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The loss (in time) to the library is represented by one person's absence one day each week; while the public is given just as good service. It is only a question of arranging the hours.
I am interested to know what other libraries
have tried the experiment. And now that we what, if any, measures are taken to shorten the are on the subject, it might be well to ascertain, hours during the summer months.
With that end in view, I would request answers to the following:
1. Have you ever tried the Saturday half-holiday experiment?
2. Have you ever tried one day or half-day off during the week or month?
3. Have you ever closed earlier during the summer months?
4. Have you ever taken any course to shorten the working hours during summer?
5. What objections have you to offer? A report will be made in a later number of the LIBRARY JOURNAL.
FREE PUBLIC LIBRARY,
FRANK P. HILL.
moved to enter a demurrer to the theory which the illustration involves. It should be remembered that a "training class" of such a character is really neither more nor less than an apprenticeship, and has little, if any, relation with a library school conducted upon the broad basis of general library instruction. The advantage of the apprentice method to a small library is twofold: it helps to minimize "influence as a factor in appointments, and it supplies the library, at slight cost, with assistants who have some knowledge of library doctrine and whose work, even while they are learning, has its practical value. On the other hand, the wide multiplication of such training, conducted within narrow limits and turning out its yearly quota of students, instructed only in the rudiments of library work, might swell the profession with a surplus of half-trained workers and tend, in the long run, to lower the standard of all-round efficiency. The library school proper is one of the most useful of latter-day library developments, for it increases the number of trained workers and makes the profession more professional; and it would be unfortunate to have its value undermined by any general adoption of the apprentice system, which bears about the same relation to the schools that the "freshwater colleges" bear to the large institutions. In the library world, the New York Library School is to-day the centre of professional learning, covering the broadest field in the most complete way. The other library schools, doing more restricted, but most useful work, bring technical training within the reach of many who could not availing in 1889, Labor organizations; 1891, Rethemselves of the longer and more expensive course, and excellently supplement its work. Taken together, these form a well-rounded and effective system, in comparison with which an apprenticeship system must be but of secondary value.
ON June 8, the Newark, N. J., Free Public library began the experiment of a weekly halfholiday.
Without closing the library, it would not be possible to give the whole force a half-day every week, so it was arranged to divide the working force- -one section remaining on duty from 8.30 a.m. to I p.m., and the other from I p.m. to 8 p.m., alternating every Saturday.
In this way every attendant gets at least four extra half-days (besides vacation) during the summer months.
LITERARY DEBATES OF THE UNIVERSITY OF
MAY I call attention through the LIBRARY JOURNAL to the reports of the annual debates between the literary societies of the University of Wisconsin?
The work done by the contestants in these debates is of exceptionally high order, embracing a large amount of personal investigation, in addition to systematic study in the libraries of Madison, Milwaukee, and Chicago. The verthe college paper, are therefore distinct contribatim reports as published annually in the Ægis, butions to the literature of their subjects. Among the topics debated we note the follow
striction of immigration; 1892, Bimetallism; 1894, Government ownership of railroads; 1895, Our present banking system and independent treasury. The last two debates are supplemented by selected topical bibliographies of wide scope and scholarly research.
Copies of the above debates may be obtained at 25 cents each on application to the Egis, Lock Box 424, Madison, Wis.
CAROLINE F. PIERCE.
THE PUBLIC USE OF COLLEGE LIBRARIES.
BY SAMUEL H. RANCK, of The Enoch Pratt Free Library, Baltimore.
By way of introduction, it may be in order to state the origin and purpose of the investigation of which this paper is one of the results. A college in one of the smaller Eastern cities is planning the enlargement of its library and a new library building. The writer, in a conversation with the president on the proposed library, suggested that the library and building be planned to serve as a reference library for the general public, as well as a library for the college; and in consequence of this conversation the investigation was made.
A college is a centre of culture and a quickening power in the community. From the community the college must receive much of its moral and financial support, and the closer the relations between them the better for both. There is no better way to bring them nearer to each other, so as more fully to know and understand each other, than through the college library. In the modern library books are tools, not idols-a fact that has been repeatedly emphasized by college librarians in writing to me; and a college will promote its own and the welfare of the community by offering every inducement to their use, always keeping in mind, however, that the first duty of a college library is to serve the officers and students of the college. All the large colleges, in one way or another, allow the public to use the library; but it seems to me that there is even more reason for the small than for the large college to do this. Bryce has told us what the small colleges do for the rural districts of the country. "They get hold of a multitude of poor men, who might never resort to a distant place of education. They set learning in a visible form, plain, indeed, and humble, but dignified even in her humility, before the eyes of a rustic people, in whom the love of knowledge, naturally strong, might never break from the bud into the flower but for the care of some zealous gardener."
In pursuance of the investigation before alluded to, the following circular was sent to 153 of the leading colleges and universities of the United States. They were selected from the list given in the "World Almanac " for 1895, and it is believed that every type of institution and community is represented. Nearly all the libraries of 10,000 volumes and over were included in the selection.
1. Name and location of college.
2. No. of volumes in library...., for reference for circulation....
3. What fees, if any, are students of the college charged for the use of the library?
3. Do you have a separate library building? 5. Is your library accessible to any except officers and students?
a. to alumni ?
b. to special students or professional men? c. to the public generally?
6. How long has such public use been granted? 7. In the use of the library, do the rules for the public (fees, etc.) differ in any way from those that apply to the officers and students?
Briefly state such difference.
8. Would you advise special rules for the public? Their nature.
9. Do you encourage the public use of the library and in what way?
10. Approximately, what is the proportion of
the public to the total use of the library? II. Judging by your experience, is it desirable
to have a college library accessible to the general public?
12. General remarks, your opinion, and special observations not included in the above.
1. Replies to the above circular were received from 115 institutions. From 38 no replies were received.
2. The libraries represented contain from 3000 to 450,000 volumes; and nearly all report from a few hundred to several thousand exclusively for reference. Ten report that no books whatever circulate, and only one that all circulate. It is the practice of many to let reference books be taken out in the evening, or over Sunday, to be returned the next day at the opening of the library. In many libraries the number of books for reference and for circulation is constantly varying. A professor may reserve for reference in his department any number of books at any time and the librarian may send for any book in the hands of the borrower at any time, if the book is one that is reserved. This practice is especially common in the large university libraries.
3. This question was answered by all the institutions except three. 86 report that they charge the students no library fee, and 26
that they do. The fee ranges from $1 to $6 per year. Six charge $1; three, $6; and eight, $3. In many colleges a certain part of the tuition is set aside for the use of the library; and in some the library is wholly maintained by endowment; whilst others must depend on such funds as can be collected and on donations.
4. 46 colleges have a separate library building, or have begun work on one; 68 are without a separate building; and one failed to answer. Of the 26 colleges that charge the students a library fee, 12 have separate library buildings and 14 occupy buildings that are also used for other purposes.
5. Only seven institutions restrict the use of their libraries to officers and students, and of these, one sometimes permits the use to alumni, "by courtesy, not by rule."
5. a. On the use of the library by alumni 103 reported. In nearly all cases alumni are subject to the same rules as students, though fees are rarely required of them. However, one college charges alumni $5 a year, and another $1.50; 10 restrict their use of the library to the building, and one requires a deposit.
5. 6. The question relating to the use of the library by special students or professional men was answered by 105 institutions; 6 refuse such use, which they grant to alumni; though one or two permit clergymen to come in. 98 grant it, 10 for reference use exclusively, and 8 require that permission be obtained of the librarian.
5. c. There were 106 replies to this question. 37 libraries are closed to the general public, and of the 69 that allow public use many employ various restrictions. 20 permit reference or reading-room use only; 4 require a special permit of the librarian, and 4 charge a fee, usually the regular student's fee. One institution that permits reference use only during term time, opens the library twice a week during vacation for the circulation of books to the people of the town. A number of colleges report that the general public get books through officers and students, who become responsible for them. Such use, however, is limited, because people are less likely to ask a favor of an individual than of an institution.
6. 60 reported on the length of time they have had public access. Of these, three restrict it to classes a and b, and one to c. With 25 the privilege has been granted during the whole history of the library, which, in one or two instances, dates from the last century. 15 col
leges have offered the use of their library to the public for 10 years or more-one for at least 50 years; 8 for periods ranging between 5 and 10 years; and II have thrown their libraries open within the last 5 years.
7. The rules relating to the public differ from those relating to the students in 41 institutions; 32 report no such difference. The nature of the rules has been indicated, to some extent, in (5.) a, b, c. Officers or instructors almost invariably have special rights and privileges, both as to number of books and time of retaining them. In some cases the head of a department controls the circulation of all books relating to his department, and such books are given out only on his order. There is the greatest variety in the rules, so far as those governing the public differ from those governing the students. In a few exceptional instances the public have more freedom and more privileges than students; they pay no fees and are charged no fines; while students must pay for the use of the library and are fined for retaining a book beyond the permitted time. Some colleges leave everything relating to public use to the discretion of the librarian. The following are examples of fees charged the public and students for the use of the same library:
The rules governing the public, where they have been formulated, have followed, more or less closely, those of Harvard, which were adopted by the Library Council in 1878. The following are the Harvard rules:
"(1.) All persons are allowed, under the rules, the use of the library within the building, at the discretion of the librarian.
"(2.) Graduates of the university have the full use of the library on payment of five dollars annually, and other persons on the same terms who shall have presented to the librarian a written statement, endorsed by some officer of the university, of their reasons for wishing this privilege, and thereupon shall have received written permission.
"(3.) Any person who is known to be pursuing systematic investigations in any department of knowledge may be allowed, at the discretion of the librarian, the full use of the library for a
period not exceeding three months, without fee; and any person by vote of the corporation."
8. To this question 42 institutions sent a definite answer. 20 advise special rules for the public; 22 advise the same rules for all. The advice is usually in line with the practice of the library reporting. Of those advising special rules, three advise a fee, two advise reference use only, and one recommends that books be given to the public only on condition that they can be recalled at any time for use in the college.
9. 14 colleges report that they encourage the public use of the library, 44 that they do not — the remainder not answering. Most of the encouragement is simple politeness and courteous treatment in satisfying the wants of those who come. One librarian encourages people by private invitation, and another sometimes buys books that they want.
10. Very few libraries 'keep statistics of the public use. The majority report it to be “ small" or "small”— varying, as a rule, from less than one per cent. to 10 per cent. of the total use. The highest public use reported is 25 per cent.; in Columbia College it is from 12 to 15 per cent.
II. 78 colleges replied to the question of desirability—47 that, in their experience, it is desirable to have a college library accessible to the general public; 31 that it is not. Those that find it desirable repeatedly emphasize the fact that the public use must not in any way interfere with the college use, and, for that reason, most colleges favor only reference or reading-room use for the general public. Separate library buildings are most desirable, because there is less interference with the regular college work; and of the 47 favoring public access, 27 have a separate building for their library. In short, public access, where it is found desirable, is desirable as a privilege; it stimulates interest in the college, and in that way helps the col lege; but it is not desirable to open the college library as a "public library," taking the place of the town library supported by taxation and managed by the town.
12. The general remarks brought forth a great variety of opinion and experience, but space permits the presentation of only a few of them.
Brown University: "The college library ought to make itself the literary centre of the town, and it will bring more to the library than it takes."
Colby University: "This library has always extended privileges to its alumni in the vicinity, and to professional men. The number of books drawn by them is not large. The drawbacks are the impossibility of getting books returned promptly, increased danger of loss (1000 times ordinary risk!), and no return for the use of books and the expense of drumming them up — for you cannot charge anything.
"I tried the experiment of inviting the teachers to use the library. A very few came to consult books of information, but nearly all wanted novels and nothing else. As our funds do not admit of many additions in fiction, they soon had every recent novel out of the library, and our own paying patrons, the students, were indignant. I was obliged to restrict the privilege. ..."
Columbia: "The library is open for use and drawing books to officers, students, and alumni, and for consultation to any person introduced or recommended, and, in general, to any person having occasion to use it. Libraries which are exempt from taxation, and the result of benefactions from private individuals, should be administered as liberally as possible for the benefit of all who can profitably use them." Columbia has been open to the public 12 years.
Cornell: "A university library is primarily for the use of members of the university in their studies, and while any one who wishes to use the library for scholarly research is heartily welcome here, I do not believe it is the function of the university library to provide reading for the general public or to take the place of the public library; nor do I think it would be just to the students of the university who depend upon the library for aid in their university work, to encourage the use of the library by the general public to such an extent as to interfere in the slightest degree with the convenient and comfortable use of the library by the students.
"In the case of this library, it is situated at some distance from the city proper; our readingrooms are large and never overcrowded. Those who use the library, outside of the members of the university, are almost without exception persons who wish to investigate some historical, literary, scientific, or technical question, and these we gladly welcome. In our regulations we reserve the right of refusing admission, as a precaution.
"A university library is a literary and historical laboratory, and I should as soon think of throwing open the scientific and technical labo
ratories to the general public as of inviting the general public to come to the university library for their supply of light or amusing reading." Illinois: "The college has received many donations from having the library open to the public." This library has been open to the public for 24 years.
Princeton: "The college library should be available for free reference use to all; but it is a false notion of liberality to weaken the direct value of a library for a collateral one, and this the opening of a college library does, as far as it stands in the way of the real interests of the community by preventing the proper development of a free public library."
University of the City of New York: "In a word, my experience has taught me -1, to have a college library free to the public; 2, a minimum amount of rules, more of less elastic, and both students and public to be treated alike. "It is advisable to open a college library to the public. It is not only an advertisement, keeping the college in the minds of the public, but it is an educational work. As in many other things, the work of a college is direct and indirect. Not infrequently is the indirect work of untold value to both old and young people, who cannot attend upon the lectures. A library open to the public is an indirect way of increasing its usefulness. I believe in it."
University of Rochester: This library has been open to the public for the use of books in the reading-room since 1871, through the gift of a library building, costing over $100,000, from Mr. Hiram Sibley, on condition that the library be open to the public as a free reference library. The public use is less than one-sixth of the total
"Our location is not central in the city, and our library is selected as a working college library. If we were more accessible, or more popular in character, the public use might possibly interfere with the college use. As things are, it does not."
University of Wooster, Ohio: "I have had charge of the University library for nearly 20 years, and have always encouraged the use of the library by resident graduates, professional men of the city, members of literary clubs, etc. Their use of the library in a small city like this is not very extensive — the entries being only a few hundred in a year, to five or six thousand entries of books drawn by students. I have not noticed that the use of the library by others than students interferes perceptibly with the prior and acknowledged rights of the students.
In a large city, throwing open the college library to the public might interfere very much with the rights of the students, if they pay for the use of the library. However, if others are charged the same fees, students could not properly complain. A college and its library exist for the promotion of general intelligence and moral culture, and in any village or city where there is no good library, except the college library, I would think it very proper and desirable to throw it open to the public on the same terms as to the students.
"In this little city, where we have no public library, there are three ladies' clubs engaged in literary work. They make increasing use of the college library, and without it they could scarcely exist. As we have not been applying to them and others the same strict rules we apply to students in regard to length of time, etc., I find that they are disposed to take advantage of our good nature and to keep the books too long a time."
Yale: "If known to the librarian, any one may borrow books, besides using them in the building, without fee. Books are also loaned out of town for special research. The 'Society' library, formerly owned by the students, is not open to the public."
Mr. Harris, of Cornell, has stated the function of a university library clearly and accurately. The function of a college library is practically the same. The experience of Prof. Hall, of Colby, and of Mr. Davis, of the University of Wooster, are to be noted. They point out some of the difficulties that must be overcome or avoided; but there should be no difficulty in enforcing rules to the entire satisfaction of all. On the whole, the experience of college librarians is decidedly favorable to the extension of the library privileges to the public. Let there be a general movement towards greater freedom all along the line for the opening of the college library is real "university extension."
College libraries are usually well equipped in special lines; and they owe it to the community and the state, which exempts them from taxation, that they be open to the public as freely as possible for the general welfare. Only a limited class will be able to use them — people who come for instruction and information, and not for amusement. The time is coming when every town that has a public school must have a public library. The public school of the town and the college usually deal with people whose library wants are different; and