« ПретходнаНастави »
of civilization and amenity, is not the speaker justified in barboring a like feeling? But this is perhaps irrelevant as a matter of indifference to the audience.
One demonstration, however, suffered by those who speak to us daily in the class room, is generally spared to the visiting lecturer ; but for this immunity he has only the force of circumstance to thank. The public lecture, as a rule, is not scheduled to close at a given hour; the recitation or class room lecture is. The striking of the hour is the signal for us to pass on to fresh fields of occupation ; and, faithful daughters of system that we are, we respond immediately to the signal. With each added moment that detains us, our desire to go is more emphatically manifested. Here again our sense of personal responsibility has been lost; we are no longer rude individuals, but integral parts of an outraged whole. Undoubtedly our righteous indignation is not ungrounded, and we may bring a counter-charge of inconsiderateness as an almost adequate extenuation. But the question of the trespass of one recitation period upon another must be debated in another tribunal than that of the undergraduate.
But where are we to find justification for that other discourtesy before mentioned, -the attitude of carping and petty criticism? It seems to spring from a two-fold source ; partly from the haunting fear of our generation that we may fail to see “the funny side" of a thing; and partly from that other haunting fear that we may accept as good that which common consent condemns. But is the laugh worth while that must be obtained at the cost of so incessant a vigilance? And who in reality presents the more ignominious spectacle,-he who errs on the side of a taste too little fastidious, or he who in his overmastering dread of being cheated rejects pure gold ?
In a long.editorial in this month's issue, the Yale Literary Monthly protests against the opinion current throughout the college, that there is a certain way of saying things, vaguely known as “the Lit. style,” to which all would-be contributors to its pages must conform. That such a belief is unfounded, not only in the case of the Yale magazine, but in the case of college periodicals everywhere, we may well be convinced. Even supposing the existence of an editorial board of such surprising unanimity as to agree in all matters of literary taste, and so left to itself as to long for a deadly monotony in its paper,-even then half a dozen undergraduates would scarcely presume to proclaim themselves literary dictators over their college. That there is a sharp and clear distinction between college magazine and college magazine is undoubtedly true. But this distinction is not fundamentally one of style; it lies rather in tone, in scales of value, in general attitude,-in the things that constitute the spirit of the college at large, and give it individuality.
“Seen and Heard at the Summer School,” in the Cornell Era for this month, is a capital bit of writing of a type that we meet very seldom in college magazines-or indeed, in any others nowadays-half narrative, half essay, altogether charming. It does not represent the highest type of literary genius ? What of that! Comparatively few of us lay claim to literary genius of the highest type. What was it that Caesar said about being second in Rome? If some of the fruitless, hopeless labor tbat is put into the writing of stories that are pointless and verses that will not scan, were devoted to informal, epistolary word. sketching of this sort; if college writers would realize their limitations and not force that realization upon their readers, the readers at least would find more joy in life. But, on the other hand, it might be gloomy for the writers !
Library Work as a Profession for College Women
SCENE IN A LIBRARY. Visitor : How many books have you in the library?
Librarian: Between one hundred and sixty and one hundred and seventy thousand volumes.
Visitor (with visible admiration): And I suppose you have read them all !
Such was the popular notion :-that library work consisted of reading the library books in one's charge, and that the chief requisite of a librarian was to be a lover of books. When libraries were merely collections or storehouses of books, and librarians simply keepers, this idea may not have been so far amiss. But to-day when a library in its true sense is a living organism with the librarian as its moving spirit, such a conception can no longer be held by intelligent people.
That library facilities have been considered an important aid to education at Smith College is evidenced by the official circular, which for years has counted the Clarke and Forbes libraries among its advantages. But the library is now felt to be more than a prop or a buttress; it is an essential part of the structure of our educational system. For years our wisest men have put their best thought on the problem of the public schools, the education of the masses. Much must be accomplished in a time all too short, since the larger number of children become workers at the earliest age the law allows, and often before they are able to grasp the meaning of a printed page. Under the best conditions children can get from the public schools not much information and culture ; but if taught to read intelligently, they are prepared to educate themselves by reading. The school starts the education, but the library must carry it on. This doctrine is being accepted by our best educators. The states are passing new library laws, and state library commissions are formed to encourage the founding and maintenance of public libraries and more recently of traveling libraries. Wealthy individuals, inspired by the work already accomplished, are giving of their means for its further development, as witnessed by many cities in our land.
Assuming that the Smith College student understands the importance of the library, she may still wonder what is the attraction which has led so many college graduates of varying capacities into this profession. What to do when college days are over is a question hard for many girls to answer. Teaching is most frequently adopted, and many find here their real vocation. Even to those with the instincts of a teacher, the library offers a field equal to that of the public school. The modern “children's room" is as good ground as the kindergarten. The librarian, bowever, has an advantage over the teacher in that, once they form a habit of reading, her pupils are hers for a lifetime. Young and old alike come to her for help. The teacher in the public school, on the other hand, has her constituency mainly in their earlier years and only for the brief time of the school session. She but gets interested in one set of children when it is replaced by another. But there is another side of the library as distinct from what we have been considering as the university is from the common school. The library is the real university not only for the people but for scholars. In the leading colleges to-day the library is raised to a distinct university department, and the librarian is ranked as a member of the faculty. The colleges have wakened to the fact that the work of every department is based upon the library. Professors no longer depend upon text-books, but send their classes to the library, teaching them how to investigate for themselves and how to use books. With improved methods of administration and the reference librarian to guide, the library itself may become the real university. Librarianship then in a college library or in the reference department of a large library affords to the Smith graduate an opportunity to teach just as if given the title of professor. In either the popular or scholarly library one must have a knowledge of books and of men, and must be animated with an earnest desire to help.
Before really deciding that library work in its educational phases is better than teaching in the schools, the conditions under which the work must be done should be considered. The teacher at the most bas forty weeks' work, five hours a day, five days in the week. Long vacations and short hours are an inducement; yet what teacher worthy the name ends work when the five required hours of the day are over? Papers to be corrected, reports to be made, and lessons to be prepared take many an hour, while the long vacation must be used for the teacher's own growth in knowledge. Add to this the nervous strain of controlling many children and of imparting knowledge which is not wanted, and the teacher's life is not an easy one. On the other hand, the attendant in a public library has at the most but four weeks' vacation and more often but two, and the time of service each day ranges from six to nine hours. To counterbalance this the nervous strain is much less, because the readers come for love of what they can get and not from compulsion. The salary of the public school teacher and the public library attendant is about the same. Salaries for the higher grades of reference work are considerably more and often are equivalent to the salary of the professor in the college.
To the student with an interest in sociological subjects and a longing to give some social service to her kind, the library offers an opportunity better in some ways than that offered by the social settlement in that the people feel no touch of philanthropy. The library belongs to the people as do the public schools. The work with cbildren and the home libraries make openings for an acquaintance not only with the reader but with the reader's family and home conditions. Many a friendly visit may be paid under cover of library interests. What is more natural than to call upon a mother to inquire if she is willing to have her boy or girl use the library? This beginning of a friendly relationship may result in drawing the whole family to use the library and in giving them a glimpse of higher and better living.
Yet all this work of helping readers can not be done easily unless the books are properly classified and cataloged. The economic side is an important one. To gain the best results with the least work at the least expenditure of time and money is the problem. All the modern methods are carefully adjusted to this end. To put these methods in practice requires both clerical and scholarly work, thus giving opportunity for the employment of varying degrees of ability. To those without missionary aspirations or administrative power, the routine part may furnish congenial occupation. Accuracy and order are the important qualifications for this technical part of library work. Consideration of the administrative side of the library has been purposely left until the last. This generally falls upon the head librarian. Leaders are wanted and there is plenty of room at the top for the college-bred woman. The natural qualities most important are executive ability, enthusiasm, and that indefinable quality, the power to influence people in a large and fine way. Pianning buildings, locating branches, making regulations for readers and staff of assistants, presenting to trustees administrative problems, such as proposed changes, needed improvements, or reasons for additional expenses, sometimes influencing city councils with a view to increased appropriations, and above all making oneself felt to be a force in the community, affords ample scope for all one's power.
To those who not looking for positions may have received their salary in advance," and who wish to use their abilities for the betterment of the communities in which they live, a word may here be said. A woman of education has a much better chance of election to the office of trustee in the case of a public library than bas many a scholarly inan, because there is no partisan prejudice of a political sort likely to interfere in her case. Then if she has prepared herself for such work by a course of training, she can render service of great value, since she will know whether the functions of the library which she may serve are being as adequately carried out as its funds will permit. In any case, whether entitled to official position or not, she can by the use of a little tact be of great aid to the librarian of her community, if she live anywhere but in the largest cities. Tbis aid can be given not only in the selection of books, but in furthering all the modern methods for making these books useful. With a definite knowledge of means and of ends, a wide field of usefulness is open to her; without this definite knowledge she may find herself, even with the best of intentions, only a merldlesome intruder. Positions of honor and usefulness are also open to women on the state library commissions already alluded to, and much can be done by the woman who is willing to inform herself in the matter of starting or furthering a wise system of traveling libraries. Here just as in the case with settlement work, those who take it up as a temporary diversion hinder rather than help. A willingness to master details and to endure drudgery is quite as necessary as enthusiasm in both cases.
Here in merest outline are presented the chief sides of the library profession. All these functions, especially in the smaller libraries, are often combined in one person, and to perform these functions all the virtues are