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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 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 suggestiveness. 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 opportunities 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
done by the teachers, and, if done, the children will be led to read what is best in literature. This work requires as scientific and as skillful direction as anything in the school curriculum. Don't ask the little people to do much writing. Let them talk to you about what they read. Encourage them to give the language of the author, since this will increase their power of expression; it will give them a richer vocabulary, and, if persisted in, will solve the problem of language in the lower grades.
MR. SCHAEFFER followed, referring to the work which Andrew Carnegie has done for the schools of Pennsylvania in increasing its fine libraries. He emphasized the distinction between the literature of information and the literature of power, and stated that it is the literature of power which leads toward higher levels.
GEORGE P. BROWN said that we are still feeling, by a process of trial, how some of these things work out. Children must be allowed to move along their own lines. A teacher in the Mississippi valley had said to him that children are their own best guides in these things. He had been comparing "the living things” of the reading of Evangeline in a fourth grade with the lack of inspiration of the same in a high-school grade. We are underestimating the ability of the children to comprehend and to enjoy the things which are of highest value.
MR. GREENWOOD expressed himself as heartily in sympathy with the report. He said that its wide distribution should be secured. He was closely associated with library work in Kansas City, and learned from the librarian, a lady, that the little fellows do not want “baby books.” Children very early tire of these, as we have many times learned. We have frequently found that children of the elementary schools have read more advanced books, and later have taken them up for the study of literature in the high school. Children are largely influenced by what their mates tell them of their own reading. Were it in my power, I would have 100,000 copies of this report distributed among the teachers of this country.
J. H. Hoose said that too much interest in reading for children is detrimental to the intellectual growth of the reader.
MR. GREENWOOD agreed that this is true, especially of superficial reading.
MR. FITZPATRICK asked why it was, then, that such men as Gladstone and other omnivorous readers had not been harmed.
MR. SOLDAN said that these were not of the average mind; and that he was reminded of a discussion in Aristotle's Ethics between the “golden mean" of virtue and the “vice” of extremes. About four years ago it seemed advisable to formulate plans for the reading of his pupils. The course adopted in a general way was as follows: The first year, chiefly fables; the second year, the myth, since the Greek myth deals largely with nature; the third year, when geography is of interest, much of exploration and American history; the fourth year, legends and stories from Greek and other classic history; the fifth and sixth years, stories from the history of the world, and the migration of nations; the seventh year, history in extended biography; the eighth year, biographical history of great musicians, statesmen, inventors, etc.
DEPARTMENT OF KINDERGARTEN
FIRST SESSION.—WEDNESDAY, JULY 12, 1899 The department was called to order by the vice-president, Miss Florence Lawson, at 2:30 P. M., in Ebell Hall.
After expressions of regret at the absence of the president, Mrs. Kraus-Boelté, Miss Lawson delivered an address of welcome.
The response of the absent president was read by Mrs. A. W. Dresser, of Burlington, N. J., who had crossed the continent to bring Mrs. Kraus-Boelté's message.
On motion of Miss Anna Jenkins, of Los Angeles, the following message was sent to the absent president:
Los ANGELES, CAL., July 12, 1899. MADAME MARIA KRAUS. BOELTÉ,
Hotel San Remo, New York:
KINDERGARTEN DEPARTMENT OF THE NATIONAL EDUCATIONAL ASSOCIATION Dr. Nicholas Murray Butler, of New York city, was introduced, and spoke on “Some Criticisms of the Kindergarten.”
Professor Thomas P. Bailey, of the University of California at Berkeley, was the next speaker. His theme was “Character Study in the Kindergarten."
Miss Mary F. Ledyard, of Los Angeles, was introduced. Her subject was “ Relation of Imitation to Originality and Consequent Freedom.”
Dr. William N. Hailmann, of Dayton, O., who had been greeted with applause when he appeared upon the platform, was invited to address the department.
The Committees on Nominations and Resolutions were announced.
The day was completed by a reception given by the resident kindergartners on the grounds of Mrs. Neal, on South Flower street,
SECOND SESSION.--THURSDAY, JULY 13 The Thursday afternoon session was opened by the singing of a lullaby and "Genevieve" by Miss Goodall, after which Dr. C. C. Van Liew, of Los Angeles, was introduced. His topic was “Mental and Moral Development of the Kindergarten Child."
Miss Miller spoke briefly of the kindergartens of Chicago, after which Miss Anna Stovall, of San Francisco, spoke on “Music in the Kindergarten;" Professor E. E. Brown, of Berkeley, Cal., on “Naughty Children;" and Superintendent Frederic L. Burk, of Santa Barbara, Cal., on “The Kindergarten Child Physically."
The report of the nominating committee - Miss Mary Miller, of Chicago; Miss Mary Murray, of Springfield, Mass., and Mrs. L. A. Truesdell, of Milwaukee - was read and adopted as follows:
For President- Madame Maria Kraus-Boelté, New York, N. Y.