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to them. Some of this literature can very well be put with the books the children like to read themselves.
The reference-books for children in their own department are not many in number and are simple. One or two encyclopædias, an atlas, a dictionary, and a few sets of periodicals, like Harper's Monthly with its index, and St. Nicholas, serve better than more elaborate books.
The librarian, while supplying a special corner for children and giving them there easy access to the books adapted to their wants, does not forget that an important thing in education is ability to use a large library to advantage. She encourages, so far as the arrangement of her room permits, the use of the main library by young people. She tries so to train them, or help them to train themselves, that they are not lost or dazed in a large collection. She helps the very young people to make use of the laboratory method in the library, as science teachers lead them to use it in physics and chemistry. She finds that children quite quickly catch the spirit of investigation, the spirit of the seeker after truth, and thus become students in the best sense of the word.
To help the children to make use of reference-books she calls attention to such helps as tables of contents, page-headings, indexes, and bibliographies. She gives them an opportunity to consult encyclopædias and dictionaries of varying character. She encourages them to study by topics.
So far we have spoken of books on their artistic, literary, generalculture side; the side which, for the younger children at least, must always remain the most important. But there is another side, distinct still from both the “culture” side and from the scientific side, with which the zealous librarian must acquaint herself, would she do her best work, especially with children who have reached the ages of sixteen to eighteen. This is the purely utility side. There is no calling in life, from brick-laying to architecture, from shoe-making to railroad-building, that does not have the results of latest experience and observation in regard to it set forth in periodicals and books. These periodicals and books are more or less accessible in every public library. The majority of boys, about ninety-five out of one hundred who attend our schools, are on their way to some manual, semi-manual, or clerical calling. They will be able to equip themselves better for their calling, whatever it may be, if they make themselves familiar with its literature. The humblest workman in the humblest occupation can adapt himself better to his work, and will have a better chance of advancing in it, if he reads up to it. This is an aspect of printed things which is rarely touched upon in the schools. The sympathetic librarian, as she sees boys grow to young manhood under her eyes, will watch their tastes and inclinations where she can ; will note the occupations they are likely to enter, and direct them to the utility-literature of those occupations.
The librarian makes a collection of pictures, saving therefore old periodicals that are well illustrated, and making requests for old numbers and back volumes that are past other usefulness, to be used for their illustrations. She gets together and mounts on cardboard collections of designs, of pictures illustrating the work of different artists, of pictures to be used in geography and history and science study. These she arranges in groups, hangs on her bulletin board, and lends to teachers one at a time or many at a time.
J. C. DANA.
XIV. WORK IN CERTAIN TYPICAL LIBRARIES
The libraries mentioned in the following notes are not exceptional. They are typical of a large number, in which some of the things mentioned in the foregoing outline have been attempted.
Nearly twenty years ago Mr. Samuel S. Green, librarian of the Free Public Library, Worcester, Mass., delivered an address before the American Social Science Association, on the relations of public libraries and public schools. In this address he outlines or hints at nearly all the things that have been done since 1880, in bringing libraries and schools into closer relations; and during those twenty years Mr. Green has again and again urged upon teachers and fellow-librarians the necessity for active co-operation, would they produce the best results from their efforts. The Worcester library has been the pioneer in the world, in the work this report considers.
The library league was first tried by the Cleveland, O., library, after a suggestion borrowed from Colonel George E. Waring, of the street-cleaning department, New York city. Colonel Waring appealed to the children in certain parts of the city to form leagues and subscribe to an agreement to help to keep the city clean and beautiful. The Cleveland library established a library league. In joining this league the children signed an agreement to try to handle the library books with care and to persuade others to do the
The experiment was very successful, and led to other things than simple care of books. It has given the library a hold on many thousand children, and has helped to strengthen the library's hands in working with the teachers. No library in the United States has shown a more admirable public spirit than has that of Cleveland, and any librarian who may be contemplating bringing children and teachers into closer relations with her collection of books cannot fail to get inspiration and suggestions from the reading in the Cleveland reports of things that have been done there in recent years.
At the free library of Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, in its new building, special accommodations have been made for children. The attendants in charge of the children's depart. ment have studied to equip themselves for the work, and are constantly devising ways of interesting children and leading them to the use of better books. Exhibitions of pictures, of notable men and women, of notable buildings, of special regions, of birds, animals, etc., accompanied by book lists, are attractively put up in the children's room from time to time. In no other library has a more careful study of the problem of the children and their books been made.
The Free Circulating Library of New York city includes now eleven or twelve branches. These branches are in part rather inadequately housed. It is interesting to see how an enthusiastic library spirit has been able to make books and papers attractive, especially to the young in the poorer quarters of the city, even with very insufficient accommodations. Several of the collections of books number only nine or ten thousand volumes;
room for readers may be very limited, and yet access to shelves is permitted, and children are controlled and interested, and are in many cases led into habits of good reading.
In Buffalo, N. Y., there were school libraries in a number of the school buildings of the city. These were about a year ago turned over to the public library. They were found to contain a good deal of useless material. This was set aside, and the old libraries were replaced by collections of books adapted to each school, sent out from the library and changed more or less from time to time, as teachers and principals desired.
The Public Library of Detroit, Mich., has for twelve years been sending school circulating libraries to different school buildings of that city. It now has about ten thousand volumes in these collections. They go to all grades above the fourth, there being a total of some eighty boxes for their transportation. The library in each room is changed once in four months. No one school is likely to get the same books oftener than once in two or three years. The purpose of these schoolroom libraries is to give every child in the public schools some acquaintance with good literature. The books are in charge of the principal of each building, and are given out for home reading under very simple regulations.
In Milwaukee the teachers, under the general supervision of the librarian and his assistants, issue library cards to their pupils. These cards having been issued, the teachers go to the library and, being admitted to the shelves, select enough books for their pupils. To aid the teacher in her selection, lists have been published of books for young people and of books for special purposes. The books the teacher selects are placed in boxes and sent by the library to the teacher or to the school. They are changed after eight weeks. In 1897, 23,000 books were thus issued nearly 90,000 times.
In Utica, N. Y., courses of reading have been published in co-operation with the library. These courses contain two lists, one for the grammar schools, the other for the lower grades. Some of the books in these courses are read by the teachers to the pupils and then discussed in class; others are read in the class; and others read by the pupils out of school. Teachers are asked to see that out-of-school reading has been profitably done. Excessive reading is discouraged.
One of the first school systems in the country to adopt the schoolroom library was that of the North Side, or District No. 17, of Denver, Colo. Small collections of books, about fifty in number, were placed in nearly all of the schoolrooms of the district several years ago, and have been kept up and extended over the whole district since. A brief, account of this system as carried on in North Denver is made a part of this report.
The Free Public Library of Evanston began co-operative work with the schools about three years ago. Its experience shows how much can be done with limited means, a small supply of books, and narrow quarters. Thru several schoolroom libraries it reaches many families who would not otherwise hear of the main library. The assistant librarian in charge of this work visits each school as often as possible, and holds teachers' meetings for the discussion of children's books and plans of future work. The teachers come often to the library and suggest books for purchase. The co-operative spirit extends to superintendents, principals, teachers, and all the library staff. The school libraries contain each 100 books chosen for the six lower grades. Each has a printed, graded list. The collections go from one room to another, remaining three months in each building. The librarian mounts the colored plates from the Art Amateur and similar publications, and lends them for art studies or to brighten schoolroom walls; and mounts pictures of birds and animals gathered from all sources for use in nature study, and saves other pictures for historical and geographical work. These pictures cost, when mounted, less than two cents apiece. They are lent separately or in groups. The library has formed a children's library league. The assistant librarian talked with the teachers of each school in regard to it, and circulars were distributed to the children before forming it. The teachers presented the subject to the children, and also looked after the matter
of registration. The children from the graded schools near the library and from the high school visit the library frequently for reference work, and the librarian and her assistant give them training in the use of reference-books. The library prints a set of special holiday bulletins. It reserves books for class and essay work. During the year the library gives exhibitions of such collections as that of birds with nests and eggs; a collection of drawings lent by some artist for the occasion, or of pictures from the library's supply. The library has established a children's corner with open shelves, containing books and numbers of young folk's periodicals, and finds that the young people discover attractive books which they did not know of and could not know of thru the unsuggestive medium of the catalog.
J. C. Dana.
XV. SCHOOLROOM LIBRARIES
BY CLARISSA S. NEWCOMB, LIBRARIAN, NORTH SIDE SCHOOLS, DENVER, COLO. [First published in the Colorado School Journal. Added to the report at the request of J. C. Dana.]
To one who knows how to use books a well-selected library is one of the most valuable means of education. The training of children in the choice and use of books is therefore an important subject to all teachers. An early beginning is necessary, or else the great majority—those who leave school before the higher grades are reached --wholly escape this training.
But how shall this training be given ? is the question. How shall we bring the child in touch with good books ? Our experience in district No. 17, Denver, leads us to believe that each schoolroom should have its library. We have found that a collection of fifty books in a room, chosen with reference to the age and ability of the pupils in that room, is the most satisfactory means of forming a taste for good literature. We have tried other methods — the central library, the library in the principal's office, and the plan of moving books from one room to another. The room library that is, a certain number of books which are the permanent property of the room — has proved the best, because it acts as a training school for the use of the larger public library. We favor the room library for the purpose of getting the little folks accustomed to the use of the books and for the immediate use of the pupils in the upper grades. The more expensive books which can not be afforded for each room are kept in the principal's office. Thus the pupils are led to the public library, for the use of which these small collections have well trained them. That this room-library plan increases the demand for books from the public library has been demonstrated to us by the greater number of cards now held by the pupils.
Beginning with the second grade, each room in the district has its own collection of books, which remain there from year to year. As the children go from grade to grade, they are each year brought in contact with another set of books new to them. Instead of moving the books, we move the children. Each room has its reference-books and its books for lending. When not in use, these are on a table or on sheives accessible to the children at all times. The pupil thus becomes acquainted with the books and feels a personal pride of ownership, and the close contact of the child with the books teaches him to love and respect them. He becomes interested in reading and familiar with his own small library.
Fewer disappointments occur in the selection of books than where the collection is larger; hence fewer obstacles are presented in the formation of a love for reading. The range of choice is narrowed, and the teacher feels the responsibility of directing the children's reading, for the library is but another tool with which to mold the character of her pupils. All become readers if the teacher is skillful and tactful and enters sufficiently
into child life to appeal to the pupils. Many teachers have found the library an effective means of reaching and interesting dull or indifferent pupils.
The teacher can influence and largely control the children in their choice of reading. A reference to a book little used is enough to commend it to someone in the room, and its reputation is established. Or some pupil may be asked to give an extract from a book he has lately read. That will interest the other children, who will wish to learn more about it. The recitation is made brighter, and that book goes into the homes and keeps the children from the street.
Each book is selected, not alone because of its intrinsic merit, but also because it has proved interesting to several children of like age and grade. No mistakes have been made when we have left the matter to the children. They know what they enjoy. When we find any attractive book, we try it in a room. If it is approved by those relentless little judges, the children, we buy a copy for each room of that grade. In the case of a very popular book we sometimes place two or more copies on the shelves.
We do not attempt to force upon the children books that are highly instructive, or which we think they ought to like. We try to supplant the trashy stuff by providing them with good, yet interesting books. Our aim is to give them a love for good literature ; for when they have acquired that, we need have no fear that their education will stop when they leave school.
No child should be expected to read every book in the room library. The reason is obvious; tastes differ among the children, as among adults. Out of the fifty books, representing history, biography, adventure, fairy stories, etc., each child will no doubt find some which he will enjoy. Within the room list we let the child select for himself. Any book which is really enjoyed, which enlarges the range of thought, which makes him happier, is worth the reading, even tho it has no visible purpose as a part of his school education.
J. H. VAN SICKLE, vice-president of the Council, explained the work of the committee, calling attention to some of the most valuable features of the reports — particularly to the lists of books for reading; to the practical suggestions relating to the use of the reading record; to the matter of supplementary reading; to the economy of management; and to good literature. Mr. Van Sickle urged the importance of distributing such literature as largely as possible.
L. D. HARVEY commended the value of the report, and especially for its suggestive. ness. While no two may agree on these lists in detail, all agree as to their great suggestive value. He also called attention to the importance of becoming familiar with this report and of interesting teachers to do the same. Mr. Harvey contrasted the conditions and opportunity for reading as they existed but few years ago with the richer opportuni. ties afforded by the libraries of today. He emphasized the value of pupils' reports of their reading, and suggested the importance to teachers of tracing out, step by step, the lines by which children have been led to interest in valuable reading. One of the things vital to efficient work is that the teachers know the books which the pupils read. Another excellent suggestion of the report is that the teacher and the pupils be assisted in reading by the use of classifications and indexes, thus aiding them in commanding the resources of the entire library. He also called attention to the value of periodicals, where these are available, for the use of pupils. It is better that they be not bound in yearly volumes. The best method is to divide them by articles and have them bound in paper and indexed like other books. Pupils will use them far more in this form. Careful work must be