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´╗┐Title: The Business Library - What it is and what it does
Author: Krause, Louise B.
Language: English
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*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Business Library - What it is and what it does" ***

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                           BUSINESS LIBRARY

                      WHAT IT IS AND WHAT IT DOES


                           LOUISE B. KRAUSE


                      _H. M. Byllesby & Company_

                       _SECOND EDITION REVISED_

                        Journal of Electricity
                             San Francisco


                        Journal of Electricity


                      H. M. BYLLESBY AND COMPANY
                  whose generous cooperation has made
                  possible the successful application
                       of Library Science to the
                           business of their


As the publishers desire to issue a second edition of "The Business
Library" the following additions and revisions have been made.

Articles of value on the subject of business libraries which have
been published since the first edition was written have been added to
"References for Additional Reading"; minor additions have been made to
the text, and the prices and editions of all reference books mentioned
have been brought up to date, and some additional titles have been

Three drawings of floor plans which have been used for business
libraries have been added to Chapter Seven as of possible value to
business firms making small library layouts.

  L. B. K.

  Chicago, Illinois.
  November 1, 1920.


This handbook has been written with the purpose of giving brief
comprehensive information to the business man on the subject of the
business library as an indispensable earning factor in the conduct of
business enterprises. It aims to tell how to organize and maintain a
business library, what to do in order to get the best results from it,
and to show by concrete illustrations, gathered from the experience of
firms maintaining library service, what the business library is worth
as a financial asset.

The subject matter is not designed to set forth the work of any one
class of business libraries, but is a composite study of many. It
records business library facts as observed by the author during ten
years of service as a business librarian, and as such, may be also of
value to librarians contemplating the undertaking of business library

The references given at the conclusion of each chapter have been
selected from a large mass of printed material on the subject, on the
basis of practical supplemental reading only and are not designed to be
exhaustive reference lists.

The author makes grateful acknowledgment to her Library School
class-mate, Renee B. Stern, now Editor of "The Woman's Weekly," for
most helpful advice, and to her friend, Virginia Fairfax, Librarian,
Carnation Milk Products Company, Chicago, for generous criticism and
correction of the manuscript.

  L. B. K.

  October 1, 1919.
  Chicago, Illinois.



  LIBRARY                                         7

  LIBRARY                                        23

  TO FILE THEM                                   30

  BUSINESS LIBRARY                               50

  LANTERN SLIDES                                 59

  THE BUSINESS LIBRARY                           70

  LIBRARY                                        81

  LIBRARY                                        95

  BUSINESS LIBRARIAN                            110

  INDEX                                         123





What is meant by the word library? Twenty-five years ago it could be
accurately defined as a collection of books on a series of shelves,
and although this old definition still partially describes its present
form, the true interpretation of what a business library really is,
can be stated best by saying that it is a genuine service department,
whose chief business is to give information to the members of a firm on
subjects of vital importance in the conduct of their business.

The business library is not limited to a collection of books, but
contains information in any form, namely, periodicals, pamphlets,
trade catalogs, photographs, lantern slides, and also manuscript notes
which are accumulated in connection with the specific work of an
organization. The business library even goes so far in its service as
to supply information which is obtained by "word of mouth" in advance
of its appearance on the printed page.

The Evolution of the Business Library

Before the business library came into being as a special department
of business organizations, and before public libraries were making a
specialty of collecting information on business subjects, the business
man picked up his supply of information in haphazard fashion. He was
told by a business acquaintance, often a salesman of a special line who
was doing business with him, of some trade literature or government
documents in which he would find useful information, or he discovered
references to valuable books, pamphlets or documents in his casual
reading of newspapers and periodicals. As a last resort, in cases of
emergency he telephoned to various business organizations whom he
thought could tell, out of their experience, what he wished to know.

Business has, however, grown too large in its multiplicity of interests
for the business man to get his information in so desultory and
unorganized a fashion, for the business man must be a good forecaster
and interpreter of conditions, not by means of guesswork but by the
aid of obtainable facts, and he must study and analyze a large number
of related subjects. The success of many of our richest industries is
due in large measure to this particular element, the wise forecasting
of conditions to come, for, as a recent periodical article stated,
"business is a procession of problems; big or little, any business must
keep moving ahead, finding its way past one pitfall and obstacle after
another. In another sense business is a matter of vision; the foresight
that looks long ahead to new opportunity and to the ways and means of
realizing it, is an essential in the growth and progress that brings

Business men have long since recognized that rule of thumb methods
have passed away, and that they not only can not learn by experience
exclusively, but that the utilization of the knowledge of other men
recorded in reliable business data is of the highest value.

Present day competition makes it imperative also that every business
man knows as much as his competitor, and he must have therefore not
something on a subject but everything of value on a subject, and
it must be exact and authoritative information which he can trust.
Business data must also be kept strictly up to date, which under
present-day conditions is no easy task, as information is out of date
almost before it is off the press.

The business man not only needs to collect accurate, exhaustive, up to
date information, but he needs to have it so well organized that, at a
moment's notice, he can put his fingers upon the exact information he
desires. The systematic organization of information into quick working
files means an enormous saving of time and money, and in large business
organizations the employment of a trained librarian to do this work is
a most valuable asset.

Check up if you can, the amount of time wasted annually by the average
business man through lack of having the information he desires
immediately at his service. Waste of time means waste of money. It is
not worth while having an expert, whose time may be worth anywhere from
twenty-five to one hundred dollars a day, waste any of it in trying to
find information in government documents, which he is not particularly
adept in locating, because he lacks a working knowledge of the enormous
range of government publications.

The writer is acquainted with an engineering firm of national
reputation, which has made a collection of library material, which
has been cared for, or rather much neglected by a stenographer of
the company, who has no time nor library experience to give to its
adequate administration. This firm when urged to introduce organized
library service, and thus make their collection effective, stated that
their library was not used enough by their organization to warrant
the expense. Investigation proved, however, that one of their expert
chemists, whose time was valued more per week than that of a trained
librarian would be per month, was making a systematic business of
hunting his own library material, and had listed his references in many
closely written notes, in order to be able to locate the material again
if he should need it. The value of the time the chemist spent on his
research would have covered a librarian's salary and made it possible
for him to give more time to his firm on the problems which his expert
knowledge was able to solve.

General Principles of Organization

The essential principles in organizing a successful business library
can be briefly stated as follows:

 1. Centralization of material within the business organization.

 2. Coordination of the business library with the facilities of the
 public and special libraries of the city in which the business library
 is located.

1. Centralization of Library Material

The first step in establishing a library in a business organization
is the centralization of all the printed material available in its
different offices or departments. This is exactly what is not done
in a large number of business houses. Books, pamphlets and other
valuable information are scattered among the various members of the
organization, who treat them as personal property and preserve them
in their private desks as carefully as a squirrel hides his store of
good nuts. In many business organizations the policy of the employes in
regard to information seems to be, to hold on to everything of value
for one's personal use, regardless of how much value the information
might be to another member of the organization, and also regardless of
the fact that the material has been paid for out of the company's funds.

It should be said, however, in defense of the practice of not putting
information into a central library, that it is not always based upon
thoughtless or selfish habits, but upon lack of confidence; there is
a fear that if information passes out of the hands of the man into a
central library, that when he wishes to use it again, in a hurry, that
he may not be able to locate it promptly. This feeling is not without
reasonable foundation, as it is based on the irritating experience
which some business men have had in using central correspondence files
which, in many offices, are poorly administered and cannot produce
desired information promptly. The business library, when administered
by a qualified librarian, not only can produce all filed material
promptly, but in one large corporation, known to the writer, has so
successfully handled material that the officers and employes send their
information to the library, as a safer and more reliable place to keep
it for quick reference, than the drawers of their own desks.

Centralization of library material gives all the departments the
benefit of everything the company has collected on a special subject,
and often makes it unnecessary to duplicate information for the use
of several departments. Centralization makes it possible also to
have in one place a complete record of all library material owned by
the company which can be loaned as small working collections to any

The fact that a central library department has on record what material
is temporarily or permanently kept in all the departments, makes it
possible also for it to act as a clearing house between all departments
in locating desired information. This principle does not apply of
course to corporations of such magnitude that their activities comprise
several distinct lines of business; in such a case each department
would require a specialized collection of information, which would
become the library of that particular branch of the industry.

It should be kept clearly in mind that the business library has a
distinct province from correspondence files, which primarily take care
of the letters accumulated in the transaction of business. The business
library is in no wise concerned with such records. Its function is not
to take care of the records which are created by the activities of
the company, but to collect and bring into the company all possible
knowledge and information of value from a large variety of outside

The business library also has a distinct province of activity apart
from the statistical department of an organization. The function
of the latter is to correlate and interpret data which are created
either by the activities of the organization or obtained from outside
sources, because of value in relation to the various projects of
the organization. The function of the library in relation to the
statistical department is to supply the printed information which that
department needs in its work of correlating and interpreting data.

Many statistical departments have made the mistake of endeavoring
to collect and preserve material for their work, which particularly
belongs in the business library, with the result that they have
cumbersome files of heterogeneous information, badly classified and
cataloged, and which do not yield, either quickly or accurately,
information when desired. The files of the statistical department
should cover only the data which are the result of the particular
activities of the company, together with valuable original records
which are neither correspondence nor library material.

2. Coordination of the Business Library with Public Libraries

After the resources for information which exist within the business
organization have been adequately centralized the next important step
is to coordinate these resources with all other existing library
facilities of the city in which the business firm is located. There
should be a thorough survey of these libraries in order to ascertain
as far as possible the content and availability of their resources.
This is an important factor in the creation of a business library,
when one considers the problem of shelving much material, within the
more or less limited space occupied by a business organization. Floor
space in skyscrapers is too valuable to be used as a mere storehouse
for printed material used only on rare occasions, and there is also the
added expense of a staff of workers to care for a large collection. The
business library must, therefore, be considered solely as a working
laboratory, and care taken not to include in it material which will
be seldom used, particularly in cities where business organizations
congregate and where are located large public libraries having
excellent resources which can be used to supplement the "working
laboratory" collection of the business organization.

This principle will not apply, however, to those business libraries
which are maintained at the headquarters of national associations. Such
libraries must collect everything on their subjects, and be prepared
to be a central bureau of information on their specialties, for their
membership throughout the United States. For example, the libraries
of the National Safety Council and the Portland Cement Association,
located in Chicago.

This policy of coordination was expressed in the following words, by
a large corporation several years ago when it organized its library:
"We will keep our library down as far as possible to a small working
collection, and our librarian shall be a go-between us and the other
libraries of the city when we want information not available in our own
collection." Thus the busy man of affairs is able to keep in touch,
through his librarian, as proxy, with many avenues of helpfulness,
which would be closed to him were it not for the fact that he had
been far-sighted enough to employ a librarian to act for him in these
matters of detail.

Public library facilities, while they supplement can never be a
substitute for a library within a business organization, for different
groups of business people who are vitally interested in one particular
subject, or more often in only one phase of a subject, will naturally
collect and know more about that subject than a general library serving
a thousand and one interests can be expected to do.

The business librarian who is given the confidence of the officers of
his organization, gets saturated with a knowledge of the business of
the organization and is able to sense in advance what information will
be needed, and will be prepared as far as possible for the emergency
when it comes.

All librarians of public libraries will undoubtedly agree to the
statement that they are not in a position to act as confidential
library adviser to rival business corporations. The Public Library must
deal impartially with all inquirers and cannot give precedence to any
inquirer simply because he is in a hurry. Every man must wait his turn
because the needs of other inquirers are equally important with his.

If the Utopian state should ever arrive when our public libraries
have all the money necessary to meet the every information need of
the community, the argument that the public library should serve the
interests of business men, who are tax payers, in such a manner that it
would not be necessary for them to have libraries within their business
organizations, can be answered by a parallel suggesting that the public
library should so serve all the interests of the public that no one
need have a library in his own home. A business organization desires
to make its own selection of material, on the basis of its needs and
tastes; it wishes to have this material close at hand without any
borrowing restrictions, so that it can be used quickly, without loss
of time, and without the limitations which would be imposed if it were
the property of some one else, and required particular care to keep it
intact, for the business man often wishes to clip or give away the
printed information in his possession.

The business library is, however, not antagonistic to the public
library at any point. On the contrary, the business library must
coordinate its resources with those of the public library and work in
harmony with it.

The large business organization which can afford to employ a librarian,
and the small business firm which cannot, will find a wealth of helpful
material in the public libraries of their vicinity.

Many of the smaller public libraries which are not large enough to
maintain special business departments are giving most excellent service
to business men. A number of the large public libraries of the country
are making a specialty of serving business needs through departments
organized particularly to serve business men. Some of these are the
Division of Economics and Documents of the New York Public Library,
the Business Men's Branch of the Free Public Library of Newark, New
Jersey, the Technology Department of Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh,
and the Industrial Department of the Los Angeles Public Library. The
John Crerar Library of Chicago is a free reference library covering
sociology and natural and applied science, which cannot be excelled by
any other library collection in the United States in the facilities
which it offers to business men. Every business organization should get
acquainted with the public library of its city and ascertain what that
library is able to do for it.

The Cost and Value of the Business Library

The cost of maintaining a business library is in no sense comparable
with its value; for the help which a business library may give in a
single instance is often of sufficient value to offset its cost of
maintenance for a whole year. For example, a business firm had a law
suit in a distant city and sent one of its employes to give expert
testimony in the case. This employe found as the hearings in the case
progressed, that he could strengthen his testimony if he had at hand
figures showing the market price of lead for the past ten years. There
was no time to spare in obtaining these data. He sent a telegram to
the home office, which was received at 11:30 A. M. saying that he
would call them by long distance telephone at noon and to have the
figures ready. The head of the department to whom the message was
addressed, with some perturbation, appealed at once to the librarian
of the company, who was able in ten minutes to produce a table giving
a summary of the prices desired, which had been printed in a technical
journal. The company won the law suit and in comparison with the large
amount of money saved, the salary of the trained librarian who knew how
to meet the emergency, was a very small item.

No two business libraries are comparable as to cost of maintenance.
Each must allow for financing on the basis of its individual needs and
the money it can afford to spend.

If a business firm owns the building which it occupies it does not have
to consider the rental of floor space for the library. If it has a
liberal policy of advertising in the best technical or trade journals,
it will need to spend very little on periodical subscriptions, as it
will receive copies free on account of advertising. If it is a liberal
user of the publications of the United States Government, it will
find they cost little or nothing, and in any case the amount spent by
business libraries for information special to a particular industry is
never very large, because often the most valuable data cost practically
nothing to secure.

Mechanical equipment, which will be discussed in chapter seven, is
largely the initial expense, and the amount of money to be spent each
year for additions to the original equipment will be quite small.
The principal annual expenses in maintaining a business library are
the salaries of the librarian, and assistants if required, and the
additional expense of stenographic and office boy service.

The great mistake made by some business firms in maintaining library
service has been the employment of inadequately trained librarians
who do not produce high grade results. It is this lack of library
education and experience, on the part of a number of so-called business
librarians, which has been a hindrance to the recognition of what the
business library really is and what it can do. The writer saw, some
time ago, the sorry spectacle of one of the largest corporations in the
country trying to inaugurate library service under the direction of a
fourteen-dollar-a-week file clerk, who had not a single educational
requirement necessary for the success of the undertaking. Such
firms generally proclaim business library work a failure, instead
of admitting they have made a wrong start and that they should have
employed a high grade trained librarian.

Many firms having well organized correspondence files, which are giving
satisfactory service, have conceived the idea of adding to their
established filing department, and to the duties of their head file
clerk, the library service which they judge their organization demands.
They fail to appreciate the fact that a filing department, while it
has some mechanical technique in common with an organized library, has
an entirely different purpose, and does not require on the part of
those in charge, educational qualifications at all comparable to those
required of a librarian who must have not merely a large knowledge of
library technique, but also must know books, and have a knowledge of a
broad range of sources, from which adequate information can be drawn
when any problem arises; for the business librarian must be a thinker
as well as a worker and not a mere clerical machine. On the other
hand, the trained librarian is competent to supervise correspondence
and any other kind of files if the situation demands it. The essential
qualifications for successful business librarianship are stated in the
last chapter.

In conclusion, it should be said, that in establishing library
service, a business organization must be willing to give such service
a reasonable length of time to grow into the work of the organization.
A wisely selected collection of material, adapted to the needs of the
business, and thoroughly organized to give quick and accurate results,
should be tested just as a piece of machinery is tested, namely, set up
the apparatus, put it in full operation under competent supervision,
and in the case of the business library, the verdict cannot but
conclusively be--"it works."


 =List of special libraries= in United States and Canada (in American
 library annual 1916-17 p. 378-408).

 =Carr, B. E.=

 Formation of a financial library. Special libraries June 1919, p.

 =Day, M. B.=

 Portland cement association library. Library journal Jan. 1919, p.

 =Glenn, M. R.=

 Library of American bankers association. Library journal April 1917,
 p. 283-84.

 =Johnston, R. H.=

 Bureau of railway economics library. Special libraries June 1918, p.

 =Krause, L. B.=

 The public utility library. Journal of electricity Dec. 15, 1918, p.

 =Greenman, E. D.=

 The functions of the industrial library. Journal of industrial and
 engineering chemistry June 1919, p. 584.

 =Macfarlane, J. J.=

 Philadelphia commercial museum. Library journal April 1917, p. 278-79.

 =Nystrom, P. H.=

 The relation of the public library to the private business libraries.
 Special libraries Feb. 1918, p. 35-37.

 Same article Library journal March 1918, p. 154-57.

 =Parmelee, J. H.=

 The utilization of statistics in business. American statistical
 association quarterly publication June 1917, p. 565-76.

 =Purinton, E. E.=

 Building an office library. Independent Dec. 16, 1918, p. 214.

 =Rife, R. S.=

 Functions of the library of a banking institution; pamphlet printed by
 Guaranty trust co., New York city, 1919.

 =Rose, A. L.=

 The service of a business library; pamphlet printed by National city
 bank, New York city, 1920.

 =Secrist, Horace=

 Statistics in business New York, McGraw-Hill 137 p. $1.75.

 =Spencer, Florence=

 Financial library of the National city bank of New York. Library
 journal April 1917, p. 282-83.

 =Spencer, Florence=

 What a public library cannot do for the business man. Special
 libraries Oct. 1917, p. 177-18.



The service rendered by the business library is intensive rather than
extensive. The business man is not interested in making a good library
showing in regard to the quantity of material on the shelves or in
the files of his library, but he is vitally interested in the quality
of the material; he has just two objects in view, he wants specific
information and he wants quick, accurate, comprehensive service. The
organized business library steps in to render this service by knowing
what information to get, how to get it, how to keep it up to date, how
to file it and how to apply it effectively to business problems.

If the subject which the business man is investigating has a scientific
basis, the library puts him in touch with the best authorities on that
science and the standard practices which it maintains. If the business
man is investigating a new enterprise, or a banker is considering a
loan, he must make a careful survey of all the factors which enter
into it, in order to make a decision as to its stability and probable
financial success. Such problems demand a large amount of information
which can be furnished by the business library, as it is prepared to
furnish data giving sources of different kinds of raw materials,
manufactured products on the market and cost of manufacturing, the
possible extent of the market for a competing product, cost of labor,
coal and data on certain sections of the country as good business
centers, based on a study of population, post office receipts, bank
clearings and transportation facilities.

If shipping to foreign countries is contemplated the business library
will furnish information on modes of packing, effects of climate on
goods, transportation, customs duties, foreign credits, and similar
items. Thus the business library is prepared to select, arrange and
put into form for ready use, information ranging from methods of rock
tunneling, to the consideration of the advisability of putting a new
commercial fertilizer on the market.

"The Americas," published by the National City Bank, New York City,
contains in its December 1917 issue, an article entitled, "One Feature
of German Organization in Engineering and Foreign Business," the
contents of which bear directly upon the importance of information as
an indispensable asset in the prosecution of successful business.

 The article states that industrial corporations in Germany before
 the war employed an officer called an Economic Director, who, "in
 the plan of organization of his company, is attached to the office
 of the President, or is an appendage of the Board of Directors. He
 has to organize complete information from various sources, and his
 authority is sufficient to organize this well. He obtains statistical
 information, foreign and domestic newspapers and periodicals, and the
 output of various bureaus of news is regularly received by him.

 "His business is to keep his Executive informed on the instant of
 every development in many parts of the world that will mean a change
 of cost of production or a change in demand for the company's
 products. He must know what is going on in the regions where the
 company's manufacturing materials originate. He must keep his eye
 upon conditions affecting production, price and transportation. He
 must not miss any new source of supply, or any coming diminution of
 old sources. On the other hand, he must follow every development,
 political, social or economic that means an increase or a falling-off
 in the demand for particular kinds of machinery. If there is anything
 doing anywhere that is significant of a call for more sugar machinery,
 or a drop in the demand for textile machinery, in this particular
 man's business, he must judge its full value and advise his board of

 "It is said of a man who was economic adviser to a German corporation
 that manufactured materials for railway construction and equipment
 that he had not only organized his supplies of information of what was
 going on over the world so that he reported to his board every tender
 for supplies from every part of the world, but he was expected to
 analyze general developments everywhere so thoroughly, as to predict
 in advance the regions where new railways would soon be built, or
 extensions made. His work, it is said, frequently resulted in his
 company's bringing about, in direct or indirect ways, the promotion of
 the new transportation enterprises he predicted. It is now believed
 that this idea of definite organization of economic information and
 intelligence has been carried out in order to apply to the after-war
 business situation by Germany."

The American Business Library is a step in the direction of helping to
do for American business what this "German Economic Director" was doing
for business in Germany and it is more than time that American business
interests use the business library to its utmost capacity.

The Library and the Publicity Department

One of the important departments in modern business organizations
served by the business library, is the publicity department which is
the outcome of the recognition of the dependence of any business upon
the public's understanding and appreciation of what it has to offer, in
order to successfully carry on its work, whether that be a manufactured
product or the service of a public utility. In this day of economic
investigation and criticism, it is vital to success that industries
exploit their work and products clearly and logically, not only as a
means of advertising but also to win and hold that all-important asset
known as public good-will.

The publicity department strives to make the public understand
the organization and its work and has charge of preparing direct
advertising, for daily papers and periodicals, and in many utility
corporations prepares copy for the financing and marketing of

A live publicity department cannot do its work without ample library
resources as its needs are encyclopaedic, for it is constantly
preparing copy which calls for the most accurate and comprehensive data
and it must keep up to date on what is currently issued in the lines of
business in which it is particularly interested. Library service is so
indispensable in publicity work that in a number of cases the library
has been organized in the business house as a part of the work of the
publicity department.

Assisting the Executive

The business library is also a great service to executives because the
heads of business organizations today are concerned not only with the
particular business of their own office, but with many economic and
public affairs for the betterment of the community and the nation. The
work of the modern business man, as expressed by a recent technical
periodical, "because of the constant multiplication of problems to
be settled and the great number of regulating agencies, is steadily
growing more important. The successful business man must be a thinker
and a man of affairs; he appears before Congressional Committees and
before state and federal commissions; he must know whereof he speaks,
and he must know principles as well as facts, history as well as
present conditions." In the midst of varied and large responsibilities,
he knows he can not depend upon his own personal reading and study to
keep all the important facts and figures which he needs at his finger
tips, for the successful executive must not burden himself with too
much detail.

He therefore turns to his librarian, who knows his personal point of
view and his needs, and who is as necessary to him as his secretary.
Sometimes the head of a business organization appeals to an assistant
officer to give him the data he requires, and the assistant officer
turns to another one, and he in turn goes to the library; the fact
remains that sooner or later the request comes down the line to the

Making the Best Use of the Library

There are several types of men with whom the business librarian has to
deal in doing research on business problems. One type of man who uses
the business library is the one who comes in occasionally and browses
among the books without communicating to the librarian in charge what
subject matter he is looking for. This type of man does not purposely
mean to be secretive, but he does not know how to use the service of
the library and the librarian which are at his disposal. Often he turns
away from his perusal of an encyclopedia with a disappointed look, and
in one case when the librarian asked what he was looking for, replied
that he was trying to find the address of Mills College but that it
did not seem to be in the Encyclopedia Britannica. Had he told the
librarian at the start what he wanted the address could have been given
him from another reference book in about one minute's time.

Another type of man with whom the business librarian has to deal, is
the one who conceals his specific object when he asks for information,
and does not therefore make it possible for the librarian to procure
the information desired in its most simple and direct form. For
example, an engineer once asked for descriptive periodical articles
dealing with the construction and equipment of some large hotels. The
librarian, of course, thought that what he had in mind was to make
a study of the equipment, whereas all he wanted to get out of these
articles was the names of firms who had installed certain mechanical
devices. This information could have been collected much more quickly
than in the time it took for the librarian to make a complete list of
satisfactory descriptions of the kinds of buildings for which he asked.

The type of man who uses the business library most effectively is the
one who takes his librarian into full confidence as to what he is
doing, and what he wants to do, and gives the librarian not only the
opportunity to produce what he has asked for, but also to make helpful
suggestions as to material which he possibly has not thought of in
connection with his problem. The business man who thus directs and uses
his trained librarian and his specialized collection gets the service
which counts and has annexed an indispensable asset to the earning
power of his organization.


 =Cameron, W. H.=

 What does library service do for you in your business? Public
 libraries June 1918, p. 256-57.

 =Gourvitch, P. P.=

 An organized commercial laboratory. Youroveta review (165 Broadway,
 New York City) March 1919, p. 82.

 =Hosmer, H. R.=

 Some axioms of service in the use and abuse of special libraries.
 Journal of industrial & engineering chemistry June 1919, p. 582-83.

 =Hungerford, Edward=

 Are you "too busy to read"? System March 1920, p. 486.

 =Lewis, St. Elmo=

 Value of the specialized library for the business man. Special
 libraries May 1913, p. 69-71.

 =Loomis, M. M.=

 Libraries that pay. Independent June 26, 1913, p. 1436-38.

 =Nystrom, P. H.=

 The business library as an investment. Library journal Nov. 1917, p.

 Same article National efficiency quarterly May 1918, p. 29-38.



The Value of Periodicals

Periodicals are the most fruitful source of information for any
business, and there is periodical literature of value being issued
constantly on every conceivable subject. Every industry and profession
has its journals and in them will be found the latest and best

The value of periodicals in a business organization was very ably
stated some time ago by the secretary of an electrical association, and
as this testimony is not from a librarian but from a practical business
man, it seems worth while to quote as follows:

 "The technical or trade journal of today is the livest and most
 'up-to-now' assistant a business man has. It is carefully edited,
 well-printed, fully illustrated and thoroughly indexed both as to
 literary matter and advertisements. It is the 'always ready reference'
 of the minute, and the official, head of a department, or even
 workman, who does not use it to its fullest capacity, is neglecting
 one of his best friends. I have been surprised to find how many of
 the larger companies are actually stingy when it comes to paying out
 money for subscriptions to their trade and technical journals. They
 talk about one, two or three dollars per year as if it were that
 many hundreds; they look at the expenditure as if it were an expense
 instead of an investment, which, properly handled, will bring good

 "In no other way can any business man, no matter how high or low his
 position, keep so fully abreast of the times in his business as by
 early and careful perusal of his trade and technical periodical, from
 its front to its back cover, and from no other source can he obtain
 the 'immediately useful' so well as he can from a well filled and
 indexed present volume of those same publications."

"Printers' Ink" has also stated the case as follows:

 "The manufacturer, desirous of keeping his finger on the pulse at
 Washington, who will spend ten dollars, or fifteen dollars, or
 twenty dollars a year for business papers and other periodicals that
 specialize with respect to business news from the national capital,
 can be pretty well assured that he has every tip that could come to
 him via the intelligence office, that asks a fee of fifty or one
 hundred dollars per annum. Indeed, it has happened, not once but
 dozens of times this past year or two that business journals, etc.,
 carried information days and even weeks before it was sent out in
 the mimeographed 'letters' and 'bulletins' which the former bureaus
 distributed, marked 'confidential' and 'not for publication.'"

The Contents of Periodicals

Not only do periodicals contain lengthy articles on special subjects,
but every item in them from cover to cover is of value; for example,
in engineering periodicals the business library is greatly aided by
the current news notes on books, pamphlets, meetings and people;
information on state and federal legislation; prices of materials and
second-hand material for sale or wanted to purchase, new construction
notes, new devices and best makes of standard supplies.

The brief notes found in current periodicals, announcing the
publication of trade pamphlets, reports of state boards, special
committees, private corporations and bulletins published by
universities, lectures delivered at colleges and papers presented at
state meetings of associations, are most valuable guides in collecting
pamphlets, which although in many cases may be had for the asking,
represent a collection of valuable data which can not be replaced by
the expenditure of any amount of money and yet most of it costs only a
polite letter of request.

Aids in Selection of Periodicals

The business man or the business librarian will first of all desire to
select the periodicals that best cover the needs of his organization.
If he wishes to ascertain the titles of periodicals on special
subjects in order to obtain sample copies for examination, or if he
has the title and wishes to find the frequency of issue, the place of
publication and subscription price, there are several books that give
such information and which should be found in the public library of his
city. It is advisable also for him to see a list of all periodicals
which are on file at his public library with a view to examining those
which may be suited to his immediate needs. The following books will
give information about periodicals on special subjects.

 Ayer & Son's American Newspaper Annual Directory with mid-year
 supplement, published by N. W. Ayer, Philadelphia, $10.00.

 2400 Business Books, published by H. W. Wilson Company, New York,
 1920, price $5.00.

 Severance Guide to the Current Periodicals and Serials in the United
 States and Canada. A new edition will be published shortly by George
 Wahr, Ann Arbor, Michigan, price $6.00. This new edition will contain
 a list of House Organs published in the United States. A recent list
 of House Organs may be found in Printers' Ink, August 29, 1918, and
 subsequent issues, and a list of Employees' Magazines may be purchased
 from Printers' Ink for twenty-five cents.

 A list of periodicals published by the United States Government can be
 obtained free of charge from Superintendent of Documents, Washington,
 D. C.

The Checking of Periodicals

 [Illustration: Sample of a daily and monthly periodical checking card.
 Weekly periodicals are checked on the cards ruled for daily issues.
 The back of the daily check card is ruled for "Ordered of," "Price,"
 "Date" and "Bill date." They should be filed alphabetically and kept
 in a file box on the librarian's desk for quick reference.

 =Note.=--As this volume goes to press the Library Bureau announces new
 forms for periodical checking cards which are an improvement on those
 shown above.]

The care of periodicals is one of the important pieces of work which
consumes a large portion of the business librarian's time. All
periodicals received by the business library are stamped, as soon as
the mail is opened, with the word "Library" and the name of the firm,
and checked on monthly or weekly card records, size 3 by 5 inches,
specially ruled for the purpose and obtainable from library supply
firms. This card record enables the librarian to know if all copies
to date have been received and on the back of the card also provides a
record of expirations and renewals of subscriptions. A notation may be
made also on this card of the names of persons to whom the periodical
is to be regularly sent.

 [Illustration: The periodical indexes published by The H. W. Wilson
 Company, New York City. This company also publishes an Index to Legal

The Indexing of Periodicals

After the periodicals are checked, the librarian should go through them
rapidly, keeping well in mind all the topics of particular interest
to the organization, and also special requests from individuals for
the latest information on subjects, which they have designated as
being of present value to them. It is a good plan also to ask heads
of departments who read periodicals regularly every week, to call the
attention of the librarian to any special articles which they think
valuable and to which they might wish to refer again. This strengthens
the librarian's reading and makes doubly sure that no information of
importance is overlooked.

All articles or items of importance are assigned a subject heading
(which will be discussed in the chapter on cataloging) and a card is
made for the subject card index to periodical material. The trained
librarian will know how to discriminate and reduce this indexing to a

Some one may ask at this point why it is necessary for the librarian to
do subject indexing to periodical articles when there are good printed
indexes to them, such as Readers' Guide to Periodical Literature,
Industrial Arts Index, and the Agricultural Index, published by
The H. W. Wilson Company, New York City (samples and prices upon
application) and in addition The Engineering Index, recently acquired
by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and published monthly
in the Journal of that Society with an annual cumulated volume.
There are several reasons why subject indexing must be done by the
librarian; first because these printed indexes do not index many of the
periodicals which are of importance to the business library and second,
because in the periodicals which are covered by these indexes, there
are many items of importance to business firms which are too short to
be entered in the general printed indexes. The time element is also an
important factor in the business library, as the subject card index is
made at once and immediately ready for reference, while the printed
indexes are of necessity never strictly up to date. For example, an
engineering firm was desirous of keeping up to date on all increases
in gas and electric rates throughout the country, due to the increased
cost of production, on account of higher prices of materials. Various
journals reported such items each week, sometimes in not more than a
dozen lines. In such a case the librarian's minute reading and quick
indexing was invaluable, and gave a service not to be expected of the
printed index.

A word should be said, however, at this point in regard to the value of
printed indexes, for example the "Industrial Arts Index." Periodicals
are sealed books without indexes, and printed indexes are invaluable
working tools, first, because no business librarian will attempt
the impossible task of making a subject card for every article of
value in current periodicals, and second, because a live business
organization in these days of sudden changes in economic conditions
cannot possibly foresee every subject in which it may be interested.
When these unexpected subjects arise for which the business librarian
has not made provision, the printed indexes come to the rescue and
serve the need most admirably. The indexes to separate volumes of
individual periodicals, which the publishers issue at the completion
of each volume, and in many cases do not send unless requested to do
so, are not of great value because, with few exceptions, the subject
indexing is poor. Many of them invert the title of the article in
order to enter it under the most striking word which it contains,
without consideration of its real subject content, and without further
consideration of the three, four or more subjects on which the article
is very likely to contain valuable information.

The Circulation of Periodicals

After the periodicals have been read and subject indexed by the
librarian, as necessity requires, and this should be done immediately
on mail delivery, they are sent to the desks of the members of the
organization who are most vitally interested in any special information
which they contain. Methods of circulation vary in different types
of business libraries; some business libraries which serve a large
constituency prefer to make typewritten or mimeographed lists of
subject references to articles in the periodicals received during the
week, and circulate these lists throughout the organization, asking
the men to send to the library for any article they desire to read.
This method does not suit busy executives who have no time to read a
list and make a selection, and who wish the material itself put in
front of them.

Some business librarians route their periodicals, attaching a slip with
a list of names indicating the next person to whom the periodical is to
be sent, when a reader is finished with it. Other business librarians
send the individual periodicals direct to one man only, with a slip
attached calling his attention to the article of special interest to
him. As soon as he is through with the periodical, he puts it in his
outgoing basket and it is returned to the librarian, who sends it to a
second man, with a special note of the contents for him. This method
seems much more desirable than to route periodicals, because they most
often fail to route--they simply side track! The periodical gets laid
aside on some one's desk and the librarian does not know whether it is
being passed along promptly or not, whereas if the periodical is sent
direct to one individual and is not promptly returned, the librarian
goes after it, if it is important that it should go to someone else in
the organization, without unreasonable delay. In large organizations
with hundreds of employes to be reached, the routing of periodicals
is absolutely necessary. The practice of the librarian of one large
corporation is to subscribe for one copy of each weekly periodical for
every five men who desire to read that periodical and one copy of
each monthly periodical for every seven men. To insure quick routing,
the names of delinquents are put at the end of the list of those to
whom the periodical circulates, and the names of the men who have
proved that they pass on the periodical quickly are put at the top of
the list.

 [Illustration: Samples of 3 by 5 inch charging cards. These cards may
 be purchased in ten colors, ruled in either four or six columns. Some
 business librarians put the borrower's record on a white card, and the
 record made under the name of a periodical on a colored card. Some
 business librarians omit the date of circulation. The initials on the
 right hand card shown above, are those of the men in a business office
 who are to have the periodical sent to them regularly. The cards
 bearing the names of the borrowers should be filed in a charging tray
 in alphabetical order, as should also the cards bearing the names of
 the periodicals. In a business library, it is not necessary to file by
 date as is done in public libraries.

 Books loaned from a business library may be charged in a similar
 manner, i.e. a card bearing the name of author and title of the book
 taking the place of the card bearing the title of the periodical as
 shown above. The book card is kept in a pocket, pasted on the front or
 back cover of the book, when the volume is not in circulation.]

The circulation or routing slip which is attached to each periodical
bears the following: "Please keep this magazine in circulation. To be
of value it must reach every man on this list within a week. If you
cannot read it now, send it on without checking off your name and it
will be returned to you later. Mark at the right of your name the page
number of any article that you believe should be indexed for future

A simple loan record on 3 by 5 inch cards specially ruled and of which
illustrations are shown, should be kept under the name of the man to
whom the periodical is sent, and also under the name of the periodical,
in order that the librarian can tell on a moment's notice where any
issue of a periodical is and also what each man has charged against
him. Books and other library material may be charged in the same manner.

Business men in general, so experience proves, exercise no particular
responsibility either to return material or to replace it, for the
business organization has no rules for lending, and the responsibility
of knowing what material is out of the library, where it is, and that
it is brought back or replaced, falls upon the librarian. The business
librarian with his loan record as a guide tactfully asks if the
business man is finished with the material, and if so, collects it; in
some cases the collection is made without asking, when a visit to a
man's office clearly shows that the material is side-tracked and dusty.
This is one of the most tedious duties which falls to the business
librarian's lot, but one of the most important ones, for the function
of the librarian is to get material used freely, and not hoarded.

Business men who always get what they want from their library on a
moment's notice do not appreciate the time and patience such service
requires on the part of their librarian, for no genius is involved in
the case of the librarian who always has ready on the shelves what
is needed. Often a business man who literally wants material on a
minute's notice, is the one who is most careless in cooperating with
the librarian by returning material, and who does not want to stop a
moment to have a loan record made. Sometimes a business man gets in a
hurry for library material, which the librarian says he already has,
but which he insists is not in his office, whereupon the librarian goes
to his office, and pleasantly and often humorously unearths it from the
bottom of the pile of material on his desk or table.

In the matter of the loaning of material the business librarian
certainly has to be characterized by the words "long suffering," for he
must make no excuses and deliver material in spite of the delinquencies
of others. If some one at this point protests that it is unfair to the
business librarian, the answer is, that the business man has a right
to do as he pleases with his own, and that the business librarian
exists to save a busy man from the error of his ways, for it must
be remembered always that the business library is organized to give
service to men of affairs, burdened with large responsibilities. All
business men are not careless in returning material, and certainly
minor employes have no right to be, but it will have to be admitted
that business men, who never think of taking the trouble to return
material are in the majority.

 [Illustration: A corner of bound periodicals in the library of H. M.
 Byllesby & Company, Chicago. The worth while periodicals devoted to
 any one industry are comparatively few and bound volumes do not take
 up so much space as might be imagined. A three foot shelf will hold
 six or seven years of one periodical.]

The Binding and Filing of Periodicals

After the current periodicals have made their last tour of the
offices they come back to the library to be filed for future use.
What disposition shall be made of them? Shall important articles be
clipped and filed and the remainder of the periodical thrown away, or
shall a complete file be kept for six months or a year and then thrown
away, or shall files be kept complete and bound for permanent books
of reference? The latter method represents the best library practice
for the following reasons. No business organization or business
librarian is prophetical enough to foresee exactly what information
will be useful to keep in a business library for future use, when one
considers the variety of valuable material found each week in the
periodicals, which cover the activities of a certain line of business.
Complete files of bound periodicals constitute one of the most valuable
reference aids that any business library can possess. Clipping valuable
periodicals might in some instances be compared to cutting out an
article from a valuable encyclopedia.

One of the values of having periodicals bound is that they do not get
lost or misplaced or carried off so readily, as a separate number or a
clipping would. Bound volumes do not take up so much space as might at
first thought be imagined, for a three-foot shelf will hold the bound
volumes of the larger size periodicals for a six or seven years period,
and the number of worth while periodicals devoted to any one industry
(excluding of course the annual volumes of societies) are comparatively
few, and twelve to fifteen sets would be the maximum for any one
business library.

The replacing immediately of a lost or mutilated periodical is one of
the important duties of the business librarian, for it is reasonably
sure that the lost or mutilated number has something of real importance
in it, else it would not have been so treated by any member of the
organization; it is also important to replace it as soon as possible,
because often back numbers are difficult to obtain.

Business men as a rule know nothing of the principles of satisfactory
binding and generally give the work to commercial printing
establishments who misplace pages and sections, and make mistakes in
titles and volume numbers in lettering the backs. If a business house
does not have a librarian to supervise its binding, it should be
careful to select if possible a bindery which specializes in library
binding and will do the work in accordance with the best library
practice. An illustration is shown of correct position and style for
lettering the backs of bound volumes.

 [Illustration: The "L. B. pamphlet box," the "Wood C. C. pamphlet
 case" and a heavy cardboard box covered with book cloth made by H.
 Schultz & Co.]

It is not advisable to bind the volumes of every periodical received,
for many are only of passing interest, and while it is advisable to
keep such an unbound file for a year or two, at the end of that time
the librarian will be guided by his experience and use discretion in
disposing of out of date material.

 [Illustration: How the back of a bound periodical should be lettered.]

The best method of preserving the current numbers of periodicals which
are to be permanently bound or preserved without binding is by the use
of Library Bureau pamphlet boxes, or similar makes, made in a variety
of dimensions.

The "L. B. pamphlet box" is made of heavy chip-board covered with
glazed paper or black cloth, and half of one side doubles back on
itself permitting of easy consultation without removal of the contents.
These boxes stand on edge like books and are dust proof.

"Wood C. C. pamphlet case" is made of seasoned wood and covered
with durable paper. This case has a closed top and open back and is
therefore not dust proof and has to be taken off the shelf to consult
the contents. For general use the L. B. pamphlet box is preferable
for business library work. Some business libraries also use a specially
made box of heavy cardboard covered with book cloth and with a card
label holder on the back, similar in style to the "Wood C. C. pamphlet
case," and which can be made by any good paper box factory, at prices
ranging from fifteen to twenty cents each on quantities, according to
the size desired. H. Schultz and Company, 519 West Superior Street,
Chicago, Illinois, advertise quotations on stock of this kind. A
photograph is shown of the style of boxes used by the National Safety
Council, Chicago, for filing copies of current circulars which are
distributed to their members.

 [Illustration: File boxes used by the library of the National Safety
 Council, Chicago, for current circulars for distribution to their

The Clipping of Periodicals

Clipping may be legitimately indulged in, when an article of interest
is found in a single number of a periodical, to which the library does
not subscribe. Newspaper items, of course, must always be clipped and
there will be always material like printed leaflets which will require
the same kind of filing as clippings.

Clippings are best filed in vertical file units, and methods of filing
and indexing are discussed in Chapter VI. The "U-File-M" binder strips
manufactured by the U-File-M Manufacturing Co., Syracuse, New York, are
exceedingly useful and satisfactory for fastening clippings, single
sheets or thin booklets into vertical file folders. These strips
need to be visualized by samples in order to clearly understand how
they work, but they can be described in general as gummed strips a
half-inch in width and 11 inches long with forty-four gummed tabs
one-eighth of an inch wide affixed, which can be pulled out from under
a protecting strip with the finger nail. The eleven-inch strip or any
cut off portion, can be glued horizontally or vertically into a folder
and papers or clippings attached by the gummed tabs.

Business firms who wish to keep up with any special information
appearing in the daily press often employ a press clipping bureau.
Such service always furnishes quantity rather than quality, as no
attempt is made to select only items of real value. For example, a
firm specializing in the manufacture of canned milk ordered a clipping
bureau to send it all newspaper clippings on milk and among the
clippings sent was one of a milkman arrested for speeding, and similar
clippings were frequently sent. If very special information from the
daily press is desired the clipping should be done by a person within
the organization who has intimate knowledge both of the subject and of
the need.


 Abrahams Book Store, 145 Fourth Avenue, New York City.

 F. W. Faxon Company, Boston, Massachusetts.

 The H. W. Wilson Company, New York City.



The United States Government is the leading publisher of accurate and
reliable information bearing upon all kinds of business activities.
No question should ever be investigated or data collected by a
business firm without taking into consideration the valuable sources
of government information on that particular subject. The "Youroveta
Review," in its March, 1919 issue, says:

 "It is not only safety and accuracy in the performance of its regular
 duties, but also expansion and development at which a progressive firm
 is aiming; and this can be attained only when the business is analyzed
 from all aspects of practical interest, when the horizon is being
 constantly searched, and endeavors are made to explore new commercial

Studies of mineral, oil and gas deposits, tests of boiler and furnace
efficiencies, analyses and tests of fuels, production of crops and
cattle, labor problems, electrolysis, standards for gas and electric
service, foreign trade, water power and statistics of all industrial
activities, constitute a few of the subjects on which the government
periodically reports.

The daily paper called "Commerce Reports," which gives reports and
business tips on trade and industrial conditions, gathered by American
Consular officers at their respective posts throughout the world, is an
invaluable periodical for business men in this after-the-war period of
trade development.

The United States Shipping Board has issued a valuable series of free
pamphlets in the interest of export trade, some of which are:

  World Trade; A List of Books on World Trade.
  Selection of Books on Foreign Languages.
  Ships and the Ocean; A List of Books on Ships, Commerce
    and The Merchant Marine.
  Foreign Countries; A List of Books on Foreign Countries.

Many practical illustrations could be given, if space permitted, of the
use made by business firms of government publications. For example, a
large mail order house made a decision, based on consulting the Weather
Bureau's temperature records in the different sections of the country
for a range of years, as to what date would be best for sending out,
to various districts, advance catalogs advertising summer and winter
wearing apparel; while an engineering firm, designing a gas holder to
be erected in a northern city, decided on the factor of safety to be
adopted against the lowest possible temperature, by consulting the
weather reports for the lowest temperatures which prevailed in that
section for a long range of years.

How to Procure Government Documents

To keep thoroughly informed on the large body of constantly growing
data issued by the government, to know how to procure it without delay
and apply to a specific problem is no small accomplishment, and this is
one of the important reasons why the business man needs the assistance
of a trained library worker. The average business man gets mentally
lost in the thick woods of government documents; he either does not
know which department or bureau of the government can give the specific
information he desires, or he does not know how to procure, in the
shortest time, desired data which he knows the government has on file.

 [Illustration: Every business librarian should read these two monthly
 lists regularly]

The best way for the business man to find out what information is
in print and can be procured for his personal use, is to write
direct to each department, or special bureau, for the catalog of
their available publications. For example, the Bureau of Foreign and
Domestic Commerce issues a catalog of Bureau publications which is
described as a "review of information available to manufacturers and
exporters in the bulletins issued by the Bureau." The Navy Department
issues an "Index to Specifications for Naval Stores and Material"
which is very useful to many classes of business men who are drawing
up specifications for the purchase of various kinds of material. The
list of publications of the United States Geological Survey is a most
valuable guide in procuring bulletins on water power and irrigation,
mines and mineral resources, as well as important papers on economic
geology, namely, oil, gas and other useful minerals. The United States
Bureau of Standards, the Bureau of Census, the Bureau of Mines, all
publish catalogs of papers issued by them, which are of the greatest
possible value to business men. These bureaus, in addition to their
printed catalogs, issue supplemental lists of new publications each
month and the "Monthly Catalog of United States Public Documents,"
issued monthly, price fifty cents per year, obtainable from the
Superintendent of Documents, also gives a list of all the publications
of all departments of the government issued each month.

 [Illustration: Two samples of the forty-four price lists of documents
 issued by the Superintendent of Documents, Washington, D. C.]

The Superintendent of Documents issues free of charge, forty-four
lists of documents, for sale by his office, on certain subjects, such
as Roads, Labor, Foreign Relations of the United States, Finance,
Transportation, etc. A complete list of these subjects can be found
in Swanton's Guide to United States Government Publications (Bureau
of Education Bulletin 1918, No. 2), page 127, obtainable from
Superintendent of Documents at twenty cents per copy. This guide is
a most useful compilation as it describes briefly the work of each
department of the government and kind of publications issued by them,
stating where they can be obtained and what classes of publications are
free and what are for sale.

 [Illustration: Cover of Guide to United States Government Publications]

Government publications which ordinarily may be obtained free by
applying direct to the Bureau issuing them, if out of stock may often
be bought from the Superintendent of Documents. The Superintendent
of Documents requires that all publications ordered from him be paid
for in advance, and this involves some difficulty, as often a man
does not know how much money to send to procure the publication, if
he has not seen the price quoted. Some business libraries, to save
delay in ordering, deposit twenty-five dollars in advance with the
Superintendent of Documents against which the cost of documents ordered
can be charged. The old idea of procuring publications through a
Congressman or Senator is the poorest kind of method of obtaining what
is wanted in a hurry, for many government documents will not cost the
business firm anything and those for which a charge is asked cost a
very small price. The Superintendent of Documents sells coupons which
may be sent in payment for documents ordered from his office. The
disadvantage of the coupon method of purchasing is that the buyer must
know in advance the price of the documents in order to send the correct
amount in coupons.

Some of the departments of the government issue advance mimeographed
sheets of information and will also give out, in advance of printing,
data on file in the department to firms which make special request for
it, and have also been known to reply promptly to telegraphic requests.

Some of the bureaus of the government have district offices in a few
of the large cities of the United States, for example, district
offices of the Bureau of Foreign and Domestic Commerce, Weather Bureau,
etc., which are of great service in obtaining data in a hurry, and
the business man should ascertain the resources of his city in this
respect. He should also not forget to use the collection of government
documents at his Public Library when he wants to use publications of
which he cannot obtain a copy for his own immediate needs. Some of the
smaller public libraries do not have their government documents fully
cataloged and immediately available so that the business man must not
infer, because he cannot find certain government information at his
public library, that it does not exist.

State Documents

The individual states of the United States also publish valuable
documents through their state boards and commissions with which it is
well for the business man to be acquainted. Many of the individual
states have similar boards and commissions which report annually or
biennially, both in bulletins and regular reports, such as state
engineer, state geologist, state mining department, state insurance
department, state experiment station, bureau of labor and industrial
statistics, state public utilities commissions and special commissions
created to deal with any particular problems or industries, peculiar
to the individual state. The best guide available to current state
publications is the "Monthly List of State Publications" published
by the Library of Congress, fifty cents per year. The chief drawback
in the use of this list is that it is always several months behind
in being published, as is also the "Monthly Catalog of United States
Public Documents." The current trade periodicals often note the issue
of any important state publications more promptly and are a great aid
in keeping up to date on this information. Public Affairs Information
Service, a cumulated index published by H. W. Wilson Company, New
York City, and which is noted more fully in a subsequent chapter on
Reference Books, lists a number of state publications of value.


 =Fairfax, Virginia=

 Pamphlets and clippings in the business library; pamphlet printed by
 Journal of Electricity, San Francisco.

 =Kaempffert, Waldemar=

 Putting Uncle Sam to work. McClure's magazine Dec. 1916, p. 11.

 =Reinick, W. R.=

 Public documents as a commercial factor. Special libraries Nov. 1913,
 p. 175-77.

 =Rogers, S. L.=

 Value of statistics to business (census bureau). Manufacturers' record
 Oct. 23, 1919, p. 34-35.

 =Ulm, A. H.=

 What the census bureau can tell you about business. Printers' ink
 monthly May 1920, p. 37-38.



Trade Catalogs

Several methods for filing and indexing trade catalogs have been
advocated by various writers, but the most generally approved practice
is to file in legal size vertical file cabinets, with a shelf to
accommodate large bound volumes which are too bulky to go into the
drawers and whose disposition on shelves instead of in file drawers may
be noted by a symbol on the index card, and also by a reference sheet
placed in the file where the catalog would be alphabeted.

All trade catalogs should be filed alphabetically by the names of the
firms issuing them, rather than under subjects, because often a single
pamphlet, or volume, may list a variety of materials which can not be
classified under a single subject name, thus avoiding numerous cross
subject references.

  |       |                                      |
  |       |    Belt shifters                     |
  |       |Mahlon Bradley & Company              |
  |       |    First National Bank Building      |
  |       |        Chicago                       |
  |       |                                      |
  |       |                                      |
  |       |                                      |
  |       |                                      |
  |       |                                      |

  Trade catalog index card made under the subject name

  |       |                                      |
  |       |    Diamond speed shifter             |
  |       |Mahlon Bradley & Company              |
  |       |    First National Bank Building      |
  |       |        Chicago                       |
  |       |                                      |
  |       |                                      |
  |       |                                      |
  |       |                                      |
  |       |                                      |

  Trade catalog index card made under well known trade name

Engineers are prone to endeavor to apply a decimal subject
classification in filing trade catalogs, with the result that they fall
into many intricate difficulties. However, small offices using only a
few trade catalogs on special subjects can file under subjects with
other library material if desired. (The organization of an alphabetical
subject file for miscellaneous data is described in Chapter VI.) All
trade catalogs filed under the names of the firms should be subject
card indexed, because it takes less time to make a working index than
it does to look through various catalogs to find desired information
when there is no index.

  |       |                                      |
  |       |Mahlon Bradley & Company              |
  |       |    First National Bank Building      |
  |       |        Chicago                       |
  |       |                                      |
  |       |                                      |
  |       |                                      |
  |       |Belt shifters                         |
  |       |Diamond speed shifter                 |
  |       |                                      |

  Trade catalog index card made under the name of the firm and showing
  the subject name and trade name under which additional cards have been

The method of indexing should be as follows: there should be a card
made for the name of each firm issuing the catalog, and the address of
the firm may be added to this card in order to use it as a mailing list
if desired. The subjects, i. e., specific names of merchandise, which
the catalog covers and any well known trade names, should be written
on the face of this main card (see illustration) and additional cards
made for the subjects and any important trade names, and all of the
cards should be filed in a single alphabet. A Cutter number (which is
explained in detail in the chapter on cataloging) may be put on each
index card and trade catalog, in order to facilitate the alphabetizing
and quick location of individual trade catalogs. The subject index
in Thomas' Register of American Manufacturers, an invaluable tool to
purchasing departments, is a great aid in selecting subject names to be
used in the trade catalog index.


Photographs are important sources of information for any business firm,
as they visualize printed or written descriptions and make an accurate
and unchangeable record which does not permit of any misunderstanding,
as is sometimes the case in reading a printed account. Every industry
should have a photograph file illustrating the various aspects of
its products or the installations and construction for which it is
responsible and which may be supplemented by any photographs which can
be obtained on similar work done by firms other than its own.

Banks and investment houses should have photographs of all tangible
properties on which they issue securities, as they have been found to
be of great aid in making a stock and bond offering concrete in the
mind of possible customers.

Photographs are best filed by mounting singly or in groups on
a standard size photo-mount board 11 by 14 inches and put into
architectural size vertical file drawers. A dry mount process by the
use of gum tissue and a hot iron is much to be preferred to the
ordinary method of mounting, as photographs expand when wet and shrink
in drying, thus subjecting the mounting board to more or less warping
unless heavy pressure is used.

 [Illustration: A photo-mount board 11 by 14 inches in size. The title
 of the photograph with date when taken is lettered across the top and
 the classification number is shown in the upper left hand corner.]

Photographs for business purposes may be filed geographically or
by subjects, according to the use which is to be made of them. An
engineering firm building structures in different parts of the country
file their construction photographs under the name of the state and
city in which the work is done; all the cities of a single state are
arranged in alphabetical order under the state name. The individual
photograph boards are numbered in accession order which makes the
photograph of latest date the highest number under each city.

 [Illustration: Form of entry on the index card to a photograph file]

In order to avoid writing the name of the state and the name of the
town on the corner of each photograph, this particular library uses on
each board the Dewey Decimal Classification history number for each
state with the first letter of the name of the city below this decimal
number, to which is added the accession number of the photograph. This
combined number is used on the corner of the index card on which is
also entered the name of the city followed by the accession number of
each board and the title of the photograph with the date on which the
photograph was taken.

Each photograph may be cataloged on a separate card if desired
and subject cards can also be made to any photographs and filed
alphabetically with the geographical index cards.

When subject filing of photographs is desired the Dewey Decimal
Classification subject number, or a modification of that system, or the
name of the subject written out in full or the Cutter symbol for it
(which is described in Chapter VI), can be substituted in place of the
geographical classification number.

Lantern Slides

There are two methods of filing slides. One is to file slides in a
cabinet containing drawers similar to a card catalog case, the slides
being filed horizontally rather than vertically. The other method
is to use a specially designed filing cabinet containing sliding
file leaves which pull out at right angles to the cabinet, which is
designed on the sectional unit plan for growth; the leaves have each
a capacity of about fifty or sixty slides which are held in place by
means of channel grooves which provide for examination of the slides
without handling, and also permit of quick removal of each slide as
needed. Complete descriptions of such cabinets may be obtained from the
Multiplex Display Fixture Company, St. Louis, Missouri, and from G. S.
Moler, 408 University avenue, Ithaca, New York. Both makes have been
satisfactorily used by a number of business organizations.

 [Illustration: The Moler lantern slide cabinet]

The drawer method of filing slides costs less than the cabinet with
sliding file leaves, and also takes up less space. It has been found in
the experience of libraries handling large numbers of lantern slides
which are used freely that they are not as fragile as they appear to
be; they do not break easily and can be fingered as rapidly as a card
index file in a similar drawer. A piece of white paper can be easily
slipped behind the slides in the drawers to bring out their details
when they are being consulted.

 [Illustration: Lantern slide cabinet made by Multiplex Display Fixture

Lantern slides may be classified and card indexed for business purposes
in the same way that photographs are and care should be taken to have
the file number and title of the slide plainly lettered along the top
edge of the face of the slide.

Collections of lantern slides for art and architectural purposes
require more elaborate classification and cataloging but such
requirements do not come within the scope of this treatise.

In some business libraries where the slides are loaned out of the
city it may be advisable to index them on a 4 by 6 inch catalog card,
instead of the standard 3 by 5 inch card, in order to allow room to
paste on it a photograph of the lantern slide which will show its
detail when the slide itself is not immediately available.


Half-tone, zinc and electrotype cuts may be classified in the same way
that photographs are but filed in flat drawers. A reduced photograph of
the cut may be pasted on the index card similar to the plan noted above
for lantern slides.


Business firms having large collections of maps which need to be
specially filed and recorded will find helpful suggestions in a
small pamphlet entitled "Making Maps Available," by Beatrice Winser,
published by the American Library Association, 78 East Washington
Street, Chicago, Illinois, price five cents.


 =Cook, G. L.=

 A library of trade catalogs. Library journal May 1919, p. 307-308.

 =Nourse, F. M.=

 Finding the needle in the haystack (photographs and cuts). System Feb.
 1919, p. 218.

 =Peck, E. E.=

 Trade catalog file. Library journal July 1919, p. 442.

 =Selection of trade publications= of manufacturing companies. The
 booklist April 1919, p. 285.

 =Stokes, C. W.=

 Classification and filing of photographs. Printers' ink August 3,
 1916, p. 82-86.



All books and pamphlets received by the business library should be
classified by subject, i. e., all material on a given subject should be
brought together under the same subject number. The most satisfactory
working scheme of subject classification which has yet been devised
and which is most generally used is the Dewey Decimal Classification,
Edition 9, 1915, which can be purchased from the Library Bureau, price
$6.00. No subject classification is perfect and the Dewey Decimal
Classification will not fit all business libraries equally well, but
its elasticity of form and its notation is such that any expansion
which may be required by the specialized character of the business
library may readily be made by the trained librarian. The following
list of extensions to the Dewey Decimal Classification may be of
interest to engineers:

 "Extension of the Dewey Decimal System of Classification Applied
 to the Engineering Industries," by L. B. Breckenridge and G. A.
 Goodenough, published in University of Illinois Engineering Experiment
 Station Bulletin 9, revised edition, 1912.

 "Extension of Dewey Decimal System of Classification to Cover
 Municipal Engineering," by R. De L. French, in Canadian Engineer, Nov.
 12, 1914.

 "Extension of the Dewey Decimal System of Classification to the Gas
 Industry," by D. S. Knauss, American Gas Institute, October, 1914.

 "Extension of the Dewey Decimal System of Classification Applied to
 Metallurgy, Metallography and Assaying," by R. M. Keeny, Colorado
 School of Mines Quarterly, Golden, Colo., April, 1911.

 "Proposed Classification for an Engineering Library," by E. H. Frick
 and Esther Raymond published by American Society of Civil Engineers,

It must be remembered that business libraries are small and the number
of books and pamphlets to be classified are few as compared with the
enormous collections in public libraries, so that the much discussed
question of new classifications which arises periodically is not of so
vital importance to the business library as might appear, especially
so when one recognizes the importance of making an exhaustive subject
catalog to all material, which relieves the business library from any
undue difficulties in classification. It will readily be seen that no
subject classification can bring together on the library shelves all
information on a subject, for the reason that some books and pamphlets
cover several well defined subjects and the book can stand on the
shelf in one subject position only. Such difficulties are met most
satisfactorily by a subject catalog in which subject entries are made
under the most specific subject heading and not under a broad term
which includes several well defined divisions of a general subject.
For example, a book on steam engines should be subject cataloged under
"Steam engines" and not under "Engines," while a book on various kinds
of engines should be subject cataloged under "Engines" and not under
"Mechanical engineering." The book on engines, if it treated of Marine
engines, Gas engines and various other types could also have cards
made under those subjects in addition to the card which was made under

  |       |                                                 |
  | Sa107 | Cameron, W. H.                                  |
  |       |    The attitude of the employer towards         |
  |       | accident prevention and workmen's compensation. |
  |       | 9 p.                                            |
  |       |                                                 |
  |       |                                                 |
  |       |    Safety movement                              |
  |       |    Workmen's compensation                       |
  |       |                                                 |

  The pamphlet noted above is filed under "Safety movement" and an entry
  is made under the author's name for the card index, showing upon its
  face the subject names under which subject index cards have been made

  |       |                                                 |
  | Sa107 |    Workmen's compensation                       |
  |       | Cameron, W. H.                                  |
  |       |    The attitude of the employer towards         |
  |       | accident prevention and workmen's compensation. |
  |       | 9 p.                                            |
  |       |                                                 |
  |       |                                                 |
  |       |                                                 |
  |       |                                                 |
  |       |                                                 |

  If a pamphlet covers two or more subjects a subject card may be made
  for each subject. The subject under which the pamphlet is filed is
  shown by the Cutter book number. In this particular instance, the
  pamphlet is placed in the file under "Safety movement."

This method permits of a book or pamphlet being entered under any
number of specific subjects on which it gives information and thus the
subject catalog brings together all the information in the library on a
specific subject, although it may not stand together on the shelves or
in a vertical file.

  |       |                                                 |
  | Sa107 |    Safety movement                              |
  |       | Cameron, W. H.                                  |
  |       |    The attitude of the employer towards         |
  |       | accident prevention and workmen's compensation. |
  |       | 9 p.                                            |
  |       |                                                 |
  |       |                                                 |
  |       |                                                 |
  |       |                                                 |
  |       |                                                 |

  Subject catalog card for Alphabetic-subject file

Alphabetic-subject File

All material put into vertical files need not be filed necessarily
by a numerical subject classification such as the Dewey Decimal
Classification; on the contrary a number of business libraries, which
use the Decimal Classification for material put on the shelves, have
organized most successful vertical files of miscellaneous material,
clippings, pamphlets, etc., by the alphabetic-subject method. This
simply means that the material is assigned, instead of a subject
number, a specific subject name similar to that put on a subject
catalog card and is filed alphabetically under that subject name
written out in full upon the folder, to which may be prefixed a Cutter
number assigned from the subject name of the material. The Cutter
number, primarily designed to alphabet authors, is the first letter
of a word combined with certain figures, designed to keep words in
alphabetic order by their initial letter and the figures following it.
The Cutter three figure alphabetic-order table, price $2.70, or the
Cutter-Sanborn alphabetic-order table, price $3.00, both for sale by
the Library Bureau, are equally good for use in the alphabetic-subject
file. The Cutter two figure table may be used for a small collection
of material. No business firm should attempt to install an
alphabetical-subject file unless the work is done under the direction
of a trained librarian who has had thorough training in cataloging and
in the assigning of subject headings. The best information in print
on the details of alphabetical-subject filing for business libraries
is to be found in a pamphlet entitled "Pamphlets and Clippings in the
Business Library" by Virginia Fairfax, published by the Journal of
Electricity, San Francisco.

The advantage in using a Cutter number is, that it makes a convenient
brief notation to use on the material to be filed and on the catalog
card to show where the material is placed in the file. For temporary
files of ephemeral material both the Cutter number and the card
cataloging may be omitted. The alphabetic-subject file obviates the
difficulties which arise when the business library finds it has
material on subjects for which the Dewey Decimal Classification has not
adequately provided.

Printed information on corporations collected by banking houses is most
satisfactorily filed alphabetically under the name of each corporation
with sub-divisions (i. e., mortgages, reports, etc.) under each
corporation name where necessary.


Business men as a whole do not understand what cataloging involves nor
its supreme importance. Most of them call it card indexing and think
they have provided amply for it when they have purchased a card catalog
cabinet and a supply of cards, without realizing what someone has
recently said in a business periodical, that "the number of employes
and the generosity of mechanical equipment are not the essentials of
high grade production. Brains and floor space are unrelated." A card
catalog to be a success, as a working tool, must be made according to a
code of standardized rules by some one who has been thoroughly taught
to use them. A code of catalog rules given to a novice who attempts
to catalog by them without previous instruction will yield about as
satisfactory results as an automobile does when it is operated by some
one who has never run one before, and whose only knowledge consists of
what he has read about it in a handbook. The truth of this contention
is apparent when one considers that strict uniformity and accuracy must
be maintained, not only in making author entries but particularly in
making what the trained librarian calls subject headings with "see"
and "see also" references which the business man is often heard to
call cross indexing. (See Hitchler, Cataloging for Small Libraries,
Chapters 5 and 6.) Cataloging must be as accurate as bookkeeping; a
wrong figure, a mis-filed card or the entry of information under an
incorrect subject, makes the catalog as useless as trying to unlock a
door with a key that does not fit. The American Library Association, 78
East Washington Street, Chicago, Illinois, has issued a valuable list
of suggestive "Subject Headings for Use in a Dictionary Catalog," third
edition, price $2.50, which indicates proper terminology with cross
references, and to which each business library will probably make many
subject additions to suit its specific needs. The subject headings used
in the "Readers' Guide to Periodical Literature" and the "Industrial
Arts Index," mentioned in a previous chapter, are also of help to the
business library in determining adequate subject headings for the card
catalog. The ability to assign subject headings and cross references
correctly requires both broad knowledge and a high degree of training
and is one of the important assets which the business librarian derives
from a library school education.

For the benefit of small offices which have a limited collection of
material and will need to do very little cataloging or indexing, the
sample author and subject cards are given to illustrate correct form.

Further helpful suggestions can be obtained from Hitchler's Cataloging
for Small Libraries, published by the American Library Association, 78
East Washington Street, Chicago, Illinois, price $1.25.

  |        |                                                |
  | 627.38 | Wegmann, Edward                                |
  |  W42   |    Design & construction of dams               |
  |        | Ed. 4  N.Y. Wiley 1904.                        |
  |        |                                                |
  |        |                                                |
  |        | Dams                                           |
  |        |                                                |
  |        |                                                |

   Form of author card

The Library of Congress publishes catalog cards printed on the standard
3 by 5 inch card, one form of card only for each book, namely the
author or main entry card, with suggestive subject headings printed at
the bottom. To this card, if purchased, may be added the classification
number of the book in the particular business library, and additional
cards may be bought on which may be put the subject headings. Not many
business libraries have made use of these printed cards issued by the
Library of Congress, because business library material is so limited
and specialized in selection that not enough Library of Congress
catalog cards can be used to make it worth while to spend time in
checking up what cards the Library of Congress issues, which can be
used by the business library. The business library is always in a hurry
to have its material cataloged and put on the shelves at once, and
ordering and waiting for receipt of Library of Congress cards does not
generally permit of quick enough work.

  |        |                                                |
  | 627.38 | Dams                                           |
  |  W42   | Wegmann, Edwards                               |
  |        |    Design & construction of dams               |
  |        | Ed. 4  N.Y.  Wiley 1904.                       |
  |        |                                                |
  |        |                                                |
  |        |                                                |
  |        |                                                |
  |        |                                                |
  |        |                                                |

  Form of subject card

It is advisable that the card catalogs to material in the business
library should be, as far as possible, alphabeted together in a single
file, because information on a subject found in a book is cataloged
under a specific subject heading, information on the same subject found
in a periodical article is entered under the same subject heading as
that used for the information in the book, and the same subject heading
is used in the card catalog for the material which, because of its
form, is put into the vertical file. The filing of these three subject
cards together instead of in three separate card catalogs, namely, to
books, periodicals and vertical file material, will show at once what
the library has on that particular subject with a saving of time in
consultation, as well as eliminating the risk of forgetting to look in
three separate catalogs when investigating a subject, and avoiding the
danger of mis-filing a card in a wrong catalog. If desired, references
to periodical articles and vertical file material may be put on colored
cards to show more quickly the disposition of the material in the
library. Photographs, lantern slides, cuts and maps are best cared for
by a separate card catalog to each file.


 =Colegrove, M. E. & McVety, M. A.=

 List of subject headings for information file. Elm tree press,
 Woodstock, Vt. (Modern American library economy series).

 =Dana, J. C.=

 Color and position filing. Elm tree press, Woodstock, Vt. (Modern
 American library economy series).

 =Dickey, P. A.=

 Care of pamphlets and clippings in libraries. H. W. Wilson & Company,
 New York City.

 =Fairfax, Virginia=

 Pamphlets and clippings in the business library; pamphlet printed by
 Journal of Electricity, San Francisco.

 =Krause, L. B.=

 Engineers' technical file. Engineering record Dec. 18, 1915, p. 760-61.

 =Krause, L. B.=

 Indexing data on stream flow and rainfall. Engineering record Jan. 31,
 1914, p. 140-41.

 =McVety, M. A. & Colegrove, M. E.=

 Vertical file. Elm tree press, Woodstock, Vt. (Modern American library

 =Ovitz, D. G.=

 The "Readers' Guide" and the vertical file. H. W. Wilson Company, New
 York City.



It is the purpose of this chapter to give an outline of the equipment
required by the business library to do its work adequately. Some
business men make the mistake of thinking that the mechanical
equipment which they purchase will make a satisfactory library, while
others put their faith in employing a librarian who they expect will
create library service with the expenditure of very little money for
facilities and tools for carrying on the work.

Both opinions are wrong, for the business library needs adequate
equipment with which to perform acceptable service quite as much as it
does a skillful librarian.

Floor Space and Shelving

No business firm should consider establishing library service unless it
is willing to provide suitable space for it, for the best librarian in
the country cannot give satisfactory service with books and material
scattered in various places, wedged in tightly and stored on top
shelves or in storerooms where there is not quick access to them.

The writer knows of several business firms, who from lack of sufficient
library space store their periodicals, and as far as any real use is
concerned they might as well not have them. Often the plea of lack of
floor space is a superficial reason and only indicative of the fact
that the firm is following a short sighted policy and has not really
waked up to the tremendous value of having such material in order and
readily accessible.

In selecting the floor space for a business library a square or oblong
portion of space without columns or jogs in the walls is preferable,
as it permits of the most economical arrangement in putting in the
required fixtures. Good daylight is of course most desirable but if
this is not possible, care should be taken to have artificial light
of high grade which can easily be provided by a system of indirect
electric lighting supplemented by drop lights wherever necessary.

The library floor space should be completely covered with cork carpet
both for cleanliness and quiet, and it should be laid before any
shelving is set, in order to avoid cuts and seams which catch dirt and
also look bad if the carpet is laid after immovable fittings have been

In placing shelving for books, the most economical and compact
arrangement is the stack plan, i.e., double faced bookcases set at
right angles to a wall space and as close together as possible, but
allowing ready access by narrow aisles not less than thirty inches wide
between the tiers. The remaining wall space may be utilized by vertical
files or wall shelving to supplement the capacity of the stack layout,
but no business library of any considerable size should be laid out on
the plan of wall shelving only, as it is a most unnecessary waste of

 [Illustration: Single face unit wood shelving showing adjustable
 features. By courtesy of the Library Bureau.]

The space assigned for the business library should be primarily
selected to accomplish best the work the library is designed to do, and
this principle is entirely compatible with a dignified and attractive
library layout, if it is done by someone who has both a knowledge of
the work of the library and of the most approved library equipment. The
floor plans of three business libraries are shown to illustrate the
economical placing of shelves, vertical files and furniture in a given

 [Illustration: Adjustable metal stack, 7 feet 6 inches in height, with
 shelves 3 feet long and 8 inches wide. By courtesy of the Library

Shall the library stack be wood or metal, open or enclosed with glass,
and shall it have fixed or adjustable book shelves? Open metal stack, 7
feet 6 inches in height, with 7 adjustable shelves, 3 feet long, eight
or 10 inches wide, in each tier, or open wood stack of the unit type, 6
feet 10 inches high, with adjustable shelves are both suitable, with a
preference for wood, because it ordinarily costs less and looks better
in a small library room. Some business offices which have only a few
books are using wood bookcase units with sliding glass doors. These
answer the purpose for very small collections in private offices, but
if there is to be any real growth they constitute too great an expense
in proportion to the number of books shelved, and are not economical in
saving floor space. Even when such wooden units are placed together in
double stack form they are not comparable in economy with metal or open
wood stack because they are less durable, hold a less number of books
per shelf, can not safely be built up to as great a height and do not
save space by having adjustable shelves for books of varying heights.
Glass doors to bookcases in a live business library are a pest and the
only service which they really perform in keeping out a little dust
does not compensate for their added expense especially when dust can be
readily removed from open shelves by the use of a vacuum cleaner.

 [Illustration: Plan No. 1 (850 square feet) has three windows at one
 end of the room and the librarian's desk, reading table, vertical
 files and card catalog cabinet are placed advantageously near these
 windows for good daylight. There is room also for additional desks
 near the windows.

 Book stacks are placed at right angles to the windows at the rear of
 the room but require artificial light. The remaining wall space is
 used for wall stacks.]

The best method for a business firm to pursue in acquiring the most
suitable and best arranged shelving for a library is to have their
librarian ask one or two reputable firms making a specialty of
library fittings to furnish drawings, descriptions and prices of
their stack, and also make suggestions as to its best arrangement in
a given floor space. The trained librarian who has been educated in
the details of good and poor equipment and who knows what an adequate
layout should be, will readily point out the merits and weaknesses of
the specifications in regard to standardization, simplicity and price.
It is always economical to equip even the smallest business library
with a high grade standard make of shelving, which will never have to
be discarded as the library grows, and which can always be matched when
additional shelving needs to be purchased.

It must be remembered also that the business library is often not
permanently located in a particular space because the layouts of all
offices of business organizations are subject to change, due to growth
in the business, and therefore library shelving which is well made, and
of standard parts and which can be moved readily as occasion demands is
most desirable.

Vertical Files

The floor space for the business library should not only provide for
adequate shelving, but should allow for vertical files and their
growth. The value of adequate vertical filing equipment can not be
over-estimated, because so much of the working material in the business
library must be kept in vertical files. It is essential that drawers
move easily and quietly and do not get out of order, as this affords a
great saving in labor as well as quick service for the busy man who
wants the contents at his immediate disposal.

 [Illustration: Plan No. 2 (700 square feet) has two windows at the end
 of the room but requires a different layout from Plan No. 1 because of
 the dimensions of the room.

 The narrow width of the room makes it impossible to place all of the
 vertical files near the daylight. The layout is an exception to the
 general principle that book stacks should be placed at right angles
 to windows, because the room is too long and narrow to permit of any
 daylight penetrating the aisles between the stacks if so placed, and a
 more economical arrangement is effected by placing the book stacks at
 right angles to a wall.]

 [Illustration: Plan No. 3 (600 square feet) showing two small rooms at
 right angles opening into each other with three windows in each room.

 The first room is used for the librarian's desk, vertical files,
 card catalog cabinet and one wall stack for reference books, while
 the second room is used for the book stacks which are set at right
 angles to the windows thereby giving ample daylight between the stacks
 without the necessity of artificial lighting. Wall stacks are also
 used where possible to complete the capacity of the room.]

There are a large variety of makes of vertical files which are
bewildering to the average purchaser in their rival claims for
superiority. What the purchaser needs as a guide is not a long list of
all the makes of filing cabinets on the market but a brief comment on
the kinds of cases which are worth while and the reasons why they are

 [Illustration: These four styles of unit vertical files in wood are
 the same height and depth and permit of additions by the removal
 of the ends. They are the most suitable kind of files for business
 library work.]

In order to allow for growth, filing cabinets of the unit type only
should be considered, as this type provides for expansion by the
addition of new units, for flexibility, in that the units may be
easily rearranged as new units are added, and for economy of space in
that the greatest variety of drawers or files will occupy minimum floor

There are two kinds of unit filing cabinets, namely, the horizontal
type in which cabinets are placed one on top of the other, with
removable top, and the vertical type in which units are placed side by
side, with detachable ends.

Excellent illustrations of the various useful combinations possible
with both types may be found in the trade catalog of the Library
Bureau, entitled "Unit Filing Cabinets in Wood."

The mechanical operation of all file drawers should be the best
obtainable. Trays should be rigidly made and yet light enough to be
easily handled. Vertical filing drawers should be mounted on roller
bearing slides in order that they may run easily when loaded, for as
one manufacturer states, "The efficiency of every card and filing
system depends directly on the ease and precision of the mechanical

If wood cabinets are selected, care should be taken that these are
purchased from a manufacturer who will guarantee that the woods used
are well seasoned and perfectly kiln-dried so that there will be no
shrinking, swelling or warping. These are necessary qualifications
which can not be assured when purchasing the lower priced cases on the

 [Illustration: Double face unit wood shelving, 6 feet 10 inches high
 with adjustable shelves, 3 feet long and 8 inches wide. By courtesy of
 the Library Bureau.]

Wood cases are preferable to steel for library use, not only because of
the appearance, but also because they are less noisy. Steel cabinets,
despite the rubber protectors or buffers which do not wear for any
length of time, are noisy. The fire resisting qualities of steel are
negligible as an argument for their use in the average business library.

Card Catalog Cabinets and Cards

All card cabinets for library use should be made for the standard
centimeter size library catalog card which is approximately 3 by 5
inches and should be purchased with round rods to pass through the
lower margin of the card, so that the cards can not be accidentally
spilled out or carelessly removed and misplaced.

A good quality of card should be selected, for experience proves it is
a waste of time and money to put permanent records on a poor grade of
cards; guides with celluloid tips are more durable than bristle board

The best cards on the market have both evenly cut edges and sufficient
stiffness to permit rapid fingering and are made of durable stock.
These points are particularly emphasized because one of the faults of
many business offices is the buying of cheap card supplies without
taking into consideration the reason why more expensive cards are
really the most economical.

No matter by whom the equipment and supplies of a business organization
are ordered, the business librarian should always have the privilege of
specifying grades and makes if the best results are to be obtained. It
is never advisable for the sake of general office uniformity to force
supplies upon the business library which are not best suited for its
work, and the librarian is always the best judge of the most suitable
ones by reason of trained judgment, and experience.

The ordering of books and periodicals should always be done by the
librarian, who is thoroughly acquainted with the publishing field,
and under no circumstances by the general purchasing department of an

A few well known firms dealing in library supplies are as follows:

 Democrat Printing Co., (supplies) Madison, Wis.

 Gaylord Brothers, (supplies) Syracuse, N. Y. This firm makes a variety
 of pamphlet binders which are much used by many business libraries and
 are well worth investigating.

 Library Bureau, (equipment and supplies) New York City, Chicago and
 branches in other cities.

 Art Metal Construction Co., (equipment) Jamestown, N. Y. and branches
 in other cities.

 Refer also to advertisers in the periodicals, "Library Journal" and
 "Public Libraries," which may be seen at the Public Library.


 =Leffingwell, W. H.=

 The office through a microscope. National efficiency quarterly August
 1918, p. 85-111.

 =Library Bureau=

 Library supplies catalog no. L1018.

 Unit wood book shelving catalog no. 70314.

 Unit filing cabinets in wood catalog no. 8929.

 Steel book stack catalog no. 70814.



All business organizations, whether they employ a librarian or not,
have need of some reference books for general information as well as
for special information along the lines of their individual work. If
a librarian is not employed the reference books are not so valuable
as they might be, because there is generally no one at hand so
skilled in manipulating their indexes and contents, that the exact
information required is immediately forthcoming; for it is in the field
of reference books particularly that the business librarian acts as
"Open Sesame" to the business man. The ability to find information is
a matter of training; it does not suffice merely to possess books or
to be told of existing resources. This truth was stated in a homely
fashion some time ago by a practical engineering journal, which said:

 "Books are just as much engineering tools as wrenches, hammers,
 or cold chisels, and it takes practice to successfully manipulate
 them. We have all probably laughed at the novice's first attempt
 to use a monkey wrench, a can can be just as clumsy with the books
 that he consults to assist him in solving his problems. Just as it
 took considerable time to acquire skill in handling tools about the
 plant, it also takes a lot of time to acquire the knack of getting
 information out of books," or to state the case in the words of the
 founder of the famous Poole's index system, "The facile proficiency in
 the use of books does not come by intuition."

It is the purpose of this chapter to make some practical comments on
the best reference books for business libraries, from which each
individual business library can make a selection according to its
special needs.

The list aims to include only such reference books as have been found
to be of actual use, and to exclude all references to books which
although excellent in their lines, have no place in the work of the
business library, and no further apology will be made for their


No attempt is made to describe bibliographically the books listed. This
has been well done for most of them in =Kroeger's Guide to the Study
of Reference Books=, third edition, published by the American Library
Association, 78 East Washington Street, Chicago, 1917, price $2.50.
The few business men who have time to give to the detailed study of
reference books will find this guide an authoritative treatise on the
subject, and on file at the Public Library. Another useful aid in the
selection of books for business libraries, both reference books and
books on general business subjects, is entitled =2400 Business Books=,
third edition, issued by the H. W. Wilson Company, New York City, 1920,
price $5.00. This volume is very useful in showing what literature
is in print on various business subjects, but as the entries are not
annotated it is not a guide to the relative value of the books listed.

Three excellent lists of worth while books on business subjects are
=A Select List of Books for Business Libraries=, by Paul H. Nystrom
in "National Efficiency Quarterly," May, 1918, =A White List of
Business Books=, by John Cotton Dana, printed serially in "The Nation's
Business," November, 1917-July, 1919, and =Five Hundred Business Books=
published by American Library Association 1919.

Some publishers of business books whose catalogs may be had for the
asking are as follows:

  D. Appleton & Company, New York City.
  Macmillan Company, New York City.
  Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass.
  Ronald Press, New York City.
  A. W. Shaw Company, Chicago, Ill.

Two bibliographies on financial and economic subjects of value to
business men are =The Stock Exchange Business= and =Corporation Finance
and Investment=, published by The Investment Bankers Association of
America, 111 West Monroe Street, Chicago, price $1.10 each.

Selecting Reference Books

In selecting reference books for a business library it is wise to
keep in mind the following facts. It does not necessarily follow that
because a book is printed on a subject it is therefore authoritative
and worth while purchasing. Examine and test the credentials for
worthiness of every reference book carefully. Even the best reference
books fall down at some point and must be used with judgment. No
matter how excellent a reference book appears to be in its accuracy
and completeness, remember it is of no value to the business library
unless that library has particular use for it. It is almost as serious
a fault in a business library to have more books than are needed as it
is to have too few books to meet the needs. A good purchasing rule to
follow, is to buy only after it has been clearly demonstrated that the
library has no book which will give certain information desired, for
it has been found that a few well selected reference books will answer
a multitude of questions, and some of the business libraries doing the
best work have comparatively few working tools of this class. It must
be remembered also that it is not sufficient to buy a copy of an annual
publication once, but that the latest edition must be purchased each
year in order that the information may be kept strictly up to date.


The first and foremost reference book which a business office needs is
an English dictionary, for the men who dictate and the stenographers
who write reports and letters must have an authoritative source to
which they can turn for definitions, spelling, synonyms, hyphenation
and pronunciation.

The two best single volume dictionaries, costing about sixteen dollars
each, are the latest editions of the =Standard Dictionary=, published
by Funk and Wagnalls, and =Webster's New International Dictionary=,
published by Merriam. Of these two dictionaries the preference of many
scholars is for Webster, although the Standard is considered most
excellent on present day words and their meanings. One of the drawbacks
in using Webster hurriedly is the divided page. In the upper part of
the page the main words of the language are given, and in the lower
part in smaller type are given the minor words, foreign phrases and

In an office which prepares a great deal of advertising material, or
"copy" for publication, a thesaurus dictionary will be very useful.
=March's Thesaurus Dictionary of the English Language=, Philadelphia
Historical Publishing Company, "designed to suggest immediately any
desired word to express exactly a given idea; a dictionary of synonyms,
antonyms, idioms, foreign phrases, pronunciation, a copious correlation
of words," may be purchased for $15.00, if an elaborate dictionary of
this kind is to be desired. =Roget's Thesaurus of English Words and
Phrases= may be purchased in several editions, prices $1.25 up to $2.00.

The business library will do well to provide a few books on business
English, punctuation, capitalization, abbreviations and correspondence
forms, a few of which are the following:

 =Vizetelly Desk Book of Errors in English=, New York, Funk & Wagnalls,

 =Putnam's Correspondence Handbook=, New York, Putnam, $1.75.

 =Lewis Business English=, Chicago, LaSalle Extension University, $1.40.

 =Manley & Powell Manual for Writers=, University of Chicago Press,

 =University of Chicago Manual of Style=, University of Chicago Press,

 =United States Public Printer Style Book=, a compilation of rules
 governing executive, congressional and departmental printing,
 Washington, Superintendent of Documents, $0.15.

If a business library finds it needs any foreign language dictionaries,
possibly French and Spanish, bilingual ones can be obtained in one
volume editions from any first class book dealer at a cost of not more
than $3.00 a volume.


The new edition of the Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia is a luxury
for a business organization and need not be considered in this list,
but the business library must have a general encyclopedia, and the
best one for the American business office is without doubt the =New
International Encyclopedia=, published by Dodd, Mead and Company in 23
volumes, latest edition 1916. Price bound in library buckram, $7.50 per

Its advantages for business use over the new edition of the much
recently advertised =Encyclopedia Britannica=, are that the point of
view of the articles covers American needs better, that all information
is alphabeted under the most specific subject word, so that no index
volume has to be consulted as is the case in using the Britannica, and
that there are ample "see" references, if the subject looked up is
entered under a different terminology.

In regard to its authority, comprehensiveness, illustrations, maps
and bibliographical references at the end of the articles, the New
International ranks in the first class of encyclopedia productions.
It can be purchased printed on the much exploited India paper if the
saving of shelf space means more to the business office than does the
rapid turning of leaves. The India paper leaves are apt to stick
together and also crumple easily. The most desirable binding is library
buckram rather than flexible leather, which some business libraries
have been unwise enough to purchase. Dodd, Mead and Company also issue
an excellent annual encyclopedia entitled the =New International Year
Book=, as a supplement to the New International Encyclopedia, which
brings the Encyclopedia down to date at a cost of $6.50 per volume.

=The World Almanac and Encyclopedia=, published for the New York World
both in cloth and paper binding at 50 and 35 cents per volume, is
an invaluable addition to the business library, no matter how well
supplied it may be with pretentious encyclopedias. It is strong on
statistics of all kinds which are brought down to date and contains a
wide range of miscellaneous information which cannot be found readily
in more expensive handbooks. It has an excellent index and is generally
the best book to consult in a hurry in answering the many miscellaneous
questions which arise in a business office. It has been estimated that
it will answer 25% of the questions which come up in every day business

=Lippincott's New Gazetteer of the World=, a geographical dictionary,
Philadelphia, Lippincott, 1906, price $10.00, is useful but much out of
date in its statistics.

The United States Bureau of Foreign and Domestic Commerce publishes
each year the =Statistical Abstract of the United States= at 50 cents
per volume, paper binding, or it may be had in cloth. This abstract
gives tabulated statistics covering a number of years on the natural
resources and various economic activities of the United States. This
Bureau also publishes annually a valuable volume of statistics entitled
=Foreign Commerce and Navigation of the United States=, which gives
statistics of imports and exports of different classes of merchandise
with rates of duty, quantities and value.

For commercial, political and statistical information about foreign
countries the =Statesman's Year Book=, a British publication issued
annually by Macmillan, at $7.50 per volume, is a valuable addition to
any business library. It also gives a list of the best books on each
country and its most important government publications, and includes a
list of books relating to the war and a diary of its principal events.
Maps of the different countries are also included.

=The American Newspaper Annual=, a directory published by Ayer and
Son, Philadelphia, price $10.00, gives a list of all newspapers and
periodicals published in the United States and territories, Canada,
Cuba, West Indies, arranged by states and cities, with maps of the
states and information about the industries and institutions of each
city. It gives the population of cities and towns of the United States
and Canada whose population is over 3,000. It lists all publications in
foreign languages printed in different states of the United States and
also gives a list of trade papers for certain industries. A mid-year
supplement is free to subscribers.

=Rand McNally's Commercial Atlas of America=, published annually, price
$35.00, is the best atlas of its kind on the market for a business
office. The maps are indexed, and information on population, express
offices, United States money order stations and the railroads of each
town and city are given. This atlas has maps of the largest cities.
Steamship and interurban lines are also shown.

Another valuable guide is the =Official Hotel Red Book and Directory=
of the United States, Canada, Mexico, Cuba, Hawaii, West Indies and
South American cities, published annually by the Official Hotel Red
Book and Directory Company, New York City, price $6.00. This guide
lists hotels under cities with brief notes on accommodations and rates.

Another similar guide is =American Travel and Hotel Directory=,
published annually by Harold W. Phillips, 1133 Broadway, New York City,
at $5.00 per volume.

=The Official Guide of the Railways and Steam Navigation Lines= of
the United States, Porto Rico, Canada, Mexico, Cuba, also time tables
of railroads in Central America, is published monthly by the National
Railway Publication Company, New York City, $14.00 per year. It gives
the current time tables in effect and the maps of the various railroads
with indexes of their stations, and a general alphabetical index of all
railway stations in the United States, Canada, Mexico, showing on what
railroads a given place is located, with a similar index for points
reached by water routes.

=United States Official Post Office Guide=, issued annually with eleven
monthly supplements at $1.00 per year, gives information about mail
rates and post office rulings, and also gives a complete list of the
post offices in the United States.

The business library will find it helpful to obtain a single volume
published by the Census Bureau entitled =Abstract of the Thirteenth
Census of the United States, 1910=, which may be procured from the
Superintendent of Documents, Washington, D. C., at the cost of $1.00.
This abstract gives in condensed form with explanatory text, statistics
to be found in the eleven volumes report of the 1910 census covering
population, agriculture, manufactures and mining of the United States
as a whole, individual states and principal cities. This abstract
volume is issued in special editions for each state of the United
States, which give special statistics pertaining to that state.

In regard to population figures, it is probably not generally known
that the Census Bureau has issued bulletins giving estimates of
the population of cities for each year subsequent to 1910, so that
population figures for 1910 need not be considered as the latest
official figures available. The 1920 census is being compiled as this
volume goes to press.

The reference collection of a business library must be strong in books
which will serve as directories of persons and industries, in order
to answer questions on "who is who" and "where and what" are certain
business organizations. The important point for consideration in
selecting directories for a business library is that they must be not
only accurate but as nearly up-to-date as possible, to be of real value.

=Who's Who in America=, a biographical dictionary of notable living
men and women of the United States, giving brief biographical data and
addresses of over twenty thousand Americans prominent in business and
public affairs, professional life, or as authors, published biennially
by A. N. Marquis and Company, Chicago, $7.50 per volume.

There are also similar brief biographical dictionaries published for
certain states and cities which will be well known to the public
libraries in those particular localities, and which will not be
listed here as they are not of general interest to all localities;
for example, =The Book of Chicagoans=, =Who's Who in New England=,
=Directory of Directors in the City of New York=.

Every business library will need the latest edition of the
=Congressional Directory=, as all business firms have at some time
correspondence with, or need information on, congressmen, committees,
departments and bureaus of the Government, also diplomatic and consular
service. This volume may be purchased from the Superintendent of
Documents, Washington, D. C., for 60 cents, in cloth binding.

The membership lists of national organizations representing
different professions and industries are also very valuable, such
as the membership of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers,
American Society of Civil Engineers, and other associations devoted
to business interests as well as to professional work. The city
directory and telephone list of any community must not be forgotten as
helpful reference aids, also state gazetteers, and the collection of
directories of various cities to be found at the public library will be
found most useful.

G. P. Putnam Sons, New York City, publish a handbook called =Directory
of Mailing Lists, Obtainable in Book or Pamphlet Form=, price $2.50,
which tells where printed mailing lists of certain industries or
classes of people may be obtained free or at a reasonable price.

=Public Affairs Information Service=, a weekly or bi-monthly cumulated
service, according to the needs of subscribers, and cumulating in an
annual volume, published by the H. W. Wilson Company, New York City, is
a subject index to articles in current periodicals, pamphlets and books
covering current economic problems. Price upon application. It is a
valuable index to consult at the public library, as it is too expensive
for the small business library.

=Thomas' Register of American Manufacturers=--"first hands in all
lines"--is an indispensable directory. It is published annually by the
Thomas Publishing Company, New York City, price $15.00. The entries are
in three main sections. The first section classifies the manufacturers
according to their products, in an alphabetical subject list; the
second section lists the manufacturers alphabetically by their names,
gives addresses, branch offices and officials for many of them; the
third section lists all the popular trade names alphabetically, and
there is an alphabetical index of subjects at the beginning of the
volume, with plentiful cross references to all the subjects listed in
section one.

=Hendricks' Commercial Register of the United States= is similar
to Thomas' Register, but is especially devoted to the interests of
contracting and construction industries. It is published annually by S.
E. Hendricks Company, New York City, price $12.50.

Exporters and importers will find most useful, =Kelly's Directory
of Merchants, Manufacturers and Shippers of the World=, 1921, Kelly
Publishing Company, 70 Fifth Avenue, New York City, price $20.00.

The organization, personnel of management, earnings and financial
history of industrial corporations in the United States are given
in =Moody's Manual of Railroad & Corporation Securities=, published
annually by Poor's Publishing Company, New York City. The publisher
expects to issue the 1921 edition in four volumes as follows:

  Vol. I--Railroads.
  Vol. II--Public Utilities.
  Vol. III--Industrials.
  Vol. IV--Mining and Oil Companies.

The 1921 price will probably be $15.00 per volume.

=Moody's Analyses of Investments= is published in four parts as follows:

  Part I--Steam Railroads.
  Part II--Industrials.
  Part III--Public Utilities.
  Part IV--Government and Municipals.

These volumes cover much the same ground as the manuals just noted with
the addition of ratings. They are published by John Moody, 35 Nassau
street, New York City, at $15.00 per volume.

=The Manual of Statistics Stock Exchange Handbook=, similar in contents
to the Poor & Moody volumes but not as full, is published annually by
The Manual Statistics Company, New York City, at $12.00 per volume.

=Investment Bankers and Brokers of America=, issued annually by Sites
Publishing Company, 441 Pearl Street, New York City, $17.50 per volume,
is a useful directory to be used to supplement =Rand McNally Bankers'
Directory=, issued semi-monthly in January and July, Chicago, price
$25.00 per year, or the =Bankers' Encyclopedia=, issued semi-annually
in March and September, New York, price $10.00 per volume.

=Money and Investments=, by Montgomery Rollins, "a reference book for
the use of those desiring information in the handling of money or the
investment thereof," is an excellent dictionary of financial terms,
published by Financial Publishing Company, Boston, Mass., edition 4,
price $3.00.

For the business firm who wishes to keep up to the minute on the latest
information of what is going on in the world as affecting trade and
finance, the Standard Statistics Company, 47 West street, New York
City, issues =Standard Daily Trade Service= at a cost of $120.00 per
year, which delivers each morning by first class mail a conveniently
indexed and itemized digest of the important news regarding crops,
commodities, countries, legislation, taxation, Federal trade
regulation, transportation, etc., and in addition gives the subscriber
the benefit of a Personal Service department for special information
of value to him individually which does not appear on the daily report

In addition to the Daily Trade Service, the Standard Statistics
Company also issues a similar daily service entitled =Corporation News
Service=, which summarizes all the corporation news of the country. It
also issues a =Corporation Card and Bond Card Service= which furnish
daily revised card descriptions of corporations and bond issues.

The =Federal Trade Information Service=, 31 Nassau street, New York
City, is similar in frequency and form of issue to the standard Daily
Trade Service but is not as comprehensive in scope, as it covers only
the activities of the Federal Government.

There is scarcely any industry which has not put out a reference
handbook or directory covering its special field, and it is impossible
in a brief treatise to list all of the reference books which pertain
to a large number of industries. The best printed list from which to
determine what directories and handbooks have been issued for certain
industries is =2400 Business Books=, which has been previously noted.
Consult also the trade journals, and above all, do not forget to use
the reference facilities to be found at the public library.



Thoughtful consideration of what the business library does will
inevitably lead to one conclusion, namely, that the librarian, who is
the director and inspiration of the work, must have greater educational
qualifications than can be found in the average office employe who
is engaged either in the capacity of stenographer or file clerk. The
qualifications which are necessary to make a successful business
librarian may be definitely stated as follows:

  1. A college education or its equivalent.
  2. A library school education or its equivalent.
  3. Certain innate mental and social traits.
  4. The business man's point of view.

1. A College Education or Its Equivalent

The business librarian, no matter how well educated, will never have
a superabundance of knowledge for the prosecution of the task, for
the ramifications of business subjects are innumerable and touch the
sum total of human knowledge; and while no one person can be master
of all subjects, yet a college education, and the mental training
which it implies, should give not only a wider knowledge, but a power
of adaptability and versatility in working with information, which
constitute an indispensable asset in the prosecution of business
library work.

The type of college graduate who makes the best business librarian is
the one who is able to exercise a high degree of concentration, think
clearly and quickly, analyze subjects, understand cause and effects,
make logical deductions and wise discriminations, express ideas clearly
and to the point, and be able to discuss intelligently the information
which he passes along to the business man.

It is only just to state at this point that some college graduates do
not measure up to the standards which have been indicated, and that
there are many well-educated men and women without college degrees who
do; every man or woman must be judged on the basis of individual merit.
A business organization, however, can make no more serious mistake than
to think it can put its library work into the hands of some one of
limited education, who, although he knows the work of the particular
business by long apprenticeship, has not the important requisite of
a larger point of view which is the result of a broad education, no
matter by what means obtained.

W. H. Cameron, when general manager of the National Safety Council,
writing of library work as an aid to that organization, stated
the facts exactly when he said: "The problem of the industry, the
application of the library's information, the method of presentation
and the utility of the service, all require trained minds."

2. A Library School Education or Its Equivalent

A liberal education, however, is not sufficient in itself to make a
business librarian, unless that education has included the second
requisite in the list of qualifications, namely, education in approved
methods of library science, according to the standards taught by
accredited library schools.

What is meant by library science, and why is it necessary that
a business librarian should be trained in it, in order to do
adequately the work of the business library? Library science is the
standardization of the most approved methods of doing library work,
based on the results of many years of study and practical experiment by
librarians of large ability who have given their full time and energies
to the task. In brief, methods of library work have been standardized
by library experts and reduced to a practical, economical, effective

If this be the case, what possible justification can be found for
business firms who waste time and money, in addition to getting no
adequate results, in devising original methods for doing their library
work? Trade periodicals, for several years, have published a number
of articles treating of original methods adopted by various firms for
filing and indexing their printed information. These original schemes
reveal many weaknesses and discrepancies and also that many business
men are entirely ignorant of the fact that library science has already
produced much more excellent ways of working. No man is competent to
work with any principle of science, much less modify it, until he is
first master of it.

The structure of the business library must be built on the solid
foundation of established library science, and there is no fact which
business men need to realize more, than that library science as taught
in professional library schools is not a simple code summed up in a
few text books to be readily mastered by a novice and improved upon at
will, but, on the contrary, that it covers a wide range of material,
and must be studied by the use of many books devoted to classification,
cataloging, reference work and other related subjects. True, there are
primers of library science, but as well give a novice a primer on the
steam engine and expect him therefore to be adequately equipped to
run a power plant, as to put a novice with a library primer in charge
of a business library with its highly specialized needs. A business
organization would not think of engaging either a stenographer or a
bookkeeper who is not trained to do his particular work; how much
more, therefore, should a business librarian measure up to recognized
standards of library training in order to perform adequately the
difficult and important work which he is called upon to do.

The argument for the employment of a trained librarian can be briefly
summed up in five words: the trained librarian knows how.

The trained librarian knows how to get and how to use sources of
general information, how to keep up with the latest data on business
subjects, how to use quickly and accurately the facilities of large
city libraries, how to use all kinds of printed indexes, how to
classify, catalog, and index material according to standard practice,
so that no time or money is wasted in experimenting with inadequate
systems, and last but not least, knows how to have a place for
everything and everything in its place, so that desired information is
immediately available.

As has been intimated, some college graduates cannot grade up to
business library requirements, so also, some library school graduates
are not suited for business library work, and rarely is a library
school graduate, who has not been seasoned first by some thorough
library experience, before coming into business library work, fitted
for the task. Some trained librarians get so obsessed with the red
tape and detail of their library training that they never dare to be
original in modifying and adapting their fundamental library principles
to new conditions and business problems, and therefore cannot create
the type of service which is essential for business.

Some of the advocates of business libraries, having seen library
trained people who have "fallen down on the job," speak slightingly
of library training, and go to the other extreme, saying that the
successful business librarian is born and not made. This is not true,
because no innate qualification ever carries with it the ability to
succeed in the absence of the proper training. "Both the heritage and
the training of the faculties must go hand in hand to insure success."
Trained librarians should be estimated by business men in the same
manner as they estimate other skilled workers. When an engineer, or
in fact any professional man, fails on a piece of work, his employers
do not condemn engineering or professional schools as a whole, but try
another trained man on the job. If a business man has made a wrong
estimate in selecting his librarian, he should not quarrel with library
training, but get a higher grade librarian.

The failure of some business librarians who have had both college
education and training in library science is due not to inadequate
knowledge but to lack of personal qualifications, and while personal
qualifications alone will not make a successful business librarian,
neither will a college education and training in library science make a
successful business librarian without certain innate mental and social

3. Mental and Social Traits

The mental and social traits required for success in any line of
business work apply with equal force to the business librarian, and
it is not necessary to enter into any academic discussion of them at
this time. Everyone knows that good health, accuracy, thoroughness,
common sense, good judgment, tact, integrity of character, and memory
(particularly in library work) are indispensable to success in any
career, but there are certain traits which a long term of service in
a business library and an intimate acquaintance with many business
librarians have made clear to the writer, as necessary to success in
the business of being a business librarian.

The business librarian must be an executive; he must have not only
a balanced view of every detail of library work in relation to its
particular whole, but he must especially have an adequate vision of
library work in relation to the whole work of his organization, and
he must have the ability to see this relationship without waiting for
some one to point it out to him. Finally, he must be able to relate the
particular business and its existing service, to the work of the world
at large.

A librarian serving a prominent business organization was recently
asked by the writer, what was the scope of the work of their publicity
department in furthering the interests of the organization as a whole,
with the result that she could not tell. This librarian only knew that
her business was to catalog, classify, put away and be able to get out
again the material which was assigned to her care. The executive head
of another important business organization has often complained because
his librarian was afraid to take any initiative and always waited to be
told what detailed policy should be pursued by the library; he was too
busy to have to carry it on his mind, and more than that, he really did
not know, and needed a librarian who did.

The business librarian must see the need, make the plan, and get all
the mechanism necessary for its accomplishment into thorough working
order, and have backbone enough to hold the point and have power to
make others see it. There is no place in a business library for the
mere "bookkeeping" methods of a recorded and finished job, for the work
of the business library is never finished; it is a living force, and
like all living things, it is subject to constant change and progress
and never gets to the finished stage which suggests the orderly quiet
calm of a graveyard!

What the business man wants from his librarian is results, and it is
the business of the librarian to know the best way of getting them. The
well qualified librarian can give results abundantly, if the business
man will delegate authority to act independently in matters of detail,
conferring on his librarian as he should, the freedom of action which
he gives to the well qualified head of any department, and trusting his
librarian to come to him for a conference when the occasion demands.
There is no greater handicap to a well qualified librarian than the
type of business man who does not delegate authority, and who because
of his success in other lines of business, attempts to guide his
librarian in matters of library policy about which he knows absolutely

The business librarian must be unusually resourceful and know how to
meet an urgent need for information with quick decision and immediate
action. He never says "impossible" until he has tried every possible
source of supply.

Probably one of the finest compliments ever paid a business librarian
was given by the executive head of a large institution who, having
seen the resourcefulness of a certain business librarian in several
difficult situations, remarked, "I am confident that if a twenty-story
building fell down on Miss B----, she would find a way to get out from
under it," and he might also have added truthfully, "and she would
also keep a spirit of enthusiasm in the venture," for to the true
business librarian the fascination in the game of finding things never
wears out.

The business librarian will not be punctilious about adhering to a time
schedule for work or to any standard of rights or privileges; he will
put the demand of his work first and his personal interests second. If
it is necessary to break an important personal engagement made for his
free time, because business of importance has arisen in the office, he
will do so without any question or irritation. If he can best serve the
company in an urgent need, he will not wait to be waited upon by an
office boy, but will go himself rather than trust a boy who cannot be
relied upon to hurry. The business librarian will not be old-maidish or
fussy over any irregular demands which upset his routine work; there
is no place in business for the trained librarian who tells a busy man
of affairs he cannot have what he wants until certain regular routine
has been carried out, and in return the business man should trust his
librarian with a freedom of action which is not subject to a time clock
or a time schedule.

The business librarian must be able to work harmoniously with "all
sorts and conditions of men," and he must convince every one whom the
business library serves of honest good-will and impartiality to all,
and genuine loyalty to the organization which he serves. He will be
discreet and will not gossip about company business on the aside in the
office, or on the outside, and last but not least, he ought to have a
saving sense of humor. These qualifications may seem exceedingly trite,
but the lack of them has been a severe handicap and a glaring defect in
many people filling different kinds of business positions.

The successful business man knows the value and power of acquaintance
as a business asset, and the business librarian must maintain a wide
acquaintance and friendly relationships with other library and business
workers, both for practical help and general stimulation. It is a real
part of the work of a business librarian to take time to cultivate
these outside relationships and attend library conferences, at the
expense of the business organization by which he is employed. The
importance of these outside relationships has been noted in the first
chapter, as helpful ways of getting information not in print.

The business man who keeps his librarian's nose on the grindstone
of routine work, so that he never has an opportunity for outside
fellowship and the stimulation that comes from it, soon loses more than
he gains by such a policy.

4. The Business Man's Point of View

The business librarian must also have a genuine and intelligent
interest in current political and economic events, and in the kind
of information in which business men as a class are interested. He
must know the contents of the daily newspaper as well as does the
closest reader among business men, so that he will not do as one
librarian did--endeavor to give an inquirer an item three weeks old
when the latest news on the subject was in the yesterday morning's
paper, or waste time looking up statistics on a South American town,
which current news reports as having recently burnt down. He must be
a constant and thoughtful reader on subjects which pertain to the
business of his organization.

The business librarian must have the promoter spirit; he must see that
the information which he has on hand is applied and working, and he
must be alert enough to see in some measure the undeveloped sides of
an industry, and endeavor to bring into the organization, information
which may stimulate it to new activities.

To sum up all requirements for a successful business librarian: he
(or she, as the case may be) must have a liberal education, plus a
knowledge of library science, and a sympathetic understanding of
business needs, together with the vision and personal power necessary
to apply the field of print effectively in meeting these needs.

In conclusion, the business man must face fairly several facts, the
chief of which is, that in only a limited number of cases have business
libraries measured up to the standards which have been outlined in
this handbook, because business firms have not engaged librarians who
have the necessary qualifications for success. Some business men have
not recognized that there are librarians and librarians, and that many
so-called ones are not adequately equipped for business library work.
Business men are at fault also because they often do not give personal
attention to the selection of a librarian, but leave this selection
to an employment manager or a welfare worker who very often does
not know just what essential qualifications are necessary for such a
position. Sometimes the business man does not want to pay the price for
an efficient librarian, for no efficient librarian can be obtained for
the average file clerk or stenographer salary. One high grade librarian
will accomplish more work, both accurately and effectively, than two
mediocre ones can possibly do, and is therefore a money-saver.

If there is any doubt in the business man's mind as to whether there
is enough library work in his organization to keep a trained librarian
continuously busy, it may be said, that in no instance which has come
to the knowledge of the writer, has a trained librarian ever been
employed by a business organization which has not found there was
immediately developed a valuable library service which required the
full time and energy of the librarian.


 =Bostwick, A. E.=

 Some principles of business-like conduct in libraries 1920 30 p.
 American library association, 78 East Washington Street, Chicago.

 =Brush, M. C.=

 The so-called librarian's real duties. Special libraries, June 1917,
 p. 83-84.

 =Greer, A. F. P.=

 Professional ethics for the library worker. Library journal Nov. 1917,
 p. 891-92.

 =Kilduff, E. J.=

 Necessary characteristics of the private secretary. (In his Private
 secretary p. 293-17).

 =Rathbone, J. A.=

 Library school courses as training for business librarians. Special
 libraries Nov. 1917, p. 133-35.

 =Walter, F. K.=

 Training librarians for business libraries or branches. Paper read
 before Professional training section American library association
 conference 1919. Library journal Sept. 1919, p. 578-80.


  Alphabetic-subject file, 73.

  Catalog cabinets, 93.

  Cataloging, 75.

  Centralization, 11.

  Charging records see Loan records.

  Classification, 70.

  Clipping bureaus, 48.

  Corporation files, 75.

  Cutter numbers, 74.

  Cuts, 68.

  Equipment and supplies, 94.

  Floor plans, 86, 88, 89.

  Government documents, 50.

  Indexing see Cataloging.

  Lantern slides, 65.

  Loan records, 39.

  Magazines see Periodicals.

  Maps, 68.

  Mechanical equipment, 80.

  Organization, 7.

  Pamphlet boxes, 44, 45.

    binding, 43.
    checking, 33.
    circulation, 37.
    clipping, 43, 48.
    Contents, 31.
    filing, 43.
    indexing, 35.
    selection, 32.

  Photographs, 62.

  Public libraries vs. business libraries, 14.

  Publicity department, 25.

  Qualifications of business librarian, 110.

  Reference books, 95.

  Service rendered, 23.

  Shelving, 81.

  State documents, 57.

  Subject headings, 76.

  Trade catalogs, 59.

  U-File-M binder strips, 48.

  Value of the business library, 18.

  Vertical files, 90.

       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber's Notes

Obvious typographical errors have been silently corrected, but other
variations in spelling and punctuation are unchanged.

The half title immediately before the title has been removed.

Italics are represented thus _italics_ and bold thus =bold=.

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