services which a library
can render its children. A safe answer seems to be: No books weak
in social ideals should be furnished, provided we do not lose
reading children by their elimination. If such books are the best
a child will read, and we take them away, causing him to lose
interest in reading, he is apt to come under even less favorable

Another problem which arose was that the cumulative experience of
librarians working with children showed that many books, weak in
social viewpoint, lead only to others of their kind, and that
such books are the ones read largely by those children which are
most occasional and spasmodic in their reading. Here was a
determining point in the establishment of standards of reading,
for it brought us face to face with the question: Shall we
consider this situation our fault since we supply such books to
children who need something better vastly more than do children
in happier circumstances, or shall we merely justify our
selection by maintaining that those children will under no
circumstances read a higher grade of books? However, observation
showed that other books were read also by children with social
limitations; books which, although apparently no better, lead to
a better type of reading, and this prompted the policy of the
removal of books which had little apparent influence in
developing a good reading taste. This was done, however, with the
definite intention that an increasingly better standard of
reading must mean that no children cease using the library, an
end only made possible by a knowledge of the value of the
individual book to the individual child.

Now let us see what changes have been evolved in the book
collections in the department under consideration:

At first the proportion of books of the doubtful class to those
which were standard was considered, and it was seen that this
preponderance of the doubtful class should be decreased in order
that a child's chances for eventually reading the best might be
improved. It is obvious that the reading for the younger children
should be the more carefully safeguarded, and this was the first
point of attack. As a result, two types of books were eliminated:

1. All series for young children, such as Dotty Dimples and
Little Colonels.

2. Books for young children dealing with animal life which have
neither humane nor scientific value, such as Pierson and

Also stories of child life for young children were restricted to
those which were more natural and possible, and on the other
hand, stories read by older girls in which adults were made the
beneficiaries of a surprisingly wise child hero, such as the
Plympton books, were eliminated.

The successful elimination of these books, together with the
study of the children's reading as a whole, suggested later, that
other books could be eliminated or restricted without loss of
readers. In the course of time, the following results were

1. The restriction of the stories of the successful poor boy to
those within the range of possibility, as are the Otis books,

2. The elimination of stories in which the child character is not
within a normal sphere; for instance, the child novel, such as
Mrs. Jamison's stories.

3. Lessening the number of titles by authors who are undeservedly
popular, such as restricting the use of Tomlinson to one series

4. The restriction of any old and recognized series to its
original number of titles, such as the Pepper series. The
disapproval of all new books obviously the first in a series.

5. The elimination of travel, trivial in treatment and in series
form, such as the Little Cousins.

6. The elimination of the modern fairy tale, except as it has
vitality and individual charm, as have those of George McDonald.

7. The elimination of interpreted folk lore, such as many of the
modern kindergarten versions.

8. The elimination of word books for little children, and the
basing of their reading upon their inherent love for folk lore
and verse.

Without analyzing the weakness of all these types, I wish to say
a word about the series. This must be judged not only by content,
but by the fact that in the use of such a form of literature the
tendency of the child toward independence of book judgment and
book selection is lessened and the way paved for a weak form of
adult literature.

The later policies developed regarding book selection have been

1. Recognizing "blind alleys" in children's fiction, such as the
boarding school story and the covert love story, and buying no
new titles of those types.

2. Lessening the number of titles of miscellaneous collections of
folk-lore in which there are objectionable individual tales, for
instance, buying only the Blue, Green and Yellow fairy books.

3. The elimination, or use in small numbers, of a type of history
and biography which is not scholarly, or even serious in
treatment, such as the Pratt histories.

4. The elimination of such periodical literature for young
children, as the Children's Magazine and Little Folks, since
their reading can be varied more wholesomely without it.

Reports of reading sequences from each children's room have
furnished the basis for further study of children's reading.
These are discussed and compared by the workers, a working
outline of reading sequences made and reported back to each room,
to be used, amplified and reported on again.

While those books which are no longer used may have been at one
time necessary to hold a child from reading something poorer, we
did not lose children through raising the standard, and the
duplication of doubtful books in the children's room is less
heavy now than it was a few years ago. This is shown by the fact
that there are more than twice as many children who are reading,
and almost three times as many books being read as there were
nine years ago, while the number of children of the city has
increased but 72 per cent. Furthermore, the proportion of
children of environmental limitations has by no means diminished,
and the foreign population is much the same--more than 74 per

Of course, the elimination of some books was accomplished because
there were better books on the subject, but the general result
was largely brought about because in the establishment of these
higher standards we did not exceed the ideals and standards of
those who were working with the children. The standards which
they brought to the work, and which they deduced themselves from
their experience, were crystalized through Round Table
discussion, where each worker measured her results by those of
the others and thereby recognized the need of constant, but
careful experimentation.

Experience has proved that a children's department can not reach
standards of reading which in the judgment of librarians working
with the children are beyond the possibility of attainment, for
with them rests entirely the delicate task of the adjustment of
the book to the child. A staff of children's librarians of good
academic education, the best library training, a true vision of
the social principles; a broad knowledge of children's literature
is the greatest asset for any library doing children's work.

But it is true, inversely, that in raising the standards of the
children the standards of the workers were raised. By this I mean
that with definite methods of book presentation in use, the
worker saw farther into the mental and material life of the child
and understood his social instincts better. This has been
evidenced in the larger duplication of the better books. Among
the methods are those which recognize group interest and group
association as a social need of childhood. Through unifying and
intensifying the thoughts and sympathies of the children by
giving them great and universal thought in the story hour, the
mediocre is often bridged and both the child and the worker
reaches a higher plane of experience. Also by giving children a
group interest, not only children recognize that books may be
cornerstones for social intercourse and that there is connection
between social conduct as expressed in books and their own social
obligations, but what is also important, the worker learns that
when children are at the age of group activity and expression
they can often be more permanently influenced as a group than as
individuals. This prompted the organization of clubs for older

Through the recognition of the principle that there are methods
of book appeal for use with individual children and other methods
for groups of children, it was shown that the organization of
the work as a whole must be such that the chief methods of
presentation of literature could be fully developed. It was seen
that, far less with a group of children than with the individual
child, could we afford to give a false experience or an
unfruitful interest, and that material for group presentation,
methods of group presentation and the social elements which are
evinced in groups of children should receive an amount of
attention and study which would lead to the surest and soundest
results. This could be fully accomplished only by recognizing
such methods as distinct functions of the department. In other
words, that there should not only be divisions of work with
children according to problems of book distribution, such as by
schools and home libraries, but there must be of necessity,
divisions by problems of reading. Whereas, in a smaller
department all divisions would center in the head, the volume of
work in a large library renders necessary the appointment of an
instructor in story-telling and a supervisor of reading clubs,
which results in a higher specialization and a greater impetus
for these phases of work than one person can accomplish. Here we
have a concrete instance of the benefit that a large volume of
work may confer upon the individual child.

With the attainment of better reading results and higher
standards for the workers, it is obvious that the reading
experiences of the children and the standards of the workers must
be conserved, and that the organization should protect the
children, as far as possible, from the disadvantage of change of
workers. Considerable study has been given to this, and yearly
written reports on the reading of children in each children's
room are made, in which variations from accepted standards of
the children's reading in that library, with individual
instances, are usually discussed. However, the children's
librarian is entirely free to report the subject from whatever
angle it has impressed her most. Also a written report is made of
the story hour, the program, general and special results, and
intensity of group interest in certain types of stories. This
report is supplementary to a weekly report in prescribed form, of
the stories told, sources used and results. All programs used
with clubs are reported and semi-annual report made of the club
work as a whole. By discussion and reports back to individual
centers, these become bases for a wider vision of work and a
wiser direction of energy with less experimentation.

The connection between work with children and the problem of the
reading of intermediates, referred to in the beginning, should
not be dismissed in a paragraph. However, it is only possible to
give a short statement of it. Recognizing that the reading of
adult books should begin in the children's room, a serious study
of adult books possible for children's reading was made by the
children's librarians, the reports discussed and the books added
to the department as the result. A second report of adult titles
which children and intermediates might and do read was called for
recently and from that a tentative list had been furnished to
both adult and children's workers for further study. The
increasing number of workers in the children's department who
have had general training, and in the adult work who have had
special training for work with children make such reports of much
value. In order to follow the standards of children's work, there
is one principle which is obvious, namely, a book disapproved as
below grade for juveniles should not be accepted for general
intermediate work. This is especially true of books of adventure
which a boy of any age between 12 and 18 would read.

In conclusion, the chief means of determining values in library
work with children are these: An intensive study of the reading
of children in relation to its social and informational worth to
them; the right basis of education and training for such study,
on the part of the workers; the direction of such study in a way
that brings about a higher and more practical standard on the
part of the worker; the conservation of her experience. These are
the great services which the library may render children and they
can be most fully accomplished, I believe, through departmental


The section devoted to administration and methods records the
"expansion of the library ideal" in multiplying the sources from
which books may be borrowed; pictures the opportunities of the
small library; emphasizes the importance of personal work, since
the "child must be known as well as the book"; explains the
library league as a means of encouraging the care of books and as
an advertising medium; gives a thorough discussion of the use of
the picture bulletin, and suggests systematic work with mothers
as an important and resultful method.

Four articles on reference work and instruction in library use
bring out the importance of careful cataloguing, of thorough
knowledge of resources, and of practical plans to enable the
children to help themselves.

Three articles on discipline present this sometimes difficult
problem from varying viewpoints. It is said to resolve itself
"into the exercise of great tact, firmness, and, again,
gentleness." Again, "many of the problems of discipline in a
children's room would cease to be problems if the material
conditions of the room itself were ideal." The Wisconsin report
is of special value because it represents the experiences of
small as well as of large libraries. It lays stress on some of
the points brought out by Miss Dousman, who says: "In our zeal to
control the child, some have lost sight of the fact that it is
quite as important to teach the child to control himself; that if
he is to become a good citizen, he cannot learn too early to
respect the rights of others."


Some of the principles of library work with children, and the
qualifications of a children's librarian were discussed by Miss
Eastman in the following paper read at the fourth annual meeting
of the Ohio Library Association held in Dayton in 1898. Linda
Anne Eastman was born in Oberlin, Ohio, in 1867; was educated in
the Cleveland Public Schools, and taught in the public schools of
West Cleveland and Cleveland from 1885 to 1892, when she became
an assistant in the Cleveland Public Library. In 1895-1896 she
was assistant librarian and cataloguer in the Dayton, Ohio,
Public Library, and in 1896 became vice-librarian of the
Cleveland Public Library, where she has since remained. Since
1904 she has been an instructor in the Library School of Western
Reserve University. She was a charter member of the Ohio Library
Association, and its president in 1903-1904, Miss Eastman has
made frequent contributions to library periodicals.

In the planning of a new library building, or the remodeling of
an old one, there is no department to which I should give more
thought in the working out of the details than in the children's
department, in order to best adapt the arrangement to its use.

Its location in the building is the first matter for
consideration. It should be easy of access from the main
entrance, or, better still, have an entrance of its own directly
from the outside, in order that the noise of the children may not
become a disturbing element in the corridors and in other parts
of the library. It would seem desirable, also, for many reasons,
to have the children's department not too far removed from the
main circulating department.

The children's department in a large library should contain at
least two large rooms, one for the reading and reference room,
the other for the circulating books. The rooms should be light,
bright and cheery, as daintily artistic and as immaculately clean
as it is possible to make and keep them. Wall cases seem best for
the shelving of the books, low enough for the children to reach
the shelves easily. These low cases also allow wall space above
for pictures, and plenty of this is desirable. A children's room
cannot have too many pictures,[1] nor any which are too fine for
it; choose for it pictures which are fine, and pictures which
"tell a story." Provide, also, plenty of space for bulletins, for
the picture bulletins have become an important factor in the
direction of the children's reading. One enthusiastic children's
librarian wrote me recently that her new "burlap walls, admitting
any number of thumb-tacks" were the delight of her heart. There
should be reading tables and rubber- tipped chairs, low ones for
the little children; and wherever there is space for them, the
long, low seats, in which children delight to snuggle down so

[1] If this paper were now open to revision, the writer would
omit "cannot have too many pictures." The reaction against bare,
bleak walls may not make it necessary to warn against
over-decoration, but its undesirability should he recognized.--L.
A. E.

As to the arrangement of the books, I should divide them into
three distinct classes for children of different ages:

(1) The picture books for the very little ones, arranged

(2) The books for children from seven to ten or twelve years of
age. While these books should be classified for the cataloging, I
should place them on the shelves in one simple alphabetical list
by authors, mixing the fiction, history, travel, poetry, etc.,
just as they might happen to come in this arrangement. I believe
this would lead the children to a more varied choice in their
reading, and that they would thus read and enjoy biography,
history, natural science, etc., before they learned to
distinguish them from stories, whereas by the classified
arrangement they would choose their reading much more often from
the one class only.

(3) The books for boys and girls from ten or twelve years of age
to fifteen or sixteen. These should be arranged on the shelves
regularly according to class number, in order that the children
may become acquainted with the classification and arrangement,
learn to select their books intelligently, and be prepared to
graduate from here into the adult library.

Where it is possible to duplicate the simple and more common
reference books in the juvenile department, these should form a
fourth class. Then there should be all of the good juvenile
periodicals, with some of the best illustrated papers, such as
Harper's weekly, for the reading room.

With many libraries a children's department on such a scale is an
impossibility; but if you cannot give two rooms to the children
give them one, and if you cannot do that, at least give them a
corner and a table which they can feel belongs to them; and if
you cannot give them a special assistant, set apart an hour or
two each day when the children shall receive the first
consideration--establish this as a custom, and both adults and
children will be better served.

Whatever one's specialty in library work may be, however far
removed from the work with the children, it is well to understand
something of the principles which underlie this foundation work
with the children.

It is only recently that these principles have begun to shape
themselves with any definiteness; the children's department, as a
fully equipped miniature library, and the children's librarian,
as a specialist bringing natural fitness and special preparation
to her work, are essentially the product of today; but they have
come to stay, and they open to the child-lover, and the educator
who works better outside than inside of the schoolroom limits, a
field enticing indeed, and promising rich results. It is to the
pioneers in this field, the earnest young women who are now doing
careful experimental work and giving serious study to the
problems that arise--it is to them that the children's
departments of the future will be most indebted for perfected

The library must supplement the influence of the schools, of the
home, and of the church; with some children it must even take the
place of these other influences, and on its own account it must
be a source of pleasure and an intellectual stimulus. If it is to
accomplish all or any great part of this, not only for one, but
for thousands of children, what serious thought and labor must go
to its accomplishment! The children's librarian stands very close
to the mother and the teacher in the power she can wield over the
lives of the little ones. No one who lacks either the ability or
desire to put herself into sympathetic touch with child-life
should ever be assigned to work in the juvenile department, and
the assistant who avowedly dislikes children, or who "has no
patience with them," will work disastrous results if allowed to
serve these little ones with an unwilling spirit --she should be
relegated to some department of the library to which the sunshine
of childhood can never penetrate, and kept there.

I would name the following requisites for the successful
accomplishment of the juvenile work:

(1) Love for children.

This being given, the way is open for intimate knowledge and
understanding of them, which are likewise essential.

(2) Knowledge of children's books.

This is imperative if one is to give the right book to a child at
the right time. Familiarity with the titles and with the outsides
of the books is not enough, nor is it sufficient to know that a
certain book is recommended in all of the best lists of
children's books. A child will often refuse to take what has been
recommended to him as a good book, when, if he be told some
graphic incident in it, or have some interesting bit pointed out
or read to him, he will bear it off as prize; with it, too, he
will carry away an added respect for, and sense of comradeship
with, the assistant, who "knows a good thing when she sees it,"
and he will come to her for advice and consultation about his
books the next time and the next, and so long thereafter as she
can hold his confidence.

Carefully prepared lists are most valuable in directing your
attention to the best books, but after your notice has been
called to them read them, form your own judgment on them, and if
you recommend them, at least know why. What? some one asks,
attempt to read all of the best children's books? Yes, read them,
and do more than that with some; the children's classics, the
books which no child can grow up without reading and not be the
poorer, with these one should be so familiar as to be able to
quote from them or turn instantly to the most fascinating
passages--they should form a constant part of her stock in trade.
Other books one could not spend so much time on, nor is it
necessary--the critical ability to go through a book quickly and
catch the salient points in style, treatment and subject matter,
is as essential for the children's librarian as for anyone who
has to do with many books, and it therefore behooves her to
cultivate what I once heard called the sixth sense, the book

(3) Knowledge of library methods.

In any work, interest and enthusiasm go a great way, but they can
never wholly take the place of accurate technical knowledge of
the best ways of doing things. The more general knowledge of
library work and methods one can bring to the children's
department, the better it will be both for the work and for the
worker; and given these methods, one must have ability to fit
them to the conditions and to the peculiar needs to be
accomplished, or, where they will not fit, to modify them or
originate new ones which are better for the work in hand.

(4) A thorough knowledge of the course of study of the public

This is very necessary in order to intelligently supplement the
work of the schools. A child comes wanting information on some
subject upon which his ideas are exceedingly vague; for instance,
he wants something about the mayor--what, he cannot tell you, but
he was sent by his teacher to look up something about the mayor.
You ask him what grade he is in, and he tells you the fourth.
Your familiarity with the course of study should give you the
clue at once, for the fourth grade topics in conduct and
government include lessons on the city government, with its
principal departments and officers, so you will look up, if you
have not already done so, an outline of municipal government
describing the position and duties of the mayor, which will be
within the comprehension of the child. It should not happen that
a dozen children ask for Little white lily, and be turned away
without it, before it is discovered to be a poem by George
MacDonald which the third grade children are given to read.

This course of study the children's librarian should--not eat and
sleep with exactly, but verily live and work with; it is one of
her most valuable tools, and she should keep it not only within
reach, at her finger's end, but as much as possible at her
tongue's end, keeping pace with the assignment of work in the
different grades and studies from month to month, and from week
to week. She should know beforehand when a certain subject will
be taken up by a certain grade, and have all available material
looked up and ready, and new books bought if they will be needed
and can be had--not wait until several hundred children come upon
her for some subject on which a frantic search discloses the fact
that the library contains not a thing suitable for their use, and
then ask that books be bought, which, of course, come in after
the demand is over, and stand idle upon the shelves for a whole
year, taking the place of just so many more new books on subjects
which will be needed later.

The course of study, too, will furnish more useful hints for
bulletins, exhibitions, reading-lists, and other forms of
advertising, than can come from any other source; and not only in
supplementing the school work, but also in directing the children
in their general reading, is an intimate knowledge of the course
of study an invaluable aid, as it gives you the unit of
measurement for any child which enables you to correlate his
reading along certain lines to that which has gone before, and to
that which is to follow.

(5) A knowledge of the principles of psychology and of education.

I have placed last the requisite which I feel sure some
theorists, at least, would place first, because I believe that,
as a rule, it will come last in point of time, and will be worked
up to through the preceding stages of the development of the
children's librarian; but her work will not be grounded upon a
firm foundation until she has consciously mastered these
principles, and clearly outlined her own work, this new work of
the book, in perfect harmony with them.

There are many features of the children's work which I should
like to dwell upon in detail, but I can do no more than mention a
few of them. One of these is the Library league, with its
threefold object of training the children in the proper care of
books, of serving as an advertising medium for the library among
the children themselves, and of furnishing a means of directing
the reading of hundreds of children who cannot be reached
individually. The possibilities of the league are beyond
anything we have been able to realize.

Another thing is the necessity of guarding against letting
children read too much, or too entirely along one line. There is
a habit of reading along lines which deaden, instead of
stimulating, thought, and the habit, if carried to excess,
becomes a mental dissipation which is utterly reprehensible; but
the pathway to this habit is entered upon so innocently and
unconsciously by the story-loving child that he (perhaps more
often she) must be guided very tenderly and wisely past its
dangers; the library which ignores this necessity may have much
harm laid at its doors.

The importance of providing, either in the school or the library,
for systematic instruction in the use of books was emphasized in
the report of the library section of the National Educational
Association at Washington this summer; it is a necessity which
must be met somewhere and somehow.

Of one more thing I should speak because of its provision for the
children--the expansion of the library ideal; not so many years
ago branch libraries and traveling libraries were unknown; now we
feel that one library is not enough for a large city; it must
have branch libraries and delivery stations to take the books to
the people, while traveling libraries carry them into the
scattered districts in the country. For the future, we have
visions of a system of libraries so complete that in no town or
country district of the state will a little child be deprived of
the pleasure of good books; and wherever it is possible to put a
live, warm-hearted, sympathetic and child-loving woman as the
medium between the library and the child, it will be done.

Library work in its entirety offers much play for the missionary
spirit, but nowhere else in its whole range is there such a labor
of love as is hers who tries to bring the children early to their
heritage in the beautiful world of books.


The blessings rather than the limitations of the small library
are portrayed and the "possibility of personal, individual,
first-hand contact with the children" is emphasized in this paper
presented by Miss Clara W. Hunt at the Niagara Conference of the
A. L. A. in 1903. A sketch of Miss Hunt appears on page 135.

As the young theological student is prone to look upon his first
country parish as a place to test his powers and to serve as a
stepping-stone to a large city church, so the librarian of the
country town who, visiting a great city library and seeing books
received in lavish quantities which she must buy as sparingly as
she buys tickets for expensive journeys out of her slender
income, a beautifully furnished, conveniently equipped apartment
especially for the children, for the student, for the magazine
reader, evidences everywhere of money to spend not only for the
necessities but also for the luxuries of library life--so it is
quite natural for such a visitor to heave a deep sigh as she
returns to her library home and contrasts her opportunities, or
limitations as she would call them, with those of the worker in a
numerically larger field; and quite natural is it for her to long
for a change which she feels would mean a broadening and
enlarging of outlook and opportunity.

It is encouraging sometimes to look at our possessions through
other people's spectacles, and perhaps I may help some worker in
a small field to see in what she calls her limitations, not a
hedging in but an opening, by drawing the contrast from another
point of view--from that of one who is regretfully forced to give
up almost all personal, individual work with the children and
delegate to others that most delightful of tasks, because her
library is so large and she has so much money to spend that her
services are more needed in other directions. With a keen
appreciation of the privilege it is to have charge of a small
library, I am going to enumerate some of my reasons for having
this feeling.

I should explain, in this connection, that my thoughts have
centered about the small town library, the library whose citizen
supporters do not yet aggregate a population large enough to
admit to dignifying their place of residence with the name of a
city, a place, therefore, where the librarian may really be able
to know every citizen of prominence, every school principal and
teacher, the officers of the women's clubs, many of the mothers
of the children she hopes to reach, and a very large number of
the children themselves.

What are the attractions in a spot like this, the compensations
which make up even for the lack of a large amount of money to
spend? Let me begin first with the less apparent advantages, the
"blessings in disguise," I should call them.

The first is the necessity for economy in spending one's
appropriation. I imagine your astonishment and disapproval of the
judgment of a person who can count the need of economy as any
cause for congratulation. But let us look for a moment at some of
the things you are saved by being forced to be "saving." The
greatest good to your public and to yourself is that you must
think of the ESSENTIALS, the "worth while" things first, last and
always. You cannot afford to buy carelessly. Every dollar you
spend must bring the best return possible and to the greatest
number of people. Every foolish purchase means disappointment to
your borrowers and wear on your own nerves. So, instead of being
able to order in an off-hand way many things which may be
desirable but which are really not essential, one gets a most
valuable training in judgment by this constant weighing of good,
indifferent and indispensable. To apply this to the principle of
the selection of children's books--and nothing in work with
children, except the personality of the worker with them is so
important as this, we cannot buy everything, we must buy the
best, and we therefore have an argument that must have a show of
reasonableness to those borrowers who advocate large purchases of
books you tell them your income will not cover.

What are the essentials in children's books if your selection
must be small? Our children can grow up without Henty. They must
not grow up without the classics in myth and fable and legend,
the books which have delighted grown people and adults for
generations, and upon the child's early acquaintance with which
depends his keen enjoyment of much of his later reading, because
of the wealth of allusion which will be lost to him if he has not
read aesop and King Arthur and the Wonder Book, Gulliver, Crusoe,
Siegfried and many others of like company, in childhood. Then the
librarian cannot afford to leave out collections of poetry. Her
children must have poetry in no niggardly quantity, from Mother
Goose and the Nonsense Book to our latest, most beautiful
acquisitions, "Golden numbers" and the "Posy ring." And American
history and biography must be looked after among the first things
and constantly replenished. So must fairy tales, the best fairy
tales--Andersen, Grimm, the Jungle books, MacDonald, Pyle, "The
rose and the ring." Much more discrimination must be exercised in
selecting the nature and science books than is usually the case.

But, of course, most of the problems come when we are adding the
story books. Here, most of all, the necessity for economy ought
to be a help. It is a question of deciding on essentials, and
having nerve enough to leave out those books whose only merits
are harmlessness, and putting in nothing that is not positively
good for something. The threadbare argument that we must buy of
the mediocre and worse for the children who like such literature
(principally because they know little about any other kind) will
look very thin when we squarely face the fact that by such
purchases we shut out books we admit to be really better, and
when we honestly reflect upon the purpose of the public library.
The sanest piece of advice that I ever heard given to those
librarians who argue in favor of buying all the bootblack stories
the boys want, was that of Miss Haines at a recent institute for
town libraries. She asked that those men and women who enjoyed
Alger and "Elsie" in childhood and who are arguing in their favor
on the strength of the memory of a childish pleasure, take some
of their old favorites and re-read them now, read them aloud to
their young people at home, and then see if they care to risk the
possibility of their own children being influenced by such
ideals, forming such literary tastes as these books illustrate.
Most of us desire better things for our children than we had
ourselves. If a man was allowed to nibble on pickles and
doughnuts and mince pie and similar kinds of nourishment before
he cut all his teeth, miraculously escaping chronic dyspepsia as
he grew older, he does not for that reason care to risk his boy's
health and safety by allowing him to repeat the process. A
child's taste, left to itself, is no more a safe guide in his
choice of reading than is his choice of food. What human boy
would refuse ice cream and peanuts and green pears and piously
ask for whole-wheat bread and beefsteak instead? Or choose to go
to bed at eight o'clock for his health's sake, rather than enjoy
the fun with the family till a later hour? It seems such a
senseless thing for us to feel it our duty to decide for the
children on matters relating to their temporary welfare, but to
consider them fit to decide for themselves on what may affect
their moral and spiritual nature.

Not only in the selection of books as to their contents, but in
the study of the editions the most serviceable for her purposes,
will the town librarian gain valuable training from the necessity
of being economical. The point is worth enlarging upon, but the
time is not here.

It will perhaps be harder to look upon the impossibility of
having a separate room for the children as a blessing which
enforced economy confers. It will doubtless seem heresy for a
children's librarian to suggest the thought. Yet while we
recognize the great desirability, the absolute necessity in fact,
for the separate room in order to get the best results in a busy
city library, we can see the many advantages to the children of
their mingling with the grown people in the town library. It is
good for them, in the public as in the home library, to browse
among books that are above their understanding. It is better for
the small boy curiously picking up the Review of Reviews to
stretch up to its undiluted world news than to shut into his
Little Chronicle or Great Round World. It is good for the
American child to learn just a little of the old fashioned
"children should be seen and not heard" advice, to learn at least
a trifle of consideration for his elders by restraining his voice
and his heels and his motions within the library, saving his
muscles for the wildest exercise he pleases out of doors. The
separate children's room is too apt to become a place for so
persistently "tending" the child that he loses the idea of a
library atmosphere which is one of the lessons of the place he
should NOT miss. I am of the opinion that, while we want to do
everything in the world to attract the children to the library
and the love of good reading, they should have impressed upon
them so constantly the feeling that the children's room is a
reading and study room that when a child is wandering around
aimlessly, not behaving badly but simply killing time, he should
be, not crossly nor resentfully, but pleasantly advised to go out
into the park to play, as he doesn't feel like reading and this
is a LIBRARY. I know that this has an excellent effect in
developing the right idea of the purpose of the place.

Sometimes the town library has a building large enough to admit
of a separate room for the children, and books and readers in
such numbers as would make the use of this room desirable, but
there is not money enough to pay the salary of an attendant to
watch the room. Here indeed is a blessing in disguise. This idea
that the children must be watched all the time, that they cannot
be left alone a minute, is fatal to all teaching of honor and
self-restraint and self-help. It will take time and
determination and tact, but I know that it is possible to train
the children--not the untrained city slum children perhaps, but
the average town children--to behave like ladies and gentlemen
left almost entirely to themselves through a whole evening.

I must hardly allude to further blessings which to my mind the
need of economy insures. It all comes under the head, of course,
of forming the habit of asking "What is most worth while?" before
rushing headlong into thoughtless imitation of the larger
library's methods, regardless of their wisdom for the small one.
The town librarian will thus be apt to use some far simpler but
equally effective style of bulletin than the one that means hours
of time spent in cutting around the petals of an intricate flower
picture, or printing painstakingly on a difficult cardboard
surface what her local newspaper would be glad to print for her,
thus making a slip to thumb tack on her board without a minute's
waste of time.

The question of having insufficient help gives an excuse for
getting a personal hold on some of the bright older boys and
girls who can be made to think it a privilege to have a club
night at the library once in a while, when they will cut the
leaves of new books and magazines, paste and label and be useful
in many ways. Of course they have to be managed, but you can get
a lot of fine work out of assistants of this sort, and do them a
great amount of good at the same time.

Another of the blessings for which the town librarian may be
thankful is that her rules need not be cast iron, but may be made
elastic to fit certain cases. Because the place is so small that
she can get to know pretty well the character of its inhabitants,
she need not be obliged to face the crestfallen countenance of a
sorely disappointed little girl who, on applying for a library
card, is told that she must bring her father or mother to sign an
application, and who knows that that will be a task impossible of
performance. The town librarian may dare to take the very slight
risk of loss, and issue the card at once, enjoying the pleasure
of making one small person radiantly happy.

Then there is the satisfaction of doing a little of everything
about your library with your own hands and knowing instantly just
where things are when you are asked. To illustrate from a recent
experience of my own. At one of the small branches or stations
rather, of the Brooklyn Public Library, a certain small boy used
to appear at least two or three times a week and ask the
librarian, "Have you got the 'Moral pirates' yet?" And over and
over again the librarian was forced wearily to answer, "No, not
yet, Sam." Now, although the library's purchases of children's
books are very generous, running from 1,500 to 2,000 volumes a
month for the 20 branches, of course with such large purchases it
is necessary to systematize the buying by getting largely the
same 50 titles for all branches, varying the number of copies per
branch according to each one's need. The branch librarian of whom
I am speaking did not feel like asking often for specials,
realizing that she was only one of many having special wants, and
knowing that we would in time reach the "Moral pirates" in the
course of our large, regular monthly purchases. But one afternoon
I went up to this station and helping at the charging desk, this
small boy appeared asking me for the "Moral pirates." The
librarian told me of the hopeful persistence of his request, and
it did not take long after that to get the "Moral pirates" into
the small boy's hands. I only hope the realization of a long
anticipated wish did not prove to him like that of many another,
and that his disappointment was not too unbearable in finding a
pirate story minus cutlasses and black flags and decks slippery
with gore.

The point of this tale is, that in a great system it is
impossible often to get as close to an individual as in this
case, while the town librarian, who does everything from
unpacking her books to handing them out to her borrowers, can
many a time have the personal pleasure of seeing a book into the
right hands.

I have only indirectly alluded to the greatest joy of all, the
possibility of personal, individual, first-hand contact with the
children whom you can get to know so well and to influence so
strongly, and another joy that grows out of it--seeing results

We are so ready to be deceived and discouraged by numbers! The
town librarian reads of a tremendous circulation of children's
books in a city library, and straightway gets the blues over her
own small showing. But I beg such an one to think rather of what
the QUALITY of her children's use of the library may be as
compared with that of the busy city library. A great department
must be so arranged for dispatching a large amount of work in a
few minutes of time, that in spite of every effort, something of
the mechanical must creep into its administration.

The town librarian may know by name each child who borrows her
books. Not only that, but she may know much of his ancestry and
environment and so be able to judge the needs of each one. She
will not be so rushed with charging books by the hundred that she
cannot USE that knowledge to help him in the wisest, most tactful
manner. But the joy of watching her children develop, of seeing a
boy or girl whom she helped bring up, grow into a manhood and
womanhood of noble promise, of feeling that she had a large
influence in forming the taste of this girl, in sending to
college that lad who wouldn't have dreamed of such a thing had he
not been stirred to the ambition through the reading taste she
awakened in him--these are pleasures the city children's
librarian is for the most part denied.

The latter can see that her selection of books is of the best,
she can make her room as attractive as money will admit, she can
choose her staff with great care. She knows that good must result
in the lives of many and many a child from contact even in brief
moments with people of strong magnetic personality, and from
constantly taking into their minds the sort of reading she
provides. But very rarely will she be permitted to see the
results in individual cases that make work seem greatly worth
while, and that compensate in a few brief minutes, for weeks and
months and years of quiet, uninspiring, plodding effort.

And so I congratulate the worker with children in the small
library. It would be a delight to me if I could feel that my
appreciation of the blessings that are yours might help you to
look upon your opportunity as a very great and worthy one. The
parents of the small town need your help, the teachers cannot
carry on their work well without you, the boys and girls would
miss untold good if you were not their friend and counselor, the
library profession needs the benefit of the practical judgment
your all-round training gives. And so you may believe of your
position that though in figures your annual report does not read
large, in quality of work, in power of influence it reads in
characters big with significance, radiant with encouragement.


"The whole secret of success is really to be in sympathy with
children, quick to see their needs and to look at things from
their point of view; but above all to have a genuine,
common-sense love for them." This point of view is expressed in
the following paper on Personal work with children, read by Miss
Rosina Gymer before the Ohio Library Association annual meeting
in 1905. Rosina Charter Gymer was born in Cleveland, Ohio;
received a special certificate from the Training School for
Children's Librarians in 1904; was children's librarian in the
Cleveland Public Library from 1904 to 1907; supervisor of
children's work in small branches from 1907 to 1910, and since
that time has been a branch librarian.

Work with children is so large in its scope and so rich in its
possibilities that we shall only consider work in the library
proper, passing over home visiting, school visiting and
cooperation with social settlements and like institutions, all of
which, however, are of the greatest importance to the work as a

Work with children may be grouped under three heads-- that with
girls, that with boys and that with little children. While in
each group the work differs in nearly every point, one point they
have in common--the choosing of fiction according to the
individual child, boy or girl; the choosing of classed books for
the book itself. In giving fiction, the child must be known as
well as the book, his character and needs, for it is on the
character that fiction has most influence. In classed books, on
the other hand, the book is the thing to know, for if a child
wants to know something about electricity or carpentry, he is not
being influenced so much in character as in education. If the
book is not as good as some other, it will not injure him
especially as to morals and character, but of course he should
have the very best you can give him that he can mentally
understand. Girls almost always become interested in books
through the personality of the children's worker. While it is
very desirable to use this regard as a means of influencing their
reading, care must be taken to guard against a merely sentimental
attitude on the part of the girls toward the worker. As a rule,
girls want stories about people, other girls, school stories and
so forth, and will take a book that you say is a good one without
looking into it. If she likes it she will come to you to select
another, and in this way you can lead her from pure fiction to
historical fiction and biography and so on up to good literature,
all through, at the first, knowing a book that would please and
attract her. This is done, in great measure, through the girl's
liking for the worker and also through her interest in people
rather than things.

Boys, on the other hand, are not so much interested in people as
in things, and when they ask for a book it is usually on some
specific subject--electricity, carpentry, how to raise pigeons,
how to take care of dogs. When the book is given them they
usually examine it pretty thoroughly to see whether or not it is
what they want or can use. To know what book will give the boy
what he wants to know and in the most interesting way is to gain
that boy's confidence. To sum up: Boys like you through the books
you give them, while girls learn to like good books through their
liking for you. The result is the same in either case--the
personal influence of the worker with the children.

The problem of managing children is much the same everywhere.
Wherever they are there are sure to be some restless and
disobedient boys and girls whose confidence and good will must be
gained. A willing obedience must be sought for untiringly. The
children's worker must be for and not against the child. To win
is far better than to compel. Conquering may do for those who are
expected to remain as enemies, but friends are won. While a
display of authority should be avoided, a firm attitude must at
times be taken, but it should be an attitude of friendship and
fairness. If a loss to the child of some coveted pleasure can be
made to follow his fault it is an effectual punishment. For
instance, if a boy never misses the story and yet his general
behavior in the library leaves a good deal to be desired, do not
allow him to attend the story hour for one or two weeks. In
extreme cases the plan of not allowing the boys to come to the
library for a number of days or weeks has been tried with good

An endeavor should be made so far as possible to follow the
inclinations of children. Every boy likes the idea of belonging
to a club and if advantage is taken of this fact it will prove a
great help in discipline. When a gang of boys comes to the
library night after night, apparently for no reason except to
make trouble, the best solution of the problem is to form them
into a reading circle or club. They usually prefer to call
themselves a club. A good plan in starting is to ask three or
four of the troublesome boys if they would like to come on a
certain evening and hear a story read. An interesting story is
selected, carefully read and cut if too long, and at the end of
the evening the boys are invited to bring some of their friends
with them next time. It is well to begin in this small way and
thus avoid the mistake of having too many boys at the start or of
getting boys of different gangs in the same club, for this will
always cause trouble. Seven o'clock is a good time for them to
meet. If the hour is later the boys who come early get restless
and it is difficult for them to fix their attention. It is better
to take the boys to a separate room as their attention is easily
distracted from the reading by people passing back end forth. It
is a great effort for boys with, one might say, wholly untrained
minds to concentrate for any length of time, and it is well not
to ask them for more than half an hour at first. Unless the
selection holds their interest they will disappear one after
another, for they simply refuse to be bored. For this reason,
begin with popular subjects, such as animal stories, Indian
stories, fire stories, railroad stories, gradually leading them
on to more solid reading. That this can be done was proved by the
boys' attention to Sven Hedin's account of his search for water
in his Through Asia. The incident is most graphically told of the
repeated disappointments, of the sufferings of the caravan and
the dropping out of one after another until only the author is
left staggering across the sand hills in his search for the
precious water. The boys listened breathlessly until one boy
finally burst out, Ain't they never going to find no water?

Very often the subject of the next evening's reading is
determined by the boys themselves who, if they have been
particularly interested, will ask for another story "just like
that only different." If possible, have good illustrated books to
show them on the subject of the evening's reading. This serves
two purposes --it fixes the awakened interest of the boys and it
also prevents the rush for the door they are apt to make to work
off the accumulated energy of the hour of physical inactivity.
In libraries where there are few assistants it ought not to be
difficult to find some young man or woman interested in work of
this sort to come and read to the boys once or twice a week, but
the same person should have the club regularly.

Work with little children is important because in a year or two
they are going to be readers, and yet they are a problem to the
busy librarian from the fact that they require a good deal of
attention. Perhaps the best plan is to set a time for them to
come to the library, say Saturday morning at ten, when they can
feel that the children's worker is all their own. They like to be
read to, but they love to hear stories told. Telling stories to
them is a great pleasure to the story-teller, because of their
responsiveness, their readiness to enjoy. But besides the
enjoyment of the children there is something far higher to work
for--the development of the moral sense. The virtues of
obedience, kindness, courage and unselfishness are set forth over
and over again in the fairy tale. The story East o' the sun and
west o' the moon, is nothing but a beautiful lesson in
obedience, The king of the golden river in unselfishness,
Diamonds and toads, kindness-- and many others could be named,
all with a lesson to be learned. Little children love repetition
and when a story pleases them ask for it again and again. They do
not see the lesson all at once, but little by little it sinks
into their hearts and becomes a part of their very life. This is
where the fairy tale, properly and judiciously used, does its
great work. Be most careful to give children stories that are
wholly worthy of their admiration. Know your story thoroughly and
in telling it present strong, clear pictures. Tell the story in
such a way that the child's heart swells within him and he says,
I can do that, I could be as brave as that.

But let not the children's worker labor under the delusion that
when she closes the door of the library her work is finished. On
the contrary, another phase of it is only beginning, for she is
constantly meeting the children on the street, in the stores, in
fact almost everywhere she goes, and it behooves her to be on the
watch for friendly smiles, to listen with interest when Johnny
tells her that Mary is coming out of the hospital tomorrow, or
when Mike calls across the street, Did you know Willie was
pinched again? to make a note of it and take pains to find out
whether Willie is paroled under good behavior or whether he has
been sent to a boys' reformatory school; or, when she is waiting
for a street car and a newsboy rushes up and says he can't get
his books back in time and will she renew them for him, the
children's worker takes his library number and renews the books
when she returns to the library.

If the worker is at all earnest in her work she can not help but
have her heart wrung time and again by the sufferings of the
children of the poor. Not that they complain--they take it all as
a matter of course, but by some unconscious remark they quite
often throw an almost blinding light on their home conditions
showing that family life for a good many of them is anything but
easy and pleasant. Children of the poor often have
responsibilities far beyond their years, and the library with its
books, pictures, flowers and story-telling means much more to
them than to a child who has all these at home. One little girl
about 10 years old came one afternoon and was so disappointed to
find there was to be no story. On being told to come at ten
o'clock next morning, she said: What, do you think I can get here
at ten o'clock with four kids to dress! As first heard, funny;
but after all showing a pathetic side, a childhood without
childhood's freedom from care.

The whole secret of success is really to be in sympathy with
children, quick to see their needs and to look at things from
their point of view; but above all to have a genuine, common
sense love for them so that we may feel as did the little girl
who missed one of the assistants, and asking for her was told
that she was taking a vacation. I love her, said the child, and
then, fearing she had hurt the feelings of the one to whom she
was speaking added, I love all the library teachers, 'cos we're
all childs of God.


The interesting experiment of conducting a Library League is
described by Miss Linda A. Eastman in the following account of
the children's work in the Cleveland Public Library. A sketch of
Miss Eastman appears on page 159.

Work with the children assumed its first real importance in the
Cleveland Public Library when the library began, about 10 years
ago, to issue books to the teachers for reissue to their pupils.
This brought the books to the hands of thousands of children who
had never drawn them before, although at no time has the library
been able to furnish all of the books asked for by the teachers.
The next step came with the establishment of our branches, where
it was soon noticed that a most important part of the work done
was that with the children, and that very few of these children
had ever used the main library.

Early in 1897 a notable change was made at the main library in
bringing all of the juvenile books together in what was known as
the juvenile alcove, but which heretofore had contained the
juvenile fiction only, the classed books having been shelved with
the other books on the same subject. This change meant much
planning and shifting in our cramped quarters, and writing of
dummies and changing of records for every book; but it proved to
be well worth all the work, for the children seldom went beyond
this alcove, and those who had been reading fiction only, began
to vary it with history, travel, science, until about half of the
books issued from the department are now from the other classes.

During the Christmas holidays, 1896, we advertised "Children's
week," and the numbers and evident enjoyment of the children who
then accepted the invitation to visit the library or its
branches, led to similar plans for the spring vacation. At this
time we were able to put into circulation about a thousand bright
new books, and the desire to impress upon the children the
necessity for their proper care resulted in starting the Library
League, the general plan of which is so familiar that I need not
go fully into the details concerning it.[2]

[2] For accounts of the Library League, see Library Journal
October and November, 1897.

Without question, the labor spent upon the Library League has
been more than repaid in the greater care which the children take
of their library books. Dirt is at a discount; it is noticed that
many more children than formerly now stop to choose the cleanest
copy of a book, and many are the books reported daily by the
little people as being soiled or torn. A boy, not long ago,
brought a book up to the information-desk, reported a loose leaf,
then very seriously, by way of explanation, opened his overcoat
and displayed his league badge; another replied in all good faith
to a query about a damaged book, "Why, I belong to the Library
League"--proof quite sufficient, he thought, to clear him of any
doubt. Most of the children stop at the wrapping- counter before
leaving the library, to tie up their books in the wrapping paper
which is provided, and which saves many a book from a mud-bath on
its way to or from the library.

But aside from the better care of the books, the Library League
has done much as an advertising medium among the children; the
league now numbers 14,354, and many of its members had never used
the library until they joined the league. Something has been
accomplished through it, too, in directing the reading of the
children, as it gives opportunities, in many ways, for making
suggestions which they are glad to accept. At the South Side
branch a club-room has been finished off in the basement, and two
clubs formed among the members of the league: one, a Travel Club,
is making a tour of England this winter; the other is a Biography
Club, which is studying great Americans; the children who compose
these two clubs are largely of foreign parentage, almost without
exception from uncultured homes, and the work our earnest branch
librarian is beginning with them cannot fail in its effect on
these young lives. A boy's club-room is to be fitted up at the
new West Side branch, in addition to the children's room, which
is already proving inadequate.

The Maxson book marks have been very useful in connection with
the league, and have suggested a series of book marks which will
also serve as bulletins for league notes, little lists of good
books, suggestions about reading, etc. The color will be changed
each time, as variety is pleasing to children. The

================================================== Cleveland

Boys and Girls: How would you like to have a new book mark every
month or two with Library League news, and suggestions about good
books? That is what the Library is going to try to give you. Read
this one through, use it until you get the next one, which will
be Library League Book Mark No. 2; then put No. 1 away with your
League certificate and keep it carefully as a part of your League
records, that some day you will be proud to own and to show.

League Report: The Library League was started March 29th, 1897.
On December 31st, 1897 it numbered 14,074. How large is it going
to be on its first birthday anniversary? What the League has
done: It has brought many children to the Library who never used
it before. It has taught many boys and girls to love books and to
handle them carefully with clean hands. Many books have been
reported which were in bad condition, and the juvenile books are
now in better shape than before the League began its work.

Library League Reading Clubs: Some of the League members have
been starting reading clubs. One of these clubs is a Travel Club,
and another is a Biography Club. The Library assistants will be
glad to tell League members about these clubs if they would like
to form others.

Library League Motto: Clean hearts, clean hands, clean books.
(OVER) ==================================================

The other side of this book mark contains a list of the juvenile
periodicals in the library. No. 2 gives the beginning of a little
serial, in which a thread of story will weave in hints on reading
and on the care and use of books.

At our main library the children have come in such numbers after
school and on Saturdays, that it has been impossible to push the
work much this past winter, for fear the adults should suffer. It
was finally decided that we must achieve the impossible, and by
shifting about and putting up glass partitions, have a separate
children's room instead of the open juvenile alcove. This room,
while not half so large as it should be to meet the needs of the
work, is indeed a great improvement in giving the children a
place which they feel to be really their own; the change has
involved the re-registration of the children having cards here,
but it is affording much needed relief at the general receiving
desks, and will greatly facilitate the service to adults, at the
same time making it possible to do much more for the little

The library is endeavoring to co-operate more and more closely
with the schools. More books have been issued to the teachers
this winter than ever before. A new course of study having been
published, all of the books referred to in it were looked up, and
if not in the library or its branches, were purchased as largely
as seemed desirable or possible. A list of "References for
third-grade teachers," compiled by Miss May H. Prentice, training
teacher in the Cleveland Normal School, has recently been
published by the library. It was given to all of the third-grade
teachers of the city, and sold to others. This is, we believe,
the most comprehensive list ever prepared for a single grade of
the common schools. We are hoping that it will prove so helpful
to third-grade teachers that all of the other grades will demand
similar ones for themselves, and that somehow the way will be
found to meet the demand. The list of books noted by Miss
Prentice for the children's own reading has been reprinted,
without the annotations, in a little folder and 5,000 copies of
it have just been distributed among the children of this grade.

Recently our school children were treated to the largest
exhibition ever made in the United States to photographic
reproductions of the masterpieces in art; to the work of the
library in circulating pictures to teachers and children for
school-room decoration and for illustration, is due no small
share of this new interest in art.

While the children come to the library daily to look up subjects
in connection with their school work, very little attention can
be given to training them to use reference books as tools.
Somewhere, either in the school or the library, this systematic
teaching should be given. It is one of the things which is not
being done.

And another thing is not being done--we are not reaching all of
the children; in spite of our branches, our stations, our books
in the schools, our Library League, there are many children who
sadly need the influence of good books, who are not getting
them--whole districts shut off from the use of the library by
distance and inability to pay carfare. And we cannot give them
branches or send books--for lack of funds.

It is a growing conviction in my own mind that the library, aside
from its general mission, and aside from its co-operation with
the schools in the work of education, has a special duty to
perform for the city child. No one can observe city life closely
without seeing something of the evil which comes to the children
who are shut up within its walls; the larger the city the greater
is the evil, the more effectually are the little ones deprived of
the pure air, the sweet freedom of the fields and woods, to be
given but too often in their stead the freedom of the streets and
the city slums. The evil is greater during the long vacations,
when the five-hour check of the school room is entirely removed,
and many a teacher will testify to the demoralization which takes
place among the children who are then let loose upon the streets.
For these the library must to some extent take the place of
Mother Nature, for under present condition it is through books
alone that some of them can ever come to know her; books must
furnish them with wholesome thoughts, with ideals of beauty and
of truth, with a sense of the largeness of life that comes from
communion with great souls as from communion with nature. If this
be true, the school vacation ceases to be the resting time of the
children's librarian; she must sow her winter wheat and tend it
as in the past, but she must also gather in her crops and lay her
ground fallow during the long summer days when school does not
keep; she must find ways of attracting these children to spend a
healthy portion of their time among the books, always guarding
against too much as against too little reading. For this work the
individual contact is needed, and there must be more children's
librarians, more branch libraries. This necessity and the problem
of meeting it require grave consideration by the librarian of


The practical usefulness as well as the artistic merit of picture
bulletins is discussed in this report prepared for the Club of
Children's Librarians for presentation at the Waukesha Conference
of the A. L. A. in 1901. It is based upon answers received in
response to a circular letter sent to various libraries.

Mrs. Mary E. S. Root was born and educated in Rhode Island,
studied art before her marriage, became interested in children's
literature through her own children, and organized the children's
work in the Providence Public Library, where she still has charge
of this work. She has held many offices in educational and civic
organizations, and has lectured on children's literature. For two
summers she conducted a course in children's work in the Simmons
College Library School.

Mrs. Adelaide Bowles Maltby was born in New York City, and was
graduated from a private school in Elmira, New York, in 1893,
with an equivalent of one year's college work. After completing
the regular course in Pratt Institute Library School in 1900, she
spent six months in the Pratt Library, at the same time taking
lectures in the second-year children's course. For four and
one-half years she was head of the Children's Department in the
Buffalo Public Library. She then became a member of the New York
Public Library staff, first as special children's worker in
Chatham Square Branch, then as branch librarian there, and later
as librarian of the Tompkins Square Branch.

 There has been a rather marked difference in activity between
the eastern and western libraries on this subject of picture
work, we of the east seeming more conservative, somewhat prone on
the whole, because there is not time for elaborate work, to doubt
its practical usefulness. The questions upon which this report is
based were sent out in a circular letter to different libraries.
These questions with their answers may be considered in order:

Question 1. If you make picture bulletins in your library, what
is your object in so doing?

To supplement school work, advertise the books, stimulate
non-fiction reading and celebrate anniversaries are the four
answers which the majority give.

There is no question but bulletins made for school helps are
useful, help teacher, pupil and library; but we are all studying
to do away with suggestions of a school atmosphere in our rooms
as far as possible, so, primarily, these bulletins should give
pleasure. They offer a strong point of contact between the
children and the librarian, and if too strongly labelled with
"school work," do we not rob the child of the one place where he
could have the indescribable charm of learning what his natural
tastes prompt him to acquire? It is easy enough in our libraries
to teach without calling it teaching. Again, a bulletin to
"advertise our books," especially new ones, seems misdirected
energy, as the new books are always eagerly sought and there is
often need of checking in some way the desire for the new just
because it is new. If the books to which the attention is
directed by the bulletins enlarge the child's experience, well
and good, but we do not need to post a bulletin merely to
circulate the books or with the feeling of advertisement in any
sense of the word.

Question 2. Are these bulletins used only to illustrate books
owned by the library or are they general, commemorating
anniversaries, etc?

The majority of bulletins seem of the most general character
--book bulletins, illustrations of school work, holidays and
anniversaries especially dear to childhood. Miss Putnam, of the
library at Los Angeles, offers a most serviceable suggestion in
her guide to the books in the children's room: "This is composed
of pictures, each representing a book clipped from the
publisher's catalogs, each author kept separate mounted on large
sheets of tagboard, and when the author's picture, call number,
criticism of books are added, the sheets are kept on the tables
for the children's use." At Detroit there is constantly on the
walls a bulletin board about 28x32 in. covered with dark green
burlap on which are placed lists of books, pictures of their
authors, illustrations, current events, public affairs, etc., not
of sufficient interest to demand a separate bulletin. Some change
is made in this every week, keeping two lists of books, taking
down one and moving the other as a fresh list is added.

Question 3. Of what material and by whom are your bulletins made?

The best material is classified clippings and pictures from
duplicate magazines and illustrated papers. Braun & Cie
photographs, Perry prints, bird portraits from Chapman's "Bird
manual," and from Birds and All Nature, Fitzroy prints and
Perkins' Mother Goose pictures can also be used to advantage.
Card board can be obtained at slight cost, in some cities at
$4.20 per hundred. Pulp board, book cover paper and charcoal
paper, all can be utilized for this purpose. Where the book
cases are low enough to admit of it, red denim stretched above
the top of the cases makes an effective background for the
bulletins. Where the cases are five feet in height this is not
practicable, as the pictures must be opposite the eyes of our
small readers. In the Providence Public Library an excellent
substitute for this is in the shape of a six-panelled mahogany
bulletin surrounding the large circular pillar in the center of
the room. The mahogany serves as an excellent frame to the panel
and the many sides offer opportunities for a series of bulletins
on a given subject, each simple in itself and conveying one idea
to the child, which seems far preferable to us than trying to
crowd all on one bulletin.

Other libraries use a stationary framework across the tables,
with glass each side, so that pictures may be slipped in between.

At Minneapolis Public Library an interesting experiment was tried
with success by Mrs. Ellison. Arrangements were made with the
Director of Drawing to have the pupils furnish the picture
bulletins, Mrs. Ellison furnishing the subjects and doing the
reference work.

The making of bulletins in most cases devolves on the children's
librarian, but we hear from several libraries where different
members of the staff take their turn, all showing a keen interest
in gathering material.

Questions 4 and 5. Do you have more than one bulletin at a time?
Have you noticed any poor results from exhibiting more than one
at a time?

The returns as to this point were not all that had been hoped.
Two bulletins seem to be an accepted number, but more than that a
question. We do not desire to confuse our children, or to detract
in value from a bulletin when once posted, and most certainly not
to cheapen our rooms; but if the standard is held high in each
case, the number would not matter. Take for instance a hero
bulletin. Here is a wealth of material which overwhelms us, and
even when we have selected with the utmost thought our heroes and
placed them side by side, we realize we have more or less of a
jumble and have not told our story simply enough. Some division
is absolutely necessary. We saw a bulletin on this subject
grouped under three excellent heads: When all the world was
young; In the glorious days of chivalry; Heroes of modern times.
We should like to adopt this suggestion, but instead of one,
offer three bulletins, as a safeguard against confusion.

Question 6. Can you show by citing cases that this picture work
is of sufficient practical use to the children to pay for time
and money spent?

One library--and this is an eastern one--gives us an encouraging,
inspiring reply: "Case after case, actually hundreds of letters
from teachers thanking us for the work." A general summary of
reports from all the libraries shows an increased demand for the
books on the subject posted. The perfectly evident pleasure of
the little ones in the mere looking, to say nothing of their joy
in telling at one time or another something they have seen
before, shows with what keenness they observe. At the Buffalo
Public Library there have been on exhibition some excellent
silhouette pictures made by cutting figures, trees, etc., from
black paper and pasting them on white backgrounds. "The pied
piper" was one subject illustrated. To appreciate this it should
be understood that the figure of the piper and of each little
rat, some not more than a half inch high, were cut with scissors,
without any drawing whatever. These were labelled "Scissors
pictures. Can you make them?" When they had been up a week, one
of the boys, 14 years old, brought in four, one of which was
better in composition than any of those exhibited. This was
posted as showing what one boy had done, and this boy is studying
drawing and designing this summer, with good promise. Another
library cites a case in relation to school work, where the
superintendent of schools offered rewards in each school of five
of Landseer's pictures for the best five compositions on Landseer
and his work. A collection of his pictures was gathered, a
bulletin made with lists, which at once attracted the boys and
girls, set many earnestly to work, who would not otherwise have
given it much thought, and finally received the hearty
commendation of the superintendent. Miss Clarke, of Evanston,
says: "We have no children's room, and have not done enough of
bulletin work to be able to speak very surely of results." Yet
she can give us this, which speaks for itself. "An Indian exhibit
which we gave, where among the Indian curios and Navajo blankets
I had all our books on Indian life and customs and our best
Indian stories displayed, aroused a great demand for the books. I
kept the list of Indian books and stories posted for some months,
and it was worn out and had to be replaced by a new copy, owing
to its constant use. Our boys at that time really read a great
deal of good literature on the subject, including Mrs. Custer's
books and those by Grinnell and Lummis." These are but a few of
the many interesting illustrations, yet we all know there is a
great part of our work of which we can see no results, but if
these bulletins beautify the room, offer some new thought to the
child and give pleasure, then the time and work spent on them is
a small factor, and even in that we are the gainers, as we
unconsciously acquire in the making of these bulletins much
general information, and an ability to present subjects in their
relative value to each other which is invaluable.

Question 7. Are these bulletins allowed to circulate?

In most cases, no. Several libraries allow them to go to schools
and a few make duplicates for both library and school, and in
Indianapolis the bulletins are sent to other libraries in the
state. This should prove very helpful to small libraries which
are open but a few hours in the week. The bulletins may wear out,
but a bulletin once planned, three quarters of the work is
accomplished, and it is little labor to make the duplicate one.

Question 8. Please describe the exhibit which has proved of the
greatest interest in the past year.

We wish that time and space would allow a repetition of all the
replies to this question. Miss Hewins says: "The exhibit which
has proved of the greatest interest is on Queen Victoria. Within
an hour after we heard the news of her death we had the bulletin
for her last birthday and 40 portraits of her on our walls. I
made one bulletin on her for the children out at Settlement
Branch, and gave them a little talk about her. In this bulletin
there were pictures of the dolls' house and toys that she gave
the nation and I told the children how careful she must have been
of them to be able to keep them so many years, and something
about how careful she was taught to be also of her spending
money, and that even although she was a princess and lived in a
palace, she never could buy anything until she had the money to
pay for it. I made a Stevenson bulletin for them on his birthday,
and we had Stevenson songs and a talk about him and his
childhood, his lovableness, courage and cheerfulness." At Buffalo
the most popular exhibit was one illustrating the changes of the
last century, taking the post-office methods, transportation of
all kinds, i.e., carriages, boats, railroads, electricity in all
its uses and those which could be appreciated by the
children--guns, lifesaving methods, diving, etc. In each instance
an old and a new type was shown. The children swarmed around the
boards every day for the two months it was up, one of the pages
who was interested in numbers having counted 60 an hour. Nature
exhibits are always popular with children. "Our own birds" was
the title of a bird- day bulletin at Evanston. A green poster
board, on which were tied bunches of pussy-willows, among whose
twigs were perched some of the common birds around Evanston, was
used. The plates used were the nature study bird plates, brightly
colored, which were cut out and pasted on the board in such a way
that the effect was very lifelike. Much the same idea was carried
out in Providence, only in this library the title is "Procession
of the birds and flowers," each bird being added as it arrives.
At the same time in the class room adjoining this library there
was an exhibit of 150 photographs called "Joy in springtime," all
being charming pictures of flowers, birds and happy children,
with appropriate selections of poetry affixed. The long windows
were hung with tranparencies, a framework being built in which to
slide the tranparencies, that they may be changed from time to
time. Invitations were sent to all the schools, and the exhibit
was a great delight to the little ones. Miss Moore, of Pratt,
tells of a picture bulletin illustrating life in Porto Rico and a
companion bulletin illustrating the Porto Rican village at Glen
island (a summer resort accessible to the children), with objects
such as water jugs, cooking utensils made from gourds, etc., a
hat in the process of making, musical instruments made from
gourds, such as were used by the native band at Glen Island. The
objects were carefully selected with the aid of the gentleman who
instituted the village at Glen Island, and who had made a study
of the country and people of Porto Rico. "The bulletin led not so
much to the reading of books, because there are few on the
subject, but it gave the children a very clear idea of the
manner of living of the Porto Ricans and drew the attention of
many visitors to Glen Island, as an educational point as well as
a pleasure resort."

Question 9. Do you do anything with Perry pictures, scrap books,
etc., for the little children?

At Medford scrap books are made by the children themselves, much
to their delight. Several librarians make their own scrap books,
Miss Hammond, of St. Paul, sending perhaps the best description
of work of this nature. For the little children she always keeps
on hand several scrap books made from worn out books, by Howard
Pyle and Walter Crane. Other scrap books enjoyed alike by the
older children and the little ones are "Colonial pictures" and
"Arctic explorers," the last especially liked by the boys. Miss
Hammond also cuts whole articles from discarded magazines,
putting on heavy paper covers, labelling and arranging in a case
according to subject for the use of teachers and pupils.

Question 10. Mention five examples of pictures suitable for a
children's library.

The pictures suggested are given in order, according to the
number of votes assigned to each one.

Raphael,       Sistine Madonna,              6 Watts,         Sir
Galahad,                  6 Guido Reni,    Aurora,
       4 Bonheur,       Horse fair,                   4 King
Arthur,   (Chapel of Innspruck),        3 Corot,
Landscape,                    3 Hardie,        Meeting of Scott
and Burns,   2 St. Gaudens,   Shaw monument,                2
Murillo,       Children of the shell,        2 Stuart,
Washington,                   2 Van Dyck,      Baby Stuart,

The selection of these pictures must, of course, depend on the
library, but there are a few other suggestions which are worthy
of mention:

Regnault, Automedon and the horse of Achilles.

Raphael's Madonna of the chair.

Reynolds, Penelope Boothby.

Question 11. In preparing your lists of books to accompany
bulletin, do you prepare an analytical list or refer to book

An analytical list seems preferable where any list is used,
although some librarians seem to question the advantage of lists.
Miss Brown, of Eau Claire, says: "I have, however, decided for
myself that the bulletin that pays is the one which tells
something of itself and has no long list of books. If the child
is interested in the bulletin it is no sign that he will take a
book listed, but if he gets a fact from looking at it he has
gained something and you lose the bad effect of having him get
into the habit of skipping the books on the bulletin, which he
usually does." On the other hand, lists help the systematic
reader and relieve the librarian.

In closing we will quote a criticism of an eastern librarian, as
a thought on which we all need to dwell: "From the artistic point
of view such bulletins as I have seen are commonly too scrappy,
ill arranged and given too much to detail. One or two pictures on
a large card, with a brief descriptive note, all conveying one
idea or emphasizing one point only, is the best form. In
bulletins, as in many other things, the rule to follow first of
all is simplicity."


One of the newer developments of organized work is with mothers
who can be interested in the books their children read, although
informal, individual work has always been a part of library work
with children. This paper was read at the joint meeting of the
Michigan and Wisconsin Library Associations in July, 1914, by
Miss May G. Quigley, children's librarian of the Public Library,
Grand Rapids, Michigan.

May Genevieve Quigley was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and was
graduated from the Grand Rapids High School. Soon after this, she
began work in the Grand Rapids Public Library and has been Head
of the Children's Department since it was organized in 1907.

You ask me how to interest mothers in children's reading. I began
by being invited to the different mothers' meetings held in the
schools; public, parochial and private, the churches and women's
clubs. At each institution, the mothers, coming from widely
different circles are always attentive listeners, and many
frequently remain to have a word in private, as to whether I
consider fairy tales good for their children and to get my
personal opinion about detective stories, or some other subject
important to them.

I always take with me our Monthly Bulletin, in which are printed
the new books for children. This list is talked over with the
mothers and books for children of different ages specified. If
there is time, I frequently tell the story the book tells or an
interesting incident which occurs in some one of the chapters.
After such an introduction there is apt to be a "run" on the
Children's department the next few days. Boys and girls come in
numbers to ask for the book "You told mother about yesterday."

These talks at the different schools, clubs and churches are the
means of bringing the mothers to the library. They are interested
now in wishing to see the place where the "fine English books are
kept," as one little foreign mother always says. I find that the
foreign-born mothers are intensely alive to the fact that their
children must get the English language if they are ever to
succeed, and they too, these foreign mothers, ask intelligent
questions as to the books on history and civics for their boys
and girls.

Birthdays and holidays are also strong factors, by means of which
the library can interest the mothers. We have not as yet printed
a list of books suitable for birthdays, but we did print a
Christmas list in our November Bulletin of last year, and like
Mary's little lamb, this book was with me wherever I went during
the Christmas season. It was an exceedingly valuable list,
because prices were given. There were books suitable for every
taste and every purse.

I talked the list over with 250 mothers, whom I met at the
various schools. A large number came to the library to see the
books before buying. Then too, ways and means are always
suggested by which they can obtain additional information, namely
the telephone, post card, and by appointment with me at the book
store, if they desire it, to say nothing of the many times advice
is given outside of library hours.

On three different occasions we have had exhibits of books at the
schools. This perhaps is the ideal way to interest mothers. I
remember at one school the disappointment manifested when it was
announced that orders were not taken for the books, but that the
same could be obtained at the book store.

Our annual Conference on children's reading, which is held on the
first Saturday in May, brings together still another group. The
mothers are represented on the program and they take part in the
discussion. The subject at these conferences is always some phase
of children's reading. The discussions are interesting and
educational, not only for the mothers, but for the library as

If you are able to speak one or two languages besides English,
the way is open for you to the foreign mothers' clubs. I have
frequently been a guest at the Italian mothers' club, where in a
small way I have been able to tell them about the library and the
books--English and Italian.

Not often do these mothers come to the library, but they are sure
to send their children, and through these useful little citizens
I hope some day to see the mothers frequent visitors at the

I would not have you think that these mothers are not interested
because they are not able to come to the library. It is strange
and they are often too busy. When I go to the store or they meet
me on the street they will ask about the books and express their
appreciation of what we are doing for their children.

Three-fourths of the mothers, regardless of nationality, social
position or education, have no definite idea as to the kind of
books their children ought to read.

If you would succeed in this movement, be interested, know your
books, and be ready to have a human interest in every child's
mother, be she rich or poor, American or foreign born. Success
will then attend your efforts.


The importance of reference work with children is indicated in
the next article by the fact that "the subjects on which children
seek information are as varied as those brought by older people,
and the material is equally elusive." Miss Abby L. Sargent
contributed this article to the Library Journal for April, 1895.

Abby Ladd Sargent received her training under her sister, Miss
Mary E. Sargent. She reorganized the Wilmington Library
Association Library in 1890-1891. From 1891 to 1895 she was
librarian of the Middlesex Mechanics Association. In 1895 she
became reference librarian and classifier of the Medford Public
Library, where her sister was librarian. In 1910, after her
sister's death, she became librarian of the Medford Public
Library. In 1900 she organized and purchased books for the
Owatonna, Minnesota, Public Library. She has been instructor in
the Expansive Classification in Simmons College Library School
since its opening. Miss Sargent was joint editor and compiler of
Sargent's "Reading for the young," and its supplement.

Let us suppose that the momentous problem is solved of persuading
children to use the library for more serious purpose than to find
a book "as good as 'Mark the match boy,' " and that we are trying
to convince children that the library is infallible, and can
furnish information on whatever they wish to know about--whether
it is some boy who comes on the busiest morning of the week, to
find out how to make a puppet show in time to give an afternoon
exhibition, or some high-school girl who rushes over in the 20
minutes' recess to write an exhaustive treatise on women's

It is unnecessary to say that the fewer books the library can
supply the more must those few be forced to yield. A large
library, with unlimited volumes, meets few of the difficulties
which beset smaller and poorer institutions.

If the librarian can name at once "a poem about Henry of
Navarre," or tell who wrote "by the rude bridge that arched the
flood," and on what monument it is engraved, can furnish material
for debate on "the Chinese question," "which city should have the
new normal school," "who was Mother Goose," or on any possible or
impossible subject, she gains at once the confidence of the
severest of critics, and is sure of their future patronage.

The subjects on which children seek information are as varied as
those brought by older people and the material is equally
elusive. Perhaps the hardest questions to answer are about the
allusions which are found in literature studies, and which
frequently the teacher who has given the question cannot answer.
I find it helpful whenever I come across material of this nature
to make a reference to it in the catalog, and, in fact, to
analyze carefully all juvenile books, not fiction, whose titles
give no hint of the contents. A great many books otherwise
valueless become thus most useful, especially if one is pressed
for time.

Mr. Jones, in his "Special reading lists," gives many such
references to juvenile literature. Books like Ingersoll's
"Country cousins," which contains an article on shell money, also
an account of Professor Agassiz's laboratory at Newport; Mary
Bamford's "Talks by queer folks," giving many of the
superstitions prevalent about animals; the set of books by Uncle
Lawrence, "Young folks' ideas," "Queries," and "Whys and
wherefores," recently republished under the title "Science in
story," and others of this sort, if carefully indexed, answer
many of the questions brought every day by children, and amply
repay for the trouble. For even if juvenile books are classified
on the shelves, much time is wasted in going through many

A wide-awake teacher often gives his pupils the events of the day
to study, and if they cannot grasp the situation from the daily
papers, juvenile periodicals furnish the best material. For this
a classified index is indispensable; it makes available accounts
of the workings of government, the weather bureau, mint, and
other intangible topics. Until the recent publication of Capt.
King's "Cadet days," I knew of no other place to find any
description of West Point routine outside of Boynton's or
Cullum's histories. One glimpse of either would convince any boy
he would rather try some other subject.

A short article often suffices to give the main facts. My
experience, both as teacher and librarian, persuades me that the
average child is eminently statistical. "A horse is an animal
with four legs--one at each corner," is fairly representative of
the kind of information he seeks. When he becomes diffuse, we may
feel sure he has had help. Sissy Jupes are of course to be found,
who cannot grapple with facts.

Working on this principle, I have made liberal use of a book
issued by the U. S. Government--"The growth of industrial art."
It gives, in pictures, with only a line or two of description,
the progress of different industries--such as the locomotive,
from the clumsy engine of 1802 to the elaborate machinery of the
present day; the evolution of lighting, from the pine-knot and
tallow-dip to the electric light; methods of signalling, from the
Indian fire-signal to the telegraph; time-keeping, etc. A child
will get more ideas from one page of pictures than from a dozen
or more pages of description and hard words.

If lack of space compels one to deny the privilege of going to
the shelves, it seems to me more essential for children to have
ready access to reference-books, and especially to be taught how
to use them, than for grown-up people. The youngest soon learn to
use "Historical notebooks," Champlin's Cyclopaedias, Hopkins'
"Experimental science," "Boys' and Girls' handy books," and
others of miscellaneous contents. If they have a mechanical bent
they will help themselves from Amateur Work or "Electrical
toy-making"; if musical, from Mrs. Lillie's "Story of music" or
Dole's "Famous composers"; if they have ethical subjects to write
about, they find what they need in Edith Wiggin's "Lessons in
manners," Everett's "Ethics for young people," or Miss Ryder's
books, which give excellent advice in spite of their
objectionable titles. They can find help in their nature studies
in Gibson's "Sharp-eyes," Lovell's "Nature's wonder workers,"
Mrs. Dana's "How to know the wild flowers," or turn to Mrs.
Bolton's or Lydia Farmer's books to learn about famous people, if
they are encouraged to do so. These, of course, are only a few of
the books which can be used in this way. As the different
holidays come round there are frequent applications for the
customs of those days, or for appropriate selections for school
or festival. Miss Matthews and Miss Ruhl have helped us out in
their "Memorial day selections," and McCaskey's "Christmas in
song, sketch, and story," and the "Yule-tide collection" give
great variety. If the juvenile periodicals do not furnish the
customs, they can, of course, be found in Brand's "Popular
antiquities," or Chambers's "Book of days." It is necessary
sometimes to use the books for older people, since there is a
point where childhood and grown-up-hood meet. I was recently
obliged to give quite a small child Knight's "Mechanical
dictionary," to find out when and where weather-vanes were first
used, and to give a grammar-school girl Mrs. Farmer's "What
America owes to women," for material for a graduating essay.

A few excellent suggestions for general reference work are given
in Miss Plummer's "Hints to small libraries"; but in spite of all
the aids at command there come times when our only resource is to
follow the adage, "look till you find it and your labor won't be
lost," and to accept the advice of Cap'n Cuttle, "When found,
make a note on't."


Another report based on answers received from various libraries
in reply to a list of questions suggests that we are "concerned
not so much to supply information as to educate in the use of the
library." This report was presented by Miss Harriet H. Stanley at
the Waukesha Conference of the A. L. A. in 1901.

Harriet Howard Stanley is a native of Massachusetts. After
completing a normal school course and teaching for a few years in
secondary schools, she entered the New York State Library School,
where she was graduated in 1895. She served for four years as
librarian of the Public Library at Southbridge, Mass., and
thereafter was for eleven years school reference librarian in the
Public Library of Brookline, Mass. Since 1910 she has had
positions in the Library of the U. S. Department of Agriculture
and the Providence (R. I.) Athenaeum, and was for a year
librarian of New Hampshire College. At various times she has
taught in summer library schools--Albany, India and McGill
University. She is now on the staff of the Public Library of
Utica, N. Y.

Preliminary to preparing this report, a list of 15 questions was
sent to a number of libraries in different parts of the United
States, from 24 of which replies were received. So far as space
would permit, the facts and opinions obtained have been embodied
in this paper.

Reference work with grown people consists in supplying material
on various topics; we consider it sufficiently well done when the
best available matter is furnished with as little cost of time
and trouble to the inquirer as is consistent with the service we
owe to other patrons of the library. To a certain extent this
statement is true also of reference work with children, but I
think we are agreed that for them our aim reaches further--
reaches to a familiarity with reference tools, to knowing how to
hunt down a subject, to being able to use to best advantage the
material found. In a word, we are concerned not so much to supply
information as to educate in the use of the library. Seventeen of
the 24 libraries reporting judge children to be sent to them
primarily, if not wholly, for information. One of the first steps
towards improving and developing reference work with children
will have been taken when the teacher appreciates the larger
purpose, since the point of view must materially affect the
character and scope of the work. Another forward step is for the
library to have definitely in mind some plan for accomplishing
these ends. Whatever the plan, it will in likelihood have to be
modified to accord with the teacher's judgment and deeds, but a
definite proposal ought at least to give impetus to the

Six libraries state that a considerable part of the inquiries
they receive from children are apparently prompted by their
individual interests, and not suggested by the teacher. These
inquiries relate chiefly to sports, mechanical occupations and
pets. This paper is confined to the discussion of reference work
connected with the schools.


In selecting reference books for the purpose, certain familiar
ones come at once to our minds. Beyond those there have been
suggested: Chase and Clow's "Stories of Industry," "Information
readers," Brown's "Manual of commerce," Boyd's "Triumphs and
wonders of the 19th century," Patton's "Resources of the United
States," Geographical readers, Youth's Companion geographical
series, Spofford's "Library of historic characters," Larned's
"History for ready reference," Ellis's "Youth's dictionary of
mythology," Macomber's "Our authors and great inventors,"
Baldwin's "Fifty famous stories," "Riverside natural history,"
Wright's "Seaside and wayside," bound volumes of the Great Round
World, and text-books on various subjects.

A dictionary catalog will be useful in teaching the child to look
up subjects for himself. If a separate catalog is provided for
children, the question arises whether it is wiser to follow
closely the A. L. A. headings or to modify them where they differ
from topics commonly asked for by children or used as headings in
text-books. This question suggests also the advisability of a
modified classification for a children's library.

Last and not least, children should have room and service adapted
to their needs, so that they may not constantly have to be put
aside in deference to the rightful demands of adult readers.

So far as the writer knows, the Public Library of Boston was the
first library to open a reference room expressly for children,
well equipped and separate from the children's reading room or
circulating department, and from the general reference department
for adults.


Many libraries report that they find the topics habitually well
chosen. The gist of the criticisms is as follows:

(a) The teacher should make clear to the child just what he is to
look up and how to ask for it. An eastern library furnishes this

"I want a book about flowers."

"Do you want a special flower?"

"Yes, I want the rose."

A book on the cultivation of roses is handed her. Her companion,
looking over, exclaims, "Why she wants the Wars of the roses!"
The same librarian was invited to provide something on American
privileges; whether social, religious, political, or otherwise,
the child did not know.

(b) The teacher should be reasonably sure that there is on the
topic something in print, in usable shape, that can be gotten at
with a reasonable amount of labor.

(c) The subject when found should be within the child's
comprehension. The topic Grasses is manifestly unfit for
children, since grasses are difficult to study, and the
description of them in encyclopedias and botanies is too
technical. An eight- year-old had to investigate the Abyssinian
war. Pupils under 16 were assigned the topic Syncretism in the
later pagan movement. A western librarian was asked by some girls
for Kipling's "Many inventions" and "Day's work." Both were out.
"Well, what other books of Kipling's on agriculture have you?"
"Why, Kipling hasn't written any books on agriculture; he writes
stories and poems." "But we have to debate on whether agriculture
or manufacturing has done more for the welfare of the country,
and we want a book on both sides."

(d) The topic should be definite and not too broad, and should be
subdivided when necessary. The briefest comprehensive description
of Rome is probably that in Champlin's "Persons and places,"
where the six columns, already much condensed, would take more
than an hour to copy. A young girl came to find out about Italian
painters. None of the several encyclopedias treated them
collectively under either Italy or Art. Mrs. Bolton's book of 10
artists includes four Italians, but it takes some time and skill
to discover them, as the fact of their nationality does not
introduce the narrative. How should a sixth grade pupil make a
selection from the 60 painters in Mrs. Jameson's book? Three
names were furnished by the librarian, and the child made notes
from their biographies. The next day she returned and said she
hadn't enough artists.

(e) The question should preferably be of such nature that the
child can be helped to find it rather than be obliged to wait
while the librarian does the work. One inquiry was, "What eastern
plant is sometimes sold for its weight in gold?" This is not in
the book of "Curious questions."

(f) The topic should be worth spending time upon. The genealogy
of Ellen Douglas will hardly linger long in the average memory.


Suppose the topic to be good and suitable material to have been
found; for older children there are two good ways of using
it--one to read through and make notes on the substance, the
other to copy in selection. Children need practice in doing both.
The first method suits broad description and narration, the
second detailed description. There seems to be a prevailing
tendency to copy simply, without sufficient neglect of minor
points, a process which should be left to the youngest children,
since it furnishes little mental training, uses a great deal of
time, keeps the writer needlessly indoors, and fosters habits of
inattention, because it is easy to copy with one's mind
elsewhere. The necessity for using judgment after the article has
been found is illustrated by the case of some children who came
for the life of Homer. Champlin, in about a column, mentions the
limits within which the conjectures as to the time of Homer's
birth lie, the places which claim to be his birthplace, and tells
of the tradition of the blind harper. The children, provided with
the book, plunged at once into copying until persuaded just to
read the column through. "When you finish reading," I said, "come
to me and tell me what it says." They came and recounted the
items, and only after questioning did they at all grasp the gist
of the matter, that nothing is known about Homer. Even then their
sense of responsibility to produce something tangible was so
great that they would copy the details, and from the children who
came next day I judged that the teacher had required some facts
as to time and place and tradition. While it is true that we
learn by doing and it is well that children should rely upon
themselves, it is evident that young pupils need some direction.
Even when provided with sub-topics, they often need help in
selecting and fitting together the appropriate facts, since no
article exactly suits their needs. About half of the reporting
librarians are of the opinion that it is the teacher's business
to instruct pupils in the use of books; they consider the library
to have done its share when the child has been helped to find the
material. The other half believe such direction as is suggested
above to be rightly within the librarian's province; several,
however, who express a willingness to give such help, add that
under their present library conditions it is impracticable. We
can easily see that time would not permit nor would it be
otherwise feasible for the teacher to examine every collection of
notes made at the library, but there ought to be some systematic
work where the topics are thoughtfully chosen, the librarian
informed of them in advance, and the notes criticised. A moderate
amount of reference work so conducted would be of greater benefit
than a large quantity of the random sort which we now commonly
have. Five librarians state that they are usually given the
topics beforehand. Several others are provided with courses of
study or attend grade meetings in which the course is discussed.


While a general effort is being made to instruct children
individually, only a few libraries report any systematic lessons.
In Providence each visiting class is given a short description of
books of reference. In Hartford an attempt at instruction was
made following the vacation book talks. In Springfield, Mass.,
last year the senior class of the literature department was given
a lesson on the use of the library, followed by two practice
questions on the card catalog. In one of the Cleveland branches
talks are given to both teachers and pupils. At the Central High
School of Detroit the school librarian has for the past three
years met the new pupils for 40 minutes' instruction, and test
questions are given. A detailed account of similar work done in
other high school libraries is to be found in the proceedings of
the Chautauqua conference. Cambridge has given a lecture to a
class or classes of the Latin school. In the current library
report of Cedar Rapids, Ia., is outlined in detail a course of 12
lessons on bookmaking, the card catalog, and reference books. The
librarian of Michigan City, Ind., writes: "Each grade of the
schools, from the fifth to the eighth, has the use of our class
room for an afternoon session each month. Each child is assigned
a topic on which to write a short composition or give a brief
oral report. When a pupil has found all he can from one source,
books are exchanged, and thus each child comes into contact with
several books. At these monthly library afternoons I give short
talks to the pupils on the use of the library, the reference
books, and the card catalog, accompanied by practical object
lessons and tests." At Brookline our plan is to have each class
of the eighth and ninth grades come once a year to our school
reference room at the library. The teacher accompanies them, and
they come in school hours. The school reference librarian gives
the lesson. For the eighth grade we consider the make-up of the
book--the title-page in detail, the importance of noting the
author, the significance of place and date and copyright, the
origin of the dedication, the use of contents and index. This is
followed by a description of bookmaking, folding, sewing and
binding, illustrated by books pulled to pieces for the purpose.
The lesson closes with remarks on the care of books. The ninth
grade lesson is on reference books, and is conducted largely by
means of questioning. A set of test questions at the end
emphasizes the description of the books. In these lessons the
pupils have shown an unexpected degree of interest and
responsiveness. The course brought about 400 children to the
library, a few of whom had never been there before. These were
escorted about a little, and shown the catalog, charging desk,
bulletins, new book shelves, etc. Every one not already holding a
card was given an opportunity to sign a registration slip. The
following year the eighth grade, having become the ninth, has the
second lesson. With these lessons the attitude of the children
towards the library has visibly improved, and we are confident
that their idea of its use has been enlarged.


The inquiry was made of the reporting libraries whether any
bibliographical work was being done by the high school. The
question was not well put, and was sometimes misunderstood.
Almost no such work was reported. At Evanston, III., one high
school teacher has taught her class to prepare bibliographies,
the librarian assisting. At Brookline we have ambitions, not yet
realized, of getting each high school class to prepare one
bibliography a year (we begin modestly) on some subject along
their lines of study. Last May the principals of two grammar
schools offered to try their ninth grades on a simple
bibliography. The school reference librarian selected some 60
topics of English history--Bretwalda, Sir Isaac Newton, East
India Company, the Great Commoner, etc. Each bibliography was to
include every reference by author, title and page to be found in
the books of the school reference collection of the public
library. The pupils displayed no little zest and enjoyment in the
undertaking, and some creditable lists were made. Observation of
the work confirmed my belief in its great practical value. Pupils
became more keen and more thorough than in the usual getting of
material from one or two references on a subject. Such training
will smooth the way and save the time of those students who are
to make use of a college library, and is even more to be desired
for those others whose formal education ends with the high or
grammar schools.

The practice of sending collections of books from the public
library to the schools is becoming general. When these
collections are along the lines of subjects studied, it would
seem as if the reference use of the library by pupils might be
somewhat diminished thereby. No doubt it is a convenience to both
teacher and pupils to have books at hand to which to refer. The
possession of an independent school library also tends to keep
the reference work in the school. But in neither case ought the
reference use of the public library or its branches to be wholly
or materially overlooked, since it is on that that pupils must
depend in after years, and therefore to that they must now be
directed. We recognize that the people of modest means need the
library. As for the very-well-to-do, the library needs them.
Other things being equal, the pupil who has learned to know and
to know how to use his public library ought later so to
appreciate its needs and so to recognize the benefits it bestows
that he will be concerned to have it generously supported and
wisely administered.

Even we librarians claim for our public collection no such fine
service as is rendered by those private treasures that stand on a
person's own shelves, round which "our pastime and our happiness
will grow." Books for casual entertainment are more and more
easily come by. But so far as our imagination reaches, what
private library will for most readers supplant a public
collection of books for purposes of study and reference? Is it
not then fitting that we spend time and effort to educate young
people to the use of the public library? Do not the methods for
realizing this end seem to be as deserving of systematic study as
the details of classification and of cataloging? We have learned
that to bring school authorities to our assistance our faith must
be sufficient to convince and our patience must be tempered by a
kindly appreciation of the large demands already made upon the
schools. Have we not yet to learn by just what lessons and what
practice work the reference use of the public library can best be
taught to children?


The necessity of close cooperation between school and library in
the practical use of books as tools in order that we may have
"our grown people more appreciative of the value of their public
library and better able to use it" is clearly brought out in this
article written by Miss Elizabeth Ellis, Peoria Public Library,
for Public Libraries, July, 1899. Miss Ellis says: "It was
written at a time when we had no children's department and was an
account of my pioneer efforts made entirely as a side issue from
my own work as general reference librarian."

Elizabeth Ellis spent one year in the New York State Library
School, later taking three months of special work. With the
exception of organizing a library at Wenona, Illinois, her work
was with the Peoria Public Library. She is not now in library

Since the public school of today is the source from which must
come our support tomorrow, it behooves us to give some attention
to the proper training of our school children if we would have
our grown people more appreciative of the value of their public
library and better able to use it.

We cannot begin too early, and if the children fall into line
there will be no trouble with the coming generation.

But they must learn to really use the library; to feel that they
are standing on their own feet and using their own tools, not
merely that there is a pleasant room where a good story may be
had for the asking. They must grow up in such familiar use of the
library in all its departments that it will come to be an actual
necessity to them in the pursuit of knowledge.

There are music, drawing, and physical culture teachers for our
schools; may we not have a few lessons in how to use a library to
the best advantage as part of the course? This field for
instruction may be worked to advantage by the librarian, with
comparatively little expenditure of time after the first round
has been made.

Teachers often feel that they have themselves already more
outside work than they can accomplish, but they are really glad
to have this instruction given in their schools, and in our
experience they have invariably taken great interest in it and
have done all in their power to further our efforts.

There is certainly no library work which sends in its returns
more promptly, for children feel an instinctive sense of
ownership in their library, and take a personal interest in
anything pertaining to it. They give the most flattering
attention and put their instructions into immediate practice. I
believe they really take more interest in the subject when
presented by "a lady from the library" than if it were only an
additional school lesson taught them by their teacher.

Most of the practical instruction must come in the grammar grades
and high school, but it is well to begin as early as the third
year, and possibly with the second, if there are found to be many
children in a room who have already begun to take books and if
there is no age limit. If it should so chance that only a small
number in a room are library members, it is better to give only
the general interesting library talk, leaving the specific
instruction till a second visit, when the fruits of the first
will probably appear. There is one point for the lowest room
which it may be well to mention. See to it that they are learning
to say their A B C's in the good old-fashioned way, for upon this
depends all familiar use of catalogs and indexes.

Any child who can write can fill out a call slip, and this we
teach them to do from the very first, either from a catalog when
help in selection must be given, or from a special list of books
for little children.

It must be impressed upon them that if they do not understand the
general instruction you are always ready and glad to explain
further. If they feel that you are really interested, even the
smallest ones will work with enthusiasm to prepare their own call
slips instead of asking each time for just any good book.

The intermediate grades, the fifth and sixth, and sometimes the
fourth, are quite able to understand the general catalog. I
should not advise much explanation at the school, at least in
these grades, of the card catalog, if the library has a printed
list. The use of a classed catalog, with its index, is easily
comprehended, and there are many whole classes of books which
these children will enjoy knowing about; boys, I should say,
perhaps, for it is the pages containing electricity,
photography, boat-building, and hunting, which are worn and
crumpled. It is the classed catalog which they will use most, but
they should understand the difference between it and the author

In all schools it is a good plan to give quizzes, even on a first
visit, to draw the children out. Those who are already patrons of
the library are delighted to show their knowledge. Afterwards it
would be well before the day of the visit, with the teacher's
consent, to send a short set of questions which would be answered
and returned for correction, thus giving you an idea of what
points need dwelling upon. These questions would vary from the
simplest points in filling out library numbers, giving authors to
titles and vice versa, to questions on arrangement, use of
dictionary catalog and of various reference books.

In upper grades and high school add a simple explanation of the
card catalog as being the most complete record, trusting to their
interest in coming to the library to use it practically. If there
is no printed catalog this explanation will have to be given to
fifth and sixth years also.

They should be advised to use both kinds, and particularly the
dictionary catalog for biography, as the short analytical
references are most often what they want.

Children, boys again particularly, take to the card catalog with
a confidence often lacking in their elders. I have seen them even
make out their fiction lists from the cards in preference to the
printed catalog, though for what reason I cannot explain, unless
it is their innate desire to explore the unknown.

It is a good plan to have sample cards plainly written in large
form on a sheet of paper, in addition to using a section of the
catalog itself if it seems advisable to take it. In lower rooms a
blackboard talk holds the attention better.

The use of the guide card, which misleads so many grown people,
the heading in red, and the see and see also cards in the
dictionary catalog, and the arrangement of biography in a classed
list are a few points, which may need dwelling upon, and which I
mention as having been found in our experience to be pitfalls for
the unwary.

In the upper grade rooms, and particularly in the high school,
comes the use of the encyclopedias and reference books.

I have found it hard to hold the attention of sixth-year pupils
in this part, but they ought to be familiar with a good
encyclopedia and biographical dictionary, and the gazeteer.

Tell them about Harper's Book of facts, Hayden's Dictionary of
dates, the Century and Lippincott reference books and so on; also
Chambers' Book of days, and the mythological dictionaries, in
addition to the best encyclopedias, leaving at each school a
descriptive list of these books for their further use. Call
especial attention to the biographical dictionaries--few persons
know how to use a set whose index is in the last volume; also
note difference between table of contents and index in general
books, and accustom them to use the latter. If there is a very
large reference room it might be well to have some of the best
books for school use collected on one shelf, and of course every
children's room should be thus supplied.

Poole's index may be explained for the principle, but practically
people are so sure to select the very volume you have not that it
is well to use a little discretion with regard to it, unless you
have made an index of all your own periodicals which are included
in Poole, and can induce children to be patient enough to use it
as a key to the other. The Cumulative index is rather better to
teach them the use of periodicals, since it does not contain so
many, and also as it gives such a very good idea of the
dictionary catalog. The back numbers can be used in your
explanations in the schoolroom for both purposes. Find out
whether there is a debating society, and if so bring out Briefs
for debate, Pros and cons, and tell them specially about the
periodical indexes for late subjects.

Care must be taken not to crowd too much into one lesson, or to
make it too technical; this latter point we must specially guard
against, and experience in teaching comes into good use here.
Their individual work with these books will have to be overlooked
for some time, even though they are not conscious of it; and one
must be ready to fly to the rescue and lend a helping hand
without a special request, which I have found some children too
timid to make.

In the first year of this kind of work the grammar grades and
high school would need some of the instruction given in the lower
grades, and after the system is really in working order there
would be no actual need to go beyond the grammar grade, as the
aim should be to have all really necessary instruction given then
as so large a majority of pupils never go farther; but in the
high school, if advisable, a course in bibliography could be
introduced, based on their school work.

The use of the reference room, or reference desk, is a thing to
be taught as much as the books themselves, and in this matter
those libraries in which there is not an entirely separate
children's room may have an advantage.

I am told that there is a certain feeling of timidity in entering
a reference room which is sometimes hard to overcome in children
accustomed to a special room and attendant.

Whatever the arrangement, they must be made to feel that the
reference room, its appliances and its attendants, are part of
their school outfit, an annex to the school as it were, however
much we, carrying out the idea of Dr. Harris, may think the
school an annex to the library. Accustom them as far as possible
to use reference books at the library, and perhaps the coming
generation will not invariably demand a book to take home, no
matter how small the subject or how large the number of
applicants for the same.

In this, as in all other school work, we must look to the teacher
for aid after the technical use of our tools is taught.

The average child does not so much need the encouragement to read
which may come from the library as constant guidance, which, to a
large degree, must and does rest with the teacher, and in this
matter of instruction much must depend on her even though the
teaching itself is not imposed upon her as part of her duties.
Explain to her your ideas, get her individual interest, and I can
testify that she will assist in many ways. Children take their
tone from their teacher, and the battle is half won if we have
her hearty cooperation. A catalog should be placed in every
school, and this she will help her pupils to use in nature work,
history, and geography, and at the different holidays; also for
their selections in speaking.

Particularly can she help in regard to their use of the reference
room. She will remind them from time to time to go there instead
of to the general delivery counter for special school topics. She
will furnish a weekly memorandum of her essay work, this
especially in the high school. She will send a warning note when
her whole class is to descend upon us in a body at the busiest
part of the afternoon, thereby probably saving our reputation in
the minds of these young people whom we are laboring to convince
that the library is an inexhaustible storehouse of information,
equal to any demand which may be made upon it.

Now is the time for them to put their theoretical knowledge into
practice, and we must often turn them loose with the reference
books to find their own way, if we would be able in the future to
deny the accusation that we are fostering laziness by having the
very page and line pointed out.

I really believe that when the present library and school
movement, has had time to exert its influence over even one
generation, unlimited possibilities will unfold. Think what it
will be to have our legislatures and city councils, our school
and library boards and corps of teachers, drawn from the ranks of
those who have grown up in the atmosphere of the public library
to a true appreciation of its value.


Principles and methods and the part of the public library in
giving library instruction are presented by Gilbert O. Ward,
Supervisor of High School Libraries, Cleveland, Ohio, in Public
Libraries, July, 1912. This and its allied subjects are more
comprehensively treated in several of the articles included in
the first volume of the present series, entitled "Library and

Gilbert O. Ward was born in 1880 in New York City, and was
educated in the New York City public schools. He was graduated
from Columbia University in 1902 and from the Pratt Institute
Library School in 1908. In 1908- 1909 he was an assistant in the
Pratt Institute Free Library. Since 1909 he has been a member of
the staff of the Cleveland Public Library, as librarian of the
Technical High School in 1909-1910, and as technical librarian
since 1910. From 1911 to 1913 he served as Supervisor of High
School Branches. Mr. Ward has published "Practical use of books
and libraries: an elementary textbook for use with high school

The term "elementary library instruction" is limited here to any
instruction given in the technical use of books and libraries to
students under college or normal school grade.

The object of this paper is to review briefly, (1) the reasons
for giving such instruction, (2) subjects and some methods
suitable for grade and high schools, (3) the part of the public
library in giving such instruction.

The subject of bibliographical instruction for school children
has become more important in recent years because of changes
which have taken place in school methods. Schools now place much
less reliance than formerly upon text-books, while on the other
hand they require of the student more collateral reading and
reference work. This is especially true in courses in English and
history; for instance where the high school student formerly
studied about Chaucer in a textbook, he is now more likely
required to read a selection.

This method while more fruitful in results than the old text-book
method presents new difficulties both to teacher and to student.
On the teacher's part, it is no longer sufficient to assign 10
pages for study and have done with it. References must be
consulted and assigned to the students for written or oral
report. With the troubles of the teacher however, we shall have
nothing to do in the present paper. On the student's part,
instead of being able to sit down to a compact account in a
single book, he is required to use perhaps a dozen books in the
course of a month, to say nothing of possible magazine articles.
In fine, instead of a single book, he must use a library. The
practical effect of this condition is that without some
understanding of the scientific use of books and of the
possibilities of either high school or public library, the
student wastes his time and finds these studies an increased
burden. The ordinary student is ignorant of how to handle books.

The primary purpose of formal library instruction is clearly then
to do away with the friction which hinders the student in his or
her work. There is no charm in bibliographical information as
such and no excuse for attempting to teach a child merely curious
or interesting facts for which he has no natural appetite or use.
An example of this mistake is the attempt to acquaint the student
with very many reference books, or go deeply into the subject of

The subject of library instruction in public schools conveniently
divides itself into two parts, (1) instruction in grade schools,
(2) instruction in high schools. I have elsewhere rather full
tentative outlines by way of suggestion, and limit myself at this
point to more general discussion.

In elementary classes, the subject matter must be simple, first
because the needs of the student are simple, and secondly because
it is more easily and willingly taught if simple. The subjects
which suggest themselves are: (1) The physical care of a book,
(2) printed parts of a book, (3) the dictionary, (4) the public

The physical care of a book comes naturally first because
children have to handle books before they can read them for
pleasure, or need to use them as reference helps. The subject is
important both to librarian and to school boards because it
affects the question of book replacement, and hence the
expenditure of public money. Speaking broadly, it is a question
of conservation.

The ordinary book, not the reference book, is the one with which
the student will always have most to deal; therefore as soon as
he is old enough, or as soon as his text books can serve for
practical illustration, the important printed parts of the
ordinary books can be called to his attention. It should be
sufficient to include the title page (title, author's name, and
date), table of contents and index.

The study of the dictionary (the first reference book) should be
taken up first with the pocket dictionaries when these are used
in class and the children should be practiced in discovering and
understanding the kinds of information given with each word.
Then, when the unabridged is attacked later, the essentials will
be familiar, and the mind freer to attack the somewhat complex
problems of arrangement and added information, e.g., synonyms,
quotations, etc.

After proper care of books, and the use of an ordinary book, and
the use of a simple reference book, the next natural step is to
the use of the public library. The talk on the public library
obviously includes some description of the library's purpose and
resources both for use and amusement, a very general description
of the arrangement of the books, possibly some description of the
card catalog--personally I am somewhat skeptical as to the
utility of the card catalog for grade pupils--and finally,
possibly an explanation of the encyclopedia.

The instructor for all the subjects mentioned excepting the
public library is logically the teacher, because the subjects
must be introduced as occasion arises in class. For instance the
time for teaching the physical care of a book is when a book is
first put into the child's hands. For the talk on the public
library, the library itself is obviously the place, and the
children's librarian the instructor Some special methods which
suggest themselves are as follows: for the physical care of a
book, a class drill in opening, holding, shutting, laying down,
etc., rewards for the cleanest books, etc.; for the card
catalogue, sample sets of catalogue cards (author, title and
subject). The latter method is successfully used by the
Binghamton (N. Y.) public library.

In high school, students vary in age from the grammar school boy
on the one side, to the college freshman on the other, and the
subjects and methods of instruction vary accordingly. In the
matter of bibliographical instruction this greater range is
reflected in a closer study of reference tools, including those
parts of an ordinary book not taken up in the grades, (e.g.,
copyright date, preface, peculiar indexes, etc.), the unabridged
dictionary, selected reference books, card catalog, magazine
indexes, etc. The intelligent care of books can be re-emphasized
by an explanation of book structure from dissected examples.

The specific subjects to be taught will vary with the time
available, the class of the student, the subjects taught in
school and the method of teaching them, and the material on hand
in the public or school library.

As to general methods of instruction, these also must vary to
suit the subject, the age of the student and the time available.
Straight lecturing economizes time but makes the class restless
and inattentive. An oral quiz drawing on the student's own
experience is useful in getting the recitation started and
revives interest when interspersed through a lecture. Each point
should be illustrated by concrete examples from books themselves
when possible, or from the blackboard. The lesson should be
concluded by a written exercise, not too difficult, which should
be marked. For example, the dictionary might be illustrated from
the sample sheets issued by the publishers; and the class should
then be given a list of questions to be answered from the
dictionary. The questions can frequently be framed so as to be
answered by a page number instead of a long answer, and each
student should as far as practicable have a set of questions to
answer different from every other student's.

If the high school possesses a library, much of the instruction
is most logically given there. This save the time of the class in
travelling back and forth from the school to the public library,
particularly if the course is an extended one.

But why does the instruction of school children in the use of
books and libraries concern the public library?

Because if children learn to use ordinary books intelligently it
means a saving of the librarian's time by her not having to find
the precise page of every reference for a child. It means a
diminished amount of handling of books. It means less disturbance
from children who do not know how to find what they want. Other
results will doubtless suggest themselves.

It is not proposed to train the student to be a perfectly
independent investigator. That would be impracticable and
undesirable. It is simply proposed to give him such
bibliographical knowledge as will be distinctly useful to him as
a student now, and later as a citizen and patron of the library.

But what part may the public library play in this instruction? It
obviously may play a very large part in high schools, the
librarian of which it supplies, as in the city of Cleveland. In
high schools when the librarian is appointed by the school
authorities, it can cooperate with the school librarian by
lending speakers to describe the public library, by furnishing
sets of specimen catalogue cards for comparison--for public
library cataloging may differ from high school cataloging--by
lending old numbers of the Readers' Guide for practice in
bibliography making, etc., etc.

Where there is no high school library and instruction must be
given by the teacher or the public librarian, again the
opportunities of the public library are clear. First there are
teachers to be interested. English and history teachers most
obviously, and department heads of these subjects are strategic
points for attack. The subject of course should never be forced
and a beginning should be made only with those teachers who seem
likely to take interest. In the Binghamton public library before
referred to, the librarian contrived to get the teachers together
socially at the library, and the plan was then discussed before
being put into operation. In laying the foundation for such a
campaign, the librarian should have a simple, but definite plan
in mind, based on her experience with school children so that
when asked for suggestion, she can advance a practicable

Finally, under any circumstances, the public library can always
be open for visits from classes, and ready to give class
instruction in either library or school room as necessity or
opportunity suggests. These methods are of course well known.
Much informal instruction can also be given to students on using
the index of an ordinary book, or the encyclopedia as occasion

Summing up the chief points of this superficial review, we have
seen (1) that the change in teaching methods has made the subject
of library instruction important. (2) That the subjects of such
instruction should be simple, and that both subjects and methods
must be adapted to the occasion, (3) and finally that the public
library is interested in the subject from a practical point of
view and is able to take an influential part in shaping and
administering courses.


The first article quoted on the subject of discipline was
contributed to The Library Journal, October, 1901, by Miss Lutie
E. Stearns, who gives the experience of a number of librarians
and interprets them from her own standpoint. Lutie Eugenia
Stearns was born in Stoughton, Mass.; was graduated from the
Milwaukee State Normal School in 1887, and taught in the public
schools for two years. From 1890 to 1897 she was in charge of the
circulating department of the Milwaukee Public Library; from 1897
to 1914 she was connected with the Wisconsin Library Commission,
part of the time as chief of the Travelling Library Department.
Miss Stearns now devotes her time to public lecturing.

In these days of children's shelves, corners, or departments, or
when, in lieu of such separation, the juvenile population fairly
overruns the library itself, the question of discipline ofttimes
becomes a serious one. The pages of library journals, annual
reports, bulletins, primers, and compendiums may be searched in
vain for guidance. How to inculcate a spirit of quiet and
orderliness among the young folks in general; how to suppress
giggling girls; what to do with the unruly boy or "gang" of boys
--how best to win or conquer them, or whether to expel them
altogether; how to deal with specific cases of malicious mischief
or flagrant misbehavior and rowdiness--all these questions
sometimes come to be of serious importance to the trained and
untrained librarian.

It was with a view of gaining the experience of librarians in
this matter that letters were recently sent to a large number of
librarians, asking for devices used in preserving order and quiet
in the library. The replies are of great interest, the most
surprising and painful result of the symposium being the almost
universal testimony that the leading device used in preserving
order is the policeman! One librarian even speaks of his library
as being "well policed" in ALL of its departments. Personally, we
think the presence of such an officer is to be greatly deplored,
believing him to be as much out of place in a library as he would
be in enforcing order in a church or school room. The term of a
school teacher would be short lived, indeed, who would be
compelled to resort to such measures. In several instances,
janitors do police duty, being invested with the star of
authority; and in one case the librarian, who openly confesses to
a lack of sentiment in the matter, calls upon the janitor to
thrash the offender! "The unlucky youth who gets caught has
enough of a story to tell to impress transgressors for a long
time to come," writes the librarian. "The average boy believes in
a thrashing, and it is much better in the end for him and for
others to administer it and secure reverence for the order of the

In one state at least, Massachusetts, there is a special law
imposing a penalty for disturbance; and one librarian reports
that he has twice had boys arrested and tried for disturbing
readers. Another librarian does not go as far as this but adopts
the device of showing unruly boys a photograph of the State
Reform School and the cadets on parade. "The mischief is quite
subdued before I am half through," she writes, "and they
frequently return bringing other boys to see the photograph. This
fact undoubtedly acts as a check upon the boys many times." A
pleasing contrast is offered to such drastic and unwholesome
methods as these by the gentle and cheery methods pursued by a
librarian who says, "The children in this library talk less than
the grown-ups. When they do raise their voices, I go up to them
and tell them in a very low tone that if everybody else in the
room were making as much noise as they, it would be a very noisy
place. That stops them. If children walk too heavily or make a
noise on the stairs, I affect surprise and remark in a casual way
that I did not know that it was circus day until I heard the
elephants. This produces mouse-like stillness at once. Really, I
know no other devices except being very impressive and putting
quietness on the ground of other peoples' rights."

But it is not always such smooth sailing. One librarian writes:
"We have had no end of trouble in a small branch which we have
opened in a settlement in a part of our city almost entirely
occupied by foreign born residents. A great many boys have come
there for the sole purpose of making a row. We have had every
sort of mischief, organized and unorganized. We have had to put
boys out and we have had many free fights, much to the amusement
and pleasure of the boys. We have never resorted to arrests, but
instructed the young man who acted as body guard to the young
lady assistants to hold his own as best he could in these melees.
I finally resorted to the plan of taking the young man away and
letting the young ladies be without their guard. This has
resulted most satisfactorily. The order has been much better, and
while I cannot say that we are free from disorder, nothing like
the state of things that before existed now obtains. The manager
of the Settlement House overheard a gang of these very bad boys
consulting on the street a few nights ago, something in this
wise: 'Come, boys, let's go to the library for some fun!' Another
boy said, 'Who's there?' The reply was, 'Oh! only Miss Y----;
don't let's bother her,' and the raid was not made. Of course we
have done everything ordinary and extraordinary that we know
about in the way of trying to interest the boys and having a
large number of assistants to be among them and watch them, but
nothing has succeeded so well as to put the girls alone in the
place and let things take their course."

The experience of another librarian also furnishes much food for
thought. She writes: "I could almost say I am glad that others
have trouble with that imp of darkness, the small boy. Much as I
love him, there are times when extermination seems the only
solution of the difficulty. However, our children's room is a
paradise to what it was a year ago, and so I hope. The only thing
is to know each boy as well as possible, something of his home
and school, if he will tell you about them. The assistants make a
point of getting acquainted when only a few children are in. This
winter I wrote to the parents of several of the leaders, telling
them I could not allow the children in the library unless the
parents would agree to assist me with the discipline. This meant
that about six boys have not come back to us. I was sorry, but
after giving the lads a year's trial I decided there was no use
in making others suffer for their misdeeds. A severe punishment
is to forbid the boys a 'story hour.' They love this and will not
miss an evening unless compelled to remain away. To give some of
the worst boys a share in the responsibility of caring for the
room often creates a feeling of ownership which is wholesome. Our
devices are as numerous and unique as the boys themselves. Some
of them would seem absurd to an outsider. The unexpected always
happens; firmness, sympathy and ingenuity are the virtues
required and occasionally the added dignity of a policeman, who
makes himself quite conspicuous, once in a while."

Another reply is a follows: "Miss C---- has turned over your
inquiry concerning unruly boys to me to answer. I protested that
every boy that made a disturbance was to me a special
problem--and very difficult; and I can't tell what we do with
unruly boys as a class. I remember I had a theory that children
were very susceptible to courtesy and gentleness, and I meant to
control the department by teaching the youngsters SELF control
and a proper respect for the rights of the others who wanted to
study in peace and quiet. I never went back on my theory; but
occasionally, of a Saturday afternoon, when there were a hundred
children or more and several teachers in the room and I was
trying to answer six questions a minute, I did have to call in
our impressive janitor. He sat near the gate and looked over the
crowd and when he scowled the obstreperous twelve-year- olds made
themselves less conspicuous. A policeman sometimes wandered in,
but I disliked to have to resort to the use of muscular energy. I
learned the names of the most troublesome boys and gradually
collected quite a bit of information about them, their addresses,
where they went to school, their favorite authors, who they
seemed 'chummy' with, etc., and when they found I didn't intend
to be needlessly disagreeable and wasn't always watching for
mischief, but credited them with honor and friendly feelings, I
think some of them underwent a change of heart. I made a point of
bowing to them on the street, talking to them and especially
getting them to talk about their books; had them help me hang
the bulletins and pictures, straighten up the books etc. Twice an
evil spirit entered into about a dozen of the boys and my
patience being kin to the prehistoric kind that 'cometh quickly
to an end,' after a certain point, I gave their names to the
librarian, who wrote to their parents. That settled things for a
while and they got out of the habit of talking so much. A serious
conversation with one boy ended with the request that he stay
from the library altogether for a month and when he came back he
would begin a new slate. Once, within a week, he came in, or
started to, when I caught his eye. Then he beckoned to another
boy and I think a transaction of some kind took place so that he
got his book exchanged. But he saw I meant what I said. The day
after the month was up he appeared, we exchanged a friendly smile
and I had no more trouble with him."

We deem the question of banishment a serious one. Unruly boys are
often just the ones that need the influence of the library most
in counteracting the ofttimes baneful influence of a sordid home
life. It is a good thing, morally, to get hold of such boys at an
early age and to win their interest in and attendance at the
library rather than at places of low resort. To withhold a boy's
card may also be considered a doubtful punishment-- driving the
young omnivorous reader to the patronage of the "underground
travelling library" with its secret stations and patrons. Before
suspension or expulsion is resorted to, the librarian should
clearly distinguish between thoughtless exuberance of spirits and
downright maliciousness. "If we only had a boys' room,"
plaintively writes one sympathetic librarian, "where we could get
them together without disturbing their elders and could thus let
them bubble over with their 'animal spirits' without infringing
on other people, I believe we could win them for good."

A number of librarians, however, report no difficulty in dealing
with the young folks. Some state that the children easily fall
into the general spirit of the place and are quiet and studious.
"We just expect them to be gentlemen," says one, "and they rarely
fail to rise to the demand." In such places will generally be
found floors that conduce to stillness, rubber-tipped chairs, and
low-voiced assistants. "Our tiled floors are noisy--not our
children," confesses one librarian. The use of noiseless matting
along aisles most travelled will be found helpful. But one
library mentions the use of warning signs as being of assistance,
this being a placard from the Roycroft Shop reading, "Be gentle
and keep the voice low." In a library once visited were found no
less than eighteen signs of admonition against dogs, hats,
smoking, whispering, handling of books, etc., etc.--the natural
result being that, in their multiplicity, no one paid any
attention to any of them. If a sign is deemed absolutely
necessary, it should be removed after general attention his been
called to it. The best managed libraries nowadays are those
wherein warnings are conspicuous for their absence. Next to the
officious human "dragon" that guards its portals, there is
probably no one feature in all the great libraries of a western
metropolis that causes so much caustic comment and rebellious
criticism as that of an immense placard in its main reading room
bearing in gigantic letters the command, SILENCE--this perpetual
affront being found in a great reference library frequented only
by scholarly patrons. Such a placard is as much out of place
there as it would be in a school for deafmutes.

The solution of the whole problem of discipline generally
resolves itself into the exercise of great tact, firmness, and,
again, gentleness. There should be an indefinable something in
the management of the library which will draw people in and an
atmosphere most persuasive in keeping them there and making them
long to return. A hard, imperious, domineering, or condescending
spirit on the part of librarian and assistants often incites to
rebellion or mutiny on the part of patrons. As opposed to this,
there should ever be the spirit of quietude, as exemplified in
the words previously quoted--"Be gentle and keep the voice low."


The following paper embodies practical suggestions for helping to
give the children's room a "natural, friendly atmosphere." It was
read by Miss Clara W. Hunt before the Long Island Library Club,
February 19, 1903. A sketch of Miss Hunt appears on page 135.

So many of the problems of discipline in a children's room would
cease to be problems if the material conditions of the room
itself were ideal, that I shall touch first upon this, the less
important branch of my subject. For although the height of a
table and width of an aisle are of small moment compared with the
personal qualifications of the children's librarian, yet since it
is possible for us to determine the height of a table, when mere
determining what were desirable will not insure its production
where a human personality is concerned, it is practical to begin
with what there is some chance of our attaining. And the question
of fitting up the room properly is by no means unimportant, but
decidedly the contrary. For, given a children's librarian who is
possessed of the wisdom of Solomon, the patience of Job, the
generalship of Napoleon, and put her into a room in which every
arrangement is conducive to physical discomfort, and even such a
paragon will fail of attaining that ideal of happy order which
she aims to realize in her children's reading room. The temper
even of an Olympian is not proof against uncomfortable

Children are very susceptible, though unconsciously to
themselves, to physical discomfort. You may say you do not think
so, for you know they would sit through a whole morning and
afternoon at school without taking off their rubbers, if the
teacher did not remind them to do it, and so, you argue, this
shows that they do not mind the unpleasant cramped feeling in the
feet which makes a grown person frantic. But while the child
himself cannot tell what is wrong with him, the wise teacher
knows that his restlessness and irritability are directly
traceable to a discomfort he is not able to analyze, and so the
cause is not removed without her oversight. While the children's
librarian will not have the close relations with the boys and
girls that their school-teachers have, she may well learn of the
latter so to study what will make for the child's comfort, that,
in the perfect adaptation of her room to its work, half the
problems of discipline are solved in advance.

Let us suppose that the librarian is to have the satisfaction of
planning a new children's room. In order to learn what
conveniences to adopt and what mistakes to avoid, she visits
other libraries and notes their good and weak points. She will
soon decide that the size of a room is an important factor in the
question of discipline. Let a child who lives in a cramped little
flat where one can hardly set foot down without stepping on a
baby come into a wide, lofty, spacious room set apart for
children's reading, and, other conditions in the library being as
they should the mere effect of the unwonted spaciousness will
impress him and have a tendency to check the behavior that goes
with tenement- house conditions. We of the profession are so
impressed with the atmosphere that should pervade a library, that
a very small and unpretentious collection of books brings our
voices involuntarily to the proper library pitch. But this is not
true to the small arab, who, coming from the cluttered little
kitchen at home to a small, crowded children's room where the
aisles are so narrow that the quickest way of egress is to crawl
under the tables, sees only the familiar sights--disorder,
confusion, discomfort --in a different place, and carries into
the undignified little library room the uncouth manners that are
the rule at home. In planning a new children's room then, give it
as much space as you can induce the librarian, trustees, and
architects to allow. Unless you are building in the North Woods,
or the Klondike or the Great American Desert you will never have
any difficulty in getting small patrons enough to fill up your
space and keep the chairs and tables from looking lonesome.

The question of light has a direct bearing on the children's
behavior. Ask any school teacher, if you have never had occasion
to notice it yourself, which days are the noisiest in her
school-room, the bright, sunny ones, or the dingy days when it is
difficult to see clearly across the room. Ask her if the pencils
don't drop on the floor oftener, if small feet do not tramp and
scrape more, if chairs don't tip over with louder reports, if
tempers are not more keenly on edge, on a dark day than a bright
one. I need not say "yes," for one hundred out of a hundred will
say it emphatically. So, if you cannot have a room bright with
sunshine, do at least be lavish with artificial light, for your
own peace of mind.

Floors rendered noiseless by some good covering help wonderfully
to keep voices pitched low. I have seen this illustrated almost
amusingly in Newark, where frequent visits of large classes were
made from the schools to the public library. The tramp of forty
or fifty pairs of feet in the marble corridors made such a noise
that the legitimate questions and answers of children and
librarian had to be given in tones to be heard over the noise of
the feet. The change that came over the voices and faces as the
class stepped on the noiseless "Nightingale" flooring of the
great reading room was almost funny. The feet made no noise,
therefore it was not necessary to raise the voice to be heard,
and no strictures of attendants were needed to maintain quiet in
that room.

Under the head of furniture I will give only one or two hints of
things worth remembering. One is that whatever you decide upon
for a chair, in point of size, shape, or style, make sure, before
you pay your bill, that it cannot be easily overturned. If you
have a chair that will tip over every time a child's cloak swings
against it, your wrinkles will multiply faster than your years
warrant. And reason firmly with your electrician if he has any
plan in mind of putting lamps on your tables of such a sort that
they positively invite the boy of a scientific (or Satanic) turn
of mind to astonish the other children by the way the lights
brighten and go out, all because he has discovered that a gentle
pressure to his foot on the movable plug under the table can be
managed so as to seem purely innocent and accidental while he
sits absorbed in the contents of his book. I would also ask why
it is that librarians think we need so MUCH furniture, when our
rooms are as small as they sometimes are? We seem to think it
inevitable that the floor space should be filled up with tables,
but, as Mr. Anderson remarked in his paper at Magnolia, if we saw
a family at home gathered around the table, leaning their elbows
upon it and facing the light, we should think it a very unnatural
and unhygienic position to adopt. Why should we, in the library,
encourage children to do just what physiologists tell us they
should not do? Why provide tables at all for any but those
actually needing them as desks for writing up their reference
work? For the many who come merely to read, why is not a chair
and a book, with light on the page of the book, and not glaring
into the child's eyes, enough for his comfort? This is worth
thinking about, I am sure, and worked out in some satisfactory,
artistic little back-to-back benches perhaps, would change the
stereotyped appearance of the children's room, and give the extra
floor space which is always sadly needed. It is an axiom in
library architecture that perfect supervision should be made
easily possible. In a children's room this should be taken very
literally. There should be no floor cases, no alcoves in the
room, no arrangements by which a knot of small mischief makers
can conceal themselves from the librarian for she will find such
an error in planning, a thorn in the flesh as long as the room

So much time devoted to the planning of the children's room, may
give the impression that the room is of more importance than the
librarian. It is a platitude, however, to say that the ideal
children's librarian, with every material condition against her,
will do a thousand times more than the ideal room with the wrong
person in it. The qualifications necessary to make the right sort
of a disciplinarian are, many of them, too intangible for words,
but a few things strike me as not always distinctly recognized by

In the first place, no librarian should compel that member of his
staff who dislikes children to do the work of the children's
department. While on general principles to let an attendant
choose the work she likes to do would be disastrous, since the
person best fitted for dusting might choose to be reference
librarian, in this one particular at any rate, the wishes of the
staff should be consulted. For while all may be conscientious,
faithful workers wherever placed, mere conscientiousness will not
make a person who frankly says children bore and annoy her, a
success in the children's room. Love for children should be the
first requisite, and the librarian who puts a person in charge of
that work against her will, will hurt the department in a way
that will be surely felt sooner or later. While love for
children, sympathy with, and understanding of them are all of the
first importance in the composition of a children's librarian,
some experience in handling them in large numbers (as in public
school teaching, mission schools, boys' clubs, etc.) is
extremely desirable. To deal with a mob of very mixed youngsters
is a different matter from telling stories to a few well-brought
up little ones in your own comfortable nurseries. The best
qualification for the work of children's librarian is successful
experience as a teacher, in these happy days when it is coming to
be the rule that law and liberty may walk side by side in the
school-room, and where firmness on the teacher's part in no wise
interferes with friendliness on the child's.

The children's librarian should have the sort of nerves that are
not set on edge by children. This does not mean that she may not
be a nervous person in other ways, indeed she must be, for the
nerveless, jelly-fish character can never be a success in dealing
with children. But I have seen people of highly nervous
organization who were really unconscious of the ceaseless tramp,
tramp, of the children's feet, the hum and clatter and moving
about inevitable in a children's library. Visitors come into the
room and say to such a person, "How can you stand this for many
minutes at a time?" and the librarian looks round in surprise at
the idea of there being anything hard to bear when she hears only
the little buzz that means to her hundreds of little ones at the
most susceptible age, eagerly, happily absorbing the ennobling
ideals, the poetic fancies, the craving for knowledge that are
going to make them better men and women than they would have been
without this glimpse into the realms beyond their daily

To attempt to enumerate, one by one, the qualities that combine
to make a wise and successful disciplinarian would be fruitless.
We can talk endlessly about what OUGHT to be. The most practical
thing to do to obtain such a person, is not to take a raw subject
and pour advice upon her in hopes she will develop some day, but
to hunt till you find the right one and then offer her salary
enough to get her for your library. And this suggests a subject
worthy of future discussion, that head librarians should reckon
this to be a profession within our profession, just as the
kindergartner is a specialist within the teaching body, demanding
a higher type of training than is the rule, and PAYING THE PRICE

Just a word about what degree of order and quiet to expect, and
to work for, in a children's room. Are we to try to maintain that
awful hush that sends cold chills down the spine of the visitor
on his first entering a modern reading room, and tempts him to
back out in fright lest the ticking of his watch may draw all
eyes upon him?

I should be very sorry to have a children's room as perfectly
noiseless as a reading room for adults. It is so unnatural for a
roomful of healthy boys and girls to be absolutely quiet for long
periods that if I found such a state of affairs I should be sure
something was wrong--that all spontaneity was being repressed,
that that freedom of the shelves which is a great educator was
being denied because moving about makes too much noise, that the
question and answer and comment which mark the friendly
understanding between librarian and child, and which make a good
book circulate because one boy tells another that it is good,
were done away with in order that no slight noise might be heard.
If there were such a thing as a meter to register sound to be
hung in a children's room beside the thermometer, I should not be
alarmed if it indicated a pretty high degree, provided I could
look around the room and observe the following conditions: a
large room, full of contented children, no one of whom was
wilfully noisy or annoying, most of them being quietly reading,
the ones who were moving about asking in low tones the children's
librarian or each other, perfectly legitimate questions that were
to help them choose the right thing. It is inevitable that heavy
boots, young muscles that have not learned self-control, the
joyous frankness of childhood that does not think to keep its
eager happiness over a good "find" under decorous restraint, will
result in more actual noise than obtains in the adults' reading
room. And yet, while the "sound meter" of the children's room
would register farther up, it might really be more orderly than
the other room, for every child might be using his room as it was
intended to be used, while the adult department might contain a
couple of women who came in for the express purpose of visiting,
and yet who knew how to whisper so softly as not to be invited to
retire. We must remember that, if children make more noise, they
do not mind each other's noise as adults do. The dropping of a
book or overturning of a chair, the walking about do not disturb
the young student's train of thought; and while I do not wish to
be quoted as advocating a noisy room, but on the contrary would
work for a quiet one, day in and day out, I do feel that
allowances must be made for noises that are not intended to be
annoying, and that we should not sacrifice to the ideal of
deathly stillness the good we hope to do through the child's love
for the room in which he feels free to express himself in a
natural, friendly atmosphere.


The Wisconsin Library Bulletin for July-August, 1908, is given up
to the presentation of widely varying experiences in regard to
discipline, in a report by Mary Emogene Hazeltine and Harriet
Price Sawyer, who sent a list of ten questions to 125 librarians,
and incorporated the replies.

Mary Emogene Hazeltine was born in Jamestown, N. Y., in 1868, and
was graduated from Wellesley College in 1891. She was librarian
of the James Prendergast Free Library in Jamestown from 1893 to
1906, when she became Preceptor of the Library School of the
University of Wisconsin, the position she now holds. She has
given much help to small libraries.

Mrs. Harriet Price Sawyer was born in Kent, Ohio, received the
degree of B. L. from Oberlin College: was an assistant in the
Oberlin College Library 1902-1903; was graduated from the Pratt
Institute Library School in 1904; was librarian of the State
Normal School at New Paltz, N. Y., 1904-1905; a student in the
University of Berlin, Germany, 1905-1906; Library Visitor and
Instructor, Wisconsin Library Commission, 1906-1910. Since that
time she has been chief of the Instructional Department in the
St. Louis Public Library, including charge of the training class.
In 1917 this class was expanded into a library school, with Mrs.
Sawyer as principal.

In March, a list of questions concerning the problem of
discipline in the library was sent out to 125 librarians. The
answers show a most interesting variety of experiences and
conditions. A few report that it is no longer a "vexed" problem,
and one librarian thinks that it is "only a well-maintained
tradition," but most of the writers agree with Miss Eastman of
Cleveland, who says: "You will note that while conditions vary
somewhat in the different branches, discipline is a question
which we have always with us whenever we work with children. I do
believe, however, that each year places the library on a little
higher and more dignified plane in the minds of the children as
well as the public generally; and that the question of discipline
becomes more and more a question of dealing with individuals."

As to disturbance without the library, there is but one opinion,
viz., to turn the matter over to the policemen, and this is
reported in every instance to have put an end to the trouble.

Any serious misbehavior within the library has been treated by
the suspension of library privileges, ranging in severity of
sentence from one day to a month or, in a few cases, even longer.
The variation, however, in the manner of carrying out the
sentence forms an interesting study, from the lightest form
reported, at Chippewa Falls, where the child may draw a book, but
remains in the library only long enough to secure it, to the
drastic measures taken at Sheboygan where the students were
ordered out of the library en masse even in the midst of
preparation for a test in history.

Miss Wood's plan is an interesting one, but the tactful helpers
are difficult to find.

The card system at Kenosha will no doubt solve the difficulty for
many librarians who find the initiative in the disciplining of
the older visitors at the library most difficult to undertake.

In some communities, the personal letter or visit to the parents
has proved most helpful, and, doubtless, the plan reported by
Miss Lord of asking the boy to sign his name will find favor in
the larger libraries.

The aim of discipline, according to educators, is the moral
foundation of character. The library as well as the school has to
make up for the lack of moral training in many homes, and good
conduct must be taught by the librarian as well as by the
teacher. The whole matter is very well summed up by Miss Dousman
of Milwaukee.

"It seems to me that order and good behavior are absolutely
imperative in the library. Good manners, that outward and visible
sign of the respect for the rights of others, should be expected
of children. How? By never failing yourself to treat them with
respect, courtesy and justice. To distinguish between unavoidable
disturbances and those made with mischievous intent. To see and
hear only the things you can prevent, else your nerves will get
the better of your judgment.

"Allow children as much freedom as possible, consistent with the
rights of others--and don't nag.

"In case of bad behavior, make a tactful and pleasant appeal to
the child first, thereby giving him a chance to reinstate
himself. This appeal failing, reprimand in no uncertain terms.
Dismissal from the room is the natural punishment for refusal to
obey regulations. Obedience as a virtue has not entirely gone out
of fashion. Suspension for a definite or indefinite period,
according to the offense is necessary for the maintenance of good
discipline. Limitation as to the number of times a week a
mischievous child may visit the library has a good effect. A
suspended sentence of permanent dismissal on failure to behave
has a most salutary effect. Reinstate as soon as there is an
evident desire to improve.

"In our zeal to control the child, some have lost sight of the
fact that it is quite as important to teach the child to control
himself; that if he is to become a good citizen, he cannot learn
too early to respect the rights of others."

At a meeting of the Massachusetts Library Club, reported in
Public Libraries, v. 12, p. 362 (Nov. 1907), Miss Harriet H.
Stanley of Brookline said of "Discipline in a Children's Room,"
that unnatural restraint was to be avoided, but the restraint
required for the common good was wholesome, and that children
were more, rather than less, comfortable under it, when it was
exercised with judgment and in a kindly spirit.

"Judgment comes with experience. ... As far as you are able, be
just. If your watchfulness fails sometimes to detect the single
offender in a group of children and you must send out the group
to put an end to some mischief, say so simply, and they will see
that they suffer not from your hard heartedness, but from the
culprit's lack of generosity or from the insufficiency of their
devices for concealing him. Be philosophical. Most disturbance is
only mischief and properly treated will be outgrown. Stop it
promptly, but don't lose your temper, and don't get worked up. To
the juvenile mind, 'getting a rise' out of you is no less
exhilarating than the performance which occasions it. Habitually
deny them this gratification and mischief loses its savor.

"Talk little about wrongdoing. Don't set forth to a child the
error of his ways when the 'ways' are in process of being
exhibited, and the exhibitor is fully conscious of their nature.
Choose another time--a lucid interval--for moral suasion.

"When children are intentionally troublesome, the simplest means
of discipline is exclusion from the room; when necessary, formal
exclusion for a definite period with a written notice to parents.
The authority of the library should be exercised in the
occasional cases where it is needed, both for the wrongdoer's own
good and for the sake of the example to others.

"Provided you are just and sensible and good-tempered, your
patrons will respect the library more and like you none the less
for exacting from them suitable behavior. We talk a good deal
about the library as a place of refuge for boys and girls from
careless homes, and they do deserve consideration from us, but to
learn a proper regard for public law and order is as valuable as
any casual benefit from books. The children of conscientious
parents whether poor or well-to-do also deserve something at our
hands, and we owe it to them to maintain a respectable standard
of conduct for them to share. Let us be hospitable and
reasonable, but let us be courageous enough to insist that the
young citizen treat the library with the respect due to a
municipal institution."

It has been impossible to publish in full all of the replies to
the circular letter sent out, but as much as possible has been
incorporated in this report, believing that each situation
delineated may give helpful hints toward the solution of this
general difficulty. The list of questions is given in the
synopsis appended to the admirable and helpful report contributed
by the chief of the children's department in Pittsburgh.

Miss Frances Jenkins Olcott, Pittsburgh

After ten years of experience we find our most difficult question
of discipline arises when the older boys and girls come into the
library. They usually come in the evening and we have the
greatest trouble with the boys. Sometimes we suspect that our
trouble with the boys is due to the influence of the girls, who
know how to keep quiet and yet make confusion!

The question of discipline depends largely on the district in
which a branch is placed and also on the planning and equipment
of the children's room--in fact of the whole branch building, and
on the personal attention of the branch librarian toward the

In answer to question ten I might say that everything depends on
the children's librarian's judgment and also on the children.
Some children come into the library to be sent home. They wish to
see how many times they can make mischief, and it is really a
pleasure to them to have you send them out. In other cases
children are much mortified by being sent from the room. It is
necessary that the children's librarian and her assistants should
know the children individually, especially their names and
something of their home conditions wherever possible. The
handling of "gangs" takes a great deal of tact and sympathy with

On the whole, given a well-planned and equipped children's room,
plenty of books, a sufficient number of the right kind of
children's librarians who are firm, tactful and sympathetic
(having a sense of humor and a wide knowledge of children's
books) and by all means a sympathetic branch librarian, the
question of discipline will usually smooth itself out. We have
one room in a crowded tenement district where the right young
woman has produced unusual order. The children come in and go out
happy and interested in their books, and there is little need for
reproof. This is due largely to the fact that we started in with
a determination to have reasonable order and the children learned
that to use the room it was necessary to be orderly, and they are
much happier and get more from the library.


1. At what hour is the discipline most difficult?

Discipline is most difficult during the busiest time, the
evening, our branch libraries being open until 9 o'clock.

2. With what ages do you have the most trouble?

The greatest trouble is with children from 10-16.

3. With boys or girls, or both?

Both boys and girls, but the greatest trouble with boys.

4. Are the scholars from the High School a special trouble?

It depends on the district in which the branch is situated and
the social conditions of the people visiting the branch.

5. Do any use the library as a meeting place, or kind of club?

This also depends largely on the district.

6. Do they come in such numbers that they over-run the library
and keep the older people away because of the consequent
confusion, noise, and lack of room?

No, excepting under conditions produced by bad planning of

7. Do you ever ask for help in the discipline--from the trustees,
police, or others?

The branches which have guards have less difficulty in
discipline, otherwise in some of the crowded districts the
janitors and police are occasionally called in.

8. Do the teachers help by talking to the scholars on the
necessity of behavior in public places?

As far as our knowledge goes, only occasionally.

9. Have you ever addressed the schools on this topic?

No, with one exception, where it proved satisfactory.

10. Do you ever send unruly children (either older or younger
ones) home? If so, with what result in the case of the
individual? With what effect on the whole problem? For how long
do you suspend a child? What are the terms on which he can

(a) We always send unruly children home, procuring their name and
address first whenever possible. If we have to send the same
child from the room frequently, a letter is sent to the parent
stating the reason. (b) This has worked well with but three
exceptions in four years. The crucial point is to find the name
of the child. (c) We have never suspended a child for more than
two months unless he were arrested for misbehavior. (d) An
apology to the librarian and good behavior following.

We send children from the library.

In this district we have two classes of disorderly children.
Those who came from homes where they have had no restraint of any
sort, and have too recently come to the library to have acquired
reading-room manners; and those who know very well how to conduct
themselves, but enjoy making a disturbance. We do our best to
help the former to learn how to conduct themselves quietly--the
essential means of course is to interest them in books and to
make them feel the friendliness of the room. But when a child of
the second class is disorderly, he is first made to sit quite by
himself; if he is persistently noisy, he is sent from the room.
The length of time he is suspended depends on his previous
conduct and on the offense in question; from a day to a month or
more. A child usually behaves like an angel when he first comes
back after being out of the library for any length of time.

We have a good many restless children, especially in winter, whom
it is difficult to interest in reading, but who enjoy pictures.
And we have found it useful to have plenty of copies of
especially interesting numbers of illustrated magazines like
Outing and World's Work to give them. And we have a desk list of
especially interesting illustrated books that we find useful for
these children. (East Liberty)

Mr. Walter L. Brown, Buffalo, N. Y.

Our work, even in the branches, does not offer much suggestion so
far as library discipline is concerned. I have talked the matter
over with all those having charge of the branches, the work with
the children in the main library, and the depositories at the
settlement houses, and they all agree, without hesitation, that
they are having no trouble whatever with the children of any

The William Ives Branch, which is in the district occupied by the
Polish and German people, had some trouble when it occupied a
store opening on the street. For a few weeks after this branch
was opened, the rough boys in the neighborhood bothered by
shouting, throwing things in the doors, and forming in large
crowds around the front of the building. The police helped out by
giving us a guard for a brief period. As soon as the novelty of
the library had worn off, and the children began actually to use
the books and get acquainted with the attendants, all trouble
seemed to stop.

We also had some trouble at one of the depositories when it was
first opened, this being in a rather unruly district in the lower
part of the city. All is now quiet here, and has been for a
number of years.

The consensus of opinion of our staff seems to be that when any
slight disturbance, which is all that we ever have now, occurs
that it is caused by one, two, or three boys. The problem of
preventing its repetition is solved by recognizing these boys,
and when matters are quiet, having a talk with them, gaining
their confidence and friendship. This, of course, is after any
punishment is administered. This has been done in a number of
instances, and has always been successful. Some of the library's
best friends among the older boys have been gained in this way.

The only discipline that is exerted is by sending the children
away from the library, and if they are told that they must stay
away for two or three days or a week, this is final and they are
not allowed to return until the time has expired. If a child is
using the Library, this seems to be all the punishment that is

We should say that in a library where there is any continued
trouble with the young people, it is not their fault, but the
fault of the library, and we should solve it by changing the
library methods.

Miss Clara F. Baldwin, Minnesota.

Of course we all know that almost everything depends on the
personality of the librarian, and it has been my observation that
the librarians of strong, winning personality, who make friends
with the children and young people from the start, have little
trouble with discipline. Your question relating to the
co-operation with the teachers seems to me very pertinent. In
some cases where discipline in the schools is not properly
maintained, there has been corresponding difficulty in the
library. Does it not all come back to personality, tact, and
strength of character, just as every problem of success or
failure does?

My theory is that order must be maintained even if the police
have to be called in, but do not drive the offenders away from
the library if you can possibly help it. They are probably just
the ones who need it most. Sometimes it may mean personal visits
to the parents, but I wouldn't lose a boy or girl if I could
possibly hang on to them.

Mr. George F. Bowerman, Washington, D. C.

We have your circular letter inquiring about the discipline in
our library as related to school children. In general I would say
that we have very little trouble in this direction. Most of the
trouble we have comes from the colored element which forms about
one-third of the population.

We are striving to get Congress, from which all our
appropriations come, to give us a regular police officer. I am a
great believer in the moral influence of brass buttons. At the
present time, our engineer and fireman are both sworn as special
police officers. They both have police badges, which they can
display on occasions. I would, however, like to have a regular
officer in uniform.

Miss Isabel Ely Lord, Pratt Institute, Brooklyn.

The difficulties of discipline in this library arise almost
entirely from the nature of the building, as the chief
disturbance with us is the noise of laughing and talking in the
halls. This is done quite innocently because people do not
realize that the big hall, with its beautiful stairway is really
a part of the building and that noise made there echoes through
into the various departments. The children have to cross a wide
stretch of intarsia floor, and any natural, normal child is
seized with a desire to run. For this reason we have the janitor
stationed in the lower hall from twelve to one and three to six
each day. When he is there, there is very little difficulty.

In the library rooms we do not have the trouble that occurs in a
community where the constituents of the Library know each other
well. In a big, shifting population like ours, people meet
usually strangers and there is no temptation to disturbing
conversation or to flirtation

In the children's room, as indeed in the adult department, the
matter is almost entirely controlled by personal knowledge of
people who offend. A child is spoken to by name and is made to
realize that it is a distinct individual matter if he or she has
offended. There have been occasions in the children's room when a
crowd of the older boys has come in, with evident intention of
making a little disturbance. Miss Moore established the custom,
in such cases, of asking each of these boys to sign his name and
address to a slip--or a separate sheet of paper-- and this had
usually a sufficiently quieting effect to obviate the need of
anything further. Occasionally the children's librarian has gone
to visit a child's parents, and so has the librarian. We also
have asked some times fathers and mothers to come to the library
to "hold court," but this has been in cases of theft and
suspected theft, and I suppose you do not include that in your
questions of discipline.

We lay great stress, especially in the Children's Room, on the
importance of a perfectly quiet and controlled manner in the
assistants. The training that our children have received in the
Story Hour, we feel, to be very valuable to them. This is a
special privilege to which they are admitted and they recognize
it as such. They have learned to come in and to go out on Story
Hour evenings with as much quietness as one can expect from a
body of children, and they are very courteous in the Story
Hours, saying a quiet "Thank you" to the story-teller instead of
indulging in clapping of hands, stamping of feet, etc. These
things help, I think, in the general control of the room, and I
think that Miss Cowing (who is not here now to speak for herself)
has occasionaly disciplined some child by refusing a Story Hour
ticket because of misbehavior in the room.

Mr. A. L. Peck, Gloversville, N. Y.

This institution has been in existence over twenty-eight years
and during all this time, there has been no trouble with
discipline. I am not willing to say that our young people or even
our older ones, are better than those of other places, but from
the very beginning everybody was given to understand that they
had to live up to a certain decorum, that is, men and boys have
to take off their hats and disturbing conversation is not

While we do not hesitate to speak to any who need reminding that
reading rooms are for serious purposes, in all these years we
have sent out of the rooms, three adults and five boys. Our
janitor is sworn in as a special policeman and everybody knows
that not only prompt ejection from the room, but also discipline
before the recorder in the city courts would be forthcoming in
consequence of any serious breach of order.

I have never hesitated to make it known that the readers' rights
must be respected and that reading and studying is serious work
and our people have always supported me in this, fully as much as
the board of directors. I do believe that as soon as people
understand this, there will be no trouble, but there must be no
vacillating policy.

The trouble we have occasionally with boys, mainly, is that they
try to be smart and will deliberately put books on the shelves
bottom side up, but one of the youngsters was caught in the act
and promptly sent home. His father was notified and fully agreed
with us that the library was no place for such mischief and
promised that his youngster would behave henceforth. This had a
wholesome effect on all the others and there has been no trouble

I also have to say that our children's room is 45 feet away from
the adult department and we do not permit young people under 14
to roam about the building, we keep them strictly in their own
room. As soon as young people are admitted to the high school, we
at once admit them to the entire library even if they should be
under 14 years of age. They consider this a great privilege and
we thus far have had no trouble. The high school students come
here for study as well as for reference work and make proper use
of the library. They know from experience that we do not allow
any nonsense and under no consideration would we permit the
library to be a place of rendezvous for promiscuous visiting.

Our institution seems to discipline itself without any
difficulty. The principle upon which we work is very simple.
"Readers demand quiet, therefore, conversation even in low tones,
is strictly prohibited." This is literally carried out and not
the least exception is made. Posters, with the rule quoted above
printed on small cards are distributed through the rooms, placed
on the tables and renewed from time to time.

As soon as the public realizes that it is the intention of the
Board of Managers and their representative officers to live up
strictly to this rule and to carry it out at all hazards, they
soon learn to behave and not much difficulty is experienced.

Mr. A. L. Bailey, Wilmington, Del.

The discipline in this library while occasionally bothersome,
does not on the whole cause us much annoyance. The offenders are
chiefly students from the high school who use the library in the
afternoon and forget at times that the reading room is a place of
quiet. No special measures have been taken to preserve quiet.
Generally once speaking to the offender will prove sufficient to
stop whispering or loud conversation, but if he is persistent in
talking or whispering, we request that he leave the room. This
always has a good effect, for its seldom happens that we have to
expel the same person more than once. In asking readers to leave
the reading room, we realize that we run the risk of making them
so angry that they will never again make use of the library but
we believe that the great majority who are quiet and well-behaved
shall not be annoyed if we can prevent it.

While the older children from the schools are the chief
offenders, perhaps the most exasperating are the influential
women of the city who come to the library on market days
(Wednesday and Saturday mornings) and visit more or less with
each other. This is a custom established long before the library
became free, and owing to the prominence of the offenders and
their real interest in and intelligent use of the library, one
with which it is hard to deal. A sign placed in the reading room
requesting readers to refrain from all unnecessary conversation
has had a most noticeable effect on this class of readers and the
annoyance is much less than it was three years ago.

The juvenile department occasionally has to call upon a policeman
to help keep order. This, however, is due to the fact that there
is a large hallway and broad stairways just outside the rooms
which the library occupies. Discipline in this part of the
building is a cause of great annoyance. We cannot afford to pay a
guard to stay in the hall and as the police force is not
sufficient for the city's needs, a policeman can only spend a few
moments as he passes by on his beat. In the juvenile room itself
we have trouble only with gangs of young negroes and this only
occasionally. When they come to the library it is hard to
interest them and the demoralizing influence that they introduce
compels us at times to expel them and even to forbid them to
return. We have only once sent special word to the schools asking
teachers to request children to preserve order. We believe that
the teachers, so far as they are able, try to inculcate
principles of right behavior in public places, but we believe
that the discipline of this library is entirely in our own hands,
and until the situation becomes one with which we can not cope,
we prefer not to call upon the schools for assistance.

Miss Caroline M. Underhill, Utica, N. Y.

One of the problems in guiding these intermediate readers does
not pertain to their reading, but to controlling the lawlessness
which is frequently manifested. General restlessness, a desire
for fun always and everywhere, characterizes many of the young
people who frequent our libraries. A difference in locality
brings different problems, but this one is universal. In Utica
our new building brought increased opportunity to those inclined
to fun. The strangeness of it, access to the stack, curiosity
concerning the glass floors, the book-lift, the elevator, and
even the electric lights, with the constant moving about of
people who came simply to see the building, increased this
tendency to restlessness among the young readers. In addition to
this came the everpresent problem of the flirtatious boy and
girl. Our wish to let them enjoy all possible liberty was soon
interpreted to mean license.

Finding that they did not yield to ordinary methods, it was
decided, as an emergency measure, to issue "stack cards" through
the second year in High School. These were small cards having
Utica Public Library printed at the top: then space for name and
address, followed by "is hereby granted the privilege of using
the stack for reading and study." These gave permission to use
the stacks for selecting books and for reading at the stack

Before issuing these cards, each boy and girl was instructed as
to the right use of a library and the consideration due from one
reader to another, and then asked to sign a register in which
they promised to use the library properly whenever they came.
These cards were to be shown each time they wished to go into the
stacks, but in no way did they interfere with drawing books at
the desk, if they had neglected to bring them. Any mis-behavior
took away this stack card until they were again ready to fulfill
their promise.

This plan was entirely foreign to our theories, our wishes, or
our beliefs, but in an emergency proved helpful in making the
boys and girls realize we were in EARNEST when we said we wished
to have it more quiet. Best of all, it gave an opportunity for a
little personal talk with each one, and though of necessity this
took much time, we considered it well worth while. Decided
improvement made it unnecessary to continue the use of the card.

To the older boys and girls we take pains to explain why we ask
them to respect the place and the rights of others. Occasionally
we have written a letter to those who offend continually, signed
by the librarian and a member of the library committee. In the
majority of cases this brought about the needed reform-- if not,
the privileges of the library were taken away.

Miss Mary A. Smith, Eau Claire, Wis.

I am quite interested in your questions about discipline, as we
feel we have reached a very comfortable stage in the problem
after considerable agitation and I have wondered some times what
plan others followed.

Our whole argument with young people--(that means high school
here as they seemed the only disturbing element) was
consideration for other people. When talking to grade pupils that
were soon to come into high school, we explained that we could
have only two grades in a public library, children and grown
people. When they entered high school and used the main library
almost entirely, we classed them as grown people and must expect
from them the same carefulness, as older people were much more
easily disturbed.

The discipline we found, as usually is the case, one of
individuals. We first spoke to the transgressor. If he did not
pay sufficient regard as shown in action, we suspended him
usually for a week, with a very definite explanation, that before
he returned, he must give a pledge in place of the one on the
registration card which he had broken. He knew these pledges were
filed away as part of the library record. If that pledge was
broken it meant that the case would be referred to the Library
Board. This had to be done but once and that had an excellent
effect. The Board suspended for several months with the
understanding that return then depended on pledges made to the

There must be one person who is making the standard for conduct
and that person must be on hand during hours when trouble is
likely to arise; that means the librarian. Assistants must be in
sympathy, watch, help and report cases, but not take active part
in discipline.

The penalty must be a very certain thing, as sure a law in the
public library as violation of law on the streets. There must not
be nagging of young people nor wasting of words. When a
transgressor is told to do anything, it must be done in such a
manner, and without anger or annoyance in voice, if possible, so
that a librarian can turn away and know the order will be obeyed.

I believe it is possible to establish a standard of conduct in a
public library, which a young person will feel and know if he is
not within that standard. It can not be done in a week nor a
month. I hope we have one here now. I mean by that also that a
librarian can leave the library and not feel that any advantage
is going to be taken of an assistant because she is not there. I
do not believe in a librarian popping in any time during her off
hours making the young people feel she is ready to spring upon
them at unexpected moments.

The above states what we have been doing, and we seldom now have
to think of discipline. If we see signs of carelessness, we nip
them in the bud. One must discriminate between a moment's
thoughtlessness in a young person and the beginning of a wrong
library habit. That may not seem clearly put. A firm, steady
glance in his direction and the way he takes it will usually
diagnose the case.

I think the object of discipline in a Public Library is much more
than to keep young people quiet. It seems now-a-days one of the
few public places where they may mingle with older people and
show them consideration. A quiet library ought to be an antidote
for unseasonable boisterousness suffered by young people. No
librarian need fear she is driving people away, if she tightens
up all along this line. That at least has not been our
experience, as we grew rapidly while we were the most strenuous.
People have more respect for an institution, where each person
will be held to his privileges, and not be allowed to interfere
with another's.

I was amused the other night when a high school boy, who had
needed suggestion himself two years ago, came to me and said he
thought two younger boys were disturbing an older gentleman in
the reference room. These younger boys who were only talking more
than was necessary, had not used the reference room and did not
clearly understand that the same amount of conversation was not
allowed there as in the other room. I spoke to them and when I
returned suggested to the older boy that he might keep an eye on
them, as I much preferred they stay there and think of the older
man than come into the other room. He reported that they gave no
more trouble.

Our reference room discipline has been very much assisted by a
signing of the simple agreement: "I promise to refrain from all
unnecessary conversation in the reference room." All high school
students sign before using the room. The paper lies on the loan
desk so at a glance we expect to be able to tell who is there.
The room is away from the desk and can not be watched from it.
"Unnecessary" was not in when we began. It was absolute, but we
found we could give more liberty. Whenever this pledge was
violated, which was not often even at first, no explanation was
accepted, a word had been broken: "A bad thing," we said, "for a
young person in a public library. Don't sign what you cannot

One must be even and not allow one day what one lets pass the
next and that is not an easy thing to do. Do not start to evolve
an orderly library out of a disorderly one and expect to escape
all criticism. Be ready to explain fully to the parent whose
child has been disciplined.

I have wondered sometimes if the disorderly library did not have
more than one cause. If you wish orderly conduct you must also
have an orderly library, a place for everything and everything in
its place. We have not a perfect library yet in Eau Claire and we
hope we may obtain some suggestions from other libraries to help
on that glad time.

Miss Harriet A. Wood, Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

The difficulty can be largely overcome by giving the active boys
something to do. We let them put up books and even slip the
books, if they are careful, put in labels, etc. We have a Boy's
Club recently organized. Now the girls are clamoring for one. A
trustee has charge of it. I believe that the librarian should
make more of an effort to know the boys and girls personally.
During the past two months, we have been working along this line
with good results. The boys are simply full of spirit; they are
not bad. We never ought to expect to eliminate noise entirely,
unless we drive out the children. Our library is open without
partitions between the children's room and the other rooms. Boys
that have been troublesome in the past, come in now that they are
older, and read like gentlemen. Many of the boys, we find upon
inquiry, are orphans. some without fathers, some without
mothers. The probation officer of the Juvenile court works with
us. One of her boys is an ardent helper in the children's room.
We have found it much better to speak to a boy quietly when he is
not with his companions. He is more likely to respond. We try to
make the boys and girls feel that we are interested in them. If
they come to us to use the library as a meeting and perhaps a
loafing place, we should be glad. If we have not the time and
strength to seize this opportunity for social betterment, we
should enlist tactful men and women in the city who can help with
the problem.

Miss Mary A. Smith, La Crosse, Wis.

At the branch, the discipline is the great difficulty. The branch
took the place of a badly managed boy's club so we really did not
have a fair start. The discipline in the room is still a problem
not entirely solved. A large number of the most restless boys had
no respect for authority and had the impression that the library,
being a free and public institution, was a place where they could
act as they pleased. Through the kindness of Mr. Austin and Mr.
Hiller, who have given their time to read aloud to the boys two
evenings a week and have personally interested the boys in the
books at the library, this impression has changed and in its
place has come an attempt on the part of some of the boys at a
system of self government. Next fall we hope to establish clubs
among the boys, giving them the use of the room back of the
reading room and any assistance they may need, but leaving the
organization in their hands.

The reading aloud has been most successful and has had a constant
attendance of about 50 boys. With the children lies our chief
hope of developing the reading habit and love of good books.
Through the children also we look for the increase in adult
readers. This grows slowly at the branch for the reason that
older people do not yet come to read the magazines kept on file
in the room.

Mr. Henry J. Carr, Scranton, Pa.

To send unruly children out of the building and forbid them to
come again until prepared to behave properly is our strongest
"card," and it proves effective, too. No definite period is

Administration of all discipline promptly, pleasantly, but no
less firmly and without relaxation, on the least sign of its
need, we find to do much towards obviating the necessity.

Miss Maude Van Buren, Mankato, Minn.

I make occasional visits to all the schools, and the first talk
of the year usually includes a word on conduct, but I am careful
to have the young people feel that I know their shortcomings in
this matter are only those of thoughtlessness, never of mischief
nor meanness; that the only reason for requiring perfect quiet in
a public library is a consideration of other's rights. It is all
a matter of the librarian's attitude.

Miss Grace D. Rose, Davenport, Iowa.

When the children's room was in the basement in a room much too
small for the numbers which came, there was a great deal of noise
and confusion. Since the removal to the large, beautiful room on
the second floor, the order has been much improved. The children
seem impressed by the dignity and quiet of the room, and even
upon days when they come in large numbers, there is no confusion
and very little of the former playing.

At present, we have several children who are allowed to draw
books but must transact their business as quickly as possible,
and cannot exchange them under two weeks.

Miss Ethel F. McCullough, Superior, Wis.

The question of library discipline is not so much a question of
troublesome and disorderly patrons, as it is a question of
library administration. Given a quiet, attentive staff, a
building arranged for complete supervision, noiseless floors and
furniture intelligently placed--given these five essentials, a
well ordered library must be the inevitable result. With any one
of these lacking, the problem of discipline becomes a complicated

Mrs. Grace K. Hairland, Marshalltown, Iowa.

The matter of discipline, in a small public library, where the
loan desk with its unavoidable attendant confusion, is so near
the Reading Room as to furnish a cover for the whispering and
fun--is not the easiest problem in the world to solve. There is
nothing we desire more than to have every man, woman, and child
love the library. To wet blanket the enthusiasm with which they
seek our sanctuary the instant school is over, surely would not
be good administration. The majority come to do serious work; it
is only a few who use it as a trysting place and who disturb the
"Absolute silence" which we profess to maintain, (and of which we
have tangible reminders conspicuously posted) and yet we realize
that those few irrepressibles may prove most annoying to serious
readers. Tact is necessary and methods must be devised to correct
this without using so much severity or nagging, as to drive away
the thoughtless. Often we have arranged to do some reference
work, looking up material for club programs perhaps, at the hour
just after school when the older children flock into the reading
room. This can be done at the tables and "sitting in their midst"
has a salutary effect. Of course it could not be done with a
staff of one or two.

During this last winter the high school arranged for seven
debates. The unbounded enthusiasm of those taking part resulted
in a total ignoring of the rules; groups of debaters stood about
hotly contesting points, causing consternation to the staff until
the plan of giving over to them the newspaper room, (not used by
the public) was carried into effect. Every effort is made to keep
the good will of the older boys and girls, and it is only with
these that there is any suggestion of trouble. The children's
room, especially since we have had a children's librarian, is
under perfect discipline. There are dissected maps, quiet games,
and stereopticon views on their tables beside Caldecott's and
other picture books and they are so well entertained that there
is no occasion for mischief.

Extreme measures are not resorted to among the older boys and
girls except on rare occasions. If, after being spoken to once or
twice and perhaps sent out, they still prove obstreperous, they
are suspended for a month and this has always resulted in reform.

In no case have we found it necessary to resort to aid from the
police. I should like very much to have a club room, or
"conversation room" perhaps it might be called. The shelves of
the newspaper room are filled with magazines for binding and
these are often misplaced and even torn and lost when that room
is used; besides it is in the basement and out of sight. The
ideal room would have glass doors and the occupants in sight of
the staff all the time. Then the high school students could come
from the strict discipline and restraint of the school room and
have a quiet discussion of their work or even a social chat and
be in a much better place than the cigar stores or post office.

Miss Grace Blanchard, Concord, N. H.

When a librarian is much "dressed up" and can take time to play
that she is an agreeable hostess, all children, whether little
aristocrats or arabs, enter into the civilized spirit of the
occasion and become more mannerly.

Miss Lucy Lee Pleasants, Menasha, Wis.

To achieve the best results, the librarian should never make an
enemy and should lose no opportunity of making a friend. If
children talk at the tables, separate them by asking them
politely to change their seats. If they have really something to
talk over, such as a lesson or a sleighride, permit them to go
into another room to discuss it. They will appreciate the
privilege and will behave better in consequence.

I have known a gang of little boys, who had the habit of coming
to the reading room to make a disturbance, completely won over
and converted into agreeable patrons by being captured red handed
and told an amusing story. Children who come to the library are
like everybody else--very apt to treat you as you treat them.

Mrs. C. P. Barnes, Kenosha, Wis.

About a year ago, I submitted a rule to the Board for their
approval, and asked permission to have it printed on cards, for
use on the tables in the reading room. It was worded as
follows:-- "A rule has been made that no whispering nor talking
shall be allowed in the reading room, even for purposes of study.
For the good of the public, this rule will be strictly enforced,
and anyone failing to observe it will be requested to leave the
building. By order of the Board of Directors." It has been more
effective in promoting order than any other experiment. Of course
it occasionally happens that the card is overlooked or unheeded,
but it is a very simple matter to hand one of these cards to the
offender, and with a pleasant smile say, "We have no choice but
to enforce this rule" and the deed is done.

Miss Helen L. Price, Merrill, Wis.

When we know our young scamp and always speak to him in a spirit
of good fellowship when we meet him, and take an opportunity in
the library some time when there is no one to be disturbed, to
discuss postage stamps, chickens, rabbits, or, best of all, dogs
with him, he will soon lose all desire to torment, and when it is
only exuberance to contend with, then that is easy.

For malicious disturbance, we send the offender out, quickly and
surely and discuss the matter with him later, if at all. "Go--
quickly and quietly--and no noise outside if you want to come

Miss Agnes Dwight, Appleton, Wis.

We do not have absolute quiet all the time and I do not aim to
have, but it is a favorite place for all ages to come. I, myself,
never tell a boy that if I have to speak to him again I shall
send him out. He goes the first time if it is necessary to speak
to him at all. That sounds savage, but it is a long time since I
have had to be so cruel. We have the goodwill of the small boy,
that is for the time being, they may begin to act up at any time.

Mrs. W. G. Clough, Portage, Wis.

Judging from the impression made upon people from other libraries
I should infer that our library is in a pretty well ordered
condition in the matter of discipline.

From the opening of our library we have impressed upon the public
the necessity for quiet and order. We do not permit any talking
aloud, a rule to which there are very few exceptions. The use,
even, of subdued tones in the routine of selecting and exchanging
books is not allowed among children and is discouraged among
adults. The public understand and appreciate the fact that the
library is no place for visitation or conversation. It has been
necessary to pursue this course as we have but one large room for
stacks, reference books, reading tables, children's department
and charging desk.

We have in a measure to contend against the noise attendant upon
hard wood floors, and we are disturbed at times during the last
hour of the evening from the room above which is the armory of
the city company of the national guard. This, however, in no way
affects the discipline of the library, excepting as it makes
discipline there more essential.

Miss Deborah B. Martin, Green Bay, Wis.

Occasionally we have had difficulty from a crowd of boys entering
the room in a body with a great deal of noise, annoying the
librarian and readers by making a disturbance at the tables and
altogether proving themselves a nuisance. We found that the most
effective means for putting a decisive stop to the trouble was to
write a polite note to the parents of each offender, saying that
as the boy was proving an annoyance to library patrons, it might
be well if he was kept away from the library until he was old
enough to understand its uses. The parents have never resented
this notice and after a reasonable time, the youth has returned
to the library chastened and pleasant and there has been no
further trouble with him.

High school boys and girls do make the library a meeting place,
and two years ago it became so noticeable that the Principal of
one of the high schools, in a communication to the parents of
scholars, spoke of the public library as a rendezvous. It is
certainly not the province of the librarian unless these young
people prove an annoyance to the reader, to discipline them or
tell them what company they should keep. At a meeting of the
Woman's club, the librarian was asked to speak to the club on the
Public Library and its Work. This gave an opportunity to bring in
the question of library discipline in its relation to the young
people who flocked there less for study than for pleasure. The
talk in this instance fortunately reached the right people, who
perhaps had never thought the matter over before, and the library
is not now, to any extent, used as a meeting place for high
school students, although they still use it largely in their
reference work.

Miss Nannie W. Jayne, Alexandria, Ind.

A few boys and girls from the high school and eighth grade have
made two or three attempts to use the library as a meeting place.
These meetings have been promptly broken up and a private talk
with each offender has been the means used to prevent a
repetition of the offense. A special effort has been made to
impress the girls with correct ideas on this point, and in almost
every case, these talks have resulted in an apology from the girl
for her behavior.

If all general conversation be prohibited, the library offers but
little attraction to those who would come merely for a good time.

Miss Martha E. Dunn, Stanley, Wis.

We have had some experience with the older scholars making the
library a meeting place. I mentioned the fact to the library
board, and the president, who was the editor of our local paper
at that time, made mention of it in the next issue. Since then,
there has been no trouble. Our local paper has done much toward
helping to put down any annoyance in and around the library
building. It is a good thing to have the editor of the paper on
the library board.

Miss Anna S. Pinkum, Marinette, Wis.

Our problems of discipline are, in some respects, peculiar to
local conditions and in other respects, are the results of a
larger movement which seems to be sweeping the entire country.
Broadly speaking, two causes which make discipline such a
difficult task stand out prominently:

1. Local causes. A 9 o'clock curfew law and that not enforced;
parents allowing their children to roam the streets at night;
misdemeanors winked at by those in authority, particularly the
police; a general laxity on the part of parents and city
officials in correcting offences.

2. Universal movement. Loss of parental authority. This is not
peculiar to Marinette, but it is a deplorable state of affairs
which is being brought to light all over the country.

We find that moral suasion does not work effectively.
Theoretically probably none of us believes in being caught
wearing a frown, but most of our boys and girls respect sternness
and assertive authority when they will not respond to any sort of
kindly advice or appeal to their better natures.

After the study of this problem for some time, the conclusion
reached is this:--With one assistant, we can control any
situation that may present itself within the library and by so
doing, in time, may create the habit of quiet and orderly
conduct; but until parents realize that their children need
guidance, correction, and above all need to be kept from roaming
the streets at night, the problem of discipline will be an ever
present one both in the schools and in the library at Marinette.

Mrs. Anna C. Bronsky, Chippewa Falls, Wis.

We have had only a few occasions when it was necessary to deny
pupils the privileges of the library. In such cases, the
suspended one may come to the library for any books needed in
school work, but is not allowed to remain longer than is
necessary and may not go in to the reading room. This has been
found helpful in most cases. I dislike very much to send a child
out of the library, and only do so when it is imperative; for
while they may be trying at times, they are the very ones who
need the help that the library can give. Often the mischievous
mood is of short duration, the attention is arrested by something
in one of the books before him, and suddenly, your noisy boy is
transformed into a studious youth. It is a great satisfaction to
know that while the small child is in the library, he is not only
safe from the evil influences of the street but is deriving a
double benefit--the enjoyment of the book that absorbs him for
the time being, and the habit of reading that is unconsciously
being formed.

Mr. R. Oberholzer, Sioux City, Iowa.

If a real disturbance is made which seems clearly intentional, a
quick dismissal follows. Reproof is never repeated--once speaking
in that way is enough. Reproof is always made in an undertone,
and the command to go home, while imperative, is in a few words
and followed by absolute silence until obeyed. This is much more
impressive than any amount of talk. Dismissal is only for the
day. I have never suspended anyone, and only once did I write to
the lad's mother that it would be better if her son did not come
to the library for a time. If a child really wants to come to the
library he learns to conduct himself so as not to offend the
people who are in other ways such good friends of his. If he only
comes for mischief, he soon concludes that the game is not worth
the candle. The desire to "show off," always a strong element in
a mischievous child, is not gratified, and the whole atmosphere
is against him.

To keep things going in this way is not easy except by eternal
vigilance, both for the public who have to be taught some things
over every day, and for library workers who have to learn to be
good natured but unyielding, obliging but arbitrary, eternally
patient but abnormally quick.

In short, discipline in a library is, as everywhere, a matter of
atmosphere rather than method, and atmosphere always means a
group of forces expressed through personality.

Miss Nelle A. Olson, Moorhead, Minn.

Before our library opened, I visited all the rooms of all the
schools of the city to talk library. I tried to awaken interest
and enthusiasm, and to make perfectly clear to the students
beforehand the purpose of a library and what was expected of them
there and why.

During the first few weeks I managed to spend a good deal of time
in their room, moving about among them, helping them, and ready
with a word of reminder the very moment a boy forgot himself. I
tried in every possible way to help them to form correct library
habits from the first. They all seemed anxious to conform to the
library spirit when they understood it.

Now, when a boy does something a little out of the way, I try to
pass over it as much as possible at the time, then when he comes
in again some time, perhaps having forgotten his feeling of
irritation, I try to talk kindly with him about it and I find he
usually takes it kindly then, and does not trouble again.

I have tried always to take it for granted that the boy did not
mean to annoy but forgot himself or was a little careless. I have
no set procedure, but try to settle each little difficulty as
that particular case seems to warrant and never to let it go on
until it becomes a great one.

Miss Kate M. Potter, Baraboo, Wis.

The burning of our high school, two years ago, made the library
the only place of general meeting for the scholars. While it was
an added trouble at the time, I am not sorry for the experience
either for the scholars or myself. Classes were held downstairs
and study periods in the reading rooms. The children were made to
realize they were under the same discipline as in the assembly
room and while it took our time, it taught them the proper use of
the library and we gained in the experience.

First:--In regard to the children coming in such numbers as to
keep the older readers away. The older people make such little
use of the books in comparison, I believe in giving the time and
room to the children.

Second:--As to their making it a meeting place. In smaller places
the children have no other place to go. Is it not better to
attract them to the library?

Third:--As to discipline. We find one thing essential--not to let
them get started in the wrong way. A boy or girl spoken to at
first, generally does not repeat the offense.

While this all takes the librarian's time I feel that it is
spent, in the greatest good to the greatest number, after all.

Miss Gertrude J. Skavlem, Janesville, Wis.

The Janesville Public Library is so arranged that the desk
attendant has almost no supervision over the Reading and
Reference Rooms. The matter of discipline in those rooms was a
source of considerable trouble until an attendant took charge
there in the evenings. We find it necessary to have this
attendant only during the winter months, when more High School
students use the library than at other times.

It is not the policy of the Library Board to enforce any strict
rules as to quiet in the rooms. Rules are very lenient and the
enforcement more by inference than in any other way. An attendant
if she has the requisite personality, may, simply by her manner
ensure quiet and orderly conduct, at least that has been our
experience during the past year.

Various other means were tried before the one which we now find
so successful. Talks were given in the High School by the
superintendent, and at one time a police officer had the Library
on his regular beat. None of these methods were permanently

Miss Jeannette M. Drake, Jacksonville, Ill.

I have never hesitated to take what measures seemed necessary to
have a quiet library, otherwise how near can we come to
fulfilling the purpose of a library?

Since the first few weeks that I was here as librarian I have had
no trouble in regard to the discipline. I feel sometimes that I
am too strict, but I cannot have patrons say "I cannot study at
the library because of the confusion, etc." The only solution of
the problem that I know of is to ask every one not to talk,
unless he can do so without disturbing others in the least. When
it is necessary for people to talk about their work, except to
us, we give them a vacant room in the building and often have
people in every vacant space and the office at the same time. We
encourage such use of the rooms; try to be courteous in our
demands; interested in all; do everything in our power to get
material for patrons and the result is that they feel that the
library is a place of business.

The boys who used to come "for fun" come now and read for several
hours at a time and are always gentlemanly and are our friends. I
know of none who ceased to come because of the order we must
have. At first, if we had spoken to anyone and they still were
not quiet, we asked them to leave the building and to come back
when they wanted to read or study. We always saw that they left
when we told them to do so, and no one has been sent from the
building for unruly conduct for two years. If I needed help I
would call on the police as I would not want either teachers or
students to feel that we could not manage our patrons when they
were in the library. Of course we are always on the alert as we
realize that the matter would get beyond us if we were careless
for a time. It is not easy for librarians to carry out these
rules, but it pays in the reputation of the library.

Mrs. Alice G. Evans, Decatur, Ill.

We have had very little trouble with discipline since moving into
our own building, the rooms being so arranged that excellent
supervision over them is possible from the loan desk. Then too,
the children's and reference rooms have their own attendants and
any disturbance may be quickly settled.

Perhaps the most disturbing element comes from the boys preparing
debates, who often forget and talk somewhat above a whisper, and
it is sometimes necessary to request them every fifteen minutes,
to lower their voices.

As to making the library a meeting place, this is done, I
suppose, to some extent but we rarely have any particular trouble
from it.

I think the main reason for the order in our library is the
separation of the different departments, as we used to have a
great deal of trouble when we had but one room for readers,
students and children.

Miss Elizabeth Comer, Redwood Falls, Minn.

When I first came here, I sent both boys and girls home; it was
seldom necessary to send the same child twice for the same
offense. Some of the boys tried a new tack after being sent home
once and were then told to stay away until they could conduct
themselves properly on the library premises, with the result that
I have not been obliged to send a child away from the library for

Miss Marie E. Brick, St. Cloud, Minn.

The question of discipline has always been such an easy matter
with me and never a problem that it seems rather difficult to
state just how the good results are accomplished. We have none of
the disfiguring printed signs of warning about; we do not need
them. A glance, a word, a motion, at the least sign of uneasiness
or noise, and all is quiet.

Any good disciplinarian will say that her methods are the same.
It is not what she says or does, but her entire attitude, her
manner, her commanding personality, that secure the desired

Our High School pupils never give us any trouble. They enjoy too
many privileges as students to abuse them. The school is in the
next block, so near that the teachers almost daily excuse a
number of them to do supplementary reading in the library during
school hours. They hand me a printed slip or pass on entering,
which I sign with the time of coming and leaving. These are
returned to their respective instructors on returning to the
school room. This pass acts as a check on anyone disposed to
loiter by the way.

Miss Ella F. Corwin, Elkhart, Ind.

We never have had a great deal of trouble with the discipline. We
try to make the children and young people feel that we depend
upon them to assist in keeping up the standard of good behavior.

We reach the younger children partly through the children's hour,
not by talking to them on these subjects, but by winning them to
us through the stories we tell and in our treatment of them.

With the High School boys and girls, it is more difficult. The
suspension of two boys had a beneficial effect, but the principal
of the High School is our greatest help with them.

Miss Bertha Marx, Sheboypan, Wis.

The matter of discipline has not been of sufficient importance in
our library to be classed as a problem. This may be due to two
facts: First, the atmosphere discourages rowdyism, loud talking
and visiting; secondly, an unwritten rule is that there must be
quiet in the library but not necessarily absolute silence. It
seems to me where the order in a library is not what it would be,
the staff is lacking in its sense of discipline.

If by chance, a group of people happens to make too much noise,
we never hesitate to step up to them and in a courteous manner
request them to be quiet. Such disturbance is usually caused
through thoughtlessness, not from any desire to break a library
rule, and after people have been cautioned they rarely commit the
offense again. I will admit this must be done in a tactful way,
for a grown person does not wish to be dictated to in the library
as though he were a child in school. There are a few old men and
women who persist in talking in a loud tone of voice; we know it
would hurt their feelings if they were told to be quiet and
therefore we wait upon them quickly, even ahead of their turn and
so get rid of them as soon as possible.

The boys and girls of the High School have to be spoken to quite
frequently as they are so imbued with a sense of their own
importance that they have very little regard for the order of the
library. The most effective appeal which can be made to them is
to suggest that every one has equal rights in the library and
that when other people come who wish quiet in the reading rooms,
the High School pupils have no right to deprive them of it.

One evening the pupils were unusually noisy, we had cautioned
them in vain to be quiet, and finally I ordered them all to leave
the library. They were simply aghast for they were to have a test
in history the following day and the material could only be
procured from our reference shelves. I was aware of this at the
time but felt drastic measures must be taken to show them that
the three readers who shared the room with them had a right to
undisturbed order. They plead with me in vain, and finally
admitted that they deserved their punishment. It is needless to
say that their history teacher approved my actions and that for
weeks afterwards we had no more trouble with High School

The library is never used as a club or meeting-place by people
for we discourage all attempts at visiting among our patrons.

It is not often found necessary to discipline the children in
their reading-room as their behavior is on the whole, very good.
When they become mischievous or noisy, it is generally because
they have remained in the library too long and have grown
restless, so they are advised to go out-doors and play for a
time. We have practically none of the rowdy elements to deal with
and when such children do come, we find that the attractive
surroundings seem to have a quieting effect upon them.

Miss Mary J. Calkins, Racine, Wis.

The problem of discipline in the Library, is one which is "ever
with us," and I do not feel sure that I have solved it to my
satisfaction. We have tried "signs" and no signs; gentle
persuasion and stern and rigid rules; and still we cannot always
be sure of order, and a proper library deportment on the part of
either children or grown people. I have come to the conclusion,
that the character of the individual has everything to do with
it. Children who defy rules both at home and at school, will also
give trouble in the library, and nothing but a complete
withdrawal of privileges will do any good. We have had very
little trouble during the past year, but the children themselves
seem to be different, the rougher class not coming to the library
to make trouble, as they did formerly. The High School students
are much more of a problem than the younger children; and cause
much more disturbance, as far as my experience goes. When they
are engaged in preparing their debates, it is necessary to have
one of the staff sit in the room with them, and keep constant
supervision, or the whole library will be disturbed.

Miss Margaret Biggert, Berlin, Wis.

During the past winter, for the first time since we have been in
our new library it has been a question how to manage the
situation without antagonizing the offenders, for it seems to me
a librarian must avoid appearing in the guise of ogre even at the
expense of perfect order. Scholars from the schools use the
library constantly in their school work--including reference work
for their three debating societies and it is with these pupils
that the problem has been, the reference room becoming quite
noisy-- though more from thoughtlessness and high spirits than
otherwise. I feel certain a cork carpet would help to solve this
problem in our library--with the unavoidable noise of heels on
hard wood floors, it is hard to make people realize they are
disturbing others.

My own system of dealing with the problem has been to warn them
as pleasantly as possible that they are forgetting themselves and
then to impress on them individually as the chance offered, the
necessity of remembering that the library is a place for reading
and study--not a "conversation room" as an irate gentleman one
day said a group of ladies seemed to think. Though it is very
seldom that people who meet friends, either by chance or
appointment cause any annoyance by remaining to carry on
conversation. No signs enjoining silence are in evidence. The
younger children have their own reading room and have given very
little trouble. This I believe to be in a measure due to the
influence of their teachers, who keep in close touch with the
work of the library. One lad of about ten, the ringleader of a
group, was sent from the library for misbehavior. I was pleased
but surprised to have him appear at my home one morning and say:
"I am sorry I cut up at the library and I'll never do it again."
He never has and he comes regularly.

We were at one time troubled with boys gathering outside the
library evenings, making considerable disturbance with malicious
intent. I was forced at length to call a police officer, who took
the names of the offenders and walked through the reading rooms
effectually quelling any budding aspirations toward hoodlumism in
the children seated at the tables and we have had no trouble of
that kind since.

Miss Molly Catlin, Stevens Point, Wis.

The matter of discipline has not been a difficult one with us, of
course we have a good deal of noise, the adults are very apt to
forget and talk noisily but as far as real trouble is concerned
we have not had it.

The Boys' Club room is a great help, in that the boy who just
comes down town for fun and not to read goes into that room from

The girls and little children are often times noisy but with a
glance or gentle reminder of some kind, they seem to be all

The discipline of the Boys' Club Room is, however, a different
matter, it really is hard to discipline, but the reason is that
we never yet have gotten just the right kind of an attendant to
care for the room, we need one who is interested in boys, who can
mingle with them and teach them games, etc. We now have a young
man, well educated and a good man but he is lax in discipline and
careless about the room. Nevertheless I think the Boys' Club room
a success, for during the months of February and March we have
sometimes between fifty and seventy boys in attendance at one
time and they seem to enjoy it.

Miss Ella T. Hamilton, Whitewater, Wis.

I suppose I have found much the same difficulties as others in
regard to discipline. Our High School pupils, especially when
working on their school debates, for which they get much of their
material from the library, do sometimes find it easy to work
together to the annoyance of their neighbors, but as they are, on
the whole, well intentioned young people they usually take kindly
the reproof. I do not mean to say that they do always after
remember and act accordingly. Who of us do? And my experience as
a teacher has taught me that some lessons have to be often
repeated. There is, however, a kindly feeling between the young
people who use the library and those who have charge of it, for
we try to help them to whatever they need and they appreciate the
fact; and this fact I think helps in the matter of discipline.
The main reading room seems sometimes rather full with them, but
there are places for but sixteen at the tables and that partly
explains it. I have had occasionally the difficulty of young
people making the library a meeting place. Only two weeks ago, I
told a young Miss and her attendant, that we could dispense with
their presence in the library; they have both been back since,
but not in any way to our annoyance.

We were at one time much troubled by some boys from ten to
fourteen. Sending home didn't help for very long, and I finally
went to the parents of the ring-leaders with very good results.
Perhaps the fact that complaints came to them from several other
sources helped. But I am sure parents can aid the librarian as
well as the teacher. The only notices I have ever had up in my
library in regard to order are two neatly printed signs, "Silence
is golden." I think they have been more suggestive and effective
than the ordinary sign.

Miss Grace E. Salisbury, Whitewater, (Normal School.)

In answer to your circular just received, I hardly know what to
say. We have practically no disciplining to do. Of course
conditions are not the same as in a public library. At the
beginning of the school year every evidence of disorder is nipped
in the bud, and after a few weeks we are entirely freed from any
annoyance from visiting or other disorder. The children from the
model school some times show a little inclination to talk too
much in getting their books. If a word does not quiet them, the
ring leader as it were is sent down to his department room which
is the worst possible punishment as they love to come to the
library. This never happens more than once or twice a year.

The greatest help I have at the opening of the school year in
creating the spirit I wish in the library, is the small work room
opening out of it. If students visit, or get to talking over
their work, I ask them if they will please take their work into
the work room where they can talk things over without disturbing
any one. They never resent that, when many times they would
resent almost anything else in the way of reproof. If they talk
too loud in there or seem to be still disturbing, I call
attention to the fact that others are trying to work, and find it
difficult to do so under the conditions.

After the first few weeks of the year, I think I have to speak to
a student not oftener than once in several weeks if that.

I think the student body recognize the library as a place where
they can find absolute quiet, and welcome it in that light, and
most of them are glad to help to keep it so.

Mrs. Alice A. Lamb, Litchfield, Minn.

Our library opened four years ago. An acquaintance, through
teaching, with most of the children of the town has been of great
assistance. Possibly, mature years with a reputation for strict
order in school have been of value.

At any rate disorder is almost unknown. We started with the idea
of perfect quiet in the building. The text "Be gentle and keep
the voice low" was given a prominent place on the walls of the
children's room for the first year and I'm sure was helpful.

If the little children get to visiting, usually a glance or a
shake of the head is sufficient. To the older children it has
been necessary a few times to say quietly, "We must have perfect
quiet here." This of course is said privately so that no one but
the offender hears.

Sending home seems a legitimate punishment and if judiciously
used ought to produce good results.

The good will of the children, with good nature and firmness on
the part of the librarian would seem the chief essentials to good

If disorder has once become a habit the problem is a serious one.
In small libraries with but one person in charge it would seem
wise to hire an assistant or have an apprentice to do the desk
work during the evening hours or whenever disorder is likely to
occur, and let the librarian be free to go about the rooms and
use her best efforts to establish order, by every tactful means

Our building is so arranged that every part of it can be seen by
the librarian at her desk. This doubtless is a very great aid in
discipline, and perhaps explains why we have never been troubled
by the boys and girls making a "meeting place" of the library.

Miss Agnes J. Petersen, Manitowoc, Wis.

Reading over your questions on the subject of discipline in the
library, brought back very vividly to my mind, the first years of
our library work.

From the first day of opening, absolute quiet was made one of the
rules of the library, and many boys and girls went home early in
the evenings before they would recognize the rule. The fact that
no disturbance of any kind would be tolerated was so impressed
upon everybody, but, especially upon the children, that now,
though the supervision is not so strictly kept, the same good
order is easily maintained. A word or look of warning is at most
times sufficient now to keep a roomful of 75 children in order
except on rare occasions. We did practically I believe what every
librarian does. The offender was warned concerning his conduct,
and if, after several warnings, he still "dared us" he was sent
home, not permitted to return to the library, nor draw books for
a week or two as the case might be, only returning after
promising good behavior in the future. When, as it happened a
few times, the offender did not respond to this treatment, the
president of our Library Board sent a note by the chief of police
to the offender's parents, and that inevitably ended the matter.
Only one boy was suspended for two weeks during this past year,
and he gives a great deal of trouble at school, also.


The function of the story hour as a recognized feature of library
work with children has been variously discussed. The five papers
given below represent these different points of view, and the
experience of several libraries is included in the report of the
Committee on Story- telling given at the Congress of the
Playground Association of America in 1910.

Another group method, which has been adopted as a means of
introducing children to books and of securing continuity of
interest, is that of the reading club. The three articles given
show the influence of the direct, personal effort of Miss Hewins,
and the carefully organized work of somewhat different types in
two large library systems.

The early history of home library work with children as conducted
by the Boston Children's Aid Society and a consideration of the
place of this method in extension work of libraries in general
are included.

Library work in summer playgrounds is one development of
cooperation with other institutions. The first article included
may be supplemented by a statement made by Miss Frances J. Olcott
in an article on "The public library, a social force in
Pittsburgh," printed in the Survey magazine, March 5, 1910. She
states that "Perhaps the most important phase of the library's
work with children which is being developed at present is that of
playground libraries. ... Now that the Playground Association is
establishing recreation centers for winter as well as summer,
arrangements have been made with the library to supply books, the
Association providing the necessary reading rooms in its new
buildings." Practical difficulties in administration are
discussed in the second article.

The last group of articles brings together several unrelated
phases of work. Two special kinds of children's libraries are
mentioned, one a type--the Sunday School library--and one a
library organized for specific work in connection with the
Children's Museum in Brooklyn. Work with colored children in a
colored branch library is described. The last paper gives a vivid
picture of work with children in a foreign district of a large


The paper by Edna Lyman Scott, printed in the Wisconsin Bulletin
for January, 1905, was said to be introductory to a talk which
she was to give at Beloit at the Wisconsin State meeting,
February 22, 1905. The author looks upon the inauguration of the
story hour as but the grasping of an opportunity in working with
children in the library, as a means of cultivating the love of
literature and of introducing the child to books.

Edna Lyman, now Mrs. Scott, was born in Illinois, educated in the
schools of Oak Park, Ill., and at Bradford Academy, Haverhill,
Massachusetts. At the time this paper was written she was the
children's librarian in the Oak Park Public Library, then known
as Scoville Institute. Her work in story telling became known
outside the immediate field of its activity, and in 1907 Miss
Lyman severed her connection with this library to give time to
special preparation, and later to become a lecturer on literature
for children and story-telling, and a professional story-teller.
She spent portions of three years as Advisory Children's
Librarian for the Iowa Library Commission, and during that period
published her book "Story-telling: what to tell and how to tell
it." She holds the position of non-resident faculty lecturer on
Work for Children in the Library School of the University of
Illinois, and the Carnegie Library School of Atlanta, Georgia,
and lectures regularly in other library schools, before teachers'
institutes and normal schools, women's clubs and study classes
throughout the country.

When we touch the question of guiding the reading of children in
our libraries we have opened the consideration of a subject which
is one of the great arguments for the existence of public

All about we see and feel the utter indifference of parents to
what their children are reading, or whether they are reading at
all, and the results of this indifference appear on every hand,
in the character of the books which content the child, or in his
determination to bury himself in a book to the exclusion of every
other interest.

The librarian sees this indifference and its fruit and realizes
that it adds another responsibility to her already long list, and
another opportunity to serve. She may doubt whether her province
is to educate the taste of the public at large, but there can be
no question that in the case of the children the choice is not
left for her to make; the only reason for the child's reading at
all is that he may grow mentally and spiritually. There is no way
to protect the child against worthless books except by giving him
a decided taste for what is good. Hamilton Mabie says that
"tastes depend very largely on the standards with which we are
familiar," and if these standards are acquired hit and miss,
without training, they are likely to be of a most doubtful

The love of literature, like the love of any of the fine arts, is
susceptible of cultivation and is strengthened by constant
contact with the beauty and greatness which can compel it. "They
are exceptional children who read everything regardless of its
character and come out all right. We do not know that any child
is of such a make-up. We must deal with him as though he were not
the exceptional but the normal child." The influence of all that
he reads upon the mind of the child is sufficiently appalling,
but it is not to be compared with the influence on his character.
Henry Churchill King says: "It is his susceptibility to the
faintest suggestion that makes the child so marvelous an
imitator." The significance of this truth lies not only in the
fact that he responds to the example in manners and morals of
those about him, but equally, and perhaps even more exactly, to
the heroes who live within the covers of his books. If the
dangers are great, our response must be as forceful and our
search untiring for the influence which will most surely lead the
child to the best.

And what means shall be found? The answer seems ready to hand in
the use of one of the oldest, yet one of the newest arts, the art
of story-telling. You may talk to a child about books, he will
give a certain kind of response, particularly if he respects your
judgment because of previous experience, but tell him a story and
you have fastened him with chains he does not care to resist.

The inauguration of the story hour then is but the grasping of an
opportunity, first of all to give keenest joy to the child, and
at the same time to set his standard for judging the value of
other stories by those he hears, to give him a love for beautiful
form, to introduce him to books he might never choose for himself
and to bind him to the friend who tells him stories, so that he
will feel a confidence in her suggestions.

Before choosing our stories for telling it will be well to remind
ourselves of our purpose in telling stories, namely, to give
familiarity with good English, to cultivate the imagination, to
develop the sympathy, and to give a clear impression of moral
truth. With this purpose in mind we shall gather our children
into groups whose ages are near, and will be reached by the same
tales. We must be methodical in this as in all our library work,
and have our campaign well planned before we begin.

Not everyone has the gift of telling stories, but if one is not
gifted with the art himself, there will doubtless be someone who
is, who can be secured for the purpose, if we only feel that the
need is great enough.

The way is open to the minds and hearts of the children. Shall we
neglect it because it is old, or because it is new, or because we
seem somewhat hampered by existing conditions? Why not follow the
successes of others, and then find our own?

The above paper by Miss Lyman is offered as introductory to a
talk which she will give at Beloit at the Wisconsin state
meeting, February 22, 1905. The story hour has been most
successfully conducted in a few of our libraries. To be sure
every librarian is not qualified to conduct a successful story
hour, but it is usually possible to find someone in the community
who will tell the stories. The story hour requires a good deal of
preparation. In Pittsburgh the librarians who were to tell
stories had special training under Miss Shedlock, a well-known
English story teller, and gave thorough study to the subject
before attempting to interest the children. This library has
published a pamphlet on Story telling to children from Norse
mythology and the Nibehulgenlied. This pamphlet contains
references to material on selected stories, an annotated reading
list for the story teller and for young people, a full outline of
a course, and many valuable suggestions. The same library
published in its bulletin, October, 1902, the following outlines:

Story 1. Merlin the Enchanter      Story 2. How Arthur won his
kingdom and how he got his sword Excalibur.      Story 3. The
marriage of Arthur and Guinevere and the founding of the Round
Table.      Story 4. The adventure of Gareth      Story 5. The
adventure of Geraint.      Story 6. The adventure of Geraint and
the Fair Enid.      Story 7. The story of the dolorous stroke.
  Story 8. How Launcelot saved Guinevere; or, The adventure of
the cart.      Story 9. Launcelot and the lily-maid of Astrolat.
    Story 10. The coming of Galahad      Story 11. The quest of
the Sangreal      Story 12. The achieving of the Sangreal.
Story 13. The passing of Arthur.


     Story 14. The adventures of Ogier the Dane.      Story 15.
More adventures of Ogier the Dane.      Story 16. The sons of
Aymon.      Story 17. Malagis the wizard      Story 18. A Roland
for an Oliver      Story 19. The Princes of Cathay.      Story
20. How Reinold fared to Cathay.      Story 21. The quest of
Roland      Story 22. In the gardens of Falerina.      Story 23.
Bradamant, the warrior maiden.      Story 24. The contest of
Durandal.      Story 25. The battle of Roncesvalles.

This regular story course will be broken into at the holidays
when stories appropriate to the season will be told.

Their bulletin for November, 1904, gives the program for 1904-5
on Legends of Robin Hood and Stories from Ivanhoe. The outline


     Story 1. How Robin Hood became an outlaw.      Story 2. How
Robin Hood outwitted the Sheriff of Nottingham Town.      Story
3. A merry adventure of Robin Hood.      Story 4. How Robin Hood
gained three merry men in one day.      Story 5. The story of
Allin a Dale.      Story 6. The story of the Sorrowful Knight.
  Story 7. The Queen's champion.      Story 8. Robin Hood and Guy
of Gisborne.      Story 9. How King Richard visited Robin Hood in
Sherwood Forest.      Story 10. Robin Hood's death and burial.
  Story 11. The tournament at Ashby-de-la-Zouche.      Story 12.
The second day of the tournament.      Story 13. The siege of

The following extract on the children's story hour is taken from
the Pittsburgh bulletin of December, 1901.


The Library story hour for the children began in a very modest
way at our West End branch. It has passed through the
experimental stage and is now a part of the regular routine of
our six children's rooms. At first disconnected stories were told
but when we found how much the stories influenced the children's
reading, we began to follow a regular program, which has proved
more effective than haphazard story telling. Last year we told
stories from Greek mythology and Homer and had an attendance of
over 5,000 children. The books placed on special story hour
shelves were taken out 2,000 times.

This year the stories are drawn from the Norse myths and the
Niebelungen Lied. They are told by the children's librarians and
the students of our Training school for children's librarians,
every Friday afternoon from November first to April first. As the
hour draws near, the children's rooms begin to fill with eagerly
expectant children. There is an atmosphere of repressed
excitement, and when the appointed minute comes, the children
quickly form into line and march into the lecture room where the
story is told. Once there, the children group themselves on the
floor about the story teller, and all is attention. It may be
that the story is a hard one to tell, the process of adapting and
preparing it may have been difficult, but in the interested faces
of the children and in the bright eyes fixed upon her face, the
story teller finds her inspiration.

Extra copies of books containing Norse myths have been provided
for each children's room. Since few of these books are for very
young children, we tell these poetic stories of our Northern
ancestors to the older boys and girls only. For the younger ones
there are such stories as The Three Bears, Hop-o'-my-thumb, and
other old nursery favorites. At Thanksgiving, Christmas and a few
other holidays, the program is dropped and one full of the spirit
of the season is told instead. That the children enjoy and
appreciate the stories is seen by the steadily increasing
attendance, and by the fact that the same children return week
after week. Teachers say the very worst punishment they can
inflict is to detain a child so late on Friday that he misses his
story hour. During the summer months, and early fall, when no
stories were being told, there were many anxious inquiries as to
when the story hour would begin. At our West End branch the
children clamored so for their stories that the work was
commenced a month before the time for beginning the regular

And what is the use of story telling? Is it merely to amuse and
entertain the children? Were it simply for this, the time would
not seem wasted, when one recalls the bright and happy faces and
realizes what an hour of delight it is to many children
oftentimes their only escape from mean and sordid surroundings
Col. Thomas Wentworth Higginson once said that to lie on the
hearth rug and listen to one's mother reading aloud is a liberal
education, but such sweet and precious privileges are only for
the few. The story hour is intended to meet this want in some
slight degree, to give the child a glimpse beyond the horizon
which hitherto has limited his life, and open up to him those
vast realms of literature which are a part of his inheritance,
for unless he enters this great domain through the gateway of
childish fancy and imagination, the probability is that he will
never find any other opening. To arouse and stimulate a love for
the best reading is then the real object of the story hour.
Through the story the child's interest is awakened, the librarian
places in his hands just the right book to develop that interest,
and gradually there is formed a taste for good literature.


In the following article, contributed to Public Libraries for
November, 1908, Mr. John Cotton Dana protests against the popular
idea of library story-telling and advocates instruction given to
teachers both in story- telling and in the use of books as a
better method "as to cost and results." John Cotton Dana was born
in Woodstock, Vermont, in 1856, received the degree of A.B. from
Dartmouth in 1878, and studied law in Woodstock from 1878 to
1880. He was a land surveyor in Colorado in 1880-1881, was
admitted to the New York bar in 1883, and spent 1886-1887 in
Colorado as a civil engineer. He was Librarian of the Denver
Public Library from 1889 to 1897; of the City Library,
Springfield, Mass., from 1898- 1902, and since 1902 has been
Librarian of the Free Public Library of Newark, N. J.

Story-telling to groups of young children is now popular among
librarians. The art is practiced chiefly by women. No doubt one
reason for its popularity is that it gives those who practice it
the pleasures of the teacher, the orator and the exhorter. It
must be a delight to have the opportunity to hold the attention
of a group of children; to see their eyes sparkle as the story
unwinds itself; to feel that you are giving the little people
high pleasure, and at the same time are improving their language,
their morals, their dramatic sense, their power of attention and
their knowledge of the world's literary masterpieces. Also, it is
pleasant to realize that you are keeping them off the streets;
are encouraging them to read good books; are storing their minds
with charming pictures of life and are making friends for your

In explaining its popularity I have stated briefly the arguments
usually given in favor of library story-telling. There is another

A library's funds are never sufficient for all the work that lies
before it. Consequently, the work a library elects to do is done
at the cost of certain other work it might have done. The library
always puts its funds, skill and energy upon those things which
it thinks are most important, that is, are most effective in the
long run, in educating the community. Now, the schools tell
stories to children, and it is obviously one of their proper
functions so to do at such times, to such an extent and to such
children as the persons in charge of the schools think wise. It
is probable that the schoolmen know better when and how to
include story-telling in their work with a given group of
children than do the librarians. If a library thinks it knows
about this subject more than do the schools, should it spend time
and money much needed for other things in trying to take up and
carry on the schools' work? It would seem not. Indeed, the
occasional story-telling which the one library of a town or city
can furnish is so slight a factor in the educational work of that
town or city as to make the library's pride over its work seem
very ludicrous.

If, now, the library by chance has on its staff a few altruistic,
emotional, dramatic and irrepressible child-lovers who do not
find ordinary library work gives sufficient opportunities for
altruistic indulgence, and if the library can spare them from
other work, let it set them at teaching the teachers the art of

Contrast, as to cost and results, the usual story-telling to
children with instruction in the same and allied arts to
teachers. The assistant entertains once or twice each week a
group of forty or fifty children. The children--accustomed to
schoolroom routine, hypnotized somewhat by the mob-spirit, and a
little by the place and occasion, ready to imitate on every
opportunity --listen with fair attention. They are perhaps
pleased with the subject matter of the tale, possibly by its
wording, and very probably by the voice and presence of the
narrator. They hear an old story, one of the many that help to
form the social cement of the nation in which they live. This is
of some slight value, though the story is only one of scores
which they hear or read in their early years at school. The story
has no special dramatic power in its sequence. As a story it is
of value almost solely because it is old. It has no special value
in its phrasing. It may have been put into artistic form by some
man of letters; but the children get it, not in that form, but as
retold by an inspired library assistant who has made no mark in
the world of letters by her manner of expression. The story has
no moral save as it is dragged in by main strength; usually, in
fact, and especially in the case of myths, the moral tone needs
apologies much more than it needs praise.

To prepare for this half hour of the relatively trivial
instruction of a few children in the higher life, the library
must secure a room and pay for its care, a room which if it be
obtained and used at all could be used for more profitable
purposes; and the performer must study her art and must, if she
is not a conceited duffer, prepare herself for her part for the
day at a very considerable cost of time and energy.

Now, if the teachers do not know the value of story-telling at
proper times and to children of proper years; if they do not
realize the strength of the influence for good that lies in the
speaking voice--though that this influence is relatively
over-rated in these days I am at a proper time prepared to
show--if they do not know about the interest children take in
legends, myths and fairy tales, and their value in strengthening
the social bond, then let the library assistants who do know
about such things hasten to tell them. I am assuming for purposes
of argument that the teachers do not know, and that library
assistants can tell them. I shall not attempt to say how the
library people will approach the teacher with their information
without offending them, except to remark that tactful lines of
approach can be found; and to remark, further, that by setting up
a story-hour in her library a librarian does not very tactfully
convey to the teachers the intimation that they either do not
know their work or willfully neglect it.

With this same labor of preparation, in the room used to talk 30
minutes to a handful of children, the librarian could far better
address a group of teachers on the use of books in libraries and
schoolrooms. Librarians have long contended that teachers are
deficient in bookishness; and it is quite possible that they are.
Their preparation in normal schools compels them to give more
attention to method than to subject matter. They have lacked
incentive and opportunity to become familiar with books, outside
of the prescribed text-books and supplementary readers. They do
not know the literature of and for childhood, and not having
learned to use books in general for delight and utility
themselves they cannot impart the art to their pupils. As I have
said, librarians contend that this is true, yet many of them with
opportunities to instruct teachers in these matters lying unused
before them, neglect them and coolly step in to usurp one of the
school's functions and rebuke the teacher's shortcomings.

This is not all. A library gives of its time, money and energy to
instruct 40 children--and there it ends. If, on the other hand,
it instructs 40 teachers, those 40 carry the instruction to 40
class rooms and impart knowledge of the library, of the use of
books, of the literature for children and--if need be--of the art
of story-telling, to 1,600 or 2,000 children. There seems no
question here as to which of these two forms of educational
activity is for librarians better worth while.


The National Child Conference for Research and Welfare was
organized at a meeting held at Clark University, Worcester,
Mass., in July, 1909. Several papers on library topics were
presented at this meeting, one of the most interesting of which
was given by Miss Olcott. In this paper she presents the story
hour as a method of introducing "large groups of children
simultaneously to great literature," and asserts that "the
library story hour becomes, if properly utilized, an educational
force as well as a literary guide."

Frances Jenkins Olcott was born in Paris, France; was educated
under private tutors, and was graduated from the New York State
Library School in 1896. From 1898 to 1911 she was Chief of the
Children's Department of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. In
1900 she organized and became the Director of the Training School
for Children's Librarians. Since 1911 Miss Olcott has contributed
to library work with children by writing and editing books for
parents and for children.

The library is a latter day popular educational development. It
supplements the work of the church, the home, the school and the
kindergarten. Its function is to place within the reach of all
the best thought of the world as conserved in the printed page.
This being its natural function, all methods selected by the
library should tend directly to arouse interest in the best
reading. Methods which do not do this are, for the library,
ineffective and a waste of valuable energy and public funds.

The library movement has grown with such startling rapidity that
it has not been possible to codify the best methods of library
work, but there has been an earnest endeavor to establish a body
of library pedagogy by careful experimentation. Unfortunately
during this experimental stage methods have been introduced which
do not produce direct library results. Many of these methods,
which in this paper it is not expedient to enumerate, are
interesting and appeal to the imagination; they may impart
knowledge, but they are not, strictly speaking, library methods.

As childhood and youth are the times in which to lay the
foundation for the habit of reading and of discrimination in
reading, it falls to the library worker with children to build up
a system of sound library pedagogy leading to the increased
intelligent use of the library. The library worker has to deal
with large crowds of children of all ages, all classes and
nationalities. In a busy children's room she is rarely able to
provide enough assistants to do the necessary routine work and
help each individual child select his reading, therefore it
becomes necessary for her to direct the children's reading
through large groups and to adapt for this purpose methods used
by other educational institutions. But these methods have to be
adapted in a practical, forceful way, otherwise they become
sentimental and ineffectual. For instance, a method useful in the
kindergarten for teaching ethics, in the public schools for
teaching geography, science or history, if rightly applied by the
public library, may be useful in arousing interest in good books
and reading. Such is the story telling method, one of the most
effective, if rightly applied, which the public library uses to
introduce large groups of children simultaneously to great
literature. On the other hand, if the library worker uses story
telling merely as a means of inculcating knowledge or teaching
ethics, the story fails to produce public library results and the
method becomes the weakest of methods, as it absorbs time,
physical energy, and library funds which should be expended to
increase good reading.

The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh began systematic story telling
to large groups of children in 1899. After a few months a decided
change was noted in the children's reading. The stories were
selected from Shakespeare's plays and there came an increasing
demand for books containing the plays, or stories from them. It
became evident that if a story was carefully prepared with the
intention of arousing interest in reading, it could prove a
positive factor in directing the reading of large groups of
children. The method was adopted throughout the library system
and extended to the various children's reading rooms, home
libraries, playgrounds and city schools. In order to make the
story telling effective and systematic, a subject was chosen for
each year, stories being told every Friday afternoon in the
lecture rooms of the Central and Branch libraries and at varying
intervals in the other agencies. Large numbers of duplicates of
children's books containing the stories were purchased and placed
on story hour shelves in the children's rooms. Announcements of
the story hours were made in the public schools and notices
posted on the bulletins in the children's reading rooms. The
children responded so eagerly that it became almost impossible to
handle the large crowds attending weekly and it was quite
impossible to supply the demand for the books which, previous to
the story hour, had not been popular.

The story hour courses are planned to extend over eight years and
are selected from romantic and imaginative literature. For the
first two years nursery tales, legends, fables and standard
stories are told. For the following years--Stories from Greek
Mythology; Stories from Norse Mythology and the Nibelungenlied;
Stories of King Arthur and the Round Table, and legends of
Charlemagne; Stories of the Iliad and the Odyssey; Stories from
Chaucer and Spenser; Stories from Shakespeare. At the end of the
eight years the cycle is repeated.

The story hours are conducted most informally. The stories are
told, not in the children's rooms, as this would interfere with
the order and discipline of the rooms, but in the study and
lecture rooms of the library buildings. As far as possible a
group is limited to thirty-six children. When stories are told to
children over ten or twelve years of age, the boys and girls are
placed in separate groups. This enables the story teller to
develop her story to suit the varied tastes of her audience.

The children sit on benches constructed especially for the story
hour. The benches are made according to the following
measurements: 14 in. from floor to top of seat; seat 12 in. wide;
3 benches 9 ft. long, one bench 7 ft. long. Benches made without
backs. Four benches are placed in the form of a hollow square,
the story teller sitting with the children. In this way the
children are not crowded and the story teller can see all their
faces. It is more hygienic and satisfactory than allowing the
children to crowd closely about the story teller. The story hour
benches are so satisfactory that we are introducing them as fast
as possible into all of our library buildings.

Each story is carefully prepared beforehand by the story teller.
In the Training School for Children's Librarians conducted by
this Library, all the students are obliged to take the regular
course in story telling which includes lectures and weekly
practice. Informality in story telling is encouraged. Dramatic or
elocutionary expression is avoided, the self-conscious, the
elaborate and the artificial are eliminated; we try to follow as
closely as possible the spontaneous folk spirit. The children sit
breathless, lost in visions created by a sympathetic and un-
self-conscious story teller.

In closing I should like to dwell for a moment on what have been
called the "by-products" of the Library story hour. Besides
guiding his reading, a carefully prepared, well told story
enriches a child's imagination, stocks his mind with poetic
imagery and literary allusions, develops his powers of
concentration, helps in the unfolding of his ideas of right and
wrong, and develops his sympathetic feelings; all of which
"by-products" have a powerful influence on character. Thus the
library story hour becomes, if properly utilized, an educational
force as well as a literary guide.


The possibility of library story telling in schools as a means of
interesting a larger number of children than is possible at a
story hour held in a library is suggested by Miss Alice A.
Blanchard in the following paper, also given at the Conference at
Clark University in 1909. Alice Arabella Blanchard was born in
Montpelier, Vermont; was graduated from Smith College in 1903;
from the New York State Library School in 1905, and was a special
student in the Training School for Children's Librarians in
1905-1906. From 1906 to 1908 she was the head of the children's
department of the Seattle Public Library; in 1909 the head of the
school department of the Free Public Library, of Newark, N. J.;
from 1910 to 1912 the head of the Schools division of the Seattle
Public Library; from 1913 to 1915 the First Assistant in the
Children's Department and the Training School for Children's
Librarians in the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, and since that
time has been supervisor of work with schools and children in the
Free Public Library of Newark, N. J.

The subject which the printed programme for this morning's
session assigns to me is How to guide children's reading by story
telling. I must begin my talk by an apology; for I shall speak
upon only a limited phase of that subject. The subject of guiding
children's reading by story telling is a pretty broad one. Tell a
good story to a child and he wants to read the book from which it
comes. This simple statement means that wherever the child is, at
home, at school, in the playground, in the library, in Sunday
School, in the settlement, we can exercise a very direct
influence upon his reading taste by the stories we tell him.
Story telling is a most excellent method of advertising the good
books of the world. I shall consider it as a means of advertising
books from the librarian's point of view, and treat it simply as
a library method, calling it, if you will let me, a library tool.

Story telling is becoming widely popular in schools, in libraries
and as a profession by itself. We know that it is an effective
method of reaching and influencing children, and that as a method
it has advantages over the printed word. Libraries are
considering it a part of their work and are using it on a more or
less elaborate scale.

It may be too soon, for we have not been using it very long, to
know just what place story telling should take in the work of the
library; but some of us feel that we are not considering the
subject with sufficient care, that we are letting our enthusiasm
run away with our common sense in the matter, a little too much
in the manner of our friend who has the automobile fever and
forgets that life can hold anything else.

It is evident that since no public library ever has enough time
and money at its disposal for the work it has to do, it cannot
afford to undertake story telling or any other activity which
does not further this work. We say that the function of public
library work with children is to give them an intelligent love
for the best books, and in trying to do this we must reach the
greatest number of children at the least expense. If story
telling can be an effective tool, enabling us to reach with
books more children at less expense than any other method at our
command, then it has a legitimate place in library work. If it
cannot do this we should let it alone.

Most of us feel that school and libraries have experimented with
story telling long enough now to prove that it has its place as a
legitimate and valued tool of the library. At the same time we
see these facts, however; many libraries do not understand what
this place is; many libraries are using story telling as a tool
for another's work at the expense of their own; and some
libraries are using story telling when, because of their peculiar
situation, another tool would better answer their purpose.

If the library is to use story telling it must be to bring
children and books together. This it can do successfully. Library
reports show that it has interested thousands of children in the
library, increased greatly the general circulation of books from
the children's shelves, and created popularity for the books from
which the stories were selected.

Incidentally, the Story Hour makes a delightful form of
entertainment, for the average child loves to hear stories told.
It also establishes a very pleasant personal relation between the
children who hear the story and the person who tells it. Herein
lies a danger for the library of which we take too little
account. Because she can by her stories so delightfully entertain
her audience and thereby win their affection the story-teller is
tempted to lose sight of the purpose of her stories, namely, to
guide the children's reading. If she does forget this purpose,
her stories, although they may bring the children week after week
in throngs, will leave them where they were before, so far as
their reading taste is concerned. The fact that the Story Hour
makes a delightful form of entertainment, the fact that it
establishes a pleasant personal relation between story teller and
children, must not be the reason for its adoption by the library.
The story teller must tell stories from books which are to be
found upon the library shelves and she must tell the children
that they are there. Unless the Story Hour advertises the best
books, and results in an increased use of them, the library is
wasting time and money in its story telling--to put the matter in
its most favorable light.

In the second place, many libraries are making the mistake of
trying to do too many things with the story telling tool. They
forget that the school tells stories, that it can give the child
thereby plenty of facts in science, history, geography, and what
not; that it teaches him by means of stories, morals and
politeness. They forget that the city does not pay them for doing
this school work or for doing the work of the playgrounds and
parks in keeping children off the streets. Much can be done by
the library in all these ways; but it happens that the work which
belongs peculiarly to the library and which no other institution
can at present do for it, is to give good books to all the
children in the city--a task which of itself is enough for any
library to hope to do. Therefore we should discard from our story
telling all the lessons we are trying to teach, our Christmas
tree, our May poles, our fancy costumes and whatever pretty games
we play, and simply tell the children stories from books.
Fortunately a good story from a book is enough to delight a child
without any accompanying frills, so that the time we save by
discarding them does not in the least detract from its

And we must tell the stories to children. It has been said of one
library and, moreover, with some pride, that the story hour was
so popular that many grown people came to it; indeed sometimes
there was little room left for the children!

Thirdly, the average library does not sufficiently consider
whether in its particular case, story telling is the best tool at
its command. What is a good tool in one case may not be in
another and a given library may be sacrificing much better work
when it takes time, as it must always do, from something else for
the story hour.

Often a small library has no story teller upon its staff, but it
may be doing effective work with children through its work with
teachers, its visits to schools and its children's room. It has a
small staff and no room adapted for telling stories at the
library. Obviously such a library has no need for the story
telling tool, yet many libraries like this are struggling hard to
use it. Once a week or oftener they are allowing all the usual
routine of the library to be upset to accommodate the Story Hour,
the story teller has spent many hours of preparation and is under
a strain that is little short of misery, and the children,
because of the general difficulty of the whole situation, are
deriving no greater love for books nor respect for the library.
Such a library would do better to give up story telling and put
its energy into what it could do more effectively.

But here let me say that often the small library thinks it has no
use for story telling as a tool when as a matter of fact it has.

Children's librarians in large or small libraries count school
visiting as part of their work. The school visit offers the best
of opportunities for the work of the Story Hour. A story told at
the end of an informal little talk about the library will bring
the children flocking to the library the minute school is over.
The small library which has no Story Hour room but which has a
story teller can take advantage of this opportunity and do much
with it. The story teller can visit three schoolrooms on
different days, tell stories to forty children each time, and
because the story telling is distributed over the three days,
manage with comparative ease the influx of 120 children who may
come for books as a result. More than this, the story teller can
have told three stories instead of one, so that only one-third of
the children will clamor for the same book. This last point is
important as all who have had story-hour experience know.

And it is not always the small library which might better tell
its stories in school. Consider the city library which has a
story teller who tells stories at a Branch. She gets crowds of
children, it is true, but many more do not come. She has too many
for her story room. Even if she repeats her story until all the
eager children get in eventually to hear it the results are of
doubtful benefit. It has meant a fearfully strenuous day for the
story teller and for the whole Branch; the chances are that the
last children to hear the tale gained little from it because the
story teller was too tired to tell it well; many of the children
have spent most of the afternoon in the scuffle of trying to get
in and having to wait when they might have been out of doors
playing; and practically all the children were the same ones who
always come. And, as in a small library, all the children want
the same books, if the stories were good.

School people, as a rule, are very cordial to the library story
teller. Since they are, this method seems preferable to the Story
Hour at the library. The story teller, besides being spared the
difficulty of managing the story hour at the library, has a
better opportunity to keep in touch with school work; can reach
all the children instead of the same group week after week;
interests teacher as well as the children in the books from which
the stories are told; and saves the library considerable money in
janitor work and heat and light bills. Probably the story teller
has neither time nor strength to tell stories both in school and
library. Would she not be wise in such a case to tell her stories
in the schoolroom?

There is another thing that should be said of story telling as a
library tool. If we aim by stories to advertise the best books,
how shall we tell the stories to make the books seem most
attractive and to get the best results?

We say that the impression the child gets from a story told is
greater than that gained from a story read. Then we proceed to
tell him in our own words stories which we adapt from the books
we think he should know, trusting that he will want the books
themselves as a result. Well and good for those books which
depend for their value upon subject matter, regardless of style;
for folk-lore, for many of the fairy tales and other stories, but
not equally well and good for books that are valuable for their
literary forces. If a story is dramatic enough for the telling
and is written by a master, is it not a shame to give it to a
child in an inferior form when he might have it as it was
written? If a master did it, it is every bit as dramatic and as
easy for the child to understand in the form in which the master
wrote it as in the story teller's version, and many times more

Why do children's librarians spend so much time in the
preparation of their own versions of the good stories of the
world when they have so much material which they can use at first
hand? The theory is, that a story has more life if told in the
story teller's words, that it is likely to be stiff and formal if
she must confine herself to the author's words. This need not be
so. If the story teller enjoys the story, as a story teller
always must, if she appreciates the charm of its expression as
the author wrote it, and sees the value of this charm, the
author's words will come easily from her lips with all the life
of the original. She may have had to cut the original more or
less, but that can usually be done without perceptibly marring
the story. If the tale does not lend itself to this kind of
treatment and she feels that she must adapt the whole thing for
her audience, she can at least quote paragraphs. If the story
teller gives the child her own version, the child wants the story
because or in spite of what she put into it. He gets the book,
fails to find the story teller part of it and, as that is all he
is after puts the book down or finds the real thing and thinks
the teller didn't know it very well, for "She left out some of
the best parts."

I am not saying that the story teller's version is worthless. It
is good as far as it goes. I am only saying that by it we often
miss an opportunity to give the children something better. None
of us can tell the Andersen or the Kipling stories as well as the
men who wrote them. Why not give them to the children "straight
out of the book," as the children say, and why not, for instance,
when we are telling stories of the Trojan War, give them passages
verbatim from Bryant's Iliad? This kind of story telling may take
more time for preparation than the other for some people, it is
true, but the resulting benefit is greater. The librarian who has
once told an Andersen story in the words of a close translation
will never want to do it in her own again.

In spite of all we say about giving him the best books, are we
not giving the child too little credit for literary appreciation?
Are not some of our simplified versions of the good stories of
the world a little too simple? We refuse to leave upon our
shelves such foolish things as the Hiawatha primer, or the
Stevenson reader (this gives upon one page a poem from the
child's garden and on the opposite page a neat translation!), and
yet do we not offend sometimes in the same way in our story
telling? Let us not run the risk of spoiling the atmosphere and
beauty of a good tale by over-adapting it. If it is beyond the
child's comprehension in the beginning, let us leave it for him
to find when he is older. If our library story telling has been
what it should be, the road will be an easy one for him to


Story-telling in playgrounds, settlements and libraries as it is
carried on in various communities, is described in the following
comprehensive report which was made by the Committee on
story-telling, Miss Annie Carroll Moore, Chairman, at the Fourth
Annual Congress of the Playground Association of America. It was
printed in the Playground, August, 1910, and an abridgement
appeared in the Library Journal (September, 1910). A sketch of
Miss Moore appears on page 113.

"Is she a Fairy, or just a Lady?"

A little Scotch girl asked the question after a story hour in a
children's library. "She made me see fairies awful plain."

"She made me see fairies, too," answered the children's librarian
with whom the child had shared her doubt. "Let's go and find her
and make sure."

On the way they spoke of the story they had both liked best. It
was about an old woman who lived long ago in Devonshire, who
loved tulips and planted her garden full of them, and tended them
with great care because they seemed to her so beautiful. After
the old woman died some extremely practical persons came to live
in her house and they considered it very foolish to grow tulips
for their beauty when the garden might be turned to practical
account. So they dug up the garden and analyzed the soil, and
planted carrots and turnips and parsnips and just such vegetables
as promised to yield speedy and profitable returns.

By and by a wonderful thing happened. Tulips no longer grew in
the garden; there was no room for them and nobody had time to
look after such useless things. But on the spot where the old
woman was buried the most beautiful tulips sprang up of
themselves, and every night in the Springtime the faries may be
seen bringing their babies to rock them to sleep in the tulip

The little Scotch girl wondered whether there was "a book in the
library with the tulip story in." She wanted to read it to her
grandmother, she said, because her grandmother was "always
speaking about her garden in Scotland," and she wondered if the
tulips in Scotland had fairies asleep in them.

The storyteller, who was Miss Marie L. Shedlock, looked
wonderfully happy when asked whether she was a "Fairy" or "just a
Lady." She said she supposed she was really "just a Lady," but
she had become so intimate with fairies through listening to
stories about them, and thinking about them, and telling fairy
tales to children and grown people in England and America, that
she felt almost like a fairy at times, and she had come to
believe with Hans Christian Andersen, whose stories she loved
best of all, that life itself is a beautiful fairy tale.

Then she told the little girl that the tulip story was not in a
book, and that she must tell it to her grandmother just as she
remembered hearing it, and that having seen the fairies while she
listened would help her to remember the story better. She could
see pictures all the time she was telling stories, she said. The
little girl had never thought of making pictures for herself
before. She had only seen them in books and hanging on walls.

This unconscious tribute to the art of the storyteller made a
lasting impression on the children's librarian. If a child of
less than eight years, and of no exceptional parts, could so
clearly discriminate between the fairy tale she had heard at
school and the tale that made her "see the fairies," there was
little truth in the statement that children do not appreciate
artistic storytelling. She went back to her children's room
feeling that something worth while had happened. The children who
had listened to the stories now crowded about the book shelves,
eager for "any book about fairies," "a funny book," or "a book
about animals."

The little girl who had seen the fairies was not the only one who
had fallen under the spell of the storyteller. "I always knew
Pandora was a nice story, but she never seemed like a live girl
before," said one of the older girls. "I liked the Brahmin, the
Jackal and the Tiger best," exclaimed a boy. "Gee! but couldn't
you just see that tiger pace when she was saying the words?" "I
just love The Little Tin Soldier," said a small boy who hated to
read, but was always begging the children's librarian to tell him
stories about the pictures he found in books. "Didn't she make
him march fine!"

Before the end of the day the children's librarian had decided
that even if there could be but one such story hour in the
lifetime of an individual or an institution it would pay in
immediate and far-off results. But why stop with one; why not
have more story hours in children's libraries? Other children's
librarians were asking themselves the same question, and then
they asked their librarians, and those who recognized in the
story hour a powerful ally in stimulating a love of good
literature and a civilizing influence wherever the gang spirit
prevailed, gave ready assent.

Ten years have passed and the story hour is now an established
feature in the work of children's libraries. Miss Shedlock came
to America to tell stories to children and to their fathers and
mothers. She returned year after year to remind the schools and
colleges, the training schools and the kindergartens, as well as
the public libraries, of the great possibilities in what she so
aptly called "the oldest and the newest of the arts."

In her lectures upon "The Art of Storytelling;" "The Fun and the
Philosophy; The Poetry and the Pathos of Hans Christian
Andersen," and in the stories she told to illustrate them, Miss
Shedlock exemplified that teaching of Socrates, which represents
him as saying: "All my good is magnetic, and I educate not by
lessons but by going about my daily business." The story as a
mere beast of burden for conveying information or so-called moral
or ethical instruction was relieved of its load. The play spirit
in literature which is the birthright of every child of every
nation was set free. Her interpretation of the delicate satire
and the wealth of imagery revealed in the tales of that great
child in literature, Hans Christian Andersen, has been at once an
inspiration and a restraining influence to many who are now
telling stories to children, and to others who have aided in the
establishing of storytelling. It is now three years since Miss
Shedlock was recalled to England by the London County Council to
bring back to the teachers of London the inspirational value of
literature she had taken over to America.

Interest in storytelling has become widespread, reaching a civic
development beyond the dreams of its most ardent advocates when a
professional storyteller and teacher of literature was engaged to
tell stories to children in the field houses of the public
recreation centers of Chicago. Mrs. Gudrun Thorne- Thomsen has
been known for some years in this country as a storyteller of
great power in the field of her inheritance, Scandinavian
literature. It is very largely due to her work that the city of
Chicago has been roused to claim the public library privileges so
long denied to her children, and to make the claim from a point
that plants the love of literature in the midst of the
recreational life of a great city.

No one who was present at those meetings of the New York
Playground Congress, conducted by Miss Maud Summers, will ever
forget her eloquent appeal for a full recognition of the value of
storytelling as a definite activity of the playground. She saw
its kinship to the folk dance and the folk song in the effort to
preserve the traditions of his country to the foreign-born child.
And she saw the relation of the story to the games, the
athletics, and the dramatics. More clearly than anything else,
perhaps, she saw the value of the story in its direct appeal to
the spiritual nature of the child. Miss Summers' interest and
enthusiasm made the work of the present committee possible. As
one of her associates, its chairman pays grateful tribute to her
memory and links her name with a work to which she gave herself
so freely in life, that her death seems but the opening of
another door through which we look with full hope and confidence
upon childhood as "a real and indestructible part of human life."

There is a line of Juvenal that bids the old remember the respect
due to the young. It is in that attitude, and with some
appreciation of what it means to be a growing boy or girl of the
present time, that the subject of this report has been approached
and is now presented for the consideration of the Playground
Association of America. We know only too well that we cannot give
to childhood in great cities the simple and lovely ways we
associate with childhood. We CAN give to it a wonderful
fortification against the materialism and the sensationalism of
daily life on the streets, against the deadly monotony of the
struggle for existence, by a revival of the folk spirit in story,
as well as in song and in dance, that will not spend its strength
in mere pageantry, but will sink deep into our national

It should be clearly stated that the field of storytelling,
investigated, relates to children above the kindergarten age and
to boys and girls in their teens. The investigation lays no claim
to completeness and has not included storytelling in public nor
in private schools.

An outline covering the main points of this report was sent to
representative workers in thirteen different cities, to several
persons professionally engaged in storytelling, and to other
persons whose critical judgment was valued in such connection.
The outline called--First, for a statement of the extent to which
storytelling is being carried on in playgrounds, public
libraries, settlements, and such other institutions, exclusive of
schools, as might come to the notice of the members of the
committee. Second, for information concerning the persons who are
telling stories, whether their entire time is given to
storytelling and preparation for it; whether it forms a part of
the regular duties of a director or an assistant; and, finally,
whether volunteer workers are engaged in storytelling.

Replies to these inquiries with a brief statement of results have
been grouped by cities,[3] as follows:

[3] Owing to space limitations, in general the formal reports
from cities represented in the discussion are omitted in the body
of the report.


Storytelling in the playgrounds is under the direction of a
special teacher appointed in 1909. The teacher of storytelling
works in co-operation with the teachers of dramatics and of folk
dancing. The visits of the special teacher added interest and
novelty, but it is felt that every playground teacher should be
able to tell stories effectively. Storytelling, therefore, is
considered a part of the daily work of the playground assistant.

In the Boston Public Library, storytelling is not organized as a
definite feature of work with children, but has been employed
occasionally in some branch libraries, regularly in others, by
varying methods. It is regarded as markedly successful in
districts where library assistants are closely identified with
the work of the neighborhood. Co-operation with settlements in
which storytelling has been carried on for some years has been
very successful. Rooms have been furnished by the library; the
settlements, and sometimes the normal schools, have provided
storytellers. The work of a settlement leader with a large group
of boys was especially interesting one winter, as he told
continued stories from such books as "Treasure Island" and "The
Last of the Mohicans."

In the sixty home libraries conducted by The Children's Aid
Society, storytelling and games are carried on by regular and
volunteer visitors on the days when books are exchanged. (For
full information concerning home libraries refer to Mr. Charles
W. Birtwell of The Children's Aid Society, Boston, with whom this
work originated.)

Settlements and libraries report great improvement in the quality
of reading done by the children as well as keen appreciation and
enjoyment of the stories to which they have listened. They
remember and refer to stories told them several years ago.


In the children's room of the Pratt Institute Free Library,
storytelling and reading aloud have had a natural place since the
opening of the new library building in 1896. Years before this
library was built the lot on which it stands was appropriated as
a playground by the children of the neighborhood--a neighborhood
that has been gradually transformed by the life of the
institution which is the center of interest. The recognition of
the necessity for play and the value of providing a place for
it-- children now play freely in the park on the library
grounds-- exercised a marked influence on the conception of work
to be done by this children's library and upon its subsequent

The children's librarian was never allowed to forget that the
trustees had been boys in that very neighborhood and remembered
how boys felt. It was evident from the outset, that the
children's room was to be made of living interest to boys and
girls who were very much alive to other things than books.
Probably more suggestions were gained from looking out of
windows, and from walks in the neighborhood and beyond it, than
from any other sources.

Fourteen years ago there were no other public libraries with
rooms for children, in Brooklyn; and boys frequently walked from
two to five miles to visit this one. During the past six years a
weekly story hour with a well-defined program based upon the
varied interests of boys and girls of different ages has been
conducted from October to May of each year.

The children's librarian plans for the story hour, and does much
of the storytelling herself; but from time to time some one from
the outside world is invited to come and tell stories in order to
give the children a change, and to give breadth and balance to
the library's outlook upon the story interests of boys and girls.
Listening as one of the group has greatly strengthened the
feeling of comradeship between children's librarian and children,
and the stories have been enjoyed more keenly than as if one
person had told them all.

The evening on which Mr. Dan Beard told "Bear Stories" is still
remembered, and another evening is associated with the old hero
tales of Japan told by a Japanese, who was claimed by the boys as
one of themselves, and known thereafter as "The Japanese Boy."
Pure enjoyment of such a story hour by children whose homes
offered nothing in place of it already gives assurance of results
rich in memories and associations, since men and women who were
coming fourteen years ago as children are now bringing THEIR
children to look at picture books.


The institutions in connection with which storytelling is carried
on are: The Chicago Public Library, the municipal parks and
playgrounds, social settlements, vacation schools, institutional
churches, hospitals, and the United Charities. The private
organizations supporting the storytelling movement financially,
by the employment of special storytellers, are: The Library
Extension Story Hour Committee, the Permanent School Extension
Committee, the Library Committee, the Daughters of the American
Revolution, and various women's clubs of Chicago.

A league has been formed of those who are telling stories under
the auspices of the public library. The league holds meetings
once a month for the purpose of upholding the standard of story
work and to strengthen the co-operation with the library. Stories
from Scandinavian literature, and stories of patriotism related
to the different nationalities represented in the story hour
groups, have been notably successful in Chicago.

The following statements are made by (1) Mr. E. B. De Groot,
director of the playgrounds and field houses. "I think that the
story hour is the only passive occupation that should be given an
equal place with the active occupations. I see in the story hour,
not only splendid possibilities but a logical factor in the
comprehensive playground scheme. The place of the story hour, I
believe, is definite and comparable with any first choice
activity. It is unfortunate that we are unable to secure as
playground teachers, at the present time, good story hour men and

(2) Mr. Henry E. Legler, Librarian of the Chicago Public Library:
"We are now engaged in developing the branch library system of
the city, and no doubt storytelling will be made incidentally a
feature of the work planned for the children's rooms. This work
must be done by the children's librarians, the storytelling
growing out of library work and merging into it in order that its
most effective side be legitimately developed." (Mr. Legler
states his views with regard to storytelling and other features
of work for children in an article entitled "The Chicago Public
Library and Co-operation with the Schools." Educational
Bi-Monthly, April, 1910).

(3) Mrs. Gudrun Thorne-Thomsen: "As to the future of the movement
I believe the purposes are best served by the storyteller being
an integral member of the organization she serves. I believe that
if the organizations which express themselves so sympathetic
toward the work would co-operate and give definite instruction in
storytelling to their workers, and also give them a fair amount
of supervision and direction, the whole movement might be placed
on a dignified and wholesome basis."


Storytelling has been carried on in the playgrounds and summer
schools for several years. Since 1907 the work of playground
leaders has been supplemented by storytelling done by public
library assistants who visit the playgrounds by invitation, and
who are scheduled for this work as a part of their regular
library duties.

In the Cleveland Public Library storytelling and reading clubs
have been widely developed under the guidance of the director of
work with children. In each of the branch libraries two story
hours a week are usually held. Storytelling is regarded as a part
of the equipment of the children's librarian, and time is allowed
from the weekly schedule for the preparation of stories.

Definite neighborhood co-operation is the aim of each branch
library. Storytelling visits are therefore made to the public
schools, social settlements, day nurseries, mission schools, and
other institutions of a neighborhood. Requests for such visits
are more numerous than can be supplied.

Storytelling in the settlements is done by club leaders and
volunteer workers mainly in connection with club work. Stories
were told last season in the children's gardens connected with
the social settlement by an assistant from The Home Gardening

Positive results of the effect of storytelling in the Cleveland
Public Library are shown in the favorable direction of the
reading of large numbers of children by a strong appeal to their
spontaneous interests, and by the many requests for library
storytellers. The total number of children who listened to
stories told by library assistants in 1909 was 80,996. The
Cleveland Public Library publishes an illustrated "Handbook"
containing a full account of its storytelling and club work.


One playground has been opened in the Borough of Queens.
Storytelling was introduced into the branches of the public
library in 1908 and was at first carried on entirely by the
supervisor of work with children as a means of putting herself in
touch with the children and library assistants. An experience of
some years at the head of the children's department in the public
library of Portland, Oregon, had given her a full sense of the
social opportunities presented in telling stories.

The branch libraries of Queens Borough are situated chiefly in
separate towns and at seaside resorts. The children in some of
these communities are inclined to be lethargic and lacking in
initiative; or, the commercial instinct is abnormally developed
in them. Habits of visiting a library for pleasure had not been
established except in the case of older girls and boys who
regarded it as a meeting place.

Girls whose reading was as flippant and as vulgar as their
conduct on the streets have become interested members of "A
Girl's Romance Club." Stories appealing to their love of romance
have been told and books have been familiarly discussed with
them. Library assistants as well as the supervisor of children's
work now hold weekly story hours. There has been a great
improvement in the quality and extent of the reading done by the
children. Storytelling visits have been made to public schools
and to the Jewish Home for Crippled Children. A library
storyteller is sent to the playground opened in Flushing in 1910.


Storytelling in the playgrounds of New York City is considered an
important feature of the work of playground assistants wherever
the conditions are favorable to carrying it on.

In the Parks and Playgrounds Association the leader of the Guild
of Play tells stories herself and is supplemented by regular
assistants and volunteer workers with whom she holds conferences
on storytelling. The work of the Guild of Play is extended to
hospitals for Crippled Children, to homes for Destitute Children
and to settlements. (See Handbook and Report of Parks and
Playgrounds Association.)

In the playgrounds and vacation schools maintained by the Board
of Education, storytelling is carried on by the supervisors and
assistants. The Nurses' Settlement, Greenwich House, Union
Settlement, Hartley House, and Corning-Clark House, report weekly
story hours, frequently held on Sunday afternoons. Storytelling
is carried on in other settlements and by several church houses,
St. Bartholomew's Parish House reporting a well attended story
hour following a mid-week church service.

In the New York Public Library, storytelling, under the general
direction of the supervisor of work with children, is in special
charge of a library assistant who has been a student of dramatic
art as well as of library science. Storytelling is not required
of library assistants. Any assistant who wants to tell stories is
given an opportunity to do so and to profit by criticism. Her
trial experience is made with a group of children. If she proves
her ability to hold their interest, she is then allowed to make
up her own program for a series of story hours, basing it upon
her spontaneous interests, her previous reading, and the special
needs of the library where the story hour is to be held. The fact
that storytelling has been regarded as a potent factor in the
unification of work with children in the rural districts, as well
as in the congested centers, where branch libraries are situated,
has greatly influenced the present organization of the work.

Racial interests have been considered, and on such festival days
as are observed by the Hungarians, the Bohemians, and the Irish,
special story hours have been held. In each case a volunteer
storyteller of the nationality concerned lent interest to the

Weekly story hours are now held in most of the branch libraries.
In some of them, two or more story hours are held. Story hours in
roof reading-rooms are held irregularly during the summer.

Marked results of storytelling after three years are shown by a
very great improvement in the character of the recreational
reading done by the children, and in their sense of pleasure in
the children's room.

The keen enjoyment of the library assistants who have been
telling stories, and the interest of other workers in the
library, indicates a valuable contribution to the work, by
bringing its people together in their conception of what the
library is trying to do for children.

Repeated requests for library storytellers have been received
from institutions for the Blind, the Deaf Mutes, the Insane, from
Reformatory institutions, as well as from settlements, church
houses, public and private schools, parents' meetings, and
industrial schools.

Three branches of The National Storytellers' League hold meetings
in New York City. (A full account of the National Storytellers'
League is given by its founder Richard T. Wyche, in the
Pedagogical Seminary, volume 16.) Courses in storytelling are
given at several schools and colleges, at The Summer School of
Philanthropy, and at The National Training School for Young
Women's Christian Associations.


Storytelling in the Pittsburgh playgrounds has a unique
organization in that it is entirely under the direction of the
Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. All storytelling in the
playgrounds is done by Children's librarians or by students of
The Training School for Children's Librarians on the days books
are exchanged.

The organized story hour, developed as a direct method of guiding
the reading of children, originated with this library and has
been carried on in connection with home library groups as well
as in the branch libraries, the public schools, the playgrounds,
and the social settlements of Pittsburgh, for a period of eleven

The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh issues printed lists of the
stories used and a pamphlet entitled "Storytelling--a Public
Library Method" by Miss Frances Jenkins Olcott, Chief of the
Children's Department and Director of the Training School for
Children's Librarians.


In the playgrounds one regularly employed storyteller, who also
assists in directing the games, tells stories throughout the
season. Storytelling is also carried on by playground assistants
and by volunteer storytellers. The interest shown by parents who
frequently join the story hour groups in the parks, is considered
a significant gain in sustaining neighborhood interest in the

In one settlement house, the head worker meets the storytellers
at the beginning of the season and plans and directs the work for
the entire year.

Storytelling in the St. Louis Public Library has been carried on
for several years by children's librarians of branch libraries
who have visited playgrounds, settlements, and public schools, as
visiting storytellers, and have told stories at mothers' clubs
and teachers' meetings. Since February, 1910, it has been under
the direction of the supervisor of work with children, who was
formerly one of the visiting storytellers and assistants to the
supervisor of work with children in the New York Public Library.
Storytelling is regarded by her as a valuable aid in the
unification of the work with children in a system of libraries.


The reports received represent only a small part of the
storytelling that is being done in different parts of the

In New Jersey, the organizer of the State Library Commission has
found her ability to tell stories and to choose books containing
a direct appeal to the people who are to read them, or to listen
to the reading of them, an open sesame in the pine woods
districts, the farming communities, and the fishing villages,
where grown people listen as eagerly as children. In a paper
entitled, "The Place, the Man, and the Book," Miss Sarah B. Askew
gives a vivid picture of the establishment of a library in a
fishing village. (Proceedings of the American Library
Association. 1908.)[4]

[4] Reprinted as a pamphlet by The H. W. Wilson Company.

Recognizing a similar need for the interpretation of books to the
communities where libraries had already been established, the
Iowa Library Commission appointed in 1909 an advisory children's
librarian, who is also a professional storyteller and lecturer
upon children's literature.

In the Public Lecture courses of New York City, it has been found
that storytelling programs composed of folk tales draw large
audiences of grown people who enjoy the stories quite as much as
do the children.

In various institutions for adults as well as for children, where
the library has been a mere collection of books that counted for
little or nothing in the daily life of the institution,
storytelling is making the books of living interest, and is
giving to children, and to grown men and women, new sources of
pleasure by taking them out of themselves and beyond the
limitations of a prescribed and monotonous existence. Just as the
games and folk dances are making their contribution to
institutional life, so storytelling is bringing the play spirit
in literature to those whose imaginations have been starved by
long years of neglect, and is showing that what is needed is not
an occasional entertainment, but the joy of possessing literature

Professional storytellers who have recently visited towns and
cities of the Pacific Coast, the Middle-Western, the Southern,
and the Eastern States, not covered by this report, bear
testimony to an interest in storytelling that seems to be as
genuine as it is widespread. It is apparent that more thought is
being given to the subject than ever before. Wherever
storytelling has been introduced by a "born storyteller" who has
succeeded in kindling sparks of local talent capable of
sustaining interest and accomplishing results, storytelling is
bound to be a success. All reports testify to the need of a well
defined plan for storytelling related to the purpose and the aims
of the institution which undertakes it, and to the varying
capacities and temperaments of the persons who are to carry it


The professional storyteller has played a large part in the
successful establishment of storytelling, and is destined to play
a still larger part in the future development of the work in
playgrounds and other institutions, by raising the standards of
the playground library, or settlement worker, who is expected to
tell stories. This she will do not by elaborating methods and
artifices to be imitated, but by frank criticism of native
ability, by inspiring courses in story literature, and by proper
training of the much neglected speaking voice.

The sooner we cease to believe that "anybody can tell a story"
the better for storytelling in every institution undertaking it.
A candidate for a given position may be required to have
storytelling ability, but no assistant should be required to tell
stories as a part of her duties unless she can interest a group
of children who have voluntarily come to listen to her stories.
Repeating simplified versions of stories is not storytelling.
Exercises in memorizing may be as helpful to the storyteller as
the practice of scales to the piano player, but neither is to be
regarded as a source of pleasure to the listener. Listening as
one of a group is a valuable experience in the training of an
assistant who is telling stories in the playground, the library,
or the settlement. Herein lies the advantage of a visiting
storyteller who does not take the place of the playground or
library assistant, but who enlivens the program for the children
and makes it possible for the regular assistant to listen
occasionally and to profit by the experience. (The professional
listener is delightfully characterized in "Miss Muffet's
Christmas Party," by Dr. Samuel McChord Crothers.)


The outline sent to the members of the Committee on Storytelling
called for the mention of specific stories and for personal
experience in group formation, taking into account age and sex,
time and place, and for a statement of results, in so far as such
results could be stated. From five hundred different stories
mentioned a composite list of "Fifty Stories for the Playground"
has been made. This list is chiefly composed of fairy and folk
tales, Indian legends, and animal stories, as making the
strongest appeal to playground groups and to library groups
unaccustomed to listening to stories.

It also represents the story literature most easily commanded by
the storyteller who has not read widely. Stories from the Norse
and Greek Mythology, from the Niebelungen Lied, the Arthurian
legends, and from Robin Hood; stories of Roland and of
Charlemagne; stories from the Faerie Queene, and from the
Canterbury Tales; historical and biographical stories are
generously represented in the five hundred titles, but such
stories should not be attempted without sufficient reading and
feeling for the subject to enable the storyteller to bring it
vividly and naturally before such a group as she is likely to
meet in her daily experience.

Satisfactory festival stories are reported as exceedingly
difficult to find. Several stories growing out of personal
experiences, such as a "Christmas in Germany," a "May Day in
England," "Fourth of July in the Garden of Warwick Castle," (The
Warwick Pageant of 1900) are mentioned. Atmosphere and festival
spirit are often lacking in stories listed under Festivals and

Poetry and verses are repeated or read at many of the library
story hours. Lear's nonsense rhymes and certain rhythmical story
poems are especially enjoyed by the children. Outlines of stories
or selections from books designed to lead to the reading of an
entire book are mentioned in connection with Dickens, Kipling,
Stevenson, Scott, Victor Hugo, and other authors.

In addition to the list of "Fifty Stories for the Playground" a
list of "Books to Read on the Playground" has been prepared.
Nearly all of the public libraries mentioned in the report send
books to playgrounds when the playgrounds desire it. The use of
books in the roof reading-rooms of libraries is very similar to
their use in the playgrounds. Here and in children's
reading-rooms boys and girls are free to choose the books they
really want to read. In his book entitled "The American Public
Library," Dr. Arthur E. Bostwick makes this statement: "There are
no intellectual joys equal to those of discovery. The boy or girl
who stumbles on one of the world's masterpieces without knowing
what anyone else thinks or has thought about it, and reading it,
admires and loves it, will have that book throughout life as a
peculiar intellectual possession in a way that would have been
impossible if someone had advised reading it and had described it
as a masterpiece. The very fact that one is advised to read a
book because one ought to do so is apt to arouse the same feeling
of repulsion that caused the Athenian citizen to vote for the
banishment of Aristides just because he had grown so weary of
hearing him always called 'The Just.' "


Groups for storytelling are usually assembled in separate rooms
in the libraries and are made up by an approximate but variable
age limit, dividing the children under ten or eleven years old
from the boys and girls above that age. In the settlements the
group is usually determined by the club organization. On the
playgrounds, the experience of a storyteller in Providence is
probably typical of many other workers and is quoted as
suggestive for group formation in playgrounds.

"During the summer of 1909 the stories I told on the Davis Park
Playground were costly fairy tales and folk stories. 'Grimm's
Fairy Tales' was the favorite of both boys and girls and through
the summer I told every story in the book. The boys also liked
'The Merrie Adventures of Robin Hood,' 'The Three Golden Apples,'
'The Golden Touch,' 'The Golden Fleece,' and all the old Indian
legends. While the girls, if offered a choice, always called for
a fairy tale with a Prince Charming in it. Neither boys nor girls
would listen to historical stories saying they were too much like

"The first day to gain an audience I went up to a group of
children who were playing together and asked them if they would
like to hear a story. Four or five replied that they would, while
some fifteen or twenty disappeared as though by magic, and I
decided that they were not interested. I then took the children
who wished to listen, over to a large tree in one corner of the
grounds, and told them that for the rest of the summer that tree
would be known as 'the storytelling tree.' They would, I told
them, find me there every day promptly at half-past one, and that
I would tell stories for a half hour to the whole playground.
Then from half-past two until three I would tell stories to the
older girls. The first day I had a very small audience, the next
day it doubled, and then increased daily until I had from eighty
to a hundred children in a group. As to forming a group, I think
it is impossible in playground work, for a group worth having
must form itself, the reputation of the storyteller being the
foundation of its formation, and this reputation can only be
gained through constant systematic labor, and a thorough
knowledge of your daily audience. That is why I think a
professional visiting storyteller would be a failure in
playground work, as in visiting each playground once or twice a
week it would be impossible for her to gain that intimate
personal knowledge of her audience, which is so necessary to the
playground storyteller, as she must appeal to a different class
of children on each playground.

"The experience of a professional storyteller with a group of
boys, already assembled as a club, is also quoted for its
valuable suggestion and independence of method in gaining the
interest of boys who had been much experimented upon.

"The most interesting experience I have had in a developed series
of stories was with the Boys' Club of Greenwich, Connecticut,
last year. The club is supported by the wealthy women of the
place, and is an outgrowth of a rather serious and perplexing boy
problem. A number of picture shows, pool rooms, cheap
vaudevilles, etc., have crept into the town, and life on the
street is most attractive.

"The head worker of the club wrote that they had failed to hold
the boys in everything but manual training and baseball; that the
boys were insubordinate and unresponsive, and that their school
reports were very poor. I found the conditions even worse than I
had anticipated. It was necessary to train eighty boys to listen,
as well as to interest them, and so, I told very short stories at
first. I chose the ones that were full of dramatic action, that
had little or no description, and a good deal of dialogue. The
stories were strongly contrasted, and there was no attempt at
literary or artistic finish. I used a great many gestures and
moved about on the platform frequently; it is the quickest way of
focusing laggard attention. To be absolutely honest, I had to
come very close to the level of the moving picture show, and the
ten-cent vaudeville, at first.

"The fourth night I eliminated all but a few gestures, and told
the stories sitting down. I also used less colloquial English;
and from then on, until the end, when I told the stories from Van
Dyke in his own words, there was a steady growth in literary
style. I append the programs in the order they were given:


     1. Irish Folk-tales.      2. Stories from Scandinavian
Myths.      3. The Rhinegold Stories.      4. German Folk-tales.
    5. Arthurian Tales.      6. Stories of Charlemagne and
Frederick Barbarossa.      7. Tales of American Indians.      8.
Negro Tales.      9. Stories of the Carnegie Heroes.      10.
Kipling--Captains Courageous, Jungle Stories.      11. Van
Dyke--A Friend of Justice, The Keeper of the Light.      12.
Irish Folk-tales (Requested).

"The practical results were very satisfactory. The books in the
club library were used more, the boys' composition and recitation
work at school improved, and they acquired the habit of polite,
attentive listening."


The importance of a definite time and place for the story hour,
for a prompt beginning and for an ending before it becomes
tedious, cannot be too strongly urged. The storyteller should
"size up" the conditions and suit the story hour to them. If she
is simple, natural and unaffected, and sufficiently resourceful
to vary her program to suit the interests of the children, the
story hour will be successful.

Various practical forms of co-operation have been suggested,
notably in the visits of library storytellers to playgrounds
wherever the public library is actively interested in
storytelling, and such visits are desired by the playground.

The story hour season in most libraries ends in April, making it
possible in some libraries to release assistants once or twice a
week to visit playgrounds. The benefit derived from such visits
is mutually endorsed by playground and library assistants.

Conferences of groups of workers interested in storytelling,
under the leadership of a professional storyteller, who also
understands the practical conditions and limitations under which
the playground and library assistants do their work have proved
stimulating and suggestive in a number of places. Volunteer
workers who have the ability to tell stories and who can so adapt
themselves to their surroundings as to make their story hours
effective, can do much for storytelling. This is especially true
of men who have had actual experience of the life from which
their stories are taken and can make these experiences of
absorbing interest to their listeners.

In conclusion, the committee recommends that wherever
practicable, storytelling in playgrounds be placed under a
leadership corresponding to that now given to games and to folk
dancing. That a clear distinction be preserved between
storytelling and dramatics, as differentiated, though closely
related, activities of the playground and the settlement. That
the story hour be valued as a rest period; for its natural
training in the power of concentration, and in that deeper power
of contemplation of ideal forms in literature and in life. That
storytelling in settlements be more widely developed as a feature
of social work worthy of a careful plan and of sustained effort.
That storytelling in libraries be made more largely contributory
to storytelling in other institutions by a thoughtful and
discriminating study of story literature, and by effective means
of placing such literature in the hands of those who desire to
use it.

The committee also suggests that the subject of storytelling is
worthy of the consideration of the universities, the colleges,
and the high schools, of the country, to the end that students
may appreciate and value the opportunities for service in a field
of such possibilities as are presented to those who possess, and
who have the power to communicate, their own love of literature
to the boys and girls of their time.


Another method used successfully by a number of libraries to
interest older boys and girls as they grow away from the story
hour is that of the reading circle or reading club. Miss Caroline
Hewins' contribution to the Child Conference at Clark University
in 1909 was an account of this work in the Hartford Public
Library, of "book-talks at entirely informal meetings." A sketch
of Miss Hewins appears on page 23.

The boys and girls who are growing up in libraries where
story-telling is a part of the weekly routine, at thirteen or
fourteen are beginning to feel a little too old to listen to
fairy tales or King Arthur legends, and look towards the
unexplored delights of the grown-up shelves. Many librarians are
taking advantage of this desire for new and interesting books to
form boys' and girls' clubs with definite objects. One whom I
know after a training with large numbers of children in a city
branch library, became librarian in a manufacturing town where
there were no boys' clubs, and soon formed a Polar Club, for
reading about Arctic exploration. She was fortunate in having an
audience hall in the library building, and before the end of the
winter the boys had engaged Fiala, the Antarctic explorer, to
give a lecture, sold tickets and more than cleared expenses.
This, be it remembered, is in a town with no regular theatre or
amusement hall, and the librarian is young, enthusiastic, and of
attractive personality. The branch libraries in Cleveland have
been successful in their clubs, and in back numbers of the
Library Journal and Public Libraries, you will find records of
organizations of young folk who meet out of library hours, under
parliamentary rules, for more or less definite courses of
reading. For the reason that the experiments are in print and
easily accessible, I shall merely give you a record of my own
book-talks at entirely informal meetings.

Long ago, before there were library schools, Harlan H. Ballard,
now librarian of the Pittsfield Athenaeum, used St. Nicholas as
the organ of the Agassiz Association, which had been in existence
for several years with about a hundred members in Berkshire
County. The Association grew and soon had chapters all over the
world. In the number of St. Nicholas for December, 1881, I find
the record of ours, and the name of the first secretary, then a
boy of ten or twelve years, now a prominent citizen, a member of
the Board of Park Commissioners and School Visitors. We used to
go out of doors looking for birds and insects through the spring
and fall, and meet in the library in winter for reading from
authors like John Burroughs, Dr. C. C. Abbott and Frank Buckland,
or the lives of Thomas Edward, Robert Dick, Agassiz and other
naturalists, or sometimes a story from a grown-up magazine like
one of Annie Trumbull Slosson's or an account of real pets like
Frank Bolles's owls. The children in "A. A. Chapter B" all had
good homes, good vocabularies and reading fathers and mothers,
and listened with interest to books that are far in advance of
the children of their age who began to come to the library after
it was made public. The chapter lived long enough to admit the
children of at least one of its original members, and only died
because Saturday morning, the only morning in the week when
children are free, had important business engagements for the
librarian, who feels that "Nature-study," too, plays an important
part in schools now-a-days, and that in the language of "My
Double", "there has been so much said, and on the whole so well
said," that there is less need than there used to be of such a
club, although it is a great deprivation not to have the long
country walks and the Saturday readings and talks with the
children. A librarian or a settlement worker who sees only
children from non-English speaking homes is in danger of
forgetting that there are others who can use books in
unsimplified form.

This is the only club connected with the library which had a
formal organization, but in giving a talk one day several years
ago to the upper grades of a school, I asked how many boys and
girls were going to stay in town through the summer, and invited
all who were to come to the library one afternoon a week for a
book-talk. The next year I sent the same invitation to several
schools, and gave in both summers running comments and reading of
attractive passages from books on Indians, animals, the North
Pole, adventures, machines, books of poetry, stories about
pictures and some out-of-the-way story books, with a tableful of
others that there was not time to read from. The titles of the
books are in Public Libraries, June, 1900, and are largely from
the grown-up shelves. This was five or six years before our boys'
and girls' room was opened and the children had free access to
all their own books.

The third year the programme was a little varied. Some of the
subjects were "Books that tell how to do things," "A great author
and his friends (Sir Walter Scott)," "Another great author and
his short stories (Washington Irving)." I have always made a
great deal of the friendship between these two authors, and as
most of our children are Jewish, I have often told the story and
shown the portrait of Rebecca Gratz, the Philadelphia Jewess, who
was too true to her religion to marry a Christian, and whose
story as told by Irving, whose promised wife had been her friend,
gave Scott his noble ideal of the character of Rebecca.

One year we had an afternoon about knights and tournaments, and
by an easy transition, the subject for the next week was "What
happened to a man who read too much about knights," giving an
opportunity for an introduction to Don Quixote. After that two
dream-stories opened the way to a fine illustrated edition of the
Pilgrim's Progress, and stories from Dante.

The next year, I tried stories of English history, in nine or ten
different periods, reading from one book every week and
suggesting others. After the opening of the boys' and girls'
room, the book-talks for one or two summers for seventh and
eighth grade pupils, were upon some of the pictures in the room:
Windsor Castle, Kenilworth, Heidelberg Castle, the Alhambra, the
Canterbury Pilgrims and some Shakespeare stories. Afterwards,
"What you can get out of a Henty book" gave a chance for
interesting picture bulletins, and the use of other books
referring to the times of "Beric the Briton," "The Boy Knight,"
"Knights of the White Cross," "Bonnie Prince Charlie,"

"In the Reign of Terror." Last year and this I have been reading
Scott and Dickens aloud.

We have some of the Detroit colored photographs of places of
historic interest, Windsor Castle for which I used Lydia Maria
Child's story of "The Royal Rosebud," although most of the little
princess's early life was passed in sanctuary at Westminster. On
the afternoon when Kenilworth was the subject, I read all of
Scott's novel that we had time for. Once on the Alhambra day, we
have had Irving's story of the Arabian astrologer, and again a
description of the palace and the Generalife who had just come
from Spain. There was little in print about Heidelberg that I
could use, and I had to write out the whole story of the Winter
King and his Queen, James First's daughter Elizabeth, ancestress
of the present king of England and mother of a large family.

Two years ago, in the interim between one children's librarian
who was married in June and her successor who could not come till
September, I spent most of the summer in the boys' and girls'
room, and learned two things. Some of the children thought that
they had read all the books on the shelves, and were asking for
grown-up cards. They were kept in the room by transferring some
duplicate copies of novels best worth reading from the main
library and putting red stars on the back and the book-card. Then
I was able to talk with girls who had read all of Laura
Richards's Hildegarde books, but had never thought of looking up
one of the poems or stories that she loved, or one of the
pictures in her room. I have sometimes read the description of
the room to a class in a schoolroom, and put on the blackboard
all the names of places, persons, books and poems in it. One
year I invited girls to form a Hildegarde Club for reading these
very things, and in writing to Mrs. Richards on another subject,
mentioned it. She wrote me an answer that I have had framed for
the girls to see. The Club lived for a few months and used to
meet on Saturday afternoons for reading "The Days of Bruce," but
at the Christmas holidays the girls went into the department
stores for a few weeks and forgot to come back. However, I am
very happy to tell the story of another Hildegarde Club that is
still flourishing. The teacher of a ninth grade class loves
books, and was quick to seize the hint of such a club, which she
organized from the girls in her room, and asked permission to
bring to my office for its weekly meetings. She is keeping them
up to their work because she sees them every day, and they are
interested and learning how much they can find in a book besides
the story. Besides this, they are observant and appreciative of
whatever they see on the walls of my room. The girls to whom I
gave a general invitation by means of a newspaper article were
not from the same school and did not all know each other. It is
better in organizing a club to have some common ground of
interest and begin with a small number. It cannot always be done
in a city in or through the library, except indirectly, by means
of a Settlement or other club. One that I know does very good
work in its meetings with the Settlement headworker and has a
small collection of books and pictures from the main library for
six months, and a more elementary bookshelf for a younger club
with whom one of the members is reading the same subject.

A librarian or library assistant can do some of her best work in
a Settlement club either in connection with the Settlement
library or independently. Readings from Dickens can be
illustrated by scenes acted in pantomime, with very simple
properties. Indeed, we had not even a curtain when Miss La Creevy
painted Kate's miniature, when the Savage and the Maiden danced
their inimitable dance, when Mrs. Kenwigs and Morleena held a
reception for Mrs. Crummles, the Phenomenon and the ladies of
their company, when after they had recited from their star parts,
Morleena had the soles of her shoes chalked and danced her fancy
dance, and Henrietta Petowker took down her back hair and
repeated "The Blooddrinker's Burial." The old man looked over the
wall, too, and threw garden vegetables and languishing glances at
Mrs. Nickleby who encouraged his advances. There was no time for
the girls to learn the parts in the busy, crowded, late-open
holiday evenings of department stores, but they all entered into
the pantomime and interpreted the reading with spirit, as they
did at another time in some of the Shakespeare scenes, Rosalind,
Celia and Touchstone, Hamlet and Ophelia, Bottom and Titania,
with attendant fairies, and Shylock and Portia. The Dickens
scenes were repeated for a younger club, just trying its dramatic
wings in charades, and when May-time came these younger girls of
twelve to fifteen gave a very successful representation of an old
English May-day with Robin Hood and his merry band, a Jester, a
Dragon, a Hobby-horse and Jack in the Green, Maid Marian and the
Lord and Lady of the May on the library green.

The opportunity of a library in a small town, where there is more
leisure than in a city, is in the formation of young people's
clubs. One day, a year or two ago, I visited three libraries on
the Sound shore in Connecticut. In one, the librarian had made
her basement useful out of library hours by organizing a class of
chair-caning for boys who were beginning to hang around the
streets, and were in danger of being compelled to learn the art
in the Reform School if they did not acquire it as a means of
keeping their hands from mischief at home. In the next town, the
librarian mounted and identified all the moths and butterflies
that the children brought to her and gave them insect books. In
the library beyond, the children were formed into a branch of the
Flower Mission in the nearest city. The club need not always be
for reading, but must depend on the resources or interests of the
boys and girls. There is no need of debating clubs in our
library, for the city is full of them, but they may be the very
best thing that the librarian in the next town can form.

A reading club must not necessarily be a club for the study or
enjoyment of stories, history or poetry. Under the guidance of
the kind of librarian who aims far above her audience, it may
turn into something like Mr. Wopsle's quarterly examinations of
his great aunt's school, "when what he did," says Pip, "was to
turn up his cuffs, stick up his hair and give us Mark Antony's
oration over the body of Caesar. This was always followed by
Collins's Ode on the Passions, wherein I particularly venerated
Mr. Wopsle as Revenge, throwing his bloodstained sword in thunder
down, and taking the war-renouncing trumpet with a withering
look." There may be a club for making things out of the Beard
books, for the study of sleight-of- hand, for exchanging
postcards with children in other countries and reading about the
places on them. It may make historical pilgrimages to places of
interest in the town or may collect stones and clay nodules, and
read about them. The important thing is to find children of
nearly the same age and neighborhood with interests in common,
and let them decide whom they shall ask to join the club after it
is formed. Better yet if they ask for the club in the first
place. One not very long-lived Settlement club which I knew was
of boys who wished to read and act Shakespeare, but a very few
evenings convinced them that as they could not even read the
lines without stumbling, they were not on the road to the actors'
Temple of Fame. They were boys who had left school at fourteen in
the lower grades, except one, who had taken his High School
examinations and is now at the head of a department in a large
department store and a prominent member of a political study
club. The others, who had expected to play prominent
Shakespearean parts with little or no work, were easily
discouraged, dropped off and were seen no more. The reading of
very simple plays at first is a good stepping-stone to a study of
Shakespeare later, but the plays must be interesting enough to
hold the attention of boys who do not read fluently.


The usefulness of the reading club as an opportunity of
broadening the interests of the child is emphasized in the
following paper, printed in the Library Journal, May, 1911, which
gives an account of the organization of clubs under the direction
of a supervisor in the Cleveland Public Library. Marie Hammond
Milliken was born in Pittsburgh, Pa., was graduated from
Wellesley College in 1905 and from the Training School for
Children's Librarians in 1907; was children's librarian in the
Cleveland Public Library from 1907 to 1910; Supervisor of reading
clubs from 1910 to 1912, and since that time has been a branch

The 13-year-old president of one of the Cleveland library clubs
said recently, in explaining the purpose of the club to a new
member, "The idea of this club is to give you what you couldn't
get anywhere else." This is a rather ambitious program. I should
be slow to say that any club I have known has succeeded in doing
that for its members. Considering the character of the
communities in which the public library is generally placed,
particularly the branches of a large library system, I am
inclined to think, however, that clubs organized and conducted by
the library offer to the children some things they are, at least,
not likely to get anywhere else--and to the library another
means of strengthening its effectiveness as an educational and
social center in the community.

In speaking of library clubs, I have in mind the organized,
self-governing club, with a small and definite membership, as
distinguished from the reading circle. Definite organization
means a constitution, officers, elections, parliamentary
procedure --all the form and ceremonial so attractive to children
of the club age. From the first meeting, when the constitution of
the club comes up for discussion, the organization begins to
develop the child's sense of responsibility. A simple form of
parliamentary procedure will not only prove conducive to orderly
and business like meetings, but, especially with young or
immature children, delight in its formalities will help to hold
the club together while interest in other phases of the club work
is being developed.

The chief advantage of the self-government of the club is as a
first lesson (frequently) in the principles of popular
government. In the club the too-assertive child learns wholesome
respect for the will of the majority, while his more retiring
brother discovers that one man's vote is as good as another's.
When one has seen a club of ambitious lads who, when they first
organized, cared only for success, reject a boy who is a good
debater and athlete on the ground that in another club he had
shown that "he was a sorehead and couldn't seem to understand
that the majority's got to rule," one is tempted to feel that
organization can do so much for the children that an organized
library club justifies itself on that score alone.

Club work is a very effective means of extending the active
educational work of the library. In the clubs conducted by the
Cleveland Public Library, the plan has been to encourage the
children themselves to make suggestions for the club work. Then a
tentative program is made out, based on some general interest
shown in the suggestions made by the club. As far as possible,
the program is planned with the idea of stimulating broad, as
well as careful and intelligent reading. The program is, of
course, subject to changes which may suggest themselves to the
club or to its leader. Travel in foreign lands, the study of the
lives of great women, nature study, the reading and discussion of
Shakespeare's plays, in the girls' clubs, and, in the clubs for
boys, debating and reporting on current events, have been the
subjects most successfully worked out for club consideration,
probably on account of the variety of interest which they
present. Travel means not only the manners and customs side of
the country--it means the art, the literature, the history, the
legend; biography, not simply the life of the individual studied,
but the period and country that produced it. The subjects
discussed in the debating clubs are almost always of the boys'
choosing, and represent a broad field of interest, economic,
social, moral and political. They range from "Resolved, That
Washington did more than Lincoln for his country," "That
civilization owes more to the railroad than the steamboat," "That
the fireman is braver than the policeman," in the clubs of boys
from the sixth and seventh grades, to the discussion of municipal
ownership, tariff commission, establishment of a central bank,
and commission government for cities, in clubs composed of high
school boys. Aside from what practice in the form of debating
means to the boys in developing ability to think clearly and to
speak to the point, discussion of vital questions of national and
municipal interest encourages the boy to turn to more trustworthy
sources of information than the daily press. He learns to refer
to books and the better sort of periodicals for his authority,
and, gradually, through reading and discussion, begins to
substitute convictions for inherited prejudice or indifference.

The club's greatest usefulness lies in the opportunity it
presents of broadening the interests of the child, of opening to
him, through books and discussion, new fields of thought and
pleasure. Compared with this, information acquired and number of
books read are comparatively unimportant. The smallness of the
group with which he has to deal and the children's invariable
response to his special interest in them create an unusual
opportunity for the club leader. In the informal discussions in
the club he may pass on to the children something of his own
interests, and direct theirs into channels which would probably
never be opened to them otherwise. From our experience in one of
the branches of the Cleveland Public Library, where club work has
presented great difficulties, I know that, given a leader who
understands, girls whose standard of excellence has been met by
boarding- school stories, can be interested in studying and
reading in their club the plays of Shakespeare or in listening to
extracts from Vasari's "Lives of the painters" or Ruskin's
"Stories of Venice." Beyond his opportunity to interest the club
in better reading, the leader may help the children in a general
way, by unconsciously presenting to them his standards of thought
and conduct. Through him they may become aware of finer ideals of
courtesy, bravery and honesty.

Not the least important contribution of club work to the library
is the direction of the reading of boys and girls of the
intermediate age--always such a difficult problem. Most of the
children of the age when clubs begin to appeal to them strongly
--from 12 years on--have reached a stage of mental development at
which they should be reading, under direction, books from the
adult as well as the juvenile collection. In the Cleveland Public
Library clubs books from the adult collection are used whenever
possible in connection with the club programs, and the leaders
are encouraged to recommend books from that collection for the
personal reading of the children. The result is that the children
are gradually made acquainted with the adult department, and come
to feel as much at home there as in the children's room.

The club very seldom fails to establish a feeling of friendliness
and personal interest in the library among its members. It has
proved itself, in this way, a very decided aid in reducing the
librarian's "police duty." Moreover, the club is a privilege, and
as such not to be enjoyed by those who habitually break the law,
so that what it fails to accomplish in one way may be brought
about in another.

As this paper is based on experience gained in the Cleveland
Public Library, it would not be complete without mention of one
important phase of the club work there.

To a very great extent the club work in the Cleveland Public
Library owes its growth in size and efficiency to the time and
interest given to it by the volunteer club leaders, of whom,
during the year 1910, there were 60. Looking over the work of the
boys' clubs for the year, it is interesting to note the influence
of the leader's interests upon the boys. All but one of the boys'
clubs whose leaders are attorneys devoted their club meetings to
debating, mock trials and parliamentary drill. Among the clubs
under the leadership of students in Western Reserve University
(and these represent more than half of the total number of boys'
clubs) the predominant interest is in the discussion of current
events, the subjects for occasional debates being suggested by
these discussions. In two or three clubs too young for such
discussion, the leaders, who were especially interested in
civics, were able to interest the boys in the study of the work
of the various departments of our city government. In another
instance a leader, a business man, deeply interested in the
history of Cleveland and its industries has succeeded in holding
the interest of his club boys in this subject for three months,
though these were boys whose indifference to anything but "Wild
West" stories was proverbial in the branch library.

Clubs for boys and girls in the Cleveland Public Library are
under the direction of a club supervisor, who organizes the
clubs, secures the services of the volunteer leaders, and helps
them in preparing programs for the clubs. The work has been
conducted in this way for three years, and has become a vital
part of the work of the library as a whole.


The successful development of reading clubs by the New York
Public Library is evidenced by the fact that at the time the
following paper was written, in 1912, there were reported
twenty-five boys' clubs and seventeen girls' clubs. The paper is
by Anna C. Tyler, and was read before the New York meeting of
school librarians in Brooklyn, N. Y., May 25, 1912.

Anna Cogswell Tyler was born in Detroit, Michigan, and was
graduated from the Hartford, Conn., High School in 1880. She
attended Mrs. Julie Goddard Piatt's boarding school in Utica, New
York, from 1880 to 1882, and Mademoiselle Taveney's school for
girls at Neuillysur- Seine near Paris from 1883 to 1885. She was
graduated from the Pratt Institute Library School, taking the
two-year course, 1904-1906. She was an assistant in the Pratt
Institute Free Library from 1906 to 1908. In 1908 she was made
assistant in charge of story-telling and library reading-clubs in
the New York Public Library.

The library reading clubs have sprung into being as a natural
result of the library story hour, and for two very potent reasons
--the boys and girls of from twelve to fifteen years old, however
much they enjoy listening to a good story, are extremely afraid
of being classed as children. Therefore when such a boy or girl
comes to the branch library which he uses and sees a very
attractive little notice reading "Story hour this afternoon at
four o'clock for the older children" he shakes his head and goes
his way saying, "Oh, they don't mean me, that's for the kids!"
But when he sees a notice reading "The Harlem Boys' Club" meets
such a day and hour his attention is immediately arrested, and
he asks, "What do you have to do to join this club?"

This is the first reason for the rapid growth of these library
reading clubs, the magic contained in merely the sight or sound
of the word "club"--the spur it gives to the imagination of even
the apparently unimaginative child, and the stigma it removes
from the mind of the adolescent boy or girl of being considered a
child. By conferring upon him the dignity of membership in a club
we can make it possible for him to enjoy to the extent of his
capacity the pleasure the majority of children so delight in--the
listening to a good story well told or well read. His mind is at
peace, his dignity unquestioned, for, since no stripling likes to
be taunted with his green years, his being a member of such a
club or league has forever precluded such a possibility.

The matter of joining these clubs is made as simple as possible,
and the great democracy of the public library spirit is kept
uppermost in the minds of librarians who have charge of this
work, and by them instilled into the minds of the children as
rapidly as possible. Any boy or girl is welcome to the club who
wishes to come, provided he or she is of the right age or grade
to enjoy the stories, reading, or study that is interesting the
others. Boys and girls who are doubtful are invited to come and
see what the club is as often as they will, until they have quite
made up their minds whether or not it is something they want. The
only thing required of them is to follow the one general rule
underlying all the clubs of the library--the Golden Rule, that
their behavior shall in no way interfere with the pleasure or
rights of the other members. Some of them stay only a short
time, but on the other hand we have many children who were
charter members when the clubs were formed four years ago, and
they have attended the meetings regularly, though they have long
since passed from the grammar schools and have reached the
heights of the third year in high school.

The difficulty of finding stories which will interest in the same
degree mixed groups of older children is the second reason for
the growth and popularity of the library reading clubs. Some of
the great stories of the world, like "The Niebelungenlied," "The
Arthurian cycle," Beowulf, and a few others may be used, or the
life of a great man or woman may be told, and listened to with
interest, provided there is plenty of romance in the life, and
the book which contains the story is attractive in appearance and
tempts one to read it at first glance. One can also find good
material for club programs in the romance of some period in the
history of a country not our own. The difficulty of choosing
story literature suitable and interesting for mixed groups of
boys and girls and the difference in their reading tastes make
the segregation of the library reading clubs a wise method. The
boy during these years is eager to acquire information on all
subjects--one can appeal to his love of adventure, of heroes, and
mystery. The girl is full of romance--poetry and drama make
their appeal.

The difficulty of maintaining and controlling successful library
reading clubs is frequently lost sight of because of the ease
with which they can be formed. Our experience has taught us that
in planning the library activities of the New York Public Library
the reading clubs must come last--they must only be established
when they can take their place as one of the regular functions
of the library. The librarian who is to be club leader must be
able to interest, influence and control the club members as well
as to tell a story.

The club season lasts from the first of October to the end of
May, and at present we have twenty-five boys' clubs and seventeen
girls' clubs reported. Some of these are formal in organization
with regularly appointed officers chosen, of course, by the boys
and girls themselves. These officers hold their office for
periods of varying length, some clubs electing new officers each
month, others at the beginning of each club season. Some of the
clubs are clubs only in name--entirely informal, but meeting
regularly once or twice or oftener each month throughout the
season to listen to the stories. Many of the clubs are entirely
selfgoverning and they also arrange their own programs. The
librarian who is the club leader is present as a member, but
takes no active part in the entertainment of the club unless
invited to do so.

And now just for a moment let us consider the kind of literature
we are trying to interest the youngsters in. Being a radical it
pleased me very much recently to come across the following
passage in an interesting new book by Miss Rosalie V. Halsey,
entitled "Forgotten books of the American nursery." Miss Halsey
says: "Reading aloud was both a pastime and an education to
families in those early days of the Republic. Although Mrs.
Quincy made every effort to procure Miss Edgeworth's stories for
her family, because, in her opinion, they were better for reading
aloud than were the works of Hannah More, Mrs. Trimmer and Mrs.
Chapone, she chose extracts from Shakespeare, Milton, Addison,
and Goldsmith. Indeed, if it were possible to ask our
great-grandparents what books they remembered reading in their
childhood, I think we should find that beyond somewhat hazy
recollections of Miss Edgeworth's books and Berquin's 'The
looking glass for the mind' they would either mention 'Robinson
Crusoe,' Newberry's 'Tales of Giles Gingerbread,' 'Little King
Pippin,' and 'Goody Two-shoes' (written fifty years before their
own childhood), or remember only the classic tales and sketches
read to them by their parents."

Now it seems to me that our great-grandparents were very lucky to
have been so delightfully introduced to the great things in
literature, and in these days when the art of reading aloud is
almost a lost art how can we expect the modern child to turn with
a natural appreciation to the best in literature when he is
almost submerged by the mediocre and vulgar inside and outside
the home, his appreciation undeveloped, not old enough in years
or intelligence to comprehend the beauty we so delight in. We are
disappointed when he does not respond, and wonder why. Is it not
the result of forcing him to use these things before he is ready,
and thus only fostering his distaste?

Believing this to be so, I have gone to work to try to induce the
boys and girls to read more widely, and cultivate appreciation,
by using this old-fashioned method of reading aloud or telling a
part of the story and reading here and there bits of the text,
thus letting the author tell his own story, and as far as we have
been able we have tried to give the children the KIND of story
they wanted--WHEN they wanted it--but in the best form in which
it could be found. For instance Poe's "The purloined letter" when
a detective story is asked for, followed by a story from
Stevenson's "New Arabian nights" or "Island nights'

In eleven of the boys' clubs we have been using this year special
collections of duplicate books, on topics suggested by the boys
themselves. These collections have been kept together for from
four to six weeks, and the stories that have been told or read
from these books are mentioned in the notice, with a list of all
the books in the collection and posted near where the books are
shelved. The topics suggested by the boys are as follows:
railroad stories; ghost stories; humorous stories; adventure on
land; heroes; adventure on sea; history stories, this last topic
including Italy, France, England, Scotland, Germany, Canada, and
"The winning of the West" in American history, and each group
decided on which country they would read about.

On the lower West side, where the Irish-Americans live in large
numbers, where street fights and fires contribute a constant
source of excitement, there is a library club of girls who have
been meeting twice a month for two years. Last year we studied
Joan of Arc, completing our study by reading Percy Mackaye's
play. This year, not feeling satisfied that I was on the right
path, I called a meeting to make sure. After trying in vain to
get an expression of opinion I finally asked the direct question,
"What kind of books do you really LIKE to read?" and for a moment
I waited in suspense, fearing someone would answer to please me
by mentioning some classic. But to my great relief one girl
replied at last timidly, but decidedly, that she liked
"Huckleberry Finn." This gave another the courage to add that she
had enjoyed the chapter on whitewashing the fence in "Tom
Sawyer." My clue had been found--a reading club of adventure was
formed, and though we began with the "Prisoner of Zenda" we have
wandered with "Odysseus," and sighed over the sacrifice of
"Alcestis," and thrilled over the winning of "Atalanta" this

A girls' club on the lower East side have been reading the old
English comedies--"She stoops to conquer," "The rivals," "Lady
Teazle"; then there is a flourishing Shakespeare club, which to
honor the Dickens centenary this year, voted to make the study of
the great writer a part of this year's program. This club meets
once a week, and at one meeting the outline of one of the great
tales was told by the librarian. This was followed by the girls
reading one or more of the most famous chapters or dialogues. At
the alternate meetings the girls read plays, varying the program
by choosing first a Shakespeare drama and then a modern play.
Each act is cast separately, so that all the girls may have a
chance to take part, and in this way we read "Twelfth night,"
"Romeo and Juliet," "The taming of the Shrew," "Macbeth," "The
bluebird," "The scarcecrow," and "Cyrano de Bergerac."

Away up in the Bronx there is a "Cranford Club," so named by the
girls because of their interest in the story to which they were
introduced four years ago. This club is really a study club and
contains a good proportion of its original members. They meet
twice a month, and a leader is appointed for each meeting, who
chooses her committee to report on the topic for the evening's
study. The topic is sub-divided and each girl does her part in
looking up the bit assigned to her. In this way they have studied
the English poets Tennyson and Milton, although after spending an
evening on Comus the club voted unanimously to change to Dickens.
They have also studied Bryant, Longfellow, Lowell and Whittier,
and the girls were sufficiently familiar with these poems to
recite many from each poet. Then the lives of three English
queens were studied--"Bloody Mary," "Queen Elizabeth," and "Mary,
Queen of Scots"; this year the Norse myths and stories from the
Wagner operas. The librarian's part is to suggest the best books
in which to find what they want, to get any book they may need,
sometimes suggest a line of subjects to choose from, etc, but the
work of preparing the material is done entirely by the girls.
When a book is being read and discussed, they sit around a table
and read in turn the bits that have been selected for them by the
librarian, who tells them the thread of the story between
selected bits read by the girls. Thus they have read "Cranford,"
"Pride and prejudice," "Old curiosity shop," "David Copperfield,"
and "Twelfth night." The teacher of English where most of these
girls attend school was recently an interested visitor at the
club, and she says she has noticed for a long time a difference
in the school work done by these girls, from a broader viewpoint
and outside atmosphere they brought to the class by their
intelligent comments and criticisms, showing that they were
reading outside and beyond the other girls of the class. She
noticed also a difference in their composition work. One of the
girls from that class was sent by this teacher to visit the
library for the first time and when asked what she liked to read
replied, "Wooed and married" and "How he won her" were nice
books. The book given her instead of her favorites was Mary
Johnston's "To have and to hold." It was read and enjoyed. Then
she took Howells' "The lady of the Aroostook," and after the
outline of the story had been told her seemed to read it with
real pleasure. Next Owen Wister's "Virginian" was given her, but
this she did not seem to care for. As a result of this reading
her taste in a better kind of reading seems to have been pretty
well established, as her librarian assures me that she has
continued her reading along the line indicated by the above
titles. The Belmont Club, the best boys' club for debating in
the school, have challenged the "Cranford Club" to meet them in a
debate on "Woman suffrage," to be held in the library at an early
date. The girls have accepted the challenge, and the fact that
the boys question their ability to equal them is sufficient spur
to make them work every moment they can spare from their school
duties to prepare for this important event. Added to this is the
fact that every one of them is an ardent "suffragette."

The need of social centers in the schools and libraries is
becoming insistent. The increasing demand on the part of children
for clubs of all kinds shows plainly their desire for some place
other than the street, where they can be amused and occupied in
the natural desire for self-development and expression. Early
last fall in one of the libraries the librarian met by
appointment a group of girls from eleven to fourteen years old.
These girls were wayward and troublesome, had formed a "gang"
which was more difficult to control than the usual gang of boys.
There was a room in her library quite apart from the rest of the
building where they could meet as a club if it should prove
desirable. "What would you like to do?" she asked. "Dance!" was
the reply. "Well, then, dance, and show me what dances you like,"
replied the librarian, and immediately the girls formed for a
figure of a folk-dance, and each girl humming softly the tune
they danced it through. "The Girl Scouts" Club was formed, and in
a day or two the secretary of the club submitted the following
program for the librarian's approval: Program. 1. Chapter from
the life of Louisa M. Alcott; 2. Recitations; 3. Games, Flinch; 4
One folk dance. From this beginning six other clubs have been
established: two for the older girls, two for the boys, one for
the little girls from eight to eleven years old, and one for a
group of troublesome young men from sixteen to twenty years old.
So keen has been the interest of these young people in these
clubs that the "gang" spirit has long since disappeared, and at
the end of the club season an open meeting was held, a program
arranged in which members from each club took part, and the
ushers and guards of honor were some of those same troublesome
young men. There was no place in this community where the young
people could meet for any kind of simple amusement, the only
"social centers" being the cheap vaudeville theater, the usual
moving picture show and the streets, until the little branch of
the public library opened its doors, and so popular has the
library become that 960 children have taken cards at the library
since the first of September and are borrowing books on these.
Besides the large number of card holders there is a still larger
number of children who do all their reading and studying at the
library. Although they may not know the old English verse from
which the lines are taken they feel them:

     "Where I maie read all at my ease,           Both of the
newe and olde,      For a jollie goode booke whereon to looke
      Is better to me than gold."

The outline I have given will give you some idea of how we are
developing the story hour and reading clubs in the New York
Public Library. This work is made possible by the splendid
cooperation on the part of the branch librarians and their
assistants, without whom it would be impossible to carry on a
work of such proportions.


The history of the home library movement in its beginnings is
recorded in a paper read before the Congress of Charities held in
Chicago, June 15, 1893, by Mr. Charles W. Birtwell, general
secretary of the Boston Children's Aid Society, who claims for it
a "natural and simple origin," a method of multiplying the
personal work which he was doing among the poorer children of
Boston. Another paper on the same subject was read by Mr.
Birtwell at the Lake Placid Conference of the A. L. A. in 1894.

Appreciation of this work is expressed in the 1915 report of the
Children's Aid Society: "The most important service we render as
a society is to show that the constructive forces within the
average family, if properly directed, are tremendous in their
power and effect. The home libraries do a work for children in
their homes that is quite distinct from all the other services we
render as a society."

Charles Wesley Birtwell was born in Lawrence, Mass., November 23,
1860, and graduated at Harvard in 1885. He was general secretary
of the Boston Children's Aid Society from 1885 to 1911. He has
been prominent in social and charitable work, and in 1887
originated the "home library" system of the Children's Aid
Society, the first general plan of this kind on record.

The first Home Library was established by the Boston Children's
Aid Society in January, 1887. Now it has seventy libraries here
and there throughout Boston, and regards them as an important
department of its work. The origin of the plan that has found so
much favor in our eyes was simple. I had been connected with the
Children's Aid Society but a short time when many avenues of work
opened up before me, and it was quite perplexing to see how to
make my relations to the various children I became acquainted
with real and vital. Among other things the children ought to
have the benefit of good reading and to become lovers of good
books. Indeed, a great many things needed to be done for and by
the children. Out of this opportunity and need the Home Library
was evolved.

A little bookcase was designed. It was made of white wood,
stained cherry, with a glass door and Yale lock. It contained a
shelf for fifteen books, and above that another for juvenile
periodicals. The whole thing, carefully designed and neatly made,
was simple and yet pleasing to the eye.

I asked my little friend Rosa at the North End, Barbara over in
South Boston, and Giovanni at the South End, if they would like
little libraries in their homes, of which they should be the
librarians, and from which their playmates or workmates might
draw books, the supply to be replenished from time to time. They
welcomed the idea heartily, and with me set about choosing the
boys and girls of their respective neighborhoods who were to form
the library groups. Then a time was appointed for the first
meeting of each library. The children who had been enrolled as
members met with me in the little librarian's home, and while one
child held the lamp, another the screwdriver, another the screws,
and the rest did a heap of looking on, we sought a secure spot on
the wall of the living-room of the librarian's family and there
fastened the library.

I remember that to start the first library off with vigor, and
secure the benefit from the beginning of a little esprit de
corps, I went with the children the evening before the
establishment of the library to see the Cyclorama of the battle
of Gettysburg. We rode in a driving snowstorm in the street-cars
from the North end, and had a gala evening. We got a bit
acquainted, and on the next evening, the time appointed for the
laying of the cornerstone of the whole Home Library structure,
the first library, you may be sure the children without exception
were on hand. I believe we had to wait a little while for Jennie,
who lived across the hallway from Rosa, to "finish her dishes";
then up went the library. Very quickly the second library was
established in South Boston, the third at the South End, and
before long some neighborhoods were dotted with libraries.

The idea at the beginning was that the groups should be made up
of fifteen children, but later we adopted ten as a better number.
So the family in which a library was placed would have the books
always within reach, and a handful of children from the same
tenement-house or near neighborhood would have access to the
books at the time set for their exchange, and when a group had
extracted the juice from one set of books we would send them
another. It was understood at the start that the children outside
of the librarian's family should exchange their books only once a
week. I dropped in on the children when I could, but soon saw
that the effectiveness of the work would be increased by regular
weekly meetings of each group. As it would be impossible for me
to visit them all myself, volunteers were sought to take charge
each of a single library. Quickly the visitors began to come to
me with all manner of puzzles--how to get the children to keep
their hands clean, how to induce them to read thoroughly, what to
do for a child who was ill, or a lad who was playing truant. Out
of these interviews with individual visitors grew naturally the
thought of a monthly conference of the visitors; and from an
early period in the history of the libraries we have met once a
month, except during the summer, and spent an hour and a quarter
in discussing a great variety of questions, some general and some
particular, that arise in connection with the libraries.

I must dwell a moment on the selection of books. The aim was to
put really good literature into the hands of the poor in such a
way that they would grow to love that literature. People, after
all, are not so unlike. A really good book, a book that is human,
that touches our sense of rugged reality, or the fancy or
imagination which is native to us and as real as anything in us,
is sure of a welcome among all classes of people, if it is
couched in intelligible terms. I chose some books that I happened
to have read myself, but soon coming to the end of the list of
which I was perfectly sure, and finding it impossible to review
enough books myself, I secured the volunteer help of a number of
ladies who understood the children of the poor and knew how to
pass judgment on books proposed for their reading. It was
definitely understood that every book should be read by the
reviewers from cover to cover. We would not depend upon
advertisements, hearsay, or vague recollections of books read by
ourselves years ago, but every book should be read from beginning
to end with the immediate question in view of the admission of
the book to the little libraries to be read by the poor in the
homes of the poor. Publishers and book-dealers sent us books for
examination. Upon a careful consideration of the written reviews
of the volunteer readers, prepared according to certain canons,
was based the decision as to their acceptance or rejection. It
seemed clearly not worth while to take to the poor books not
really worth their reading. If good books would not be read, then
the plan should be given up. Had we been careless in the
selection of books we easily might have done no little harm, and
should not have learned that clean, unsensational, vigorous books
that are loved by children in the homes of the well-to-do are
welcome to children in the homes of the poor. The way to good
taste in reading is not, as some curiously declare, through the
mire of the dime novel and the sensational story, but straight
along the clean, bright path of decent literature.

Although, by reason of the natural preference of some visitors,
or the effect of changes in groups at first made up of both
sexes, some groups are wholly made up of boys and others of
girls, the ideal group is a mixed one as regards both sex and
age--ten boys and girls from seven or eight to fifteen or sixteen
years of age. Thus we provide for a healthful, unconscious
association of the sexes and the training of the younger and
older in their behavior toward one another, and in general touch
the maximum range of relations, difficulties and services.

It follows from this make-up of a group that our books must be
varied in order that in each set there shall be food for each
child. So every library is made up of fifteen volumes, running
the whole gamut from the nursery tale to Tom Brown at Rugby or
Uncle Tom's Cabin, and also selections from juvenile periodicals
suited to children of different ages, there being five
collections of periodicals in each library, each collection
comprising a bound portion of the annual issue of some
periodical. You will readily see, therefore, that in order to
select a new library it is necessary to have forty or fifty
approved and unassigned books to choose from, and never is a set
made up with its fairy tales, pictures of sweet domestic life,
stories of adventure, simple history and biography, short
stories, long stories, fact and fancy, humor and pathos--never is
a set made up, preliminary to starting out upon its first visit,
without my mouth watering to read them all myself.

To put the books to an interesting test, but more especially to
induce the children to read appreciatively and really use their
minds as they read, a form was made out on which the librarian
or visitor should record the opinion of each child in regard to
each book he returns. The evolution of these opinions from the
obnoxiously frequent "nice" and "very nice," or the occasionally
refreshing "no good," of the early history of a group into really
intelligent and discriminating opinions, is one of the sure marks
of progress and value in the work.

A set of books usually remains with one group of children ten
weeks or three months before it is exchanged for a fresh set and
in turn goes to another group. So you see the Home Libraries
stand for nothing less than a perennial and constantly fresh
stream of good literature.

To make sure of the parents being back of us in our relations to
the children, we have a little blank application for membership,
which is signed by the parent or guardian as well as the child.
It is noticeable that on many of these cards the children write
not only their own names but the names of their parents, the
latter, themselves unable to write, affixing their cross.

The volunteer visitors, as opportunity offers, on cards placed in
their hands for the purpose, make a record of information
concerning the family, their history, condition, habits, their
reading at the inception of the library, and subsequently such
items as may reveal their further history and the possible
relation of the library to their life.

Close upon the heels of this effort to make books mean to poor
children what they mean to the more fortunate, followed the idea
of bringing to them a knowledge of those ways of having a good
time within the walls of one's own castle that are so familiar in
families where parents have leisure and ingenuity, and that make
our childhood seem to our adult years, of a truth, a golden age.
Without the elbow-room that some kinds of fun require, without
money to buy games, without leisure to play them or to teach them
to their children, forever held down by drudgery, forever pressed
upon by the serious hand-to-hand fight to keep the wolf from the
door, is it strange that the poor know next to nothing of the
commonest home games and diversions? To the Home Libraries, a
name sweet and dear to us who have had to do with them, came this
further idea of Home Amusements. After the exchange of books,
conversation about them, the recording of opinions, perhaps also
reading aloud by the visitor or the children, they turn from
books to play. It is the duty of the visitor to be informed in
the art of merriment, and to teach the children all sorts of ways
of having fun at home. Nor is it a slight advantage that thus
inducement comes to the grown-up folks to look on and laugh too.

But as naturally as the rose-bush grows and more than a single
bud appears and turns to blossom, so came another unfolding from
the Home Libraries stock. "The destruction of the poor is their
poverty." Might we not add to the home reading and home
amusements inducements to Home Thrift? We began to get the
children to save their pennies. Presently the Boston
Stamp-Savings Society was established. So we purchase stamps from
that society and supply them to visitors. The visitors in turn
sell them to the children at the weekly meetings. The children
are supplied with cards marked off into spaces in which they
paste the pretty stamps as they buy them. When a card is filled,
or when the total value of the stamps on a card is sufficient to
make it worth while, perhaps fifty or seventy-five cents or a
dollar, the stamps are redeemed, and the visitor goes with the
child to open an account at some regular savings bank. The
collection of pennies is resumed, to be followed by another
redemption of the stamps and the swelling of the account at the
savings bank.

I hardly need tell you that the Christmas festivities of the
children are largely held under the auspices of the little
libraries, or that in the warmer season you will find the
visitors and children taking excursions together to the lovelier
spots in the woods and at the shore. Once a year, too, we have a
sale of plants. Last spring we sold three hundred and
eighty-three plants to the children for windows and gardens. We
have promised that all who will appear this autumn with live
plants shall have a treat.

Through the visitors, too, we hear of cases of destitution,
truancy, waywardness and moral exposure, of unfit dwellings, and
illegal liquor-selling. Such things we report to suitable
agencies--the other departments of our Children's Aid Society,
the Associated Charities, the Society for the Prevention of
Cruelty to Children, the Board of Health, the Law and Order

From all of this you will easily see why we think that ten
children are enough for a single group or visitor. We expect the
visitor to know not only the children of the group, but the
families to which they belong, and as the children grow older,
and are graduated from the little libraries, to follow them still
as their friends. It is a highly important function of the Home
Library to bring with good books a good friend, whose advice the
children will seek, whose example they will aim to follow, and
whose esteem they will not wish to forfeit.

We are having to face more and more the question of the graduates
of the libraries. One thing we propose for them is a printed list
of selected books that are in the Public Library with the numbers
that they bear. These lists in the hands of our graduates we
think will continue to guide them to the choice of good reading.
So, too, we hope to see our graduates go from the little
libraries into the working girls' clubs, the associations for
young men, and the workingmen's and workingwomen's clubs. And we
want the love of good books, and all that good books stand for,
to follow them.

We have now, about six years and a half since the first library
was established, seventy libraries scattered throughout Boston,
with sixty-three volunteer visitors and a membership of six
hundred and thirty-four children. Since June, 1889, one paid
assistant, a lady who was among the first volunteers in the work,
has been employed, and has rendered most interested and efficient
service. For the past two years we have employed also an extra
summer-assistant, as so many of the visitors are away during that
season, and as we try to give every library group at least one
outing during the midsummer months. A committee of the Board of
Directors of the Boston Children's Aid Society have acted as
volunteer visitors, and promoted and strengthened in various ways
this department of the Society.

From the beginning it has seemed best to let the experiment work
itself out somewhat fully before attempting to say too much about
it. A widespread demand, however, for fuller information has
arisen, and home libraries are being established in various
cities I hope that before long a full record of the establishment
and growth of the Home Libraries in Boston may be placed at the
service of any who seek to adopt this form of philanthropic
effort among the children of the poor.


One of the first librarians to give to library work with children
a full appreciation of its possibilities in extension work was
Salome Cutler Fairchild. An address given by her on January 10,
1898, before the New York Library Association and the New York
Library Club on the development of the home library work in
Albany describes some modifications of Mr. Birtwell's plan, and
is especially interesting because it indicates the relation of
this method of extension work to the "new philanthropy."

Mary Salome Cutler was born in Dalton, Mass., in 1855, was
educated at Mt. Holyoke Seminary, and received the degree of
B.L.S. from the University of the State of New York in 1891. In
1897 she was married to the Rev. Edwin Milton Fairchild. From
1884 to 1889 she was cataloguer in the Columbia College Library
and Instructor in the Columbia College Library School. She became
Vice-Director of the New York State Library School in 1889 and
remained there until 1905. Since that time she has been a
lecturer on selection of books and American libraries. Mrs.
Fairchild was chairman of the committee in charge of the library
exhibit of the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893
and was identified with the publication of the A. L. A. Catalog.

It is probable that some of the readers of the Journal are
unfamiliar with the idea of the home library. In a few words,
this is its motive and its plan: To help the children of the poor
in developing and ennobling their lives by giving them books and
a friend.

The home library idea was evolved, not by a librarian, but by Mr.
Charles W. Birtwell, secretary of the Children's Aid Society in
Boston, a very old non-sectarian society. It grew up in a most
natural way. He fell into the habit of lending books to poor
children of his acquaintance and of talking with them about the
books after they had been read. This took time, and the result
was organization. The children were formed into little groups,
books were bought systematically, and his friends were
interested to form regular visitors.

And so a home library involves a group of 10 poor children, a
library of 20 carefully selected books placed in the home of one
of the children and circulating among them all, a visitor, who
should be a person of rare wisdom and sympathy, who meets the
children once a week, talks over the books with them, and during
the hour gives them all possible help in any way she chooses.
Each group contains both boys and girls from eight to fifteen
years of age.

There are several groups of children and several little
libraries. Once in three or four months the libraries pass from
one group to another. The personal element supplied by the
visitor is quite as valuable as the influence of the books. It is
hard to tell just what the visitor does. It is perhaps simplest
to say that she is a friend to the children and that she studies
how to help them. That means a great deal. The plan is elastic
and each visitor chooses her own methods.

Doubtless many librarians listened to Mr. Charles Birtwell's
paper on home libraries at the Lake Placid conference, September,
1894, and are thoroughly familiar with the central thought and
its application in the parent libraries in Boston. To such I
would like to call attention to some modifications of the plan in
the Albany libraries, to a few new points which we have worked
out and old ones which we have emphasized.

It goes without saying that each book is read carefully by at
least one member of the selection committee with special
reference to the home libraries. It is not enough that a
competent judge has read it without having that in mind. We are
constantly tempted to give these readers books a little too old
for them. They enjoy books which children who have always been
familiar with books would be ready for three or four years

Visitors should be prepared for disappointment in the quality of
the reading that is done. At the beginning of my work with the
children I was delighted with their enthusiasm over the books. To
be sure their choice was often determined by the attractiveness
of the cover or big type, or the bigness or littleness of the
book. I soon found that it was a rare thing for a child to read a
book through. They would often say with pride "I read 30 or 60
pages" and were unwilling to take the book again, though claiming
to like it. It is a slow process, but now after over two years
they read with much more enjoyment and thoroughness. It was a
long step ahead when the brightest child in the group began to
read the continued stories in the St. Nicholas and to watch
eagerly for the next number.

I wonder if these children are not in a way a type of the readers
in our larger libraries. We fondly hope that there will be an
immediate and hearty acceptance of the good things which we have
spread out with such lavish expenditure of our own life, later we
learn that even among the educated classes the genuine reading
habit is the heritage of the few and among the many must be the
result of a slow and steady growth.

I think we have improved on the Boston plan in dealing with the
magazines. They take nine different periodicals and break the
year up so that with one library of 15 books the children have
parts of five periodicals. We put 18 books in each library and
subscribe regularly for each group of children for St. Nicholas
and Youth's Companion. In some of the groups the children have
not cared for Youth's Companion. It has been given a fair trial
since July, 1894, and we have just substituted Harper's Round
Table as an experiment. Other groups, however, are devoted to the
Youth's Companion. St. Nicholas is a prime favorite with all.

We do not buy cheap editions. Grimm's "Fairy tales" is selected
in the tasteful Macmillan edition with illustrations by Walter
Crane. Hawthorne's "Wonderbook" is given to them in the exquisite
illustrated edition of Houghton, Mifflin & Co. We consider the
illustrations and the dainty covers a part of the educative value
of the book. We do not cover the books permanently, but give them
covers which slip on and off easily that they may use them at
their pleasure. A good deal of pride is developed in each group
of children in having the little library clean when it passes on
to the next group.

An effort is of course made to balance the libraries, putting in
each a volume of history, one of light travel, and a book about
animals like Mrs. Jackson's "Cat stories," "Buz," "Sparrow, the
tramp." Stories of course predominate. Fairy-tales are by all
odds the most popular and get the hardest wear. I have noticed
that this is also true in the children's travelling libraries
sent out by the New York state library. In one group of home
library children Grimm's "Household tales" was such a favorite,
and they called for it so persistently, that an extra copy was
bought for their benefit and is almost constantly in use. They
much prefer it to Andersen. The naming of the libraries and of
the groups of children is a new feature. Of our nine libraries
five are named for children. Any person, or number of persons,
giving $25 (the cost of a new library with its bookcase) is
entitled to name the library. The plan is a popular one and
several gifts of that sort have been received. In one case a
small framed picture of the child for whom the library is named
goes with it and the children seem to have a positive affection
for the picture.

The children choose for themselves some hero to give the name to
their club, or group. We have the Washington, the Columbus, the
Anthony Wayne, the Lincoln, and the Edison groups, and one more
recently formed, not yet named. It is a significant fact that the
children knew and admired Anthony Wayne because they read about
him in Coffin's "Boys of '76."

One beauty of the home libraries is the simplicity of the central
idea and the natural relations between the children and the
visitor. It is quite possible to combine with this much direct
educational work. Games are almost always used by the visitors.

The skilful visitor, who should have the spirit of the
kindergarten and might well have also her training, may develop
through the games attention, concentration, and courtesy,
qualities in which these children are especially lacking. It is
an interesting study to watch the development of the game of 20
questions; e.g. from a wandering, haphazard medley asked in a
slow and painful way by self-conscious children, to quick,
intelligent, carefully planned questions

To illustrate more specifically an attempt at educational work,
the Columbus group may be taken as an example.

There is a badge consisting of a bronze medal with the head of
Columbus, fastened with a knot of red, white, and blue ribbon.
The rule of the group is the rule of the majority; e.g., when
games are to be played a vote is taken and all are expected to
enter heartily into the one chosen by the majority. By constant
application of this plan and the discussion which it involves,
those children have come to understand pretty well the nature of
a vote. There is a child's life of Columbus and a scrap-book
containing pictures of him. The Columbus group are appropriately
discoverers, and as they have set out to find out everything
possible about their own city, once a month the group goes out
together for a long walk. They have visited the capitol,
geological hall, city hall, the Schulyer mansion, etc. Every week
10 minutes are spent in studying the city, the name and location
of the streets, the city buildings, the government of the city,
its history and antiquities, the cleanliness of the city, etc.
Many problems of city government which are taking the attention
of the best minds to-day can be studied in simple form here. And
this is real study. It is simple and elementary, but not
haphazard, and what they get is definite and organized. It is not
merely amusement, though they are interested and take hold
heartily. A simple statement of each lesson is duplicated and put
into the hands of the children. These will be combined into a
handbook useful for all children in the city and suggestive for
other cities. I hope that some line of study may be taken up by
the other groups, each visitor choosing that which she can best
develop. Light science would be attractive to some and of real
service to the children.

Music, always a powerful agent in the development of life, is
specially useful in this city because the music taught in the
public schools is purely technical. All the children have met on
Saturday afternoons in the kindergarten room of one of the public
schools to sing under the direction of a competent director of
music who loves children and takes genuine pleasure in the work.
This gives them a little repertoire of choice children's songs to
take the place of the street songs which was about all they knew
before, helps to soften their voices in speaking, and also serves
as an excuse for bringing together the children of the various
groups about once a month and making a little esprit de corps,
which is desirable. It is wonderful when they are inclined to be
boisterous and unmanageable in their games what a humanizing
influence a sudden call for one of these songs will produce.

It is proposed to circulate games suitable for playing at home,
also small framed pictures after the plan of the Milwaukee Public
Library. The books are often read by the parents and older
brothers and sisters. The games and pictures would help in like
manner to sweeten and ennoble the home life.

But why should you be interested in the home library and in
allied movements? Is it simply because they are an extension of
the book power to which you have pinned your faith? There is, I
think, a deeper reason. The movement known as the new
philanthropy is one of the strong factors in our civilization to-
day. The life of the community is the study of the man who serves
the public as librarian. Nothing which is an essential part of
that life is foreign to him. As distinguished from the old-
fashioned charity which relieved individual suffering without
regard to its effects on society, the new movement is
characterized by two tendencies:

1. A scientific study of the principles of philanthropy:
information before reformation.

2. A spirit of friendliness: not alms, but a friend.

Men and women of singular ability, of the best training and
devoted to noble ideals, have given their lives to studying the
problems of the poor, and so we have colleges and social
settlements, free kindergartens, home libraries and a score of
other new activities, one in spirit and in aim. But there are not
enough trained specialists.

The philanthropic work of our cities is largely done by young
ladies of the leisure class, quite a proportion of them graduates
of colleges, and with a splendid mental, moral, and social
equipment for the work. But they are raw recruits for lack of
discipline. Caught in the wave of enthusiasm they plunge
zealously into work with very little understanding of underlying

I have given a good deal of thought to this difficulty and am
persuaded that there is a way out. I want to present it here
because, if it appeals to you as wise, you will be able to help
in putting the plan to the test of experience. As the difficulty
is ignorance, the remedy is study.

A class in philanthropy should be organized, for serious study in
the scientific spirit and by the scientific method, under the
direction of as competent a teacher as can be secured. Only those
who are determined to do serious work and who have ability to
cope with these problems should be admitted. Every attempt to
popularize the course should be discouraged. The class might be
carried on under the auspices of a church, a charity organization
society, or even of a library. The initiative should be taken by
some one person with the requisite discrimination, tact, and
organizing skill. According to my outline a two- years' course is
needed, involving an hour of class work once a week, with, if
possible, five hours a week of study, and for nine or ten months
in the year. Laboratory work, that is, investigation of local
conditions, should be carried on throughout the course. Lectures
combined with seminar work seem to me the best methods of
instruction. The literature of the subject is rich and helpful.

At the end of the first course there would be two or three new
persons competent to instruct, and these might organize other

If this class in philanthropy could be carried on in any city for
10 or 15 years, the charities of the city would feel the effect
of the work. Instead of crudity there would be strength,
enthusiasm would be supplemented by wisdom. The result would be
the strengthening of the personal character of the poor and the
enrichment of the whole city life. For we rise or sink together.
The higher groups of society cannot develop without a
corresponding development in the lower groups.

And so I call you to study the problems of philanthropy, to
follow intelligently the history of home libraries, to approve
this plan of training if it be wise, if not to work out a better
one. Neither is this to go outside your natural course on the
ground of sentiment. You are to study the community on broad
lines that you may give back to the community through many
channels that abundant life which is the highest service.


The Monthly Bulletin of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh for
October, 1901, includes an account of summer playground work
which was begun three years before. Playground libraries as an
introduction to regular library agencies are described by Miss
Meredyth Woodward.

Meredyth Woodward, now Mrs. J. Philip Anshutz, was born in
Waterloo, N. Y., in 1869, and was educated in the schools of
Tecumseh, Michigan. She took special work in the State Normal
School at Oswego, N. Y., and later studied in the Law Froebel
Kindergarten Training School at Toledo, Ohio, and in the Chicago
Kindergarten College. After teaching in this institution she
became Principal of the San Jose Normal School in California.
After this she studied in the Leland Stanford University. She
took charge of the Home Library Work in the Carnegie Library of
Pittsburgh in 1901, where she remained until 1904, part of the
time acting as assistant in the Training School for Children's

The work of supplying the summer playgrounds with books, begun as
an experiment three years ago, was continued this summer as a
part of the work done by the Children's department of the Library
for the children of this city. During the initial summer, five
playgrounds were supplied, the total circulation being about
1,600. Last year the needs of seven playgrounds were met, with a
result of 1,833 in circulation, while the present year nine
playgrounds have given a circulation of 3,637 volumes, and this
during one day in each of six weeks. At a joint meeting of the
Library workers with the Kindergartners who had charge of the
playgrounds, it was decided to set apart this day as Library day,
and as high as 117 volumes have been issued in a single
playground on that day, while one week every available book was
issued in spite of a drenching rain outside.

Through the courtesy of the school directors and principals, the
library was enabled to place the books, take registrations, and
fill out cards, several days before the day for circulation. Thus
much valuable time was gained, and the work begun and carried out
more systematically. Boxes of books carefully selected from the
best juvenile literature, comprising attractive stories of
history, biography, travel, nature, poetry and useful arts, as
well as fiction, picture books and the ever popular fairy tales,
were sent to each playground. Each kindergartner also received
for her special use a list of stories bearing on the thought she
wished to emphasize each week, with the books containing these
stories. Charging stations were improvised out of desks, tables,
or chairs, in some vacant room, or corner of a hallway. Walls
dismantled for the summer cleaning were made more attractive by
gay flags, or picture bulletins illustrating the books to be

One morning spent at a playground on Library day would be enough
to convince the most sceptical that the children fully
appreciated their opportunities. As one of the kindergartners
remarked, "You'd think they had never seen a book before." They
swarmed about the windows and doors of the circulating room, and
at one school, when the impetuous but good-natured line became
too eager, they were restrained by the commanding voice of the
policeman to "Back up." Even the charms of an exciting game of
base-ball had no power over a wonted devotee, when pitted against
the attractions of an interesting book. Kindergartners from five
playgrounds agreed that by far the largest attendance was on
Library day, many of the older children coming on that day only.
They felt "too old to play," but never too old to read.

The signature of one of the parents, with that of the child's,
entitled him to draw books. One little tot begged hard to have a
"ticket," and be allowed to take books home, insisting with many
emphatic nods that she could write her name. On trial only a few
meaningless scratches resulted, and the tears that filled her
eyes at her failure were banished only when the librarian
promised that she might come each week, and look at the picture
books. Another child asked for a card for his little friend who
had rheumatism, and couldn't come to the playground. A mother of
the neighborhood took a card that she might draw out picture
books, and books of rhymes and jingles for the little one at
home. The "little mothers" invariably saved a place on their
cards for a book to please the baby brother or sister tugging at
their skirts, or, it might be, for some older member at home.
Very often the whole family read the books. One boy waited till
nearly noon on Library day for his father to finish the "Boys of
'76." Another said he wished he might take three books, because
there were four boys at home, and he would like to have enough
"to pretty near go 'round." In another family three of the
children were drawing books. Still the older sister had to come
down to get a book for herself, saying the others never gave her
a chance to read theirs.

In these miniature libraries not only do the children become
familiar with library regulations, but more judicious and
intelligent in the selection of books. At first they choose a
book because it has an attractive cover, large print, "lots of
talk" (conversation), or because it is small and soon read. "I
tell you, them skinny books are the daisies," said one, while the
opinion of another was, "These ain't so bad if they'd only put
more pictures in to tell what they're about." Later they select a
book because the title tells of interesting subject matter, or
because a playmate has recommended it as "grand," "dandy," or "a
peach." A popular book often has as high as ten or fifteen
reserves on it, the Librarian being greeted in the morning with a
chorus of, "Teacher please save me"--this or that book. So, from
having no idea of choice, the children finally have such a
definite idea of what they want, and why they want it, that,
unless the particular book is forthcoming, they "guess they don't
want any book to-day." One small girl took out "Little Women,"
and wanted "Little Men" on the same card. When she understood
that only one book of fiction could be taken on one card, she
inveigled her little sister into taking it on her card. Then she
tucked the books under her arm, remarking, with a sigh of
satisfaction, "Now, we'll have 'em both in our family." In
striking contrast to the excitement attending the selection of
books is the lull that follows. Here and there are interested
groups looking at the pictures-- delightful foretaste of what is
to follow in the text--or comparing the merits of the different
books. Some have already made an absorbed beginning in the story
which will be finished at home, on the door step, or by the
evening lamp, when the more active games of the day are over. Nor
are these absorbing books always fiction. The statistics show
that stories of travel, lives of great men, and books on natural
history were fully as popular as the fiction. The fiction per
cent of last year was reduced from 60 per cent to 52 per cent
this year.

And so the work for the season has closed, leaving many a young
reader not only trained but enthusiastic to enjoy regular library
privileges. The general verdict of the children was that they
were "Sorry it was over." Four lads from the South Side begged
that they might get books from the Main Library, and one boy
presented his card the very day after the playground closed.
Nearly all the branches have gained new adherents from their
respective districts.

On the whole we feel well pleased with the season's work,
although, as is natural, the work done by the two new Branches
was not so successful as that elsewhere owing to the fact that
the work was new to the district. When compared with that done in
the districts where it has been carried on for three years, it
gives a striking example of the growth and development which has
taken place since the beginning. As a result of the work, at the
West End Branch alone, fifty-two children from the Riverside
playground have taken out library cards. The children are better
trained in library usages, and more intelligent as to what they
want, often counting from one year to the next upon getting a
certain book. Out of this enthusiasm there naturally result the
Home Library groups and clubs which furnish books during the
winter. One notable outgrowth of last summer's playground was
the Duquesne School Club, whereby the children of the Point were
enabled to get books through the winter. This has since been
superseded by the introduction of the School-Duplicates, and now
the children hold elections for their various officers, while the
wide-awake principal has gotten out a neat little catalogue of
the books in their collection.

Unemployed and uninterested children are fallow ground for the
seeds of mischief and crime. The half-day playgrounds do wonders
toward solving the problem of the vacation child. Do not the
interesting, wholesome, juvenile books made so accessible to the
children also play a large part in this good work?


At the Pasadena Conference of the A. L. A. in 1911, Miss Gertrude
Andrus led a discussion on library work in summer playgrounds, in
which she considered some simple methods of administration.
Gertrude Elisabeth Andrus was born in Buffalo, N. Y., acted as an
assistant in the Buffalo Public Library in 1900-1901; was a
student in the Training School for Children's Librarians in
Pittsburgh from 1902 to 1904; children's librarian in the
Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh from 1903 to 1908, and since that
time has been head of the children's department in the Seattle
Public Library.

The library in a summer playground serves a double purpose; it
supplies books in a district not otherwise reached by the library
and it acts as a lure to the use of the main library. If the
books are attractive, the children will follow them to the main
library and thus become permanent borrowers. So it is plain that
the books we place in our summer playgrounds must be of the most
popular type. Easy books, picture books, fairy tales, stories,
histories, books of travel, and books on games and manual arts
are the ones most in demand. A knowledge of the district in which
the playground is located is also necessary. If the children have
a school library and are accustomed to reading, the books sent to
the playground will differ from the kind sent to one in a foreign
district where little reading has been done.

As the library room is invariably used for other work on other
days, the books must be locked up. A satisfactory solution of
this is a built-in bookcase with adjustable doors which may
easily be lifted from their sockets and set aside when access to
the books is desired, and may be replaced and padlocked when the
day's work is done. The arrangement of the room and the charging
desk should always be made so that the exit can be very carefully

In order to conserve our time so that we may have leisure to give
attention to individual children, we must arrange to have the
mechanical part of the work as systematic as possible. Playground
library work is a life of stress and strain. Everything comes in
rushes. There is always a mad dash for the door as soon as the
library is opened, for each child is sure that unless he is the
first he will miss the good book that he is convinced is there.
This rush of course makes it difficult to discharge the books,
slip them, shelve them, and at the same time charge the ones the
children have selected, to say nothing of helping the children in
their choice. We have therefore found it best to collect the
books beforehand, discharge them and distribute the cards among
the children before opening the library doors. When the Newark
system is used, however, and a child has drawn two books, this
may result in considerable confusion, for the books may be
separated and one may not be sure that both charges on the card
should be cancelled. When our first playground library in Seattle
opened, we used the Browne system of charging and this proved so
satisfactory that we have continued to use it in the others.
According to this method, each borrower receives two cards. When
a book is borrowed, the book slip is drawn and put with one of
the borrower's cards in a small envelope. It is readily seen how
easy it is to avoid complications when the books are gathered
before the opening of the library, for the slip of each one is
with the borrower's card, and if the borrower returns no book, no
card is given him. After the books are discharged and shelved and
the cards distributed, the children are admitted. In this way
much of the confusion incident to opening is eliminated and more
time is secured to help the children make their choice.

In order that the care of the books may not interfere with the
children's play, we have devised a checking system by means of
which the children may leave their books in charge of the
librarian until they are ready to go home. This not only allows
the children freedom in play but obviates the possibility of loss
of books through their being left on benches and swings. The
playground is a place of freedom and fun and good fellowship, and
the library's rules should be made as inconspicuous as possible.

The librarian should be not only willing, but anxious to enter
into the life of the playground as far as her duties permit. One
way in which she will be able to make herself popular not only
with the children but with the instructors is by means of story
telling. Joseph Lee says that story telling is the only passive
occupation permissible on a playground and the librarian thus
finds her work ready to her hand. She is able to advertise her
books, make friends with the children is a most effective way,
and at the same time relieve the playground instructor of a duty
which is sometimes found irksome.

She must remember that she is an integral part of that
playground, not a weekly visitor, and she must throw herself into
the interests and activities of the children with all the
enthusiasm at her command.


In the following article taken from the Library Journal of
October, 1882, Mr. S. S. Green says that his "principal object is
to show how books are selected and how children are interested in
books in the Sunday-school in which I am a teacher." It is
interesting to know that in a recent letter written to the editor
in regard to the use of this article Mr. Green says: "As I read
it over, it seems to me that the advice given in it is still much
needed." Samuel Swett Green was born in Worcester in 1837, and
was graduated from Harvard in 1858. In 1890 he was appointed by
the Governor of Massachusetts an original member of the Free
Public Library Commission. He was one of the founders of the A.
L. A., and also a life member, and was chosen its president in
1891. From 1867 to 1871 he was a trustee of the Worcester Public
Library, and he was librarian from 1871 to 1909, when he was made
librarian emeritus. Mr. Green has published several books on
library subjects.

It is gratifying to notice that the movement started several
years ago by certain ladies connected with the religious body
known as Unitarian Congregationalists, who organized themselves
under the name of the Ladies' Commission for the purpose of
reading children's books and preparing lists of them suitable for
Sunday-school libraries, has led within two or three years to the
formation of a similar organization in the Protestent Episcopal
Church, and more recently to that of one among Orthodox

Individual clergymen and others have also lately shown a great
interest in the work of selecting and disseminating good lists of
books suitable for Sunday-school libraries.

It is unnecessary to say that it was high time that this work was
entered upon earnestly. The officers of the more intelligently
administered public libraries had come to reject, almost without
examination, books prepared especially for the use of
Sunday-schools, and without consideration to refuse works
admission to their shelves issued by certain publishers whose
business it was to provide for the wants of Sunday-school

It had become obvious, among other facts, that the same
objections that were made to providing sensational stories for
boys and girls in public libraries, lay equally against the
provision of books usually placed in Sunday-school libraries.

The one class of books was generally moral in tone, but trashy in
its representations of real life; the other, religious in tone,
but equally trashy in its presentations of pictures of what
purported to be the life of boys and girls.

Both classes of books were good in their intention, both
similarly unwholesome.

Gratifying, however, as are the results of this movement, there
is something more that needs to be done. Libraries must be
purified from objectionable literature; new books must be
properly selected; but after this kind of work has been done, a
very important work remains to be attended to, namely, that of
helping children to find out the books in the library that will
interest them and pleasantly instruct them. Every child should be
aided to get books suited to its age, its immediate interests,
and its needs.

The Library Journal, in its number for June gave the title of a
catalogue of the books in the Sunday-school library of the
Unitarian church in Winchester, Massachusetts. In this catalogue
short notes are added to the titles of some of the books to show,
when the titles do not give information enough, what subjects are
really treated of in the books annotated.

Something beside this is desirable, however. Children need much
personal aid in selecting books.

I have been conservant of the work of a minister who, about a
year since, after examining carefully all the books in the
Sunday-school library of his church, and after taking out such
volumes as he considered particularly objectionable and adding
others which he knew to be good, set himself the task of talking
with the children of his school about their reading. The school
has a superintendent, but he, as minister, also takes an interest
in it and has spent the time he has given to it, recently, in
talking with the children, one at a time, about books, finding
out from them their tastes and what they had been reading, and
recommending to them wholesome books to read and interesting
lines of investigation to pursue.

My principal object in writing this article is to show how books
are selected and how children are interested in books in the
Sunday-school in which I am a teacher. It seems to me that its
methods are wise and worthy of being followed elsewhere. The
Sunday-school referred to is that connected with the Second
Congregational (1st Unitarian) Church in Worcester,

Thirteen or fourteen years ago the library of this Sunday- school
was carefully examined and weeded. Every book was read by
competent persons, and the poorest books were put out of the
library. This weeding process has gone on year by year; as new
books have been added others not representing a high standard of
merit have been removed from the shelves. Great care has been
taken to examine conscientiously new books before putting them
into the library. The result is that the Sunday- school now has
an excellent library. It has found the catalogue of the Ladies'
Commission of great aid in making selections, but has not found
all the books recommended in it adapted to its purposes. A
competent committee has always read the books recommended by the
Commission, so as to make sure that such volumes only were
selected as would meet the actual needs of the Sunday-school we
have to provide for.

Books are now bought as published. A contribution of about a
hundred dollars is taken up annually. This money is put into the
hands of the Treasurer of the Library Committee, and the
sub-committee on purchases get from a book-store such books as it
seems probable will answer our purposes, read them carefully, and
buy such as prove desirable. The sub-committee consists of two
highly cultivated young ladies. When they have selected two or
three books they make notes of their contents. The books are then
placed on a table in the minister's room, and the superintendent
of the school calls attention to them--reading to scholars a
short description of each book prepared by the sub-committee, and
inviting the scholars to examine the books after the close of the
current session of the school or before the opening of the school
the following Sunday. After these two opportunities have been
given to the children to look at the books and handle them, they
are put into the library and are ready to be taken out.

This sub-committee has taken another important step within a year
or two. The members have read over again all the books in the
library and made notes descriptive of their contents, and the
school has elected one of the ladies as consulting librarian. She
sits at a little table in the school-room during the sessions of
the school, and with her notes before her receives every teacher
or scholar who wishes to consult about the selection of a book,
and gives whatever assistance is asked for in picking out
interesting and suitable books.

She is kept very busy and is doing a work of great value.

It is gratifying to me to find that this work of bringing the
librarian into personal contact with readers and of establishing
pleasant personal relations between them, which has been so
fruitful in good results in the public library under my charge in
Worcester, has been extended to Sunday-school work with so much


The interesting and unusual work of the library of the Children's
Museum of the Brooklyn Institute is described by its librarian,
Miriam S. Draper, in an article published in the Library Journal
for April, 1910. Miss Draper says: "Contrary to the general
impression [the library] is not composed entirely of children's
books, but of a careful selection of the best recent books upon
natural history in the broadest use of the term."

Miriam S. Draper was born in Roxbury, Mass., and taught for a
brief period in the public schools there. She studied in Mr.
Fletcher's school at Amherst in the summer of 1893, and was
graduated from the Pratt Institute Library School in 1895. In the
next five years she filled the following temporary positions:
Cataloguer, Public Library, Ilion, N. Y.; Organizer, first branch
of the Queens Borough Library at Long Island City; Librarian of a
branch of the Pratt Institute Free Library until its
discontinuance; Cataloguer, Antioch College Library, Yellow
Springs, Ohio; one of the Classifiers in the University of
Pennsylvania Library during its reorganization. When the
Children's Museum was opened in 1900, she became its librarian,
the position she now holds.

The Children's Museum may be considered unique, because so far as
we know, there is no other museum in this country or elsewhere
that is devoted primarily to children and young people; in which
a whole building is set apart for the purpose of interesting them
in the beautiful in Nature, in the history of their country, in
the customs and costumes of other nations, and the elementary
principles of astronomy and physics, by means of carefully
mounted specimens, attractive models, naturally colored charts,
excellent apparatus, and finely illustrated books. Many of the
children come to the museum so often that they feel that it is
their very own, and take great pride as well as pleasure in
introducing their parents and relatives, so that they may enjoy
the museum and library with them. It may be called a new
departure in work with children, for although it was started ten
years ago, it was for some time in the nature of an experiment,
but has now fully exemplified its reasons for existence.

The Children's Museum is pleasantly located in a beautiful little
park, which adds greatly to its attractiveness and educational
value. While situated in a residential portion of the city, amid
the homes of well-to-do people, it is quite accessible by car
lines to other parts of the city. In fact, classes of children
accompanied by their teachers frequently come from remote
sections of Brooklyn, and from the East Side of New York. We are
within walking distance of thickly populated sections, such as
Brownsville, and large numbers of Jewish and Italian children
avail themselves of the privileges offered. It is hoped that in
time each section of the city may have its own little Children's
Museum, as a center of interest and incentive to broader

We are well aware that excellent work has been done for children
during the past ten years in many other museums, and perhaps the
first beginning in this direction was made by the Children's Room
in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington. The American Museum
of Natural History in New York City provides an instructor to
explain some of its beautiful and interesting exhibits to
children, and a similar work has been done in the Milwaukee
Museum. Children have been made especially welcome in other
museums, such as those at Charleston, S. C., St. Johnsbury, Vt.,
and the Stepney Borough Museum in London. All librarians are so
familiar with the excellent work done in the Children's
Departments of public libraries, which have developed so rapidly
in almost every town and city throughout the country during the
past decade, that it is not necessary to refer at length to them.
Suffice it to say, that the work of the Children's Museum and its
library are quite different in plan and scope from any of the
museums and libraries to which reference has been made.

Before describing in detail the work of this unique little
museum, it may be of interest to know something of the early
history of an institution which had its origin in connection with
the first free library in Brooklyn.

As long ago as August, 1823, a company of gentlemen met together
to discuss the question of establishing a library for apprentices
in the "Village of Brooklyn." Shortly after, the "Apprentices'
Library Association" was organized "for the exclusive benefit of
the apprentices of the village forever." The library was first
opened in a small building on Fulton street, on Nov. 15, 1823, On
the Fourth of July, 1825, the corner-stone of a new library
building was laid, on which occasion General Lafayette took part
in the formal exercises.

It is interesting to note that a year or two later, courses of
lectures in "natural philosophy" and chemistry were given for the
benefit of members; and the early records tell us that in
illustrating a lecture on electricity the instructor, "Mr.
Steele, showed a metallic conductor used by Dr. Franklin in
making experiments." Later, lectures on astronomy were given for
the benefit of readers, and drawing classes established for a
similar purpose.

A few years later the Library Association sold its building and
removed to Washington street, where it remained for a long period
of years. In 1843, the Association was reorganized under the name
of the Brooklyn Institute, and privileges were extended to
"minors of both sexes," the library being called at that time the
"Youth's Free Library." At the same time the custom was
established of awarding premiums to readers on Washington's
Birthday. Silver medals and prizes of books were given for the
best essays upon geography, natural history, hydraulics,
architecture, and history, as well as the best pieces of
workmanship and most accurate mechanical drawings presented by

It seems a notable fact that courses of lectures, which have had
a prominent part in the work of the Children's Museum, were also
an important factor in the earlier educational work connected
with the library; and also that a "Library fund," established
sixty or more years ago, still provides all books and periodicals
for the Children's Museum Library, with the addition of a small
annual gift from the state of New York, the cost of maintenance
being assumed by the city of New York.

The establishment of the Children's Museum came about in this
wise. After a serious fire in the Washington street building, and
the subsequent sale of its site, the Brooklyn Institute of Arts
and Sciences secured an indefinite lease of a fine old mansion
located in Bedford Park, which had been recently acquired by the
city. The collections of birds, minerals, and other natural
history objects were placed on exhibition for a few years in this
old mansion, and the library, which now numbered several thousand
volumes, was stored in the same building. On the completion of
the first section of the new Museum of the Brooklyn Institute of
Arts and Sciences, in 1897, the major part of the natural history
collections were installed in the new museum.

At length the idea occurred to one of the curators that the old
building could be utilized to advantage by establishing a museum
which should be especially devoted to the education and enjoyment
of young people. The first beginnings were made by the purchase
of natural history charts, botanical and zoological models, and
several series of vivid German lithographs, representing
historical events ranging from the Battle of Marathon to the
Franco-German War. Some collections of shells, minerals, birds
and insects were added, and the small inception. of the
Children's Museum was opened to the public Dec. 16, 1899, in a
few rooms which had been fitted up for the purpose. A large part
of the Brooklyn Institute Library, which had been stored in the
building, and which was no longer useful here, was sent to other
libraries in the South, leaving such books as were suitable to
form the nucleus of the Children's Museum Library as well as the
Library of the Central Museum.

With such modest beginnings the Children's Museum has developed
within ten years, until the present building has become entirely
inadequate for present needs. The collections now fill eleven
exhibition rooms and adjacent halls; the lecture room is
frequently overcrowded, the lecture being sometimes repeated
again and again; and the space set apart for the library has long
been taxed to its utmost. There are no reserve shelves for books,
and when new books are added the least-used books are necessarily
taken out and placed in temporary storage in a dark office on
another floor. In busy times after school hours and on holidays,
the reading room is frequently filled to overflowing, many of the
children being obliged to stand, or perhaps turn away for lack of
even standing room.

The number of visitors is steadily increasing, and numbered
14,637 in the month of February, 1910; just about one-third of
this number, or 4,925, made use of the library during the month.
A new building is therefore urgently needed, and it is ardently
hoped that a new fireproof building which is adequate for the
purpose may soon be provided, to relieve the great stress now so
apparent in many parts of the building, as well as to preserve
its interesting collections and valuable library.

It seems evident that an institution which stands primarily for
earnest endeavor to awaken an interest in Nature, is really
necessary, especially in cities where many children live so
closely crowded together that they hardly know what wild flowers
are, and whose familiarity with birds is confined principally to
the English sparrow.

Moreover, the nature study of the public school course, though
good as far as it goes, is too often perfunctory, either from
lack of interest or enthusiasm on the part of teachers, it being
an added subject to an already crowded curriculum. Another
seeming drawback is that the nature work is attempted during the
first few years only, and then is dropped entirely for the
remainder of the elementary course. A comparatively small number
of children continue their studies in high schools; and even so,
the study of botany and zoology is made so largely systematic and
structural that any desire of becoming acquainted with the birds
and flowers and trees is frequently eliminated.

Although entirely independent of the Board of Education it is
along just such lines that the Children's Museum is able to make
a place for itself in supplementing the work of the school. Its
aims have been defined by the curator to be as follows:

     1. To employ objects attractive and interesting to children,
         and at the same time helpful to teachers, in every
    branch of nature study.      2. To secure an arrangement at
once pleasing to the eye           and expressive of a
fundamental truth.      3. To avoid confusion from the use of too
many specimens           and the consequent crowding in cases.
  4. To label with brief descriptions expressed in simple
language           and printed in clear, readable type.

In addition to the common species of birds, insects, and animals,
there are many groups that have special attraction for children.
For instance, among the "Birds we read about" are the flamingo,
cassowary, condor, and quetzal; the eagle owl is contrasted with
the pygmy owl, and the peacock, lyre bird, albatross, swan, and
pelican are displayed.

In the Insect room the child's attention is naturally drawn to
the brilliantly-colored butterflies and moths, the curious
beetles from tropical countries, and the "Strange insects,
centipedes and scorpions." There is an extremely interesting
silk-worm exhibit, and the children who visited the museum two or
three summers ago had the pleasure of watching some of the
identical silkworms while spinning their cocoons. Young
collectors are shown exactly "How to collect and preserve
insects" by examining the object lesson which was especially
designed for their help.

Among the realistic "Animal homes" which appeal especially to the
child's mind are the hen and chickens, the downy eider ducks, the
family of red foxes, and the home of the muskrat. "Color in
nature" is effectively illustrated by grouping together certain
tropical fishes, minerals, shells, insects, and birds in such a
manner as to bring out vivid red, yellow, blue, and green colors.
Here and elsewhere in the museum are placed appropriate
quotations from poets and prose writers.

In almost every room there are attractive little aquaria or
vivaria containing living animals and plants. There is always a
pleasure in watching the gold fish, or the salamanders,
chameleons, mud-puppies, alligators, horned toads, tree toads,
and snails. For three or four years an observation hive of bees
has been fixed in a window overlooking the park, and children
have watched the work of the "busy bees" with great delight.

The uses of minerals and rocks are shown by means of pictures of
quarries, and of buildings and monuments, and lead pencils are
seen in the various stages of manufacture. A small collection of
"Gems" was recently donated, and the legends connected with the
various birthstones are given in rhyme.

A black background has been used with pleasing effect to exhibit
the various forms of shells. The process of making pearl buttons
and numerous articles made of mother-of-pearl add largely to the
charms of the Shell room.

Perhaps the most attractive room to the younger children is the
History room, in which the beginnings of American history are
typified not only by charts and historic implements, but by very
real "doll houses." A member of the staff devised and cleverly
executed the idea of representing the early settlers by six
colonial types, viz., the Spanish, French, Cavalier, Dutch, New
England and Quaker types. Some of the special scenes illustrated
are labelled "Priest and soldier plan a new mission," "Indians
selling furs to Dutch trader at Fort Orange" and "The minister
calls on the family."

The study of geography is aided by means of small models of
miniature homes of primitive peoples; as for instance, an Eskimo
village with its snow igloos, the tents of the Labrador Eskimos,
the permanent home of the Northwestern Eskimos, and the houses
and "totem poles" of the Haida Indians. Some of the more
civilized nations are typified by a "Lumber camp in a temperate
zone," and by a series of "Dolls dressed in national costumes."

The library of the Children's Museum now numbers about six
thousand volumes, and, contrary to the general impression, is not
composed entirely of children's books, but of a careful selection
of the best recent books upon natural history in the broadest use
of the terms. The range is from the simplest readers to technical

The library is thus unique in its way, supplementing the work of
the museum in various ways, such as the following:

1. Providing books of information for the museum staff in
describing the collections, and preparing lectures for children.

2. Furnishing information to visitors about specimens models or
pictures in the museum, and giving opportunity to study the
collections with the direct aid of books.

3. Offering carefully chosen books on almost all the subjects of
school work, thus forming a valuable "School reference library,"
at the same time showing parents and teachers the most helpful
and attractive nature books to aid them in selecting such as best
suit the needs and tastes of children or students.

Although it is not a circulating library (for many of the books
need to be on call for immediate use), there are, of course, many
interesting stories of heroes, scientists, explorers, statesmen,
and other great leaders among men, of great events in history, of
child life in different countries, of birds and animals, and the
great "world of outdoors." A constant effort is made to foster a
reading habit in the children, even though the time for reading
is very limited. Last summer some simple bookmarks were printed,
by the use of which many children have been encouraged to read
books continuously. The reverse side of some of the bookmarks
show that individual children have read eight or ten books
through recently.

In place of the "Story hour" which is so popular in children's
libraries, the Children's Museum provides daily half-hour talks,
illustrated by lantern slides, which are given in the lecture
room. The subjects are selected with relation to the school
program, and include a variety of nature topics, the geography of
different countries, history and astronomy. Twice a week a
lecture is given on elementary science, and is illustrated by

On some of the holidays such as Washington's and Lincoln's
birthdays the lecture is naturally devoted to the national hero,
whose birthday is thus commemorated. This year there were so many
children who wanted to learn about Washington that the lecture
was given nine times during the day. On Lincoln's birthday there
were several repetitions of the lecture, and the library was
thronged with readers all day, at least one hundred children
reading stories about him. The children looked with interest at
the picture bulletins, comparing the pictures with those they had
seen in the lecture. Hundreds of patriotic poems were copied
during the month, the number being limited only by lack of space
and writing materials.

During the March vacation there were so many visitors that
special lectures were given each day upon some subject pertaining
to nature. It is proposed this season to give additional special
lectures appropriate for "Arbor day" and "Bird day," and probably
one with relation to the "Protection of animals."

Lectures are occasionally given for the benefit of Mothers'
Clubs, and members of the clubs accompanied by their children are
shown the objects of interest in the museum. The library is also
visited, and picture bulletins and books are enjoyed by mothers
and children together. Last winter several Nature books were
loaned for a special exhibit of Christmas books, which was
arranged for a regular meeting of the Mothers' Club at a
neighboring school.

A part of the museum equipment of especial benefit to boys in
high schools is the wireless telegraph station, which was set up
and is kept in working order by boys. It furnishes a good field
for experimenting in sending and receiving wireless messages, and
a good many boys have become so proficient that they have been
able to accept positions as wireless operators on steamers during
summer vacations.

The museum has considerable loan material, consisting of stuffed
birds, boxes containing the life histories of common butterflies
and moths, also minerals, charts, etc., which are loaned to
public and private schools whenever desired.

The question is frequently asked "What influence does the museum
exert on the minds of growing children?" "Does it really increase
their powers of observation and broaden their horizon?" The
relation between the members of the staff and many children
becomes quite intimate, and although all attendance is entirely
voluntary, it is often continued with brief interruptions for
several years.

The experience of one young man may be cited to demonstrate how
the advantages offered by the museum are put to definite use,
while friendly relations continue for a period of years. When
quite a small boy, a frequent visitor became interested in
collecting butterflies and moths, learning how to mount them
carefully, and using our books to help identify his finds. As he
grew older, he commenced experimenting in a small way in wireless
telegraphy, inviting the members of the staff, separately, to go
to the basement and listen to the clicking of his little
instrument, which was the beginning of successful work in that
direction. Throughout his high school course he continued to
experiment along wireless lines, doing very creditable work. Upon
his graduation, he received an appointment as wireless operator
on a steamer. In this capacity he has visited several of the
Southern states, Porto Rico, Venezuela, and portions of Europe.
He has improved his opportunities for collecting while on his
various trips, as a creditable little exhibit, called the "Austen
M. Curtis Collection of Butterflies and Moths" in the Children's
Museum, will testify.

Some definite advantages gained in another field are worthy of
mention. Last summer one of the high school boys commenced during
the vacation to read all he could about astronomy; as the summer
advanced, another boy became interested in the subject also,
especially in the study of the constellations. Diagrams and star
maps were carefully made and the names of all the important stars
noted. In the fall a little club of eight or ten boys was formed.
The members meet almost every pleasant evening at the home of the
founder of the club and make use of two telescopes which have
been secured to the roof. (Incidentally, may we add, that one of
the boys with considerable pride recently showed the books on
astronomy in the library to his aunt who was visiting from
another city.) No astronomy is at present included in the public
school course, with the exception of a little elementary study in
the grammar school, so that an opportunity is here provided to
supplement school work.

Children frequently make long visits, sometimes spending the
greater part of a day, and bringing their luncheon with them to
eat in the park. Sometimes whole families come together, father
or mother, or both, accompanying the children. Frequently the
little "mother" of the family who is having temporary care of
four or five little ones, is not much larger than her little
charges, and yet is anxious to read some of the books. Under such
conditions, when the little folks become too restless to remain
longer in the library or museum, the privilege of reading in the
park is occasionally permitted, the book being returned to the
library before leaving for their homes.

The publication of a monthly paper was started in 1902 as a means
of communication with the general public and especially with
schools. In April, 1905, the Children's Museum united with the
larger Museum of the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences, in
publishing the Museum News. This journal is sent not only to
every public and private school in Brooklyn, but to every museum
in this country and abroad; to every library in Brooklyn, and to
libraries generally throughout the country.

An excellent "Guide to the trees in Bedford Park" has been
printed in a separate leaflet, being at first a contribution to
the Museum News. It may be noted here that a series of lectures
upon Trees will be given at the Children's museum commencing
April 11th by Mr. J. J. Levison, arboriculturist, the author of
the "Guide"; and that a fine collection of the best tree books
may always be consulted in the library.

In connection with the "Hudson-Fulton Celebration" in the fall of
1909, a handsome "Catalogue of the historical collection and
objects of related interest at the Children's Museum" was
prepared by Miss Agnes E. Bowen. It furnishes a concise outline
of American history, is printed in attractive form, and
illustrated by photographs of the historical groups already
mentioned. Special picture bulletins were also exhibited in both
museum and library, and objects having relation to Hudson and
Fulton and their times were indicated by a neat little flag. It
is perhaps needless to add that many teachers and children found
great assistance by consulting the "Hudson-Fulton Bookshelf," and
that the museum exhibit was very attractive to the general

The library has prepared various short lists from time to time
whenever needed, but has thus far printed only one. This was
prepared at the request of the Supervisor of Nature Study in the
Vacation Schools of Greater New York, and is a short annotated
list entitled "Some books upon nature study in the Children's
Museum Library." The list will be sent free to any librarian or
teacher upon application.

The Children's Museum is open daily throughout the year, the
hours on weekdays being from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and from 2 to
5:30 p.m. on Sundays. The library is open on the same hours as
the museum with few exceptions, such as Thanksgiving Day,
Christmas, and the Fourth of July, and Sunday afternoons during
the summer, from June 15th to September 15th.

To sum up, the Children's Museum constantly suggests the added
pleasure given to each child's life by cultivating his powers of
observation, and stimulating his love of the beautiful in nature
by means of attractive exhibits, half-hour talks, and familiar
chats with groups of children. The library calls attention of
individual children and classes to the flowers, birds and trees
through its picture bulletins and numerous books; and children
are urged to visit the Aquarium, the Zoological Gardens at Bronx
Park, and see the natural beauties of Forest Park, whenever
opportunity offers.


Many of the generally accepted methods of children's libraries
have been adapted to work with colored children, whose particular
interests are described in the following article by Mrs. Rachel
D. Harris, contributed to the Library Journal for April, 1910.

Mrs. Rachel D. Harris was born in Louisville, Kentucky, in 1869,
and was graduated from the Colored High School in 1885. She
taught in the public schools for fifteen years, and was appointed
assistant in the Colored Branch of the Louisville Free Public
Library when it was opened in 1905. At the time this article was
written she was in charge of the library work with colored

About five years ago, when it was proposed to establish a branch
for colored people, it was regarded apprehensively by both sides.
We knew our people not to be a reading people, and while we were
hopeful that the plan would be a success, we wondered whether or
not the money and energy expended in projecting such an
enterprise might not be put to some other purpose, whereby a good
result could be more positively assured.

The branch, however, was opened in the early part of the autumn
of 1905, in temporary quarters--three rooms of the lower floor of
the residence of one of our own people. We began with 1,400
books, to which have been added regularly, until now we have
7,533 volumes on the shelves of our new building, which we have
occupied since October, 1908.

The problem at first which confronted us was: How to get our
people to read and at the same time to read only the best. We
used in a modest way the plans of work already followed by
successful libraries--the story-hour, boys' and girls' clubs,
bulletins, visits to the schools, and public addresses.

A group of boys from 9 to 14 years of age, who visited our rooms
frequently, was organized into the Boys' Reading Club. Their
number increased to 27 earnest, faithful little fellows, who were
rather regular in attendance. They met Friday afternoon of each
week, elected their own officers, appointed their own committee
on preparation of a course of reading for the term, the
children's librarian always being a member of each committee
appointed. There were only a few boys in this number who had
read any book "all the way through," except their school books.

The first rule made for the club was, that at roll-call each boy
should respond by giving the title, author and a short synopsis
of the book read the preceding week. This proved to be the most
interesting part of the meeting, and was placed first on the
program to insure prompt attendance. Often the entire period was
taken up with the roll-call, the boys often calling for the
entire story of a book, the synopsis of which appealed to them.
This method was thought to be a good way to get the boys
interested in the books on our shelves.

Our first course in reading was Lamb's "Tales from Shakespeare."
Much profit was derived from the discussion brought about by
assigning each character to a different boy and having him give
his opinion of the same. We modified the program to include
several debates during the term, using the "Debater's Treasury"
for topics. The following year we read the plays "Merchant of
Venice," "Macbeth," "Midsummer night's dream."

A large per cent of this first club are still patrons of the
library. Six of the original number are now in college, and most
of those remaining are connected with the Boys' Debating Club.

Shortly after the organization of the Boys' Club the girls of the
sixth, seventh and eighth grades insisted upon having a club, and
a Girls' History Club was organized with about 30 girls.

At the urgent request of some pupils of the freshman and
sophomore classes of the High School a club was formed for them,
and also one for the members of the junior and senior classes for
the study of mythology. Very few of the members of any of these
clubs had read much beyond their class books and the same general
plan was followed in each, with the result that the library has
been successful in creating a love for the reading of books that
are worth while.

The story-hour has outgrown itself and our limited supply of
assistants. We started with a very small group of little folks,
and now we tell stories to between 150 and 180 children each week
in our building. The story-hour begins at 3 p.m., and children
who are dismissed at 1:30 p.m., come directly from school and
wait patiently till the children's librarian returns from her
station work at 3 p.m. The majority of our children have never
had stories told to them, their parents being compelled to work
out from home all day, and during the evening they have not the
time, though they may have the stories to tell, and the little
ones have been deprived of every child's birthright--a generous
supply of good stories. Boys and girls from the High School have
begged for permission to come to the story-hour, and have come
from long distances to hear the stories and enjoy them as much
as the younger ones do.

Last year when we decided to tell stories from English history to
this mixed group of little folks we felt that probably the
stories would not be received with the same interest as were the
stories of the previous year. Strange to say, these stories
appealed keenly to the children, and our number increased weekly
and interest did not wane. Many copies of English histories were
placed on our shelves, and these were eagerly read. Even now it
is difficult to find an English history in our children's room.

A remarkable feature of the work at our branch is the small
amount of fiction read, only 45 per cent. We had a decided
advantage here, because our children had never learned to read
fiction. Having read but very little, their power of
concentration was small, and the book that contained a story that
"went all the way through" did not appeal to them. Their great
regard for "teacher's" opinion helped us at the library to please
them by giving them non-fiction. For instance, when the boys
came, as most boys do, with a request for a story about Indians,
we gave them Grinnell's "Story of the Indian," or Wade's "Ten Big
Indians," the binding and high sounding title of which would
attract them, and they would find their way to the shelf where
the Indian books were and would read nearly all we had there.
They were then prepared to thoroughly enjoy our Indian stories in

Ours is an emotional race, and as religion appeals much to this
element in our nature, our parents have always been church-
goers, and the reverence for sacred things which our children
manifest is inherent. Therefore it is no cause for wonder that
the stories of the Old and New Testament find children anxious to
read them.

Our children read more biography than would be supposed. That
book that will tell them about a boy who, though poor and
otherwise handicapped, struggled, overcame and became famous,
appeals to them; therefore "Poor boys' chances" and Bolton's
"Poor boys who became famous" are called for constantly. There
are few of our boys and girls who will not gladly take a copy of
the life of Abraham Lincoln, or Booker T. Washington and read
them over and over, their parents often having them read the same
to them also. The self-made element in the lives of these men
strikes a responsive chord in the hearts of our young people.
They are easily led from the lives of these to the life of
Napoleon, Edison, Washington and others.

During the school months the tables of our reference room are
usually crowded. The pupils of the High School, near by, often
deluge us, after the closing of school, with anxious requests for
information on every topic from "the best mode of pastry making
to Halley's comet."

The Library Board has been generous in granting our request for
more and more books. Our supply, however, is still far too small
for the demand made upon it, our circulation having increased
from 17,838 to 55,088 for the present year. We have two library
stations and 35 class room collections, all demanding more books.

When we look back now at the time of our beginning we see that
our fears were unfounded. Our people needed only an opportunity
and encouragement. The success of the branch has exceeded the
hope of the most sanguine of those interested in its
organization, and we feel justly proud of the results attained.


Present-day conditions in a branch library in a crowded district
of a large city are pictured in the last paper to be included in
this compilation, with special emphasis on the necessity of
understanding the traditions and customs of foreign peoples in
order to know how to appeal to them. It was read by Miss
Josephine M. McPike before the meeting of the Missouri Library
Association at Joplin, Missouri, in October, 1915.

Josephine Mary McPike was born in Alton, Illinois, and studied in
Shurtleff College, Upper Alton, and in the University of
Illinois. She became a member of the staff of the St. Louis
Public Library in 1909. In February, 1917, she resigned from the
position of First Assistant at the Crunden Branch to become the
librarian of the Seven Corners Branch of the Minneapolis Public

Crunden branch is the kind of place, the thought of which makes
you glad to get up in the morning. It is an institution a state
of mind. And as we workers there feel, so do the people in the
neighborhood. We have heard over and over again the almost
worn-out appellation "The people's university"; Crunden has a
different place in the thoughts of its users. It is really the
living-room of our neighborhood--the place where, the dishes
having been washed and the apron hung up, we naturally retire to
read and to muse.

True, it is a large family foregathered in this living-room of
ours, much greater in number than the chairs for them to sit
upon, but, as in all large families, there is much giving and
taking. In the children's room, crowded to overflowing, the
Jewish child sits next to the Irish, and the Italian and the
Polish child read from the same book. Children of all ages; babes
from two and a half years to boys of twenty who spend their days
in the factory, and are still reading "Robinson Crusoe" and the
"Merry adventures of Robin Hood." There too, sometimes comes the
mother but lately arrived from the "Old Country," wearing her
brightly colored native costume. Unable to read or to write, she
feels more at home here with the children whom she understands,
and beams proudly to see her little "Izzey" reading "Child life"
or "Summers' reader."

Some social workers report that their greatest difficulty in
dealing with the children of the tenement district is absolute
lack of the play spirit. Our observations have been quite to the
contrary; in all of the children there is a fresh and healthy
play- fulness--indeed, we feel at times that it is much too
healthy. Our constant attendance is needed to satisfy them all,
insatiable little readers that they are.

But the question of discipline becomes a real problem only in
dealing with the mass spirit of the gang. There is one more or
less notorious gang in the neighborhood which is known as the
"Forty Thieves." To gain admittance into this friendly crowd it
is necessary for the applicant to prove to the full satisfaction
of the leaders that he has stolen something. En masse they storm
into the children's room, in a spirit of bravado. We gradually
come to realize that at such a time as this the library
smile--that much used and abused smile--touches some of the boys
not at all, and the voice of authority and often the arm of
strength are the only effective methods. We believe that we have
found a most satisfactory way of meeting this situation. The
children's librarian induces all of the older boys to come down
stairs to a separate room and for a half hour tells them tales of
adventure and chivalry, thus quieting the children's room and
directing the energy of the boys into more peaceful channels.
This story in the evening takes the place of the story hour for
older children during the daytime, which on account of the
scarcity of boys and girls of suitable age has been discontinued.

The younger children still have their fairy stories told them,
and there, ever and anon, the frank spirit of the family
manifests itself. That child who all through one story hour sat
weaving back and forth muttering to herself, and when pressed for
an explanation, remarked that she "was counting 'til you're
done"--is a happy and independent contrast to the usually
emotional type that embraces and bids its indescribably dirty and
garlic tainted little brothers--"Kiss teacher for the nice

The young library assistant comes to Crunden branch graciously to
teach--she stays humbly to learn. Full of new theories and with a
desire to uplift--a really sincere desire--she finds in a short
time much to uplift her own spirit. Since ours is a polygot
neighborhood consisting mostly of Russians, Jews, Poles, and
Italians, with a light sprinkling of Irish, it brings us into
contact with such different temperaments that before we can
attempt to satisfy them we must needs go to school to them. We
know to some extent the life of our American child and with a
little thought we can usually find the way best to appeal to him.
But the peoples who have come from across the water have brought
with them their traditions and their customs, and have each their
own point of view; and it is with these traditions and customs
that we must become familiar and sympathetic in order to
understand the little strangers. There is the eager, often
fearful Jewish child; the slower, stolid Pole; the impulsive
Italian; each must be approached from a different angle and each
with a different inducement. At first this task is rather
appalling, but gradually it becomes so interesting that from
trying to learn from the child in the library we listen to the
mother in the home, and often to the father from the factory; and
from these gleanings of their life in the home and their habits
of thought we try to understand the nature of the strange child
and grope about for what he most needs and how to make the
greatest appeal to him.

In the last two or three years the children's librarian has
herself gone after each book long overdue, and with each visit
she has seized the opportunity not only to recover the book, but
to become acquainted with the mother and to gain her often
reluctant confidence. Most of the readers live in tenements, many
of which open into one common yard. The appearance of the library
assistant usually causes much commotion, and she is received
often not only by the mother of the negligent child but also the
mothers of several other children as well--and, the center of a
friendly group, she holds conversation with them. By this time
the library assistant is well known in the neighborhood, and
unlike the collector and the curious social uplifter who are
often treated with sullenness and defiance, she receives every
consideration and assistance. Now at Yom Kipper, Rosh Hashana,
Pasach and other holidays, we are invited to break matzos and eat
rare native dishes with the families of the children. We find the
home visit invaluable. The Jewish, the Italian, and even the
Polish mother gains confidence in us, tells us all the family
details--and feels finally that we are fit persons to whom she
may entrust her children.

Probably our most attractive-looking child is the Italian, a
swarthy-skinned little creature, with softly curved cheeks,
liquid brown eyes and seraphic expression--that seraphic
expression which is so convincing and withal so misleading. Child
of the sun that he is, his greatest ambition in life is to lie
undisturbed in the heat of the day and so be content. He has
learned to take nothing seriously, the word "responsibility" has
no meaning for him. Nor has the word "truth." With his vivid
imagination he handles it with the lightest manner in the world,
he adds, he expands, he takes away in the most sincere fashion,
looking at you all the while with babyish innocence. He is
bewildering! His large brown eyes are veritable symbols of truth;
to doubt him fills you with shame. I say he is bewildering; never
so much so as when, for no apparent reason, he changes his
tactics, and with the same sweet confidence absolutely reverses
his former statements. What can we do with him? There seems to be
no appeal we can make. He swears by the Madonna! He raises his
eyes to Heaven, and when he finally makes his near- true
statement, he is filled with such confessional fervor that to
reward him seems to be the only logical course left. He is
certainly a child of nature, but of a nature so quixotic that we
are non-plussed.

To many of our dark-skinned little friends "Home" originally was
the little island across from the toe of Italy. These are, I
fear, somewhat scorned by the ones whose homes nestled within the
confines of the boot itself. We know how many refugees fled to
that little spot in the water, and that dark indeed have been the
careers of some of them. Whether the hunted feeling of their
fathers of generations back still lurks in these young Sicilians,
I do not know, but certainly their first impulse is one of
defense. At the simplest question there appears suddenly, even in
the smallest child, the defiant flash of the dark eyes and the
sullen setting of the mouth. The question--what does your father
do?--or, what is your mother's name?--arouses their
ever-smoldering suspicion, and more than likely their quick
rejoinder will be--"What's it to you?" When we explain
impersonally that it is very much to us if they are to read our
books, and that after all to reveal their mother's name will be
no very damaging admission, the cloud blows over and there is no
more trace of the little storm when they indifferently give us
all the details we wish. So sudden are their changes and moods,
so violent their little outbursts, that we must needs be on the
qui vive in our dealings with them. But yet they are so lovable
that we can never be vexed with them for long.

It cannot be far amiss to put into this paper a picturesque
Sicilian woman who has grown old in years but is still a child in
spirit. She loves a fairy story as much as she did sixty years
ago, and listens with the same breathless credulity. One night
about twilight as I sat on the front steps with her and several
little Italian children, listening to her tales of the old home
country, there came a silence in our little group. Suddenly Angel
Licavoli asked, "Teacher, what is God like?" With a feeling that
our friend of riper experience could give us more satisfaction, I
repeated the question to her. Her sweet old face surrounded by
the white curls was a study in simple faith as she assured us,
"Maybe She is like the holy pictures."

When I approach the subject of the Russian Jew, I do it with a
great humbleness and fear lest I do not do it justice. So much
have they had to overcome, and such tenacity and perseverance
have they shown in overcoming it! Straight from the Pales of
Kief, Ketchinoff, and Odessa they come to settle in the nearest
to a pale we have to offer. Great has been their poverty; a
long-standing terror with them, and along with it in many cases,
persecution, starvation, and social ostracism. Poverty in all
but spirit and mind. The great leveler to them is education, and
it is no uncommon thing for the Jewish father to sacrifice
himself in order to better his son, to take upon himself that
greatest of sacrifices, daily grind and deprivation. Not only
this generation, but the one before and the one before that. They
cannot keep up such a white-hot search for learning without
sooner or later finding out what is wisdom--real wisdom. Stripped
of all but bare necessities, they come to possess a sense of
value that is remarkably true. We come into contact then with the
offspring of such conditions, simple and direct in manner and
having a passionate impersonal curiosity. Always asking,
searching for the real things, eager for that which will render
them impervious to their sordid surroundings, they have thrown
aside all superfluous mannerisms and get easily to the heart of
things. Accustomed to the greatest repression, and exclusion from
all schools and institutions of the sort, the free access to so
many books is an endless joy to them. They browse among the
shelves lovingly, and instinctively read the best we have to
offer. Tales from the ancient Hebrews, history, travel --these
are the books they take. But what they read most gladly is
biography. It is just as difficult to find a life of Lincoln on
the shelves as it is to find an Altsheler--and of comparisons is
that not the strongest? Heroes of all sorts attract the Jewish
child, heroes in battles, statesmen and leaders in adventure,
conquest, business. If a hero is also a martyr, their delight
knows no bounds.

We know now that we need be surprised at nothing; extreme cases
have come at Crunden to be the average, if I may be permitted to
be paradoxical. We were interested but not surprised when Sophie
Polopinsk, a little girl but a short time from Russia, wheeled up
the truck, climbed with great difficulty upon it and promptly
lost herself in a volume of Tolstoi's "Resurrection," a volume
almost as large as the small person herself, and formidable with
its Russian characters. In telling you of Sol Flotkin I may be
giving you the history of a dozen or so small Russian Jews who
have come to Crunden. At the age of ten, Sol had read all of
Gorki, Tolstoi, Turgenev and Dostoievski in the original and then
devoured Hugo and Dumas in the language of his adoption. The
library with Sol became an obsession. He was there waiting for
the doors to open in the morning, and at nine o'clock at night we
would find him on the adult side, probably behind the radiator,
lost to us, but almost feverishly alive in his world of
imagination that some great man had made so real for him. It was
to Crunden branch that the truant officer came when the school
authorities reported him absent from his place. It was there,
too, his father came, imploring, "Could we not refuse Sol
entrance?" The Door man demanded, did we know that at twelve and
one o'clock at night he was often compelled to go out and find
the boy, only to discover him crouched under the street light
with a copy of "War and peace" lovingly upon his young knees? And
there are many others like Sol. Is it not inspiring to the
librarian to work with children who must be coaxed, not to read
good books, but to desist from reading them?

Among the Jewish people the word "radical" is in high favor --it
is the open sesame to their sympathy. For the ordinary layman,
radicalism, for some unexplained reason, is associated with the
words Socialism, Anarchism, etc. The deep dyed conservative, to
whom comes the picture of flaunting red at the mention of the
word, would be surprised to learn in what simple cases it is
often used. We have, for instance, an organization meeting once a
week under the head of the "Radical Jewish School." When the
secretary came to us for the first time we asked him what new
theory they intended to work out. Their radical departure from
custom consisted only in teaching to the children a working
Yiddish in order that the Jewish mother might understand her
amazingly American child, in order to lessen the tragedy of
misunderstanding which looms large in a family of this sort. They
are setting at defiance the old Jewish School which taught its
children only a Hebrew taken from the Talmud, a more perfect but
seldom used language. Not so terrifying that.

Children who are forced to forage for themselves from a very
early age, as most of our youngsters are, develop while yet very
young a sense of responsibility and a certain initiative seldom
found in more tenderly nurtured children. It is the normal thing
in the life of a girl in our neighborhood when she reaches the
age of eight or nine years to have solely in her charge a younger
brother or sister. When she jumps rope or plays jacks or tag she
does it with as much joy as her sister of happier
circumstances--but with a deftness foreign to the sheltered child
she tucks away under her arm the baby, which after six weeks
becomes almost a part of herself. Often we will fearfully exhort
her to hold the baby's back, etc. Invariably the child will smile
indulgently at us, as at a likeable but irresponsible person, and
change the position of the infant not one whit. She is really
the mother, she feels, with a mother's knowledge of what the baby
needs; we are only nice library teachers. Their pride in the baby
and their love for it sometimes even exceeds that of the mother
who is forced to be so much away from the little ones. From five
years of age the boys are expected to manage for themselves--to
fight their own battles, literally--and to look out for
themselves in general. Naturally they possess a self-reliance
greater than other children of their age. We come into contact
with this in the library in the child's more or less independent
choice of books and his free criticism--often remarkably keen--
of the contents. Another place where the children show
initiative is in the formation of clubs, which is a great
diversion of theirs. Seldom does a week pass without a crowd of
children coming to us petitioning for the use of one of the club
rooms. Often these clubs are of short duration, but some of them
have been in existence for years. Sometimes they are literary,
sometimes purely social--but more often dramatic. In the dramatic
club the children, starved for the brighter things of life--can
pretend to their hearts' content, and their keen imagination can
make it all vividly realistic for them. They choose their own
plays, draw the parts, make their costumes and carry out their
own conception of the different roles. Astonishingly well they do
it too. Is it any wonder that with their drab unhappy lives in
mind, fairies and beautiful princesses figure largely? It seems
to me that a singularly pathetic touch is the fact that yearly
the "Merry Making Girls Club" spends weeks and weeks of
preparation for an entertainment given for the benefit of the
Pure Milk and Ice Fund for the poor babies of St. Louis, they
themselves being the most liable to become beneficiaries of the

A very small thing is sufficient to fire their imagination. The
most trivial incident will suggest to them the formation of a
club --a gilt crown, an attractive name, etc. An amusing instance
has lately come up in this connection. Several boys of about
thirteen or fourteen asked the use of one of the club rooms for
the "Three C's." Very reticent they were about the nature of this
organization. Finally amid rather embarrassed giggles the truth
came out--a picture show in the neighborhood had distributed
buttons bearing the picture and name of the popular favorite,
which buttons were sufficient reason to form the "Charlie Chaplin

When we think of many foreigners of different nationality
together, there comes to most of us from habit the idea first
suggested by Mr. Zangwill of amalgamation. I think most of us at
Crunden do not like to feel that our branch and others like it
are melting pots; at any rate of a heat so fierce that it will
melt away the national characteristics of each little
stranger--so fierce that it will level all picturesqueness into
deadly sameness. Rather, just of a glow so warm that it melts
almost imperceptibly the racial hate and antagonism.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Library Work with Children" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.