Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

Library Work with Children by Alice I. Hazeltine

Part 1 out of 8

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 0.9 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

Scanned by Charles Keller with OmniPage Professional OCR software

Library Work with Children

Classics of American Librarianship



Supervisor of Children's Public Library
St. Louis, Mo.


This second volume in the series of Classics of American
Librarianship is devoted to library work with children.
As stated in the preface to the first volume, on "Library
and school," the papers chosen are primarily of historic
rather than of present-day value, although many of them
embody principles which govern the practice of today.
They have been grouped under general headings in order
to bring more closely together material relating to the
same or to similar subjects. Several different phases of
children's work are thus represented, although no attempt
has been made to make the collection comprehensive.

Book-selection for children has not been included except
incidentally, since it is expected that this subject will
be treated in another volume as part of the general subject
of book-selection. In the same way, material on
training for library work with children has been reserved
for a volume on library training.

The present volume is an attempt to bring together in
accessible form papers representing the growth and tendencies
of forty years of library work with children.




Public Libraries and the Young. (U. S. Bureau of Education.
Public Libraries in the United States, 1876, p. 412)

Boys' and Girls' Reading. (Library Journal, 1882, p. 182.)

Reading of the Young. (U.S. Bureau of Education Papers
prepared for the World's Library Congress held at the
Columbian Exposition; ed. by M. Dewey, 1896, p. 944.)

How Library Work with Children Has Grown in Hartford
and Connecticut. (Library Journal, 1914, p. 91.)

A Chapter in Children's Libraries. (Library Journal, 1913,
p. 20.)

The Children's Library in New York. (Library Journal,
1887, p. 185.)

The Work for Children in Free Libraries. (Library Journal,
1897, p. 679.)

The Growing Tendency to Over-Emphasize the Children's
Side. (Library Journal, 1908, p. 135.)

Library Work with Children. (A. L. A. Proceedings, 1911,
p. 240.)


Library Membership as a Civic Force. (A. L. A. Proceedings,
1908, P. 372.)

The Civic Value of Library Work with Children. (A. L. A.
Proceedings, 1908, P. 380)

Establishing Relations between the Children's Library and
Other Civic Agencies. (Library Journal, 1909, P. 195.) 131

Values in Library Work with Children. (A. L. A. Proceedings,
1913, P. 275.)

Values in Library Work with Children


The Children's Room and the Children's Librarian. (Public
Libraries, 1898, P. 417.)

Work with Children in the Small Library. (Library Journal,
1903, P. C53.)

Personal Work with Children. (Public Libraries, 1900,
P. 191.)

The Library and the Children: An Account of the Children's
Work in the Cleveland Public Library. (Library Journal,
1898, P. 142.)

Picture Bulletins in the Children's Library. (Library Journal,
1902, P. 191.)

How to Interest Mothers in Children's Reading. (Public
Libraries, 1915, P. 165.)

Reference Work among School Children. (Library Journal,
1895, P. 121.)

Reference Work with Children. (Library Journal, 1901,
P. C74.)

Instruction of School Children in the Use of Library
Catalogs and Reference Books. (Public Libraries, 1899,
P. 311.)

Elementary Library Instruction. (Public Libraries, 1912,
P. 260.)

The Question of Discipline. (Library Journal, 1901, P. 735.)

Maintaining Order in the Children's Room. (Library
Journal, 1903, P. 164)

Problems of Discipline. (Wisconsin Library Bulletin, 1908,
P. 65.)


The Story Hour. (Wisconsin Library Bulletin, 1905, P. 4.)

Story-telling in Libraries. (Public Libraries, 1908, P. 349.)

Story-telling--A Public Library Method. (Child Conference
for Research and Welfare, 1909, P. 225.)

Story-telling as a Library Tool. (Child Conference for
Research and Welfare, 1909, P. 39.)

Report of the Committee on Story-Telling. (Playground,
1910, P. 160.)

Reading Clubs for Older Boys and Girls. (Child Conference
for Research and Welfare, 1909, p. 13)

Library Clubs for Boys and Girls. (Library Journal, 1911,
p. 251.)

Library Reading Clubs for Young People. (Library Journal,
1912, p 547.)

Home Libraries. (International Congress of Charities,
Correction, and Philanthropy, 1893, Second Section, Report,
p. 144.)

Home Libraries. (Library Journal, 1896, p. 60.)

Library Day at the Playgrounds. (Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.
Monthly Bulletin, 1901, p. 275.)

Library Work in Summer Playgrounds. (A. L. A. Proceedings,
1911, p. 246.)

The Selection of Books for Sunday School Libraries and
Their Introduction to Children. (Library Journal, 1882,
p. 250.)

The Children's Museum in Brooklyn. (Library Journal, 1910,
p. 149.)

Work with Children at the Colored Branch of the Louisville
Free Public Library. (Library Journal, 1910, p. 160.)

The Foreign Child at a St. Louis Branch. (Library Journal,
191, p. 851)



The history of library work with children is yet to be written.
From the bequest made to West Cambridge by Dr. Ebenezer Learned,
of money to purchase "such books as will best promote useful
knowledge and the Christian virtues" to the present day of
organized work with children --of the training of children's
librarians, of cooperative evaluated lists of books, of methods
of extension-- the development has been gradual, yet with a
constantly broadening point of view.

A number of libraries have claimed the honor of being the first
to establish children's work--a fact which in itself seems to
show that the movement was general rather than sporadic. The
library periodicals contain many interesting accounts of these
beginnings, a number of which have been mentioned in the articles
included in this volume.

Certain personalities stand out very clearly in the history of
the early days, and many of the same ones are still closely
associated with children's work in its later developments. The
Library Journal says editorially in 1914: "Probably the credit of
the initiative work for children within a public library should
remain with Mrs. Sanders of the Pawtucket Library, who made the
small folk welcome a generation ago, when, in most public
libraries, they were barred out by the rules and regulations and
frowned away by the librarian."

Three articles from Miss Caroline Hewins's pen have been chosen
for this collection, the last written thirty-two years later than
the first. They not only give details of the history of
children's work, but reflect Miss Hewins's personality and

A paper given by Miss Lutie E. Stearns at the Lake Placid
Conference of the American Library Association in 1894 has been
referred to as one of the most important contributions to the
development of work with children. This paper was printed in the
first volume of this series, "Library and school" (New York,

The leading editorial in The Library Journal for April, 1898,
says: "Within the past year or two the phrase 'the library and
the child'--which was itself new not so long ago--has been
changed about. It is now 'the child and the library,' and the
transposition is suggestive of the increasing emphasis given to
that phase of library work that deals with children, either by
themselves or in connection with their schools."

Mr. Henry E. Legler, in the last paper in this group, traces the
growth of the "conception of what the duty of society is to the
child"; claims that the children's library should be one in a
union of social forces, and asserts that it contributes to the
building of character, the enlargement of narrow lives, the
opening of opportunity to all alike.

Thus the modern viewpoint includes the ideals of democracy in
addition to Dr. Learned's emphasis on "knowledge" and "virtue"
and probably points the way to the future development of library
work with children.


The special report on "Public Libraries in the United States of
America," published in 1876 by the U. S. Bureau of Education
includes the following paper by Mr. W. I. Fletcher, in which he
advocates the removal of age-restriction and emphasizes the
importance of choosing only those books which "have something
positively good about them." This and the following eight papers
give, in some measure, a history of library work with children.

William Isaac Fletcher was born in Burlington, Vermont, April 28,
1844. He was educated in the Winchester, Mass., schools, and
received the honorary degree of A.M. from Amherst in 1884. He
served as librarian of Amherst College from 1883 to 1911, when he
was made librarian emeritus. Mr. Fletcher was joint editor of
Poole's Index to Periodical Literature, and editor of the
continuation from 1882 to 1911; edited the A. L. A. Index to
general literature in 1893 and 1901; the Cooperative Index to
periodicals from 1883 to 1911, and in 1895 published his Public
Libraries in America. He was president of the A. L. A. in

What shall the public library do for the young, and how? is a
question of acknowledged importance. The remarkable development
of "juvenile literature" testifies to the growing importance of
this portion of the community in the eyes of book producers,
while the character of much of this literature, which is now
almost thrust into the hands of youth, is such as to excite grave
doubts as to its being of any service, intellectual or moral. In
this state of things the public library is looked to by some with
hope, by others with fear, according as its management is
apparently such as to draw young readers away from merely
frivolous reading, or to make such reading more accessible and
encourage them in the use of it; hence the importance of a
judicious administration of the library in this regard.

One of the first questions to be met in arranging a code of rules
for the government of a public library relates to the age at
which young persons shall be admitted to its privileges. There is
no usage on this point which can be called common, but most
libraries fix a certain age, as twelve or fourteen, below which
candidates for admission are ineligible. Only a few of the most
recently established libraries have adopted what seems to be the
right solution of this question, by making no restriction
whatever as to age. This course recommends itself as the wisest
and the most consistent with the idea of the public library on
many grounds.

In the first place, age is no criterion of mental condition and
capacity. So varying is the date of the awakening of intellectual
life, and the rapidity of its progress, that height of stature
might almost as well be taken for its measure as length of years.
In every community there are some young minds of peculiar gifts
and precocious development, as fit to cope with the masterpieces
of literature at ten years of age, as the average person of
twenty, and more appreciative of them. From this class come the
minds which rule the world of mind, and confer the greatest
benefits on the race. How can the public library do more for the
intellectual culture of the whole community than by setting
forward in their careers those who will be the teachers and
leaders of their generation? In how many of the lives of those
who have been eminent in literature and science do we find a
youth almost discouraged because deprived of the means of
intellectual growth. The lack of appreciation of youthful demands
for culture is one of the saddest chapters in the history of the
world's comprehending not the light which comes into it. Our
public libraries will fail in an important part of their mission
if they shut out from their treasures minds craving the best, and
for the best purposes, because, forsooth, the child is too young
to read good books.

Some will be found to advocate the exclusion of such searchers
for knowledge on the ground that precocious tastes should be
repressed in the interests of physical health. But a careful
investigation of the facts in such cases can hardly fail to
convince one that in them repression is the last thing that will
bring about bodily health and vigor. There should doubtless be
regulation, but nothing will be so likely to conduce to the
health and physical well being of a person with strong mental
cravings as the reasonable satisfaction of those cravings. Cases
can be cited where children, having what seemed to be a premature
development of mental qualities coupled with weak or even
diseased bodily constitutions, have rapidly improved in health
when circumstances have allowed the free exercise of their
intellectual powers, and have finally attained a maturity
vigorous alike in body and mind. This is in the nature of a
digression, but it can do no harm to call attention thus to the
facts which contradict the common notion that intellectual
precocity should be discouraged. Nature is the best guide, and it
is in accordance with all her workings, that when she has in hand
the production of a giant of intellect, the young Hercules should
astonish observers by feats of strength even in his cradle. Let
not the public library, then, be found working against nature by
establishing, as far as its influence goes, a dead level of
intellectual attainments for all persons below a certain age.

But there is a much larger class of young persons who ought not
to be excluded from the library, not because they have decided
intellectual cravings and are mentally mature, but because they
have capacities for the cultivation of good tastes, and because
the cultivation of such tastes cannot be begun too early. There
is no greater mistake in morals than that often covered by the
saying, harmless enough literally, "Boys will be boys." This
saying is used perhaps oftener than for any other purpose to
justify boys in doing things which are morally not fit for men to
do, and is thus the expression of that great error that
immoralities early in life are to be expected and should not be
severely deprecated. The same misconception of the relations of
youth to maturity and of nature's great laws of growth and
development is seen in that common idea that children need not be
expected to have any literary tastes; that they may well be
allowed to confine their reading to the frivolous, the merely
amusing. That this view is an erroneous one thought and
observation agree in showing. Much like the caution of the mother
who would not allow her son to bathe in the river till he had
learned to swim, is that of those who would have youth wait till
a certain age, when they ought to have good tastes formed, before
they can be admitted to companionship with the best influences
for the cultivation of them. Who will presume to set the age at
which a child may first be stirred with the beginnings of a
healthy intellectual appetite on getting a taste of the strong
meat of good literature? This point is one of the first
importance. No after efforts can accomplish what is done with
ease early in life in the way of forming habits either mental or
moral, and if there is any truth in the idea that the public
library is not merely a storehouse for the supply of the wants of
the reading public, but also and especially an educational
institution which shall create wants where they do not exist,
then the library ought to bring its influences to bear on the
young as early as possible.

And this is not a question of inducing young persons to read, but
of directing their reading into right channels. For in these
times there is little probability that exclusion from the public
library will prevent their reading. Poor, indeed, in all manner
of resources, must be the child who cannot now buy, beg, or
borrow a fair supply of reading of some kind; so that exclusion
from the library is likely to be a shutting up of the boy or girl
to dime novels and story papers as the staple of reading.
Complaints are often made that public libraries foster a taste
for light reading, especially among the young. Those who make
this complaint too often fail to perceive that the tastes
indulged by those who are admitted to the use of the public
library at the age of twelve or fourteen, are the tastes formed
in the previous years of exclusion. A slight examination of
facts, such as can be furnished by any librarian of experience in
a circulating public library, will show how little force there is
in this objection.

Nor should it be forgotten, in considering this question, that to
very many young people youth is the time when they have more
leisure for reading than any other portion of life is likely to
furnish. At the age of twelve or fourteen, or even earlier, they
are set at work to earn their living, and thereafter their
opportunities for culture are but slight, nor are their
circumstances such as to encourage them in such a work. We cannot
begin too early to give them a bent towards culture which shall
abide by them and raise them above the work-a-day world which
will demand so large a share of their time and strength. The
mechanic, the farmer, the man in any walk of life, who has early
formed good habits of reading, is the one who will magnify his
calling, and occupy the highest positions in it. And to the
thousands of young people, in whose homes there is none of the
atmosphere of culture or of the appliances for it, the public
library ought to furnish the means of keeping pace intellectually
with the more favored children of homes where good books abound
and their subtle influence extends even to those who are too
young to read and understand them. If it fails to do this it is
hardly a fit adjunct to our school system, whose aim it is to
give every man a chance to be the equal of every other man, if he

It is not claimed that the arguments used in support of an age
limitation are of no force; but it is believed that they are
founded on objections to the admission of the young to library
privileges which are good only as against an indiscriminate and
not properly regulated admission, and which are not applicable to
the extension of the use of the library to the young under such
conditions and restrictions as are required by their peculiar

For example, the public library ought not to furnish young
persons with a means of avoiding parental supervision of their
reading. A regulation making the written consent of the parent a
prerequisite to the registration of the name of a minor, and the
continuance of such consent a condition of the continuance of the
privilege, will take from parents all cause for complaint in this

Neither should the library be allowed to stand between pupils in
school and their studies, as it is often complained that it does.
To remove this difficulty, the relations of the library to the
school system should be such that teachers should be able to
regulate the use of the library by those pupils whose studies are
evidently interfered with by their miscellaneous reading. The use
of the library would thus be a stimulus to endeavor on the part
of pupils who would regard its loss as the probable result of
lack of diligence in their studies.

Again, it must be understood that to the young, as to all others,
the library is open only during good behavior. The common idea
that children and youth are more likely than older persons to
commit offenses against library discipline is not borne out by
experience; but were it true, a strict enforcement of rules as to
fines and penalties would protect the library against loss and
injury, the fear of suspension from the use of the library as the
result of carelessness in its use, operating more strongly than
any other motive to prevent such carelessness.

If there are other objections to the indiscriminate admission of
the young to the library, they can also be met by such
regulations as readily suggest themselves, and should not be
allowed to count as arguments against a judicious and proper
extension of the benefits of the library to the young.


But when the doors of the public library are thrown open to the
young, and they are recognized as an important class of its
patrons, the question comes up, What shall the library furnish to
this class in order to meet its wants? If the object of the
library is understood to be simply the supplying of the wants of
the reading public, and the young are considered as a portion of
that public, the question is very easily answered by saying, Give
them what they call for that is not positively injurious in its
tendency. But if we regard the public library as an educational
means rather than a mere clubbing arrangement for the economical
supply of reading, just as the gas company is for the supply of
artificial light, it becomes of importance, especially with
reference to the young, who are the most susceptible to educating
influences, that they should receive from the library that which
will do them good; and the managers of the library appear not as
caterers to a master whose will is the rule as to what shall be
furnished, but rather as the trainers of gymnasts who seek to
provide that which will be of the greatest service to their men.
No doubt both these elements enter into a true conception of the
duty of library managers; but when we are regarding especially
the young, the latter view comes nearer the truth than the other.

In the first place, among the special requirements of the young
is this, that the library shall interest and be attractive to
them. The attitude of some public libraries toward the young and
the uncultivated seems to say to them, "We cannot encourage you
in your low state of culture; you must come up to the level of
appreciating what is really high toned in literature, or we
cannot help you." The public library being, however, largely if
not mainly for the benefit of the uncultivated, must, to a large
extent, come down to the level of this class and meet them on
common ground. Every library ought to have a large list of good
juvenile books, a statement which at once raises the question,
What are good juvenile books? This is one of the vexed questions
of the literary world, closely allied to the one which has so
often been mooted in the press and the pulpit, as to the utility
and propriety of novel reading. But while this question is one on
which there are great differences of opinion, there are a few
things which may be said on it without diffidence or the fear of
successful contradiction. Of this kind is the remark that good
juvenile books must have something positively good about them.
They should be not merely amusing or entertaining and harmless,
but instructive and stimulating to the better nature. Fortunately
such books are not so rare as they have been. Some of the best
minds are now being turned to the work of providing them. Within
a few months such honored names in the world of letters as those
of Hamerton and Higginson have been added to the list which
contains those of "Peter Parley," Jacob Abbott, "Walter Aimwell,"
Elijah Kellogg, Thomas Hughes, and others who have devoted their
talents, not to the amusement, but to the instruction and culture
of youth. The names of some of the most popular writers for young
people in our day are not ranked with those mentioned above, not
because their productions are positively injurious, but because
they lack the positively good qualities demanded by our

There is a danger to youth in reading some books which are not
open to the charge of directly injurious tendencies. Many of the
most popular juveniles, while running over with excellent
"morals," are unwholesome mental food for the young, for the
reason that they are essentially untrue. That is, they give false
views of life, making it consist, if it be worth living, of a
series of adventures, hair-breadth escapes; encounters with
tyrannical schoolmasters and unnatural parents; sea voyages in
which the green hand commands a ship and defeats a mutiny out of
sheer smartness; rides on runaway locomotives, strokes of good
luck, and a persistent turning up of things just when they are
wanted --all of which is calculated in the long run to lead away
the young imagination and impart discontent with the common lot
of an uneventful life.

Books of adventure seem to meet a real want in the minds of the
young, and should not be entirely ruled out; but they cannot be
included among the books the reading of which should be
encouraged or greatly extended. In the public library it will be
found perhaps necessary not to exclude this class of juvenile
books entirely. Such an exclusion is not here advocated, but it
is rather urged that they should not form the staple of juvenile
reading furnished by the library. The better books should be
duplicated so as to be on hand when called for; these should be
provided in such numbers merely that they can occasionally be had
as the "seasoning" to a course of good reading.

But the young patrons of the library ought not to be encouraged
in confining their reading to juveniles, of no matter how good
quality. It is the one great evil of this era of juvenile books,
good and bad, that by supplying mental food in the form fit for
mere children, they postpone the attainment of a taste for the
strong meat of real literature; and the public library ought to
be influential in exalting this real literature and keeping it
before the people, stemming with it the current of trash which is
so eagerly welcomed because it is new or because it is
interesting. When children were driven to read the same books as
their elders or not to read at all, there were doubtless
thousands, probably the majority of all, who chose the latter
alternative, and read but very little in their younger years.
This class is better off now than then by the greater
inducements offered them to mental culture in the increased
facilities provided for it. But there seems to be danger that the
ease and smoothness of the royal road to knowledge now provided
in the great array of easy books in all departments will not
conduce to the formation of such mental growths as resulted from
the pursuit of knowledge under difficulties. There is doubtless
more knowledge; but is there as much power and muscle of mind?

However this may be, none can fail to recognize the importance of
setting young people in the way of reading the best books early
in life. And as the public library is likely to be the one place
where the masters of literature can be found, it is essential
that here they should be put by every available means in
communication with and under the influence of these masters.

It only remains now to say that, as we have before intimated the
public library should be viewed as an adjunct of the public
school system, and to suggest that in one or two ways the school
may work together with the library in directing the reading of
the young. There is the matter of themes for the writing of
compositions; by selecting subjects on which information can be
had at the library, the teacher can send the pupil to the library
as a student, and readily put him in communication with, and
excite his interest in, classes of books to which he has been a
stranger and indifferent. Again, in the study of the history of
English literature, a study which, to the credit of our teachers
be it said, is being rapidly extended, the pupils may be induced
to take new interest, and gain greatly in point of real culture
by being referred for illustrative matter to the public library.


This first of a series of yearly reports on "Reading for the
young" was made by Miss Caroline M. Hewins at the Cincinnati
Conference of the A. L. A. in 1882. It embodies answers from
twenty-five librarians to the question, "What are you doing to
encourage a love of good reading in boys and girls?"

Caroline Maria Hewins was born in Roxbury, Mass., October 10,
1846. She attended high school in Boston; received her library
training in the Boston Athenaeum; taught in private schools for
several years, and took a year's special course in Boston
University. In 1911 she received an honorary degree of M.A. from
Trinity College, Hartford. She has been librarian in Hartford,
Conn., for many years, from 1875 to 1892 in the Hartford Library
Association, since that time in the Hartford Public Library. She
has done editorial work for various magazines and has contributed
many articles to the library periodicals. Her list of "Books for
boys and girls," of which the third edition was published in
1915, represents the result of many years' thoughtful and
appreciative study of children's literature. Library work with
children owes to Miss Hewins a debt of gratitude for her unusual
contribution to the establishment of high standards, the
development of a broad vision, and the maintenance of a
wholesome, sympathetic, but not sentimental point of view.

About the first of March I sent cards to the librarians of
twenty-five of the leading libraries of the country, asking,
"What are you doing to encourage a love of good reading in boys
and girls?" and soon after published a notice in the New York
Evening Post and Nation, saying that statements from librarians
and teachers concerning their work in the same direction would be
gladly received The cards brought, in almost every case, full
answers; the newspaper notice has produced few results.

The printed report of the Thomas Crane Public Library, Quincy,
Mass., says: "The trustees have recently made a special effort to
encourage the use of the library in connection with the course of
teaching in the public schools. Under a rule adopted two years
ago the teachers of certain grades of schools are in the practice
of borrowing a number of those volumes they consider best adapted
to the use of their scholars, and keeping them in constant
circulation among them. During the year two lists of books for
the use of the children in the public schools were printed under
the direction of the trustees. One of these lists contained works
in juvenile fiction; the other, biographies, histories, and books
of a more instructive character. All the works included were
selected by the trustees as being such as they would put in the
hands of their own children. The lists thus prepared were then
given to the teachers of the schools for gratuitous circulation
among their scholars."

Mr. Green, of the Worcester, Mass., Free Public Library, writes:
"The close connection which exists between the library and the
schools is doing much to elevate the character of the reading of
the boys and girls. Many books are used for collateral reading,
others to supplement the instruction of text-books in geography
and history, others still in the employment of leisure hours in
school. Boys and girls are led to read good books and come to the
library for similar ones. Lists of good books are kept in the
librarian's room, and are much used by teachers and pupils."

Mr. Upton, of the Peabody Library, Peabody, Mass., gives as his
opinion: "If teachers did their duty, librarians would not be
troubled as to good reading. My experience of about thirty- five
or forty years as a public grammar-school teacher is, that
teachers can control, to a great extent, the reading of their
pupils, and also that, as a class, teachers are not GREAT
readers. We should have little trouble in changing to some degree
our circulation, but our thirteen-foot shelves and long ladders
prevent the employment of the best help. We print bulletins and
assist all who ask aid."

Miss Bean, of the Public Library, Brookline, Mass., says: "I have
no statistics of results relative to my school finding-list. Its
influence is quietly but steadily making itself felt. The
teachers tell me that many of the pupils use no other catalogue
in selecting books from the library, and I know there are many
families where the children are restricted to its use. We keep
two or three interleaved and posted with the newest books when I
think them desirable. Several of the teachers have told me
personally that they had found the list useful to themselves; but
teachers are mortal and human. Many of them think duty done when
the day's session is over, and the matter of outside reading with
their pupils is of little moment to them. I want to get out a
revised list, with useful notes."

Mr. Rice, of the City Library, Springfield, Mass., writes: "We
have a manuscript catalogue of the best and most popular books
for boys and girls. We call attention to the best books as we
have opportunity when the young people visit the library. We
endeavor to influence the teachers in our public schools to aid
us in directing the attention of boys and girls to the best
juveniles, and such other books as they can appreciate."

Mr. Arnold, of the Public Library, Taunton, Mass., says: "What I
am doing is to indicate in the margin of my catalogues the works
which are adapted to the taste and comprehension of young people,
so that not only their own attention may be diverted from the
fiction department, but that their parents and teachers may
easily furnish them with proper lists. We aim at excluding from
the library books of a sensational character, as well as those
positively objectionable on the score of morality."

Miss James, librarian of the Free Library, Newton, Mass., in
speaking of the catalogue, without notes, of children's books,
published by that library in 1878, and given to the pupils of the
public schools, says: "I do not think that catalogue ever
influenced a dozen children. We have just completed a very full
card-catalogue which the children use a great deal in connection
with their studies. Eleven hundred zinc headings are a great
help. I frequently speak to the children to get acquainted with
them, so they are quite free to ask for help. Our local paper has
offered me half a column a week for titles and notices. I shall,
of course, notice children's books as well as others." Mr.
Peirce, the superintendent, says in his last report: "It is only
from homes where the intellectual and moral character of
childhood is neglected, as a rule, that the library with us is
in any wise abused by the over-crowding of the mind with novels.
In many of even these cases kind and wise restraint can be, and
is, exercised by the librarian."

Mr. Cummings, curator of the Lower Hall card-catalogue of the
Boston Public Library, and Miss Jenkins, assistant librarian in
the same place, have kindly sent me the manuscripts of their
forthcoming reports to the trustees. These reports are wholly on
the methods and results of their personal intercourse with
readers, and the increase in special reading during the last few
years. Concerning boys and girls Mr. Cummings writes: "I must not
forget the juvenile readers, school-boys and school- girls, and
the children from the stores and offices about town. These latter
are smart, bright, active little bodies, often more in earnest
than their more fortunate fellows of the same age. They are an
object of special solicitude and care. The school children come
for points in reading for their compositions and for parallel
reading with their lessons in school; and such books are
suggested as may be found useful. The two most available
faculties in children to work upon are the heart and the
imagination. Get a hold on their affections by encouraging words
and manifesting a readiness to help them, and you command their
devotion and confidence. Give them interesting books (Optic and
Alger, if needs be), and you fix their attention. Above all, let
the book be interesting; for the attention is never fixed by, nor
does the memory ever retain, what is laborious to read. But, once
assured of their devotion, with their confidence secured and
their attention fixed, there is nothing to prevent the work of
direction succeeding admirably with them."

Miss Jenkins says: "The use of the library by the young people is
increasing every year. The change in the character of children's
books has been a great help to us, fairly crowding out many of
the trashy stories so long the favorite reading. One of the first
things that attracted my attention was their perseverance in
seeking certain authors, and their continual exchange of books. I
soon found their difficulties with the catalogue. They read only
stories, and wanted those full of incident and excitement; when
their favorite author failed, they sought for something else that
sounded right in the catalogue, or sometimes wrote only the
numbers without much reference to the titles, trusting, I
suppose, to luck. Not liking the looks of the books they would
return them. A steady recurrence of this made it a nuisance.

One of my first steps was to join one of the many groups around
the room, and look over with them, suggest this author, or this,
that, and the other book, until they were furnished with a list
of books fairly suited to their age, and then, suggesting that
the list should be kept for future reference, pass on to another
group. This is now a general practice, and seems to suit the
little folks; if, after several applications, they are
unsuccessful, it is my custom to get them a book. My young people
began to ask me to help their friends, also to help others
themselves; so gradually the bright faces of my boy and girl
friends have grown familiar, and as they gain confidence in me we
strike out into other paths, and many bright, readable books,
historical or containing bits of geography or elementary science,
have been read. It so happened that many of my young friends grew
quite confidential, and told me about their school and lessons.
It was not very difficult to induce them to read some things
bearing upon their studies; these books were shown to their
teachers, and many were ready to cooperate at once; this led to
an acquaintance with several, and the teachers' plan of study
became a basis of selection for reading in history, biography,
travel, and natural science. From books suited to their capacity
much effective work has been done. Several classes have studied
English history, and their reading has been made supplementary
from the topics. Later, when a list of notable persons was given
to them, they showed the effect of their reading by giving very
good short sketches of these persons. American history--colonial,
revolutionary, administrations, civil war, reconstruction--has
been treated similarly, and the teachers are much gratified at
the result. We find that these boys do not fall back to trashy
reading, but ask for better reading in place of their old

Several girls of the high school have sought assistance in their
various studies, especially in Greek and Roman history, and have
read, in connection with the histories recommended, novels and
some interesting travels, and have spent much time over
engravings and photographs illustrative of their reading. Two of
these girls, having asked me for a novel, meaning something like
their former reading, I made tests by giving them exactly what
they asked for. Very soon both books were returned, with the
remark, 'I couldn't read it.' In a little talk that ensued, and
in which I drew from them a criticism of their reading, it dawned
upon them that they had developed, or grown, as they said. I
could go on giving instances of this gradual development in
individual cases, and of its influence upon others to whom these
readers recommended what they had read, the increased call for
the better books of fiction, biography, history, travel,
miscellany, and science. In four years' work books of sensational
incident, so long popular, have lost much of their charm. They
have been crowded out by better books and personal interests in
the young people themselves."

Mr. Foster of the Public Library, Providence, R. I., has sent an
account in detail of his work among pupils and teachers, which
may be thus condensed: Soon after the opening of the library, in
1878, he held a conference with the grammar-school masters of the
city, and through them met the other teachers. He printed for the
use of pupils a list of suggestions, some of the most important
of which were summed up in the following words: "Begin by basing
your reading on your school text-books;" "Learn the proper use of
reference-books;" "Use imaginative literature, but not
immoderately;" "Do not try to cover too much ground;" "Do not
hesitate to ask for assistance and suggestions at the library;"
"See that you make your reading a definite gain to you in some

Mr. Foster soon gained influence among the teachers by personally
addressing them, and began to publish annotated lists of books
for young readers. A reading hour was established in the public
schools, and pupils learned to give in their own language the
substance of books which they had read. Mr. Foster says: "Our
plans were by no means limited to the public schools, but
included Brown University, the Rhode Island State Normal School,
the Commercial College, the private schools for girls, and the
two private boys' schools preparatory for college, one of which
has ten teachers and some two hundred and fifty pupils. One
morning I met the boys of this school in their chapel, and gave
them a twenty minutes' talk on reading, particularly on the
question how to direct one's current reading, as of newspapers,
into some channel of permanent interest and value. Since my
address before the teachers of the State (published in the papers
and proceedings of the Rhode Island Institute of Instruction for
1880) we have had many calls for assistance from outside the
city, from teachers in the high schools and grammar schools of
other places. In 1878 I began the preparation of a bulletin of
new books, issued quarterly by the State Board of Education, and
there have been several instances of a series of references in
connection with school-work. In July, 1880, I sent to the
different teachers a series of suggestions about the reading of
their pupils, covering such points as preserving a record of the
books read, books not being read and returned at too frequent
intervals, and the inspection of these matters by the teacher, or
rather establishing communication between the teacher and pupil
so that these things shall be talked over." Finding-lists have
been checked for the schools, appeals have been made by Mr.
Foster in public addresses for supervision of children's reading
by teachers and parents, and duplicate copies of books have been
placed in the library for school use. In conclusion, Mr. Foster
adds: "There has been a gradual and steady advance in methods of
cooperation and mutual understanding, so that now it is a
perfectly understood thing, throughout the schools, among
teachers and pupils, that the library stands ready to help them
at almost every point."

Mrs. Sanders, of the Free Public Library, Pawtucket, R. I.,
writes: "I am circulating by the thousand Rev. Washington
Gladden's 'How and What to Read,' published as a circular by the
State Board of Education of Rhode Island. I am constantly
encouraging the children to come to me for assistance, which they
are very ready to do; and I find that after boys have had either
a small or a full dose of Alger (we do not admit 'Optic'), they
are very ready to be promoted to something more substantial--
Knox, Butterworth, Coffin, Sparks, or Abbott. I find more
satisfaction in directing the minds of boys than girls, for
though I may and generally do succeed in interesting them in the
very best of fiction, it is much more difficult to draw them into
other channels, unless it is poetry. I should like very much to
know if this is the experience of other librarians. My aim is
first to interest girls or boys according to their ability to
enjoy or appreciate, and gradually to develop whatever taste is
the most prominent. For instance, I put on the shelves all
mechanical books for boys; works upon adornments for
homes--painting, drawing, music, aids to little housekeepers,
etc., for the girls."

Mr. Fletcher, of the Watkinson Library, Hartford, Conn., says, in
a recent address on the public library question in its moral and
religious aspect: "Many of our public libraries beg the whole
question, so far as it refers to the youngest readers, by
excluding them from the use of books. A limit of fourteen or
sixteen years is fixed, below which they are not admitted to the
library as its patrons. But, in some of those more recently
established, the wiser course has been adopted of fixing no such
limitation. For, in these times, there is little probability that
exclusion from the library will prevent their reading. Poor,
indeed, in resources must be the child who cannot now buy, beg,
or borrow a fair supply of reading of some kind; so that
exclusion from the library is simply a shutting up of the boy or
girl to the resources of the home and the book-shop or newspaper.
A slight examination of the literature found in a majority of
homes and most prominent in the shops is enough to show what this
means, and to explain the fact, that the young persons first
admitted to the public library at fourteen years of age come to
it with a well-developed taste for trash and a good acquaintance
with the names of authors in that department of literature, but
with apparently little capacity left for culture in higher

Mr. Winchester, of the Russell Free Library, Middletown, Conn.,
said in his report, last January: "A departure from the ordinary
rules governing the use of the library has been made in favor of
the teachers in the city schools, allowing a teacher to take to
the school, a number of books upon any topic which may be the
subject of study for the class for the time, and to retain them
beyond the time regularly allowed." In a letter three months
later he writes, "I cannot trace directly to this arrangement any
change in the reading of young folks. We have taken a good deal
of pains to get good books for the younger readers, and I make it
a point to assist them whenever I can. I feel quite sure that, if
trash is shut out of the library and withheld from young readers,
and, if good and interesting books are offered to them, they will
soon learn not to care for the trash."

Mr. Bassett, of the Bronson Library, Waterbury, Conn., says in
his printed report: "The librarian can do a little towards
leading young book-borrowers towards the selection of proper
books, but it does not amount to much unless his efforts are
seconded by parents and teachers. It is of little use, I fear, to
appeal to parents to look after their children's reading. It is
possible that they do not know that, in not a few cases, boys and
girls from eight to sixteen years of age, even while attending
school, draw from three to six volumes a week to read, and often
come for two volumes a day. That they fail to realize the effects
of so much reading on their children's minds is evident when we
hear them say, and with no little pride, too, 'Our children are
great readers; they read all the time.' Such parents ought to
know that instead of turning out to be prodigies of learning,
these library gluttons are far more likely to become prodigious
idiots, and that teachers find them, as a rule, the poorest
scholars and the worst thinkers." He adds an appeal to teachers:
"Give out questions that demand research, and send out pupils to
the library for information if necessary, and be assured that a
true librarian enjoys nothing so much as a search, with an
earnest seeker, after truths that are hidden away in his books.
Do not hesitate even to ask questions that you cannot answer, and
rely upon your pupils to answer them, and to give authorities,
and do not be ashamed to learn of your pupils. Work with them as
well as for them. But, whatever else you do, do not waste your
time in urging your pupils to stop story-reading and to devote
their time to good books. A parent can command this, you cannot;
but you can make the use of good books, and the acquisition of
knowledge not found in books, attractive and even necessary, and
your ability to do this determines your real value as a teacher.
Your work is to change your earth-loving moles into eagle-eyed
and intelligent observers of all that is on, in, above, and under
the earth." Mr. Bassett writes that as a result of this appeal
there was in November, December, January, and February, an
increase of nineteen (19) per cent in the circulation of general
literature, science, history, travel, and biography, and a
decrease in juveniles of ten (10) per cent for January and
February, 1882, as compared with the same months of 1881, For the
first nineteen days of March the increase of the classes
first-named was thirty-seven (37) per cent over last year, and
the decrease in juvenile fiction twenty-seven (27) per cent. He
ends his letter: "As a school officer and acting school visitor,
I find that those teachers whose education is not limited to
textbooks, and who are able to guide their pupils to full and
accurate knowledge of subjects of study, are not only the best,
but the only ones worth having."

Mr. Rogers, of the Fletcher Free Library, Burlington, Vermont,
says: "I have withdrawn permanently all of Alger, Fosdick,
Thomes, and Oliver Optic. I have for some time past been making
the teachers in the primary schools my assistants without pay. I
give them packages of books to circulate among their respective
schools. Very good results have been obtained. The Police Gazette
and other vile weeklies have been discarded for books from the
Fletcher Library. Most of the young folks are not old enough to
draw at the library themselves, and this method has to be used,
as in many instances the parents will not or cannot draw books
for their children. Each teacher has a copy of Mr. Smart's
excellent book, 'Reading for Young People.' Such books as are in
our collection are designated in their copies."

The New York Free Circulating Library is quietly doing good by
the establishment of carefully selected branch libraries in the
poorest and most thickly settled parts of the city In the words
of the last report: "The librarian has been constantly instructed
to aid all readers in search of information, however trivial may
be the subject, and, while the readers are to have free scope in
their choice of books, librarians have attempted, when they
properly could do so, free from seeming officiousness, to suggest
books of the best character, and induce the cultivation of a good
literary taste." Miss Coe, the librarian, adds, "Boys will read
the best books, if they can get them."

Mr. Schwartz, of the Apprentices' Library, New York, says: "We
are always ready and willing to direct and advise in special
cases, but have not as yet been able to come across any general
plan that seemed to us to promise success. The term 'good
reading' is relative, and must vary according to the taste of
each reader, and it is just this variety of standards that seems
to present an unsurmountable obstacle to any general and
comprehensive system of suggestions."

Miss Bullard, of the Seymour Library, Auburn, N. Y., reports a
decrease in fiction from sixty-five (65) to fifty-eight (58) per
cent in the last five years. She says: "I have endeavored, year
by year, to gain the confidence of the younger portion of our
subscribers in my ability to always furnish them with interesting
reading, and have thus been able to turn them from the domain of
fiction into the more useful fields of literature. Another
noticeable and encouraging feature of the library is the
increasing use made of it by pupils in the high school in
connection with school-work."

Mr. Larned, of the Young Men's Library of Buffalo, N. Y., writes:
"I think the little catalogue is doing a great deal of good among
our young readers and among parents and teachers. We exert what
personal influence we can in the library, but there are no other
special measures that we employ." The catalogue, a carefully
chosen list of books for young readers, with stars placed against
those specially recommended, includes, besides books mentioned in
other letters, the Boy's Froissart and King Arthur, Miss Tuckey's
Joan of Arc, Le Liefde's Great Dutch Admirals, Eggleston's Famous
American Indians, Bryan's History of the United States, Verne's
Exploration of the World, Du Chaillu's books, What Mr. Darwin
Saw, Science Primers, Faraday's Chemical History of a Candle,
Smiles's Biographies, Clodd's Childhood of the World, Viollet Le
Duc's Learning to Draw, Dana's Household Book of Poetry, Uncle
Remus, Sir Roger de Coverley, several pages on out and in door
games, hunting and fishing, with plenty of myths and fairy tales,
an annotated selection of historical novels, and a short list of
good stories.

The Friends' Free Library, Germantown, Pa., still excludes all
fiction except a few carefully chosen stories for children. The
report of the committee says: "Our example has been serviceable
in stimulating some other library committees and communities to
use more discrimination in their selection of books than may have
been the case with them in the past. From our own precious
children we would fain keep away the threatening contamination,
if in our power to do so, the divine law of love to our neighbor
thence instructs us to use the opportunity to put far away the
evil from him also." The representatives of the religious Society
of Friends for Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware, have
published during the year a protest against demoralizing
literature and art, taking the ground that the national standard
of moral purity is lowered, and the sanctity of marriage
weakened, by most of the books, pictures, and theatrical
exhibitions of to-day.

The current report of the Cincinnati public schools gives a full
account of the celebrations of authors' birthdays in the last two
years, and the superintendent, the Hon. John B. Peaslee, LL.D.,
in an address on moral and literary training in school, urges
that the custom, so successfully begun, shall be kept up, and
that children in all grades of schools shall be required to learn
every week a few lines of good poetry, instead of choosing for
themselves either verse or prose for declamation. Mr. Merrill
asks in his last report for coooperation between the school and
the library, and says in a letter: "I read a paper some time ago
which was published in a teachers' magazine, and have addressed
our Cincinnati teachers. We purchased a number of the catalogues
of the Young Men's Library of Buffalo, and have written in our
corresponding shelf numbers. A few of our teachers have also
obtained these catalogues. I judge that the children are
beginning to take out better books than formerly. The celebration
of authors' days in the schools has been very beneficial in
making the children acquainted with some of the best literature
in the libraries as well as with the use of books of reference."

Miss Stevens, of the Public Library, Toledo, Ohio, says: "We are
fond of children, and suggest to them books that they will like.
Give a popular boy a good book, and there is not much rest for
that book. Librarians should like children."

Mr. Poole, of the Chicago Public Library, writes: "I have met the
principals of the schools, and have addressed them on their
duties in regulating the reading of their pupils, and advising
their pupils as to what to read and how to read. My talk has
awakened some interest in the teachers, and a committee has been
appointed to consider what can be done about it."

Mr. Carnes, of the Odd Fellows' Library Association, San
Francisco, fires this shot in his report: "Even the child knows
that forbidden fruit is the sweetest on the branch. If you wish
to compel a boy to read a given book, strictly forbid him even to
take it from the shelves. The tabooed books will somehow be
secured in spite of their withdrawal."

Mr. Metcalf, of the Wells School, Boston, who told at the
conference of 1879 of his work in encouraging a love for good,
careful, and critical reading, writes: "My girls have bought
Scott's Talisman, and we have read it together. I have now sent
in a request for forty copies of Ivanhoe. My second class have
read, on the same plan, this year, Mrs. Whitney's We Girls, and
the third class have finished Towle's Pizarro, and are now
reading Leslie Goldthwaite. The City Council refused, last year,
to appropriate the $1,000 asked for. When we have the means, all
our grammar and high school masters will be able to order from
the library such books as are suited to their classes. This plan
introduces the children to a kind of reading somewhat better than
would otherwise reach them, and, best of all, it gives them great
facility in expression."

Hartford, which has now no free circulating library, but hopes
for one within two years, still keeps the old district system of
schools, and several of these schools have a library fund. Mr.
Barrows, principal of the Brown School, writes: "Our library
contains the usual school reference-books. Recently we have added
quite a number of books especially adapted to interest and
instruct children, such as The Boy Travellers, Miss Yonge's
Histories, Butterworth's Zigzag Journeys, Forbes's Fairy
Geography, etc. The children are not permitted to take these
books away from the building. Pupils are invited to bring such
additional facts in geography, or history, as they may obtain by
reading. Topics are assigned. Should spices be the topic, one
pupil would read up concerning cloves; another nutmeg, etc.
Again, pupils are allowed to make their own selections, and
invited to give, at a specified time, any facts in geography,
history, natural science, manufactures, inventions, etc. For
this extra work extra credits are given. Our object is to cause
pupils to realize the conscious and abiding pleasure that comes
by instructive reading; to encourage such as have not been
readers to read, and to influence such as have been readers of
trash to become readers of profitable books. The result, so far,
is very encouraging. Many have become enthusiastic readers, and
can give more facts and information thus obtained than we have
time to hear. As the Christmas holidays approached, many
signified a desire that their presents might be books, such as we
have in our library; for they do not have time at school to
exhaust the reading of these books, and consequently do not lose
their interest."

Within the last few months Mr. Northrop, Secretary of the Board
of Education of Connecticut, has distributed in the high schools
and upper classes of the grammar schools of the State, blanks to
be filled by the pupils with the kind of reading that they like
best, and the names of their favorite authors. Several hundred of
these circulars were destroyed when the Hartford High School was
burned last winter. The publication of a list of books suitable
for boys and girls has been delayed, but Mr. Holbrook, of the
Morgan School, Clinton, Conn., who prepared the list, writes
concerning his work in school: "I have the practical disbursement
of three or four hundred dollars a year for books. In the high
school, in my walks at recess among the pupils, I inquire into
their reading, try to arouse some enthusiasm, and then, when the
iron is hot, I make the proposition that if they will promise to
read nothing but what I give them I will make out a schedule for
them. A pupil spending one hour, even less, a day, religiously
observing the time, will, in five years, have read every book
that should be read in the library. Those who agree to the above
proposition I immediately start on the Epochs of History, turning
aside at proper times to read some historical novel. When that is
done I give them Motley, then Dickens, or Prescott, or Macaulay,
Hawthorne, Thackeray, Don Quixote. Cooper I depend on as a lure
for younger readers. When they have read about enough (in my
opinion), I invite them to go a little higher. Whenever they come
to the office and look helplessly about, I immediately jump up
from my work, and, solving the personal equation, pick out two or
three books which I think adapted first to interest, and then
instruct. I try to welcome their appearance, assuring them that
the books are to be read, urging the older ones to read carefully
and with thought. Some I benefit; others are too firmly wedded to
their idols, Mrs. Holmes and Southworth. Finally, it is my aim to
send them away from school with their eyes opened to the fact
that they have, the majority, been reading to no purpose; that
there are better, higher, and nobler books than they ever dreamed
of. Of course I don't always accomplish this; but he who aims at
the sun will go higher than one aiming at the top of the barn."

A commission of sixteen ladies was appointed last year, by the
Connecticut Congregational Club, to select and print a catalogue
of books for Sunday Schools. During the year it has examined one
hundred and eighty-four, almost all reprints of well-known books,
and has selected one hundred. At least one annotated
Sunday-School catalogue was prepared before the appointment of
the commission, directing the attention of children to such books
as Tom Brown's School Days and Higginson's Young Folks' Book of
American Explorers, and of older readers to Stanley's Jewish
Church, Martineau's Household Education, Robertson's Sermons,
Sister Dora, Hypatia, Charles Kingsley's Life, and Atkinson's
Right Use of Books.

The conclusions to which these opinions, from libraries and
schools in ten different States, lead us, are these: 1. The
number of fathers and mothers who directly supervise their
children's reading, limiting their number of library books to
those which they themselves have read, and requiring a verbal or
written account of each before another is taken, is small.

2. The number of teachers who read and appreciate the best books,
or take pains to search in libraries for those which illustrate
lessons, or are good outside reading for the pupils, is also

3. The high schools, normal schools, and colleges are every year
sending out young men and women with little knowledge of books
except text-books and poor novels.

4. In towns and cities with free libraries, much may be and has
been done by establishing direct communication between libraries
and schools, making schools branch libraries.

5. This can be done only by insisting that teachers in such towns
and cities shall know something of literature, and by refusing to
grant certificates to teachers who, in the course of an hour's
talk, do not show themselves well enough informed to guide
children to a love of good books. The classes now reading under
Mr. Metcalf's direction in Boston, or celebrating authors' days
and the founding of their own state in Cincinnati, will be, in a
few years, the teachers, the fathers, or the mothers of a new
generation, and the result of their reading may be expected to
appear in the awakened intelligence of their pupils and children.

6. Daily newspapers may be used with advantage in schools to
encourage children to read on current events and to verify

7. Direct personal intercourse of librarians and assistants with
children is the surest way of gaining influence over them. Miss
Stevens, of Toledo, has put the secret of the whole matter, so
far as we are concerned, into four words: "Librarians should like
children." It may be added that a librarian or assistant in
charge of circulation should never be too busy to talk with
children and find out what they need. Bibliography and learning
of all kinds have their places in a library; but the counter
where children go needs no abstracted scholar, absorbed in first
editions or black-letter, but a winsome friend, to meet them more
than halfway, patiently answer their questions, "and by slow
degrees subdue them to the useful and the good."


Miss Hewins made a later report on the same subject [see the
previous article] in a paper presented before the World's Library
Congress in 1893. In this paper, given below, she has summarized
several of the early yearly reports made at the meetings of the
A. L. A., all of which are of great interest as a record of the
work of various libraries.

In the Government report on libraries, 1876, the relation of
public libraries and the young was treated by Mr. W. I. Fletcher,
who discussed age-restrictions, direction of reading, choice of
books, and incidentally the relation of libraries to schools,
referring to librarians and trustees as "the trainers of gymnasts
who seek to provide that which will be of greatest service to
their men." The report was suggestive, and called for several
radical changes in the usual management of libraries. No
statistics were given, for none had been called for, and the
number of libraries which were working in the modern spirit was
not large. Mr. Green, in his paper at the Philadelphia
conference of 1876 (L. j. 1: 74), gave some suggestions as to how
to teach school boys and girls the use of books, and in one or
two of the discussions the influence of a librarian on young
readers was noticed, but the American Library Association did not
give much time to the subject till the Boston conference of 1879,
when a whole session was devoted to schools, libraries, and
fiction (L. j. 4:319), the general expression of opinion being
similar to the formula expressed in the paper by Miss Mary A.
Bean, "Lessen the quantity and improve the quality." In 1881, Mr.
J. N. Larned, of the Buffalo Young Men's Library, issued his
pamphlet, "Books for young readers." The report on "Boys' and
girls' reading" which I had the honor of making at the Cincinnati
conference of 1882 has answers from some 25 librarians to the
question "What are you doing to encourage a love of good reading
in boys and girls?" (L. j. 7:182.) Several speak of special
catalogs or bulletins, most of personal interest in and
friendship with young readers. One writes, "Give a popular boy a
good book, and there is not much rest for that book. Librarians
should like children." It was in 1883 that, by the suggestion and
advice of our lamented friend, Frederick Leypoldt, I published a
little classified pamphlet, "Books for the young." In January of
the same year the Library Journal began a department of
"Literature for the young," which was transferred at the end of
the year to the Publishers' Weekly, where it still remains. The
report on the subject, made for the Buffalo conference by Miss
Bean, is on the same lines as the former one, with the addition
of the experience of some smaller libraries. She says, "I believe
the Lynn library has hit a fundamental truth, and applied the
sovereign remedy, so far as the question concerns public
libraries, in its 'one-book-a-week' rule for pupils of the

Miss Hannah P. James's report at the Lake George conference in
1885 (L. j. 10:278) sums up the information received from 75
sources in some suggestions for work in connection with school
and home, suggesting the publication of book lists in local
papers, supervision of children's reading if authority is given
by parents, and the limitation of school children's book to one
or two a week. At the St. Louis conference of 1889 Miss Mary
Sargent reported on "Reading for the young" (L. j. 14:226), One
librarian fears that lists of books prepared for boys and girls
will soon become lists to be avoided by them, on account of young
people's jealous suspicion of undue influence. Sargent's
"Reading for the young" was published just after the White
Mountain conference of 1890, and the subject was not discussed in
San Francisco in 1891 or at Lakewood in 1892 except in relation
to schools.

The Ladies' Commission on Sunday school books is at least five
years older than the American Library Association. It has done
good service in printing lists of books specially adapted to
Unitarian Sunday schools, others unfitted for them only by a few
doctrinal pages or sentences, and a third class recommended as
household friends on account of their interests, literary value,
and good tone. The Church Library Association stands in the same
relation to Episcopal Sunday schools, recommending in yearly

1. Books bearing directly on church life, history, and doctrine.

2. Books recommended, but not distinctly church books.

The Connecticut Ladies' Commission has, at the request of the
Connecticut Congregational Club, published since 1881 several
carefully chosen and annotated lists.

The National Young Folks' Reading Circle, the Chautauqua Young
Folks' Reading Union, and the Columbian Reading Union, the latter
a Catholic society, the others undenominational, have published
good lists for young readers. The Catholic Church also recommends
many recent stories for children which have no reference to
doctrines or differences in belief.

One hundred and fifty-two out of 160 libraries have answered the
following questions:

1. Are your children's books kept by themselves?

2. Are they classified, and how?

3. Have they a separate card catalog or printed finding list?

4. Are they covered?

5. Do you enforce rules with regard to clean hands?

6. Have you an age limit, and if so, what is it?

7. Do you allow more than one book a week on a child's card?

8. Are children's cards different in color from others?

9. What authors are most read by children who take books from
your library?

10. What methods have you of directing their reading? Have you a
special assistant for them, or are they encouraged to consult the
librarian and all the assistants?

11. Have you a children's reading room?

Seventy-seven reply to the first question that their children's
books are kept by themselves, 22 that stories or other books are
separate from the rest of the library, and 53 that there is no
juvenile division.

Three answer simply "Yes" to the second question, 24 have adopted
the Dewey system, in two or three cases with the Cutter author
marks, 4 the Cutter, and 1 the Linderfelt system; 10 arrange by
authors, 18 by subjects, 4 by authors and subjects, 42 report
methods of their own or classification like the rest of the
library, and 46 do not classify children's books at all.

In answer to the third question, 6 libraries report both a
separate card catalog and finding list, 43 a finding list for
sale or distribution, 15 a card catalog for children, and 88 no
separate list. Of the printed finding lists 4 are Sargent's, 1
Larned's, 2 Hardy's, and 2 Miss James's.

The fourth question relates to covering books for children.
Eighty-five libraries do not cover them, 30 cover some, either
those with light bindings or others that have become soiled and
worn, 35 cover all, and 2 do not report.

In reply to the fifth question, 45 libraries require that
children's hands shall be clean before they can take books from
the library, or at least when they use books or periodicals in
the building, and 50 have no such rules. Others try various
methods of moral suasion, including in one instance a janitor who
directs the unwashed to a lavatory, and in another a fine of a
few cents for a second offense.

The sixth question, whether there is an age limit or not, brings
various replies. Thirty-six libraries have none, five base it on
ability to read or write, one fixes it at 6, one at 7, and one
at 8. Ten libraries allow a child a card in his own name at 10,
two at 11, forty-seven at 12, six at 13, thirty-three at 14, four
at 15, and six at 16. They qualify their statements in many cases
by adding that children may use the cards of older persons, or
may have them if they bring a written guarantee from their
parents or are in certain classes in the public schools.

Question 7 deals with the number of books a week allowed to
children. Ninety-five libraries allow them to change a book every
day; one (subscription) gives them a dozen a day if they wish.
Fifteen limit them to two, and 3 to three a week, and 16 to only
one. Several librarians in libraries where children are allowed a
book a day express their disapproval of the custom, and one has
entered into an engagement with her young readers to take 1 book
in every 4 from some other class than fiction. Others do not
answer definitely. A few libraries issuing two cards, or two-book
cards, allow children the use of two books a week, if one is not
a novel or story.

Question 8 is a less important one, whether children's cards are
of a different color from others. There is no difference between
the cards of adults and children in 124 libraries, except in case
of school cards in 2. In 4 the color of cards for home use
varies, and 4 report other distinctions, like punches or
different charging slips. Eight do not charge on cards and 12 do
not answer.

With regard to question 9, "What authors are most read by
children who take books from your library?" the lists vary so
much in length that it is impossible to give a fair idea of them
in in few sentences. Some libraries mention only two or three
authors, others ten times as many. Miss Alcott's name is in more
lists than any other. Where only two or three authors are given,
they are usually of the Alger, Castlemon, Finley, Optic grade.
These four do not appear in the reports from 35 libraries, where
Alden, Ballantyne, Mrs. Burnett, Susan Coolidge, Ellis, Henty,
Kellogg, Lucy Lillie, Munroe, Otis, Stoddard, and various fairy
tales fill their places. Seven are allowing Alger, Castlemon,
Finley, and Optic to wear out without being replaced, and soon
find that books of a higher type are just as interesting to young

Question 10 asks what methods are used in directing children's
reading, and if a special assistant is at their service, or if
they are encouraged to consult the librarian and all the
assistants. Many librarians overconscientiously say, "No
methods," but at the same time acknowledge the personal
supervision and friendly interest that were meant in the query.
Only nine do not report something of this kind. Six have, or are
about to have, a special assistant, or have already opened a
bureau of information. Five say that they pay special attention
to selecting the best books, 4 of the larger libraries have open
shelves, and 2 are careful in the choice and supervision of

In answer to question 11, 5 report special reading rooms, present
or prospective, for children; 3 more wish that they had them,
while others believe that the use of a room in common with older
readers teaches them to be courteous and considerate to others.
Most reading rooms are open to children, who sometimes have a
table of their own, but in a few cases those under are excluded.

My own opinion on the subjects treated in the questions are:

1. It is easier for a librarian or assistant to find a book for a
child if whatever is adapted to his intelligence on a certain
subject is kept by itself, and not with other books which may be
dry, out of date, or written for a trained student of mature

2. It is easier to help a child work up a subject if the books
which he can use are divided into classes, not all alphabeted
under authors.

3. A separate card catalog for children often relieves a crowd at
the other cases. A printed dictionary catalog without notes does
not help a child.

A public library can make no better investment than in printing a
classified list for children, with short notes on stories
illustrating history or life in different countries, and
references to interesting books written for older readers. Such a
list should be sold for 5 cents, much less than cost.

4. The money spent in paying for the paper and time used in
covering books is just as well employed in binding, and the
attractive covers are pleasant to look at.

5. The books can be kept reasonably clean if children are made to
understand that they must not be taken away, returned, or if
possible, read with unwashed hands. City children soon begin to
understand this if they are spoken to pleasantly and sent away
without a book till they come back in a fit state to handle it.

6. As soon as a child can read and write he should be allowed to
use books. A proper guarantee from parent or teacher should, of
course, be required.

7. A child in school cannot read more than one story book a week
without neglecting his work. If he needs another book in
connection with his studies he should take it on a school
teacher's, or nonfiction card.

8. It is best, if a child has only one book a week, for his card
to be of a different color from others, that it may be more
easily distinguished at the charging desk.

9. It has been proved by actual experiment that children will
read books which are good in a literary sense if they are
interesting. New libraries have the advantage over old ones, that
they are not obliged to struggle against a demand for the boys'
series that were supplied in large quantities fifteen or twenty
years ago.

10. As soon as children learn that in a library there are books
and people to help them on any subject, from the care of a sick
rabbit to a costume for the Landing of the Pilgrims, they begin
to ask advice about their reading. It is a good thing if some of
the library assistants are elder sisters in large families who
have tumbled about among books, and if some of the questions
asked of applicants for library positions relate to what they
would give boys or girls to read. If an assistant in a large
library shows a special fitness for work with children, it is
best to give it into her charge. If all the assistants like it,
let them have their share of it.

11. The question of a children's reading room depends on the size
of the room for older readers, and how much it is used by them in
the afternoons. Conditions vary so much in libraries that it is
impossible for one to make a rule for another in this case.


The Library Journal for February, 1914, says: "One of the
pleasantest features of 'Library week' at Lake George in 1913 was
the welcome given to Miss Hewins, that typical New England woman,
whose sympathy with children and child life has made this
relation of her public library work a type and model for all who
have to do with children.... Miss Hewins's paper was really a
delightful bit of literary autobiography, and she has now happily
acceded to a request from the Journal to fill out the outlines
into a more complete record."

Not long ago I went into the public library of a university town
in England and established confidence by saying, "I see that
Chivers does your binding," whereupon the librarian invited me
inside the railing. A boy ten or twelve years old was standing in
a Napoleonic attitude, with his feet very far apart, before the
fiction shelves, where the books were alphabetized under authors,
but with apparently nothing to show him whether a story was a
problem-novel or a tale for children. My thoughts went back many
years to the days when I first became the librarian of a
subscription library in Hartford, where novels and children's
stories were roughly arranged under the first letter of the
title, and not by authors. There was a printed catalog, but
without anything to indicate in what series or where in order of
the series a story-book belonged, and it was impossible when a
child had read one to find out what the next was except from the
last page of the book itself or the advertisements in the back
and they had often been torn out for convenient reference.

My technical equipment was some volunteer work in a town library,
a little experience in buying for a Sunday-school library, and
about a year in the Boston Athenaeum. The preparation that I had
had for meeting children and young people in the library was,
besides some years of teaching, a working knowledge of the books
that had been read and re-read in a large family for twenty-five
years, from Miss Edgeworth and Jacob Abbott, an old copy of
"Aesop's fables," Andersen, Grimm, Hawthorne, "The Arabian
nights," Mayne Reid's earlier innocent even if unscientific
stories, down through "Tom Brown," "Alice in Wonderland," Our
Young Folks, the Riverside Magazine, "Little women," to Scott,
Dickens, Thackeray, George Eliot, Charlotte Bronte and Mrs.
Gaskell. These books were in the Hartford Young Men's Institute,
but they were little read in comparison with the works of the
"immortal four," who were then writing series at the rate of two
or more volumes a year--Optic, Alger, Castlemon and Martha
Finley--and still refuse to be forgotten. The older girls
demanded Ouida, a new name to me, but I read some of her novels
before I had been in the library many weeks, and remember writing
a letter to a daily paper giving an outline of the plot of one of
them as a hint to fathers and mothers of what their schoolgirl
daughters were reading. I think that there was something about
boys, too, in the letter, and a plea for "Ivanhoe" and other
books of knightly adventure.

The Young Men's Institute Library in Hartford was a survival from
the days of subscription libraries and lecture courses. The city
had then a population of about fifty thousand, of whom some five
or six hundred were subscribers to the library, paying three
dollars for the use of one book at a time or five dollars for
two, including admission to the periodical room. Hartford had a
large number of Irish inhabitants, some Germans, a few of whom
were intelligent and prosperous Jews, a few French Canadians,
possibly still fewer Scandinavians. It was several years before
the first persecution of the Russian and Polish Jews sent them to
this country. In the year when I came, 1875, there were
forty-six boys and girls in the high school graduating class,
all, from their names and what I know of some of them, apparently
of English descent, except one whose name is Scotch.

The class which was graduated last June had about 650 members on
entering, and 250 at the end of its course. Among the names are
Italian, Hebrew, Swedish, Irish, German, Danish, Spanish,
Bohemian, Armenian--the largest percentage from families not of
English descent being Hebrew.

It is fair to say that at least half of the boys and girls of the
earlier graduating class, or their families, had library
subscriptions, but little use of the library was recommended even
by the high school teachers, and none by the teachers of the
graded schools. How could there be? Five dollars is a large sum
in most families, and children at that time had to read what they
could get at home or from the Sunday-school libraries, which were
no better nor worse than others of the period.

The first effort that I remember making for a better choice of
books was showing the library president some volumes by Thomes, a
writer for the older boys, whose stories were full of profanity
and brutal vulgarity. There was no question about discarding them
and some of Mayne Reid's books like "The scalp hunters" and "Lost
Lenore," which are much of the same type, very different from his
earlier stories, and in a short time we did not renew books by
some other authors, but let them die out, replacing them if
possible by stories a little better, giving preference to those
complete in themselves.

Within a short time, in 1878, we began to publish a quarterly
bulletin. In the first number "Library notes" begins: "Much time
and thought have been given to suggesting in this bulletin good
books for boys and girls. As a rule, they read too much. Our
accounts show that one boy has taken 102 story-books in six
months, and one girl 112 novels in the same time. One book a week
is certainly enough, with school studies. Within the last month
one boy has asked us for Jack Harkaway's stories, another for
bound volumes of the Police News, and a third for 'The murderer
and the fortune teller,' 'The two sisters and the avenger' and
'The model town and the detective.' These are not in the library
and will not be. The demand for girls for the New York Weekly
novels is not small. We shall gladly cooperate with fathers and
mothers in the choice of children's books."

Of what we now call nature-books there were very few written or
well illustrated for children, though the library had John
Burroughs, Harris's "Insects injurious to vegetation" and
Samuels's "Birds of New England and the adjacent states." There
was little interest in out-of-door study, and I have never
forgotten the contempt on the face of one boy when instead of
Mayne Reid's "Boy hunters," which was out, he was offered "The
butter- fly hunters," or the scorn with which he repeated the
title. All that is changed, thanks to the influence of schools
and teachers, and children are no longer ignorant of common birds
and insects. St. Nicholas helped in opening their eyes, when a
librarian, Harlan H. Ballard, of Pittsfield, organized the
Agassiz Association with a monthly report in the magazine. We had
a chapter, Hartford B., that met for years out of doors on
Saturday mornings through the spring, early summer and autumn,
and even through one winter when some specimens of the redheaded
woodpecker were on the edge of the city. Usually our winter
meetings were in the library, and we often had readings from
Burroughs, Thoreau, Frank Buckland and others of the earlier
nature-lovers. The children came from families of more than usual
intelligence, and some of them who now have well-grown children
of their own often refer with pleasure to our walks and talks.

I had taught for three years in a school where the children and I
were taken out of doors every week in spring and autumn by an
ornithologist and an entomologist. At this time we were beginning
to buy more books on out-of-door subjects, and I had learned
enough in my teaching to be able to evaluate them in a bulletin.

The years went on, with once in a while an encouraging report
about a boy who had made experiments from works on chemistry or
beguiled a fortnight's illness with Wordsworth's "Greece," or
Guhl and Koner's "Life of the Greeks and Romans," or had gone on
from Alger and Optic to Cooper, Lossing, Help's "Life of
Columbus" and Barber's "History of New England." Both boys and
girls were beginning to apologize for taking poor stories.

In one of our bulletins, January, 1881, is an acknowledgment of
Christmas material received from the advance sheets of Poole's
Index, then in preparation in the Watkinson Library, on the other
side of the building. Imagine life in a library without it, you
who have the Readers' Guide and all the debates and Granger's
Index to Poetry and the Portrait Index! Nevertheless, we were not
entirely without printed aids, for we had the Brooklyn catalog,
the Providence bulletins, and the lists of children's books
prepared by the Buffalo and Quincy libraries.

In 1882, at the request of Frederick Leypoldt, editor of the
Publishers' Weekly, I compiled a list of "Books for the young,"
some of which are of permanent value. In a second edition, in
1884, I reprinted from our bulletin a list of English and
American history for children, between twelve and fifteen, based
on my own experience with boys and girls. I can laugh at it now,
after years of meeting child-readers, seventy-five per cent of
whom have no books at home, and can also find food for mirth in
my belief that a list of books recommended for vacation reading
in another bulletin would attract most boys and girls under

One school, under a wise and far-seeing principal, who is now an
authority on United States history and the author of several
school books on the subject, had in 1884 an arrangement with us
for a supply of historical stories for reading, and we printed a
list of these and of other books on American history which would
be interesting if read by or to the older pupils in the grammar

Sets of fifty copies each of books for supplementary reading in
school were bought by the library in 1894, and apportioned by the
school principals at their monthly meetings. Several new sets
were bought every year till 1905, when the collection numbered
about three thousand, and was outgrowing the space that we could
spare for it. The schools then provided a place for the school
duplicates, and relieved the library of the care of them. Since
1899 the graded schools have received on request libraries of
fifty books to a room, from the third grade to the ninth, to be
kept until the summer vacation, when they are returned for
repairs and renewal. The number circulated during the school
year has grown from 6,384 in 1899-1900 to 17,270 in 1912-13. The
children's applications are sent to the main library, and no
child may have a card there and in a school branch at the same

There were rumors for several years that the library would be
made free, and when it was at last announced in 1888 that
$250,000 had been given by the late J. Pierpont Morgan, his
father and two families related to them, on condition that
$150,000 more should be raised by private subscription to remodel
the Wadsworth Athenaeum, which then housed three libraries and a
picture- gallery, and to provide for its maintenance, the rumor
bade fair to come true. That the money came in, is largely due to
the personal efforts of Charles Hopkins Clark, editor-in-chief of
the Hartford Courant, for many years treasurer of the Athenaeum,
the Watkinson Library and the Hartford Public Library, and the
sum required was promised in 1890. Later the library offered the
free use of its books, and also the income of about $50,000 to
the city, on condition of keeping its form of government by a
self-perpetuating corporation.

The first step towards the enlarged use of the library was to
separate the children's books and classify them. We had had a
fixed location up to that time, and I had not yet broken loose
from it, but I numbered them according to the best light I had,
though in a very short time I saw that with the increased number
of duplicates we had to buy, only a movable location was of the
least practical use. It was several years before the Dewey
classification was finally adopted for the children, although we
classified our grown-up books by it before we opened to the

When the library became free, in 1892, the annual circulation of
children's books rose at once to 50,000, 25 per cent of the
whole, and as large as the largest total in the subscription
days. We immediately had to buy a large supply of new books,
carefully chosen, and printed a too fully annotated list, which
we found useful for some years and discarded when we were able to
open the shelves. We had only a corner for children's books,
almost none for children under ten, and no admission to the
shelves. We struggled on as well as we could for the next few

A dialogue between a reader and the librarian in 1897 shows what
we were trying to do at this time. It is really true, and
illustrates the lack of knowledge in one of the most intelligent
women in the city of the many points of contact between the
library and the boys and girls of the city.

Reader: "There ought to be somebody in the library to tell
people, especially children, what to read."

Librarian: "Have you ever seen the children's printed list, with
notes on books connected with school work, and others written for
older readers but interesting to children, hints on how and what
to read, and a letter R against the best books?"

Reader: "No, I never heard of it."

Librarian: "It was ready the day after the library opened, was
sold for five cents, and the first edition of a thousand copies
was exhausted so soon that a second had to be printed. Have you
ever heard of the lists of interesting books in connection with
Greek, Roman and English history given to high school pupils' or
the records kept for years by the North School children of books
which they have read, and sent to the librarian to be commented
on and criticised in an hour's friendly talk in the school room,
or the letters written on the use of the library by pupils in the
other schools?"

Reader: "No."

Librarian: "Have you ever seen the lists of good novels for boys
and girls growing away from books written for children and also a
list of interesting love-stories for readers who have heard of
only a few authors?"

Reader: "No."

Librarian: "Have you ever noticed the printed lists of new books,
with notes, hung on the bulletin board every Monday?"

Reader: "No."

Librarian: "Do you know that the library has twelve hundred
volumes of the best books by the best authors, fifty of each, for
use in the public schools?"

Reader: "No."

The library opened in 1895 a branch for children in the Social
Settlement, and in 1897 reading rooms in connection with vacation
schools, established by the Civic Club and afterwards taken in
charge by the city.

The Educational Club, an organization of parents, teachers and
others interested in education, began in 1897 with very informal
meetings, suggested by the school section of the Civic Club,
which were held in my office for three years, until they outgrew
it and needed a more formal organization. The directors of the
Civic Club and managers of the Social Settlement have met there
for years, and the Connecticut Public Library Committee found it
a convenient meeting place until it seemed better to hold
sessions in the Capitol, where its office is.

The history classes of the North School, of whose principal I
have spoken, used to make a pilgrimage every year to points of
interest in the city, ending with an hour in the rooms of the
Historical Society in the building, where they impersonated
historical characters or looked at colonial furniture and
implements. After the hour was over they used to come to the
office for gingerbread and lemonade, which strengthened their
friendly feeling for the library. This lasted until the
principal went to another city.

In 1898, in a talk to some children in one of the schools just
before the summer vacation, I asked those who were not going out
of town to come to the library one afternoon every week for a
book-talk, with a tableful of books such as they would not be
likely to find for themselves. The subjects the first year were:

Out-of-door books and stories about animals, Books about Indians,
Travellers' tales and stories of adventure, Books that tell how
to do things, Books about pictures and music, A great author and
his friends (Sir Walter Scott), Another great author and his
short stories (Washington Irving), Old-fashioned books for boys
and girls. The talks have been kept up ever since.

The series in 1900 was on Books about knights and tournaments,
what happened to a man who read too much about knights (Don
Quixote), Books about horses, Two dream-stories, (The divine
comedy and The pilgrim's progress), Some funny adventures (A
traveller's true tale and others), Some new books, How a book is
made, Stories about India, Pictures and scrap-books.

The next year, 1901, the talks were about stories connected with
English history, the Old-English, the Normans, the Plantagenet
times, King Henry V., the Wars of the Roses, King Henry VII, and
King Henry VIII, Queen Elizabeth and Mary, Queen of Scots, the
Stuarts, and the English Revolution and eighteenth- century

The year after, 1902, the talks were on "Books that you have not
read," under the titles Sea stories, Indian stories, Horse
stories, Wonder stories, Hero stories, African stories, South Sea
stories, School and college stories, Old stories. A table of
books was in the room, and I took them up one by one and told a
little about the story, sometimes reading aloud and stopping at a
very interesting point.

In 1903, the subjects were Stories about dragons, Stories about
soldiers, Stories about shipwrecks, Stories about out-of- doors,
Stories of real people told by themselves, Stories about
adventures, Stories about pictures, Stories about the West, the
object being to give the children of the upper grammar grades a
glimpse into interesting books of which they might otherwise
never hear. In that year we printed a list of novels for young
readers that is now ten years old and needs revision, but still
has its uses.

The use of the reference-room by children steadily increased,
until the need of a room for them became evident, both on
weekdays and Sundays. The Bulletin for March 1, 1900, says: "On
Sunday, Feb. 25, there were eighty-one children in the small
room, filling not only chairs too high for their short legs, but
benches extending into the circulation room. They were all quiet
and orderly, and some of them read seriously and absorbedly for
several hours on 'The twentieth century,' 'The boundaries of the
United States,' and 'The comparative greatness of Napoleon and
Alexander.' The younger children read storybooks in the same
quiet manner. A children's room would relieve the pressure on all
three departments of the library." The "last straw" that led to
the grant of rooms was a newspaper article illustrated by a
photograph of the reference-room on a Sunday afternoon with one
man, one woman and fifty-one children in it.

In 1904, the library came into possession of two large, bright
sunny rooms and a smaller one adjoining in an old-fashioned house
next door, which belonged to the Athenaeum and had been released
by the removal of the Hartford Club to a large new house across
the street. We opened rooms in November, just before
Thanksgiving, and from then till New Year's Day we received gifts
from many friends: a pair of andirons for the open fireplace,
several pictures, a check "for unnecessary things" from one of
the women's clubs, another for wall-decoration from teachers,
students and graduates of the Albany Library School, fifty
Japanese color-prints of chrysanthemums from the Pratt Institute
children's room, a cuckoo clock that is still going, though it
demands a vacation about once a year, and a Boston fern that is
now in flourishing condition. A large Braun photograph of the
Madonna del Granduca came later from the Pittsburgh School for
Children's Librarians.

The furniture is of the simplest kind. We used some tables that
we had, and bought one new one, some bentwood chairs for the
older children and others such as are used in kindergartens for
the younger. Pratt Institute lent us that first winter the very
attractive illustrations by the Misses Whitney for Louisa
Alcott's "Candy country." Some friends who were breaking up
housekeeping gave the room a case of native and foreign stuffed
birds with the hope that they might be as great a source of
pleasure to the children as they had been to them in their
childhood. Another friend sent us two trunks of curiosities from
Europe, Asia, Africa and North America, which are shown a few at
a time.

The next summer, 1905, the book-talks were about pictures in the
room, most of which had been bought with our friends' gifts.
Windsor Castle, Kenilworth, Heidelberg Castle, The Alhambra, St.
George, King Arthur, Sir Walter Scott, the Canterbury Pilgrims,
some Shakespeare stories. On the Alhambra afternoon, a girl who
had spent her first year out of college in Spain described the
palace and showed curiosities from Granada. One day a Civil War
nurse who happened in was persuaded to tell the boys and girls in
the room about the three weeks she spent in the White House,
taking care of Tad Lincoln through a fever. Some years later we

Book of the day:
Facebook Google Reddit StumbleUpon Twitter Pinterest