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book not scientific, and again, after an hour's work, returning to the novel once more. His son says: "He was extremely fond of novels, and I remember the pleasure with which he would anticipate having a novel read to him. He took a vivid interest in both plot and character, and would on no account know beforehand how the story finished." Darwin himself says: "Novels which are works of the imagination, although not of a very high order, have been for years a wonderful relief and pleasure to me, and I often bless all novelists. A surprising number have been read to me, and I like all, if moderately good and if they do not end unhappily — against which a law ought to be passed. A novel, according to my taste, does not come under the best class unless it contains some person whom one can truly love, and if a pretty woman, all the better." These instances are not amiss, for if such men, with the larger lives they live, find a happy relief in fiction, how much more do those who work with their hands need some of the life and movement of the novel. But the men of intellect who read novels do not ask the solicitude of the public librarian. Indeed, any attempt to correct their novel habit would be an impertinence.

fiction-readers for whom the librarian feels a wise concern - the children. Here, no doubt, there is real responsibility; somebody, whether it be parent or librarian or teacher, or all three, should guide the reading of children. But above all do not let us feel that we should guide the child away from stories, but through them, and as we go through them let us not hurry, but saunter. How many librarians think that they are ordained to snare a live boy with Oliver Optic, put him into anæsthetic dreams by a book of travel, kill him with a large dose of history, and then stuff the remains with popular science. This is to think that the boy has but one side to his nature — his insulated intellect. A board having but one side is a pretty thin board. The true line of progression on this side of his nature is from Oliver Optic to Thackeray and George Eliot, not from Oliver Optic to Kant's "Critique of pure reason." He should be able to feel as well as to know. Matthew Arnold tells of an English youth who, when called upon to paraphrase this line in " Macbeth," "Canst thou not minister to a mind diseased?" turned it into "Can you not wait upon the lunatic?" and adds: "If I were driven to choose, I think I would rather have a young person ig

To turn now to a second class of fiction-norant about the moon's diameter but aware readers, namely those persons of too considerable leisure who read novels to kill time, and are not under the necessity of doing useful things for themselves, or even of knowing about the useful things that others are doing for them. Of this class Lydia Languish is the type. How many librarians join with Sir An-viction that the ultimate aim of the child's readthony Absolute in his exclamation, when they ing should be Herbert Spencer, and that any think of the Lydias who devour “Reward of tendency Thackerayward should be checked. constancy" or the "Mistakes of a heart": "A It would seem that with the inordinate amount circulating library in a town is an evergreen- and variety of knowledge that is crammed into tree of diabolical knowledge which blossoms school-children at present it is not impossible through the year; and depend upon it, Mrs. that the time may come when the librarian will Malaprop, that they who are so fond of handling find it incumbent upon him to turn about and the leaves will long for the fruit at last." But shunt off the child from Herbert Spencer and let us not worry for the fate of these readers. toward Thackeray. At any rate, it is a fair The Lydia of to-day is not languishing; she is question to ask if the reading of imaginative knowing, and takes her story with a grain of literature by children ¡is really excessive when salt, and the class is getting smaller for causes we consider the unresting efforts that are given which the librarian does not control. The many to their instruction about the unvarnished prose opportunities now open to women, in which they facts of human existence. may find pleasant employment for their faculties, rids them of the necessity they formerly felt of living their lives through novels, because they could not live them in the working world. There is a third and very important group of students were to acquire a university educa

There is one other class of fiction-readers left to consider. These are the wage-earners. Some 25 years ago a philanthropist in New York State founded a great university in which

that Can you not wait upon the lunatic?' is bad, than a young person whose education has been such as to manage things the other way." It is proper for the librarian to direct the reading of the young so far as he can. But while he is doing so he ought not to be rigid with the con

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tion and at the same time do profitable manual labor. The institution is a great university still, but the original idea was abandoned early. It was found that the student's energy has a limit, and that if all is given to manual work nothing is left for mental work. The librarian of the Carnegie Library, Allegheny City, says in his report for 1892, "It may safely be stated that the majority of readers are from the great middle or working class." And it is in that city we find the largest per cent. issue of fiction, Here is the testimony from another manufacturing town. The librarian of the Bronson Library, Waterbury, Ct. (LIBRARY JOURNAL, 17: 48), after long attention, says he is convinced that the large per cent. of fiction means that we are an overworked people. The kind of labor performed by three-quarters of the operators demands unremitting attention, and probably no other means so innocent can be found to take the place of fiction. Miss James, the librarian of the People's Palace, London, says: "Fiction is most popular; I do not deplore the fact. Most of it is standard literature, and we East Enders have so little imagination that no harm is done in stimulating this faculty."

The hard grind of daily toil tends to limit the emotions and make them automatic. The feelings, except those that are primitive, tend to The third class of fiction ought to be excluded stagnate. They need to be stirred, rectified, from the public library; if the professional man and how can this be done more innocently than or person of leisure wants it he should buy it by imaginative literature, even though crude himself; it should be kept from the young, and and inartistic, if it is honest and clean. It seems the working people do not want it. These to me that in a community of working people want, like Darwin, a novel that ends happily, even 90 per cent. issue of fiction is none too and in which at least there is one character the great if 10 hours a day are given to the strug-reader may love. gle for reasonable existence. There are some ambitious artisans who want to read something other than fiction, and to these the library should afford every opportunity. But the fact remains that the vast majority of wage-earners most likely need, and should therefore have, such clean fiction as they may ask for, even though it makes the per cent. issue of fiction run up to 90. As a result of this view of the needs of readers is, then, the 68 per cent. issue of fiction, shown by the statistics from public libraries of the United States, really excessive?

In conclusion and for the benefit of those who think that 68 per cent. issue of fiction is excessive, let me enumerate some remedies that have been successful. First, the formation of literary reading clubs. These may change to a considerable extent the character of the reading of the leisure class. Second, the establishment of vital relations between public school and public library. This may effect a change in the character of books read by the young. Third, the placing of new books where the public may see them. This may entice the attention of readers of any class away from fiction. Fourth, the personal influence of the librarian and his assistants in turning the people from fiction to some other kind of literature. But the librarian should be quite sure that the reader whom he is enticing away from fiction ought to be enticed from

grees of commonness from Hardy, Black, and Howells to Roe, Holmes, and Southworth.

Third, the vicious and immoral, such, for example, as those of the so-called decadents.

Novels of the first class are not likely to be harmful. They belong to the history of literature and their style is not in accord with modern tastes. The second-named class is not harmful, unless, like every other thing harmless in itself, it is used to excess. Whether, considering the conditions of modern life, it is likely to be used to excess I have tried to show. And just here, in connection with this class, it may not be superfluous to say one word in favor of much of what is called sensational fiction. It may be thought that by squeezing out sensational fiction, the quality of a library is being absolutely improved; but it is just this sensational fiction that bridges the gap between the Police Gazette, which libraries, of course, cannot keep on hand, and something better. And there is no other way for the helplessly and not hopelessly depraved to get across the gap than by using sensational fiction. Such fiction may be violating good taste and to the intellectual reader may seem puerile. But if it is not immoral it would seem to have a legitimate place in the public library.

But if it is an evil, what are the remedies? Novels may be roughly classified as follows:

First, classics, among the older of which we may name Fielding, Smollett, and Richardson; and among the modern, George Eliot, Thackeray, and Dickens. Second, the common run, varying in the de- fiction.

A BIBLIOGRAPHICAL CONFERENCE AT that the tables of the decimal classification be

translated into German and Italian. Before the congress adjourned M. Deschamps briefly reviewed the chief points which had been ventipa-lated during the session. Following this came an informal inspection of the working rooms of MM. Lafontaine and Otlet and of their 30 collaborators. When it is stated that within a very short period they have practically prepared for the press nearly half a million titles of books and pamphlets, some faint idea of the magnitude of their undertaking may be obtained. It is, as the London Athenæum correctly judges, "by far too large for private enterprise, or even for a society; and, indeed, it cannot hope for success without the practical adhesion of the various governments. Given this, its advantages would be manifold to every country in the world."

BRUSSELS.

THE Office International de Bibliographie, which was successfully launched under the tronage of the Belgian Government last year, held a conference at the Hôtel Ravenstein, Brussels, September 2-4. The conference was determined upon too late in the season to secure the international character to which its interest and its importance entitled it, although the number of communications received by the committee showed that the plan had aroused general interest among bibliographers.

At the opening session between 40 and 50 members were present when M. le Chevalier Lescamps-David, the president, welcomed the delegates. Among them were M. Fétis, the venerable chief librarian of the Bibliothèque Royale, Brussels; A. J. Wauters, Stainier, Limousin; J. Carl, and Paul Bergmans. The primary object of the congress was explained by one of its principal organizers, M. Henri Lafontaine, who described it as an attempt to arrive at a general system of cataloging at once simple and scientific. The system proposed is known as the classification décimale and is founded on the Dewey D. C., which has been modified in various details by MM. H. Lafontaine and P. Otlet, the directors of the Office International de Bibliographie. As a practical illustration of their system, MM. Lafontaine and Otlet exhibited a Bibliographia Sociologica," in which over 4000 are classified and cataloged. At the congress the system was the subject of much and severe criticism, but the first session concluded, after much discursive argument, with the resolution that the conference considered the decimal system highly satisfactory from a practical point of view, and in view of the general application of the Dewey system, recommended its integral adoption by bibliographers throughout the world.

"

PUBLIC LIBRARIES IN MARYLAND.

AT the 29th convention of the Maryland State Teachers' Association, held at the Blue Mountain House, July 9-12, 1895, Dr. Bernard C. Steiner librarian of the Enoch Pratt Free Library, Baltimore, presented an interesting paper on "Public schools and public libraries," in which he urged the establishment of public libraries throughout the state and that such a general law be passed by the state as would lend official sanction to such libraries. He said, in part: books"The state of Maryland is the original home of the American public library. Two centuries ago, in 1695, the Rev. Thomas Bray, D.D., was appointed commissary of the Anglican Church in Maryland. The Church of England had been recently established in the province, and needed some one, as it was thought, to superintend it. For that position Dr. Bray was selected, and he began at once to procure clergymen to cross the ocean and take charge of the 30 parishes into which the province had been divided. One of the arguments made against leaving England was that those who went to America would have no literature, and would not be able to inform themselves sufficiently in theology and other learning to make them fit to preach the gospel. To do away with this objection, he determined to found a library in each parish, and an especially large one in the capital town. These libraries varied in size from 10 to 314 books. Greater than all these was the finest library of the day in America, the one of 1095 volumes sent to Annapolis as the provincial library. This li brary was intended to be used not only by the clergy, but also by the gentry of the colony, and books from it circulated throughout the neighboring portions of the province. Occasionally we still come upon books belonging to these old libraries, and several hundred volumes of the old provincial library are still preserved in the library of St. John's College.

"Maryland thus began well. In 1704 she passed the first library law in America, establishing a library commission and a library system, but the matter practically ended there. Over a

The second day's session was largely controversial, and covered many questions which were discussed with animation. The leading subject was the advisability of instituting, or rather of creating international bibliographical unions, and a resolution was passed to press the project on the Belgian Government. The constitution of the Office International de Bibliographie was discussed at length and with divergence of opinion. In the end it was unanimously agreed that the Office should be, above all, an exclusively scientific association.

Its functions are to include the classification and description of the products of human thought -to determine the unités bibliographiques, so as to facilitate and perfect the uniform and scientific character of international classification. | The Institut is to hold an annual session, at which the progress of the previous 12 months will be reviewed, and it will select its members from among persons, institutions, and associations practically engaged in bibliographical or immediately kindred work.

The third session was a short one. On the proposition of M. Otlet, it was decided |

century and a half later a law was passed authorizing school district libraries, but it has not been utilized in a majority of the school districts. A school district library is not the ideal public library. The unit is too small. There are 2160 school districts in the state outside of Baltimore. It is absurd to suppose that there can, in addition, be that number of effective public libraries in the state. The amount of money allowed each of such libraries is too small. Very little can be done with $20 a year, the amount which the average school library obtains under the present law. In the whole state last year less than $600 was returned as appropriated for that purpose, and II counties made no return of having given money for libraries during the year. Not one return of an appropriation for a library in a school for colored children is found. I am far from denying that good has been accomplished by district school libraries, nor do I urge the abolition of the system, for a small and wellselected list of reference-books, to be kept in the school-room, will be of great assistance to teachers, and through such libraries books can well be circulated among the scholars. What I do maintain is that the district school library utterly fails to supply home reading for the people at large, and that if we are to satisfy the desires of the people with good literature to be read in their homes, we must find some other sys

tem.

"The question to be solved is that of the state at large. 600,000 people of Maryland live in communities not possessing a public library. This question has been taken up and carefully considered by other states. In all there are over 20 states with library laws, and in these are over 700 public libraries. All these laws have one common characteristic the people tax themselves for a library if they want one, and each place decides for itself if it wants one or not. What is needed is a library for the people, owned by the people and used by the people. The public library is the natural supplement of the public school.

"In Maryland I believe the election district is a unit worth trying to use as a basis for the public library. It seems to me that there might be success with a law providing that on the petition of a certain number of voters an election district may determine whether it wished to have a public library. In case it voted in the affirmative, it should choose a board of directors for this library, the board to consist of three, six, or nine members, according to the population of the district. To these directors should be paid yearly by the tax collectors a tax amounting to one or two mills on the dollar (the amount, whatever it be, being fixed by the general law), such money to be used by the directors for the maintenance of a public library, free to all inhabitants of the district. The various minor details of administration would have, of course, to be filled in. I believe such a law would do much toward encouraging the formation of libraries in the country districts." Dr. Steiner's paper was earnestly discussed, and the association appointed a library commis

sion of seven members to work for the passage of a state law authorizing the establishment of public libraries on the lines suggested by Dr. Steiner.

THE FREE LIBRARY OF PHILADEL-
PHIA.

VERY important changes are contemplated in the development of the free library system of Philadelphia. The progress of the Free Library has been very satisfactory since its inception in 1891. It was opened originally in March, 1894, in two or three rooms in the city hall, temporarily loaned for the purpose. In February of the present year it was removed to its present comparatively commodious quarters on Chestnut street. On the first day in the city hall, 120 books were distributed and on the first day on Chestnut street the circulation was 1743. Over 6000 volumes a week are now taken out by the public.

On the last day of 1894, under two several ordinances, the city councils created the existing board of trustees for establishing and maintaining the Free Library, and in June of the present year an act of assembly was duly approved authorizing cities of the first class of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to levy a tax and make appropriations for the establishment and maintenance of free libraries.

It is now proposed by an ordinance pending in councils, that hereafter all appropriations for a free library shall be made exclusively to the trustees of the Free Library of Philadelphia or their legal successors, and that the six branch libraries which have been established by the city shall be placed, from the beginning of next year, under the control of the Free Library board. The work of the branches has been admirable, but this movement will tend both toward economy and better service. It is purposed to largely increase the number of branches and by liberal use of the telephone service and small wagons to enable the clients of the branches to have practical and prompt use of the books both of the branch and also of the central library. Complete catalogs will be provided at each branch, and if the proposals of the board are carried out there can be little doubt that Philadelphia will be on the high road to attaining a free library that will well compare in a short time with any other city in the Union.

The Mercantile Library has also made a proposal to place its books at the disposal of councils, to the extent of making that institution a free library, but at the present time its offer is hampered by many serious conditions. Its president says that it cannot amalgamate with the Free Library-that the books can never become the property of the city, nor can its funds be made over to the city.

When the Free Library of Philadelphia was established by the city, it made over to the city all of its books and the income of its large fund, amounting to nearly a quarter of a million dollars, received from the bequest of Mr. George S. Pepper.

WHAT A FREE LIBRARY DOES FOR A
COUNTRY TOWN.

CONGRESS OF LIBRARIANS AT THE
ATLANTA EXPOSITION.

Library Day in Georgia, in honor of the Con-
NOVEMBER 29 is this year to be known as

THE following "reasons why" a free library is beneficial to a country town are from the first (1895) "Connecticut public library document." Reprinted in a local paper, village librariansgress of Librarians to be held on that date in the may find these hints a simple and effective li- assembly-room of the Woman's Building at the Atlanta Exposition. Miss Anne Wallace, who brary advertisement: is chairman of the congress, has arranged for an interesting and instructive program, and the meeting should be most helpful in fostering a library spirit, not only in Georgia, but in the other southern states. Among the librarians who are expected to attend and present papers at the congress are Miss Mary S. Cutler; Miss Mary E. Sargent, of Medford, Mass.; Miss Alice B. Kroeger, of the library department of Drexel Institute; Miss Hannah P. James; Miss Nina E. Browne, of the Library Bureau; Miss Theresa West, and Mrs. Carrie

1. It keeps boys at home in the evening by giving them well-written stories of adventure. 2. It gives teachers and pupils interesting books to aid their school work in history and geography, and makes better citizens of them by enlarging their knowledge of their country and its growth.

3. It provides books on the care of children and animals, cookery and housekeeping, building and gardening, and teaches young readers how to make simple dynamos, telephones, and other machines.

4. It helps clubs that are studying history, literature, or life in other countries, and throws light upon Sunday-school lessons.

5. It furnishes books of selections for reading aloud, suggestions for entertainments and home

amusements, and hints on correct speech and Library Association of the United

Kingdom.

good manners.

6. It teaches the name and habits of the plants, birds, and insects of the neighborhood, and the difference in soil and rocks.

7. It tells the story of the town from its settlement and keeps a record of all important events in its history.

8. It offers pleasant and wholesome stories to readers of all ages.

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W. Whitney, of the Kansas City Public Library. The attractive library in the Woman's Building will be the headquarters of the visiting librari

ans.

And promised a Life eminently useful.

But a Blafted Hope
In the Vigor of Youth,
Amidst happy Profpects,
Cut off by a raging Fever
He breathed forth his Soul,
October XII in the Year
MDCCLXIII Aged XXIII

ANNUAL CONFERENCE, 1895.

THE 18th annual conference of the Library Association of the United Kingdom was held this year in Cardiff, Wales, September 10-12 The first session was held in the Cardiff Free Library, on the morning of Tuesday, September 10, and was presided over by Lord Windsor. About 200 delegates were present from various parts of the kingdom.

The opening address of the chairman dwelt particularly upon the necessity of a wise and careful selection of books. Librarians nowadays had to deal with a perfect avalanche of books, and extreme discrimination was needed. Another difficulty that confronted public libraries was lack of space. The shelf-room at their disposal was limited, and, however well a library was selected, the process of weeding was always necessary. The value of catalogs and books of reference had greatly increased of late years, owing to the prodigious number of books with which they had to deal, and it would be interesting to know how many volumes annually found their way into the store-rooms of the British Museum. Librarians were obliged to consult the tastes of a great variety of readers. As to the class of literature to be read, it was better to read light literature, so long as it was not pernicious, than not to read at all. Romantic fiction had exercised an enormous influence upon national life and character from the earliest times; it was a mirror of the habits and customs of medieval times, and in reviewing the literature of mediæval days there was ample evidence to prove that romantic fiction formed the staple reading of our forefathers. Surely the law of the survival of the fittest need not condemn us to a population of blue-stockings.

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