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Library Work with Children by Alice I. Hazeltine

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"So long as the uses of the imagination in creative work are so
little comprehended by the great majority of men, it can hardly
be expected that its practical uses will be understood. There is
a general if somewhat vague recognition of the force and beauty
of its achievements as illustrated in the work of Dante, Raphael,
Rembrandt and Wagner; but very few people perceive the play of
this supreme architectural and structural faculty in the great
works of engineering, or in the sublime guesses at truth which
science sometimes makes when she comes to the end of the solid
road of fact along which she has traveled. The scientist the
engineer, the constructive man in every department of work uses
the imagination quite as much as the artist; for the imagination
is not a decorator and embellisher, as so many appear to think;
it is a creator and constructor. Wherever work is done on great
lines or life is lived in field of constant fertility, the
imagination is always the central and shaping power."

I would have liked in this over-lengthy, but yet fragmentary
survey of the field from the viewpoint of the library, to say
something of the mistakes which have perhaps been made, and which
may still be made unguardedly by reason of over-zeal whereby the
relationship of the work to other things may be ignored or
misunderstood; of the danger that over-strong consciousness as to
possession of high ideals may dictate too urgent use of books
that may have literary style, but do not reach the heart of the
boy--driving him to the comic supplement and to the dregs of
print for his reading hours. These, and other comments must be
left for another occasion.

I would also have liked to say something of the history of work
with children in libraries, but Miss Josephine Rathbone has told
the story fully and well. In that history, when it shall be
written a quarter century hence, it will be fitting to give full
meed of honor to Samuel Sweet Greene, Edwin H. Anderson, Mrs. H.
L. Elmendorf, Miss Frances J. Olcott, Miss Linda A. Eastman and
some of the other splendid women of the profession whose presence
here precludes the mention of their names.

So, too, I would have liked to give the result, statistically, of
an inquiry, which the helpful kindness of Miss Faith E. Smith,
chairman of this section, has enabled me to make. It must suffice
here to limit the statement to a brief summary that shows less
what has been accomplished than what remains to be attempted:

There are in the United States to-day approximately 1,500 public
libraries containing each more than 5,000 volumes. The number
reporting children's work is 525, with a total of 676 rooms
having an aggregate seating capacity of 21,821, and an available
combined supply of 1,771,161 volumes on open shelves. The number
of libraries in which story hours are held is 152, and 304 report
work with schools. Of course, this work is pitifully meager as to
many libraries. The number of children who come more or less
under the direct influence of children's librarians is generously
estimated as 1,035,195 (103 libraries, including all the large
systems reporting). There are in the United States of children
from 6 to 16 years of age, approximately thirty-three millions.

Behind the work of the children's librarians there is a fine
spirit of optimism--not blind to difficulties, but courageous,
ardent and hopeful.

Disregarding ridicule, which is but a cheap substitute for wit;
regardful of criticism, which is often provocative or promotive
of improvement, inspired with the dignity of their high calling,
and with a fine vision that projects itself into the future, the
librarians engaged in the work with children willingly give
thereto the finest and the best of personality that they possess.
Descriptive of their spirit, we may aptly paraphrase the words of
a great humanitarian of our own generation:

"Some there are, the builders of humanity's temples, who are
laboring to give a vast heritage to the children of all the
world. They build patiently, for they have faith in their work.

"And this is their faith--that the power of the world springs
from the common labor and strife and conquest of the countless
age of human life and struggle; that not for a few was that labor
and that struggle, but for all. And the common labor of the race
for the common good and the common joy will bring that fulness of
life which sordid greed and blighting ignorance would make

And you have the faith of the builders.


The function of library work with children as a factor in
community life is further shown in the following articles. This
function includes, in the minds of the writers, a recognition
that the chief aim in education is character building; the
necessity of the careful selection of books for all classes of
children; the understanding of the personal relationship of the
child to the library; the development of a sense of ownership on
the part of the child; the possibility of being a factor in the
assimilation of the foreign element of the population; and the
realization that all are workers in a common cause, thus bringing
encouragement and inspiration.


One of the sessions of the Children's librarians section of the
A. L. A. meeting at Minnetonka in 1908 was given up to the
discussion of the place of children's library work in the
community. The library point of view was presented by Miss Moore.

Annie Carroll Moore was born in Limerick, Maine, and was
graduated from Limerick Academy in 1889 and Bradford Academy in
1891. After completing her work in the Pratt Institute Library
School in 1896 she became children's librarian in the Pratt Free
Library where she remained until 1906. She then organized the
children's department in the New York Public Library, of which
she is still supervisor. Miss Moore has lectured on library work
with children and has contributed many articles on the subject to
library periodicals.

Fifteen years ago the Minneapolis public library opened a
children's room from which books were circulated. Previous to
1893 a reading room for children was opened in the Brookline
(Mass.) public library but the Minneapolis public library was the
first to recognize the importance of work with children by
setting aside a room for their use with open shelf privileges and
with a special assistant in charge of it.

Since 1893 children's rooms and children's departments have
sprung up like mushrooms, all over the country, and first in
Pittsburg, then in Brooklyn, Cleveland, Philadelphia, New York
City and Queens Borough, children's rooms in branch libraries
have been organized into departments from which a third, at
least, of the entire circulation of the libraries is carried on
by assistants, either trained or in training to become children's

It has been the inevitable accompaniment of such rapid growth
that the work should suffer growing pains in the form of
criticism and even caricature at the hands of casual observers
and clever writers. Those of us who have been identified with the
movement since its inception have somehow managed to preserve our
faith in a survival of the fittest by remembering that there was
a time when everything was new, and have felt that if we could
keep a firm grip on the active principles which inspire all
successful work with children, whether it is the work of a small
independent library or that of a large system of libraries, our
labor was not likely to be lost. The children, the books and
ourselves are the three elements to be combined and the success
of the combination does not depend upon time, nor place, nor
circumstance. It depends upon whether we have a clear vision of
our surroundings and are able to adapt ourselves to them, a
growing appreciation of the value of books to the persons who
read them, and the power of holding the interest and inspiring
the respect and confidence of children.

If we can do all these things for a period of years we have
little need to worry about the future success of the work. The
boys and girls will look after that. In many instances they have
already begun to look after it and the best assurance for the
future maintenance of free libraries in America rests with those
who, having tried them and liked them during the most
impressionable years of their lives, believe in the value of them
for others as well as for themselves to the extent of being ready
and willing to support them.

In passing from a long and intimate experience in the active work
of a children's room in an independent library to the guidance of
work in the children's rooms of a system of branch libraries, a
great deal of thought has been given to deepening the sense of
responsibility for library membership by regarding every form of
daily work as a contributory means to this end.

The term "library membership" is a survival of the old
subscription library but it defines a much closer relationship
than the terms "borrower" or "user" and broadens rather than
restricts the activities of a free library by making it seem more
desirable to "belong to the library" than to "take out books."

It is the purpose of this paper to present in outline for
discussion such aspects of the work as may help to substantiate
the claim of its ambitious and perhaps ambigious title: Library
Membership as a Civic Force.

1. Our first and chief concern is with the selection of books and
right here we are confronted by so many problems that we might
profitably spend the entire week discussing them.

In general, the selection of books for a children's room which is
seeking to make and to sustain a place in the life of a community
should offer sufficient variety to meet the needs and desires of
boys and girls from the picture book age to that experience of
life which is not always measured by years nor by school grade
but is tipified by a Jewish girl under 14 years old, who, on
being asked how she liked the book she had just read, "Rebecca of
Sunnybrook Farm," said to the librarian, "It's not the kind of
book you would enjoy yourself, is it?", and on being answered in
the affirmative, tactfully stated her own point of view: "Well,
you see it is just this way, children have their little troubles
and grown people have their great troubles. I guess it's the
great troubles that interest me." We have been quick to recognize
the claim of the foreign boy or girl who is learning our language
and studying our history but we are only just beginning to
recognize the claims of those, who, having acquired the language,
are seeking in books that which they are experiencing in their
own natures. Human nature may be the same the world over, but
there is a vast difference in its manifestations between the ages
of ten and sixteen in a New England village or town and in a
foreign neighborhood of one of our large cities.

The selection of adult books in all classes, especially in
biography, travel, history and literature is too limited in the
children's rooms of many libraries and should be enlarged to the
point of making the shelves of classed books look more like those
of a library and less like those of a school room. Titles in
adult fiction should include as much of Jane Austen as girls will
read and an introduction to Barrie in "Peter Pan" and the "Little
Minister." "Jane Eyre" will supply the demand for melodrama in
its best form, while "Villette," and possibly "Shirley," may
carry some girls far enough with Charlotte Bronte to incline them
to read her life by Mrs. Gaskell. William Black's "Princess of
Thule" and "Judith Shakespeare" will find occasional readers.
"Lorna Doone" will be more popular, although there are girls who
find it very tedious. There should be a full set of Dickens in an
edition attractive to boys and girls. A complete set of the
Waverly novels in a new large print edition, well paragraphed and
well illustrated, with the introductions left out and with
sufficient variation in the bindings to present an inviting
appearance on the shelves would lead, I believe, to a very much
more general reading of Scott.

Conan Doyle's "Adventures of Sherlock Holmes," "The Refugees,"
"The White company," "Micah Clarke" and "At the Sign of the four"
will need no urging, nor will Dumas' "Count of Monte Cristo,"
"The Three guardsmen" and "The Black tulip." "Les Miserables" and
"The Mill on the Floss" will fully satisfy the demand for "great
troubles," treated in a masterly fashion. We should include
Thackeray's "Henry Esmond," "The Newcomes" and "The Virginians";
Bulwer's "Last Days of Pompeii," "Harold," "Rienzi" and "The Last
of the barons"; Charles Kingsley's "Westward Ho," "Hereward the
Wake" and "Hypatia"; Charles Reade's "Cloister and the hearth,"
"Peg Woffington," "Foul play" and "Put yourself in his place";
Besant's "All sorts and conditions of men" and "The Children of
Gibeon"; Wilkie Collins' "The Moonstone" and "The Woman in white"
as many of Robert Louis Stevenson's stories as will be read
"Cranford" and "The Vicar of Wakefield" with the Hugh Thomson
illustrations; Miss Mulock's "John Halifax," "A Noble life," "A
Brave lady" and "A Life for a life"; Lever's "Charles O'Malley"
and "Harry Lorrequer", Lew Wallace's "Ben Hur" and "The Fair
god"; Stockton's "Rudder Grange," "The Casting away of Mrs. Lecks
and Mrs. Aleshine" and "The Adventures of Captain Horn"; Mrs.
Stowe's "Uncle Tom's cabin" and "Oldtown folks"; Howells' "Lady
of the Aroostook," "A Chance acquaintance," "The Quality of
mercy" and "The Rise of Silas Lapham"; Gilbert Parker's "Seats of
the mighty" and "When Valmond came to Pontiac"; Paul Leicester
Ford's "The Honorable Peter Stirling"; Richard Harding Davis'
"Van gibber," "Gallagher," "Soldiers of fortune" and "The Bar
sinister"; Rider Haggard's "King Solomon's mines" and "Allen
Quartermain"; Weir Mitchell's "Hugh Wynne", Marion Crawford's
"Marietta", "Marzio's crucifix", and "Arethusa"; Kipling's "The
Day's work", "Kim" and "Many inventions" and, if they have been
removed as juvenile titles, I think we should restore "Tom
Sawyer" and "Huckleberry Finn" under the head of adult fiction.

Other titles will be freely and frequently used in a children's
room, which is taking into active account the interests of its
users and is seeking to establish a genuine taste for good
reading which will not be abandoned later on as artificial or
forced. In general, the principle of selection should be to
provide the best standard novels in order that the boys and girls
who go out from the children's room may know what good novels are
and so much of modern fiction as shall serve to give the
collection the appearance of being interesting and up to date
without lowering the standard of that taste for good reading
which is the chief purpose in shelving such a collection in a
children's room. The presence of the books is good for the
children's librarian as well as for the children and it goes
without saying that she must be familiar with them if she is to
use them intelligently.

The point to stop in the purchase of books designed for
supplementary reading is with the smallest number that will meet
the active demands which are not met by REAL books. We may well
stop with the third book in most cases of purchase of books in
sets. Does anybody know whether informational readers on the
shelves of a children's room leads to genuine interest in the
subject so presented? To quote one boy's opinion of nature
readers, "The nature you get in books is the most disinteresting
subject there is." The cheapness of these publications has led to
a larger duplication of them in libraries than seems desirable
for the best interests of the work. We need in place of them such
books, with certain modifications in treatment, as were indicated
by Dr. Stanley Hall in his recent and very suggestive address on
Reading as a factor in the education of children (Library
Journal, April, 1908). Most of all do we need a series of books
which will put foreign children and their parents in touch and in
sympathy with the countries from which they came by spirited
illustrations in color of street scenes, festivals and scenes
from home life accompanied by simple direct statements and with
translations of such stories and poems as may aid in making and
keeping the impressions of their country vivid and lasting. There
has been a rising wave of production of primers and first reading
books during the past five years. Some libraries have
experienced a primer craze and it becomes exceedingly difficult
to decide which ones to buy and bow freely to duplicate them.
Primers and "easy books" have a use for children who are learning
to read but too free a use of them may be one of the influences
responsible for that lack of power of sustained attention and
limitation in vocabulary which is frequently shown by boys and
girls from twelve to fourteen years old.

The edition in which a book for children appears is a matter of
very much greater importance than is realized by those who view
the work from a distance. It is not purely an aesthetic
consideration. It has a very practical bearing on whether the
book will be read or not and libraries which have the least money
to spend should be most careful to spend it for books in editions
which are attractive to children.

2. The only thoroughly successful means of securing respect and
good care of library books is for libraries to maintain higher
standards of excellence in respect to intelligent repairing and
binding, to discard promptly a book which is to any extent
mutilated or which is so soiled as to make it seem unwarrantable
to ask a boy to wash his hands before touching it. The books on
the circulating shelves should be the most attractive part of a
children's room. That it is possible to make and to keep them so
is not a theory but a demonstrable fact. Three years ago a branch
library was opened in one of the poor districts of a large city.
The usual problems in the discipline of individuals and of gangs
were present. Many of the new books were soiled, others were
mutilated and several were missing at inventory taking. The
librarian believed the moral lesson conveyed to children by
training them to take care of library books to be one of the
first requirements of good citizenship. She determined that no
boy or girl should be able to say: "I took it that way", in
returning a soiled or mutilated book. In order to carry out her
ideas to a successful issue it has been necessary for her to
inspire her entire staff with a sense of the value of such
training and to impress upon them that careful handling of books
by library assistants is the first requisite to securing like
care on the part of the children. Every book is examined at the
time it is returned and before it is placed on the shelves it is
given such repair as it may need. By careful washing, skillful
varnishing and by the use of a preparation for removing grease
spots many books are given an extended turn of service without
lowering the standards established. Paper covers are provided as
wrappers on rainy days and on sticky days. Such care of books
requires time and sustained interest but I believe that it pays
in the immediate as well as in the future results, when grown
into men and women, the boys and girls who were taught this first
lesson in citizenship will look back upon it with feelings of
respect and satisfaction.

The cost to the library is less in expenditure for books and for
service. The library mentioned affords direct evidence that loss
of books by theft is very largely controlled by such simple means
provided the means are consciously and consistently related to
the larger end of regarding the property rights of others. It is
interesting to note that three-fourths of its membership has been
sustained during the three years.

3. In dealing with large numbers of children of foreign parentage
it is evident that we need to define their relationship to the
library more clearly than we have done as yet. Quite frequently
they do not distinguish between the building and the books and
refer to the latter as "taking libraries". Now "taking a library"
home is a very different matter from playing a part in the life
of a civic institution and the parents as well as the boys and
girls are quick to feel a difference which they are not always
able to express in words. Quite early in my experience this was
brought home to me by a visit from the mother of a Jewish boy who
had been coming to the children's room for about a year. She came
on a busy Saturday afternoon and after looking about the room
seated herself near the desk while the boy selected his books. As
Leopold always tested the interest of several books before
committing himself to a choice the visit lasted the entire
afternoon. When they were ready to go she explained why she had
come. She had been curious to discover for herself, she said,
what it was Leopold got from the Library that made him so much
easier to get on with at home. He had grown more thoughtful of
his younger brothers and sisters, more careful of his books and
other belongings and more considerate of his mother. "I wouldn't
have him know the difference I see," she continued, "but he told
me you were always asking him to bring me here and I made up my
mind to come and see for myself and I have.

"These children are learning how to BEHAVE in PUBLIC as well as
how to choose good books and I think it comes from the feeling
they have of belonging to the Library, and being treated in the
way they like, whether they are as young as my Simon, who is six
years old, or as old as Leopold, who will be fourteen next month.
If they were all boys of Leopold's age it would be the same as it
is at school; but having the younger ones here makes it more as
it is at home."

Should it not be the plan and purpose of a children's room to
make every boy and girl feel at home there from the moment of
signing an application blank? Forms of application blanks and the
manner of registration differ in nearly every library. Whatever
form is used, personal explanation is always essential and it
does not seem worth while to advocate a simplified form for the
use of children. I believe there are very decided advantages in a
system of registration which requires the children to write their
own names in a book. The impression made upon their memories is
distinctly different and more binding than that made by writing
the name on a slip of paper and has frequently been of great
service in cases of discipline as the signature is headed by a
reminder of obligations:

"When I write my name in this book I promise to take good care of
all the books I read in the Library and of those I take home and
to obey the rules of the Library." Such a method of registration
is not impractical, even in a large library provided the work is
carefully planned to admit of it.

Recent inquiries and investigation show very convincingly that a
large proportion of parents, both foreign born and American, and
a considerable number of educators, social workers and persons
connected with libraries in England and in this country, have
exceedingly hazy ideas respecting the work public libraries are
doing for children. The issue of an admirable illustrated hand
book on "The Work of the Cleveland public library with children"
and the means used to reach them, should make clear to the latter
whatever has seemed vague or indefinite in the work.

But there are many parents in large cities and in manufacturing
towns, who cannot be induced to visit libraries and see for
themselves as Leopold's mother did, and they are frequently
averse to having their children go to a place they know nothing
about, believing that they are being drawn away from their school
tasks by the mere reading of story books. How is it possible to
stimulate their curiosity and interest to the point of making a
Library seem desirable and even necessary in the education of
their children to become citizens and wage earners? Printed
explanations and rules issued by libraries are either not read or
not understood by the majority of persons to whom they are
addressed. There is something very deadening to the person of
average intelligence about most printed explanations of library
work. Pictures which bring the work before people from the human
side might be more successful and I wish to submit an outline for
a pictorial folder designed to accompany an application blank to
the home of an Italian child.


In size it is five inches long and three inches wide. On the
outer cover appears a picture of the exterior of the library,
underneath the picture the name of the library, its location and
the hours it is open.

On the first page a picture of the children's room with this
inscription underneath:

Boys and Girls come here to read and to study their lessons for
school. Picture Books for little children.

On the second page a picture of the adult department, showing its
use and giving the information all foreigners seem desirous to

Men and Women come here to read and to study.

Books on the Laws and Customs of America.

Books, Papers and Magazines in Italian and other foreign

Books from which to learn to read English.

On the back of the cover these simple directions:


The use of the Library is Free to anyone who comes to Read or to
Study in its rooms.

If you wish to take Books home you must sign an application blank
and give the name and address of some one who knows you.

The information on the folder should be given in the language or
languages of the neighborhood in which the library is situated.

This folder was designed for a branch library in an Italian
neighborhood but a similar folder might be utilized in any
community provided the information is given in simple, direct
form and the pictures show the Library with people using it.

4. Joining the library is not all. However carefully and
impressively the connection is made we are all conscious of those
files of cards "left by borrower," which indicate that a
connection must be sustained if library membership is to prove
its claim as a civic force. There are those who regard a
restriction of circulation to one or two story books a week as a
desirable means to this end, believing that interest in reading
is heightened by such limitation. That many boys and girls read
too much we all know, but I am inclined to think that whatever
restriction is made should be made for the individual rather than
laid down as a library rule. Other libraries advocate a remission
of fines, at the same time imposing a deprivation in time of such
length that it would seem to defeat the chief end of the
children's room which is to encourage the reading habit. Children
who leave their cards for six months at a time are not likely to
be very actively interested in their library. There seem to be
three viewpoints regarding fines for children.

1. Children should be required to pay their fines as a lesson in
civic righteousness. Persons holding this view would allow the
working out of fines under some circumstances but regard the fine
as a debt.

2. Any system of fines is a wrong one, therefore all fines should
be remitted and some other punishment for negligence substituted.
Persons holding this view would deprive children of the use of
the library for a stated period.

3. A fine is regarded as slightly punitive and probably the most
effective means of teaching children to respect the rights of
others in their time use of books. Persons holding this view
would reduce the fine to one cent, wherever a fine is exacted and
would exercise a great deal of latitude in dealing with
individual cases, remitting or cutting down fines whenever it
seems wise to do so and imposing brief and variable time
deprivations of the use of the library rather than a long fixed

Whatever viewpoint is taken it will be necessary to remind
children constantly that by keeping their books overtime other
boys and girls are being deprived of the reading of them.

One of the most effective means of sustaining and promoting such
a sense of library membership as I have indicated is the
extension of reading-room work by placing on open, or on closed
shelves, if necessary, a collection of the best children's books
in the best editions obtainable, to be used as reading-room
books. Children may be so trained in the careful handling of
these books as to become very much more careful of their
treatment of the book they take home and the experiment is not a
matter of large expense to the library. The reading-room books
should never be allowed to become unsightly in appearance if they
are to do their full work in the room as an added attraction to
the children and as suggestive to parents, teachers and other
visitors who may wish to purchase books as gifts.

The value of a well conducted Story hour or Reading club as a
means of sustaining the library connection and of influencing the
spontaneous choice of books by boys and girls has not been fully
recognized because it has been only partially understood. There
are various methods of conducting Story hours and Reading clubs.
There are many differences of opinion as to whether the groups
should be large or small, differentiated by age or by sex,
whether the groups should be made up entirely of children or
whether an occasional adult may be admitted without changing the
relation between the story teller and the children. Those who
desire suggestion of material and specific information as to
method and practice will find much that is valuable and practical
in the publication of the Carnegie library of Pittsburg and in
the Handbook of the Cleveland public library. Those who are
seeking to place a Story hour in work already established will do
well to remember that it is a distinctly social institution and
as such is bound to be colored by the personality of its
originator whether she tells the stories herself or finds others
to carry out her ideas. Make your Story hour the simple and
natural expression of the best you have to give and do not
attempt more than you can perform. I believe the Story hour is
the simplest and most effective means of enlisting the interest
of parents and of stirring that active recollection of their own
childhood which leads to sharing its experiences with their
children. Folk tales told in the language his father and mother
speak should give to the child of foreign parentage a feeling of
pride in the beautiful things of the country his parents have
left in place of the sense of shame with which he too often
regards it. The possibilities in this field are unlimited if
wisely directed.

The value of exhibits depends upon the subject chosen and the
exercise of imagination, good taste and practical knowledge of
children's tastes in selecting and arranging the objects or
pictures. The subject must be one which makes an immediate appeal
to the passing visitor. There should not be too much of it and it
should not be allowed to remain too long in the room. A single
striking object is often more effective than a collection of
objects. Some interpretation of an exhibit in the form of
explanation or story is needed if the children are to become very
much interested in reading about a subject.

To those who believe that Story hours, Clubs, Exhibits, and
Picture bulletins are not "legitimate library work," I would say,
suspend your judgment until you have watched or studied the
visible effects of such work in a place where it is properly
related to the other activities of the library and to the needs
of the community in which it is situated. If by the presence of
an Arctic exhibit in an Italian and Irish-American non-reading
neighborhood an interest is stimulated which results in the
circulation and the reading of several hundred books on the
subject during the time of the exhibition and for months
afterward, the exhibit certainly seems legitimate.

5. Since it is true that social conditions, racial
characteristics and individuality in temperament enter very
actively into the problems of the care of children in libraries
and since it is also true that the books children read and the
care which is given to them in libraries are frequently
reflected in their conduct in relation to the School, the Church,
the Social settlement, the Playground, the Juvenile court and to
civic clubs as well as to the Home, a more enlightened
conception of the work of all these institutions is essential if
the Children's library is to play its full part in the absorption
of children of different nations into a larger national life.
This need is being recognized and partially met by lecture
courses and by the practice work of students in library training
schools but listening to lectures, reading, and regulated student
practice does not take the place of that spontaneous eagerness to
see for one's self, the social activities of a neighborhood or
town which makes a library in its town a place of living
interest. Librarians, en masse, in relation to other
institutions, stand in a similar position to that of the
representative of those institutions. On both sides a firsthand
knowledge of the aims and objects and methods of work of all the
forces at work in a given community and a perception of their
interrelationship is essential if we wish to do away with the
present tendency to duplicate work which is already being
carried on by more effective agencies. How far a library should
go in relating its work to that of other institutions it is
impossible to prescribe. The aim should be to make its own work
so clear to the community in which it is placed that it will
command the respect and the support of every citizen.


The second paper at the Minnetonka sectional meeting, mentioned
in the introduction to the preceding article, was presented by
Dr. Graham Taylor, Director of the Chicago School of Civics and
Philanthropy, who believes that "equally with the schools and
playgrounds, our library centers are essential to American
democracy." Dr. Taylor was born in Schenectady, N. Y., in 1851;
received the degree of A.B. from Rutgers College in 1870, and was
graduated from the Reformed Theological Seminary, New Brunswick,
N. J., in 1873. He has since been granted the honorary degrees of
D.D. and LL.D. From 1873 to 1892 he remained in the pastorale;
from 1888 to 1892 was Professor of Practical Theology in Hartford
Theological Seminary, and in 1892 became Professor of Social
Economics in the Chicago Theological Seminary. In 1894 he became
the founder and resident warden of the Chicago Commons Social
Settlement. Dr. Taylor is associate editor of the Survey.

The child is coming to be as much of a civic problem as it ever
has been a family problem. Upon the normality of its children the
strength and perpetuity of the state depend, as surely as the
dependency and delinquency of its children undermine the prowess
and menace the life of the state. The education and discipline,
labor and recreation of the child figure larger all the while in
our legislation and taxes, our thinking and literature.

Democracy, machine industry, immigration and child psychology
combine to make the child a new problem to the modern state and
city, especially in America. With the problems of the child's
normality and defectiveness, discipline and delinquency, work and
play, and its assimilation into the body politic, our towns and
cities, states and nation have been forced to deal. Hitherto we
have dealt far more with the negative and repressive aspects of
these problems than with any constructive ideal, purpose and
method respecting them. We have, for instance, paid more
attention to defective children than to the prenatal antecedents
and early conditions of child life. We have been too long
punishing juvenile delinquency without trying to help the
backward and wayward child. We have let young children work
without regard to the industrial efficiency of their whole life.
We are only beginning to share the attention we have paid to the
education of our children with the equally serious problem of
their recreation. We have been content merely with their physical
exercise and have been stupidly obtuse to awaking and satisfying
the pleasurable interest of the child in his play and the
organization of it. Where there have been an un-American fear of
immigration and feeling against the immigrant there has been all
too little effort put forth to assimilate the foreign elements of
our local population.

But we are coming to see that to prepossess is better than to
dispossess. Prevention is found to be a surer and cheaper solvent
of our child problems than punishment. The child's own resources
for self development and self mastery prove to be greater than
all the repressive measures to obtain and maintain our control
over him. Thus our very disciplinary measures have become saner
and more effective. No way-mark of our civilization registers
greater progress than our abandonment of the criminal procedure
against children and our adoption of the paternal spirit and
method of our juvenile courts and reformatory measures. To our
agencies for dealing with defectives and delinquents we have
added the kindergarten and all the kindred principles, methods
and instrumentalities of constructive work with children.

Chief among these is the use we are making of the child's
instinct for play and mental diversion as a means of building up
both the individual and the social life. Chicago has made the
discovery of the civic value of recreation centers for the play
of the people. Not since old Rome's circus maximus and the
Olympic games of Greece has any city made such provision for the
recreation of its people as is to be found in these great
playfields, surrounding the beautifully designed and well
equipped field houses, which at a cost of $12,000,000 of the tax
payers' money have been built in the most crowded districts of
Chicago. The recreation centers illustrate the civic opportunity
and value of library work with children. For the Chicago public
library was quick to see and seize the advantage thus offered to
serve the city. The delivery stations and reading rooms
established in these field houses are already recognized to be
the most useful of its centers to the child life of the city. The
organized volunteer cooperation of several groups of women has
added the story hour as a regular feature of the library work at
these playgrounds, and at two public school buildings where
similar stations are to be established in cooperation with the
Board of education. At the central library building the work in
the Thomas Hughes Young people's reading room has also been
successfully supplemented by the story hour appointments in a
large hall, with the same efficient cooperation.

The quick and large response given by the people to these civic
extensions of library service in every city and town where they
have been offered, demonstrates what a large field of usefulness
awaits public library enterprise and occupancy. But the
experiment has gone far enough to prove the absolute necessity of
having librarians especially trained for work with children; and
to that end, the addition of the position of children's librarian
to the classified civil service lists for which special
examinations are set.

Equally with the schools and playgrounds, our library centers are
essential to American democracy. All three are to be classed
together as our most democratic and efficient agencies for
training our people into their citizenship and assimilating them
into the American body politic. Nowhere are we on a more common
footing of an equality of opportunity than in the public schools,
the public playground and the public library.

The public school stands upon that bit of mother earth which
belongs equally to us all. The playground is open alike to all
comers. And the public library is not only as free and open to
all as to any of our whole people, but also confers citizenship
in that time-long, world wide democracy of the Republic of

The civic service thus democratically to be rendered by library
work with children is indispensably valuable. It may be made more
and more invaluable to any community by intelligent insight into
the needs of the people, and by the practical and prompt
application of library resources which are limited only by our
capacity, enterprise and energy to develop and apply them.


A broader idea of library work with children necessitates greater
knowledge of other agencies which work with them and a spirit of
willing cooperation on the part of the children's librarian. From
her experience in the city of Washington Miss Herbert contributed
the following article of The Library Journal. Clara Wells Herbert
was born in Stockbridge, Mass.; was a student in Vassar from 1894
to 1896; received a special certificate from the Training School
for Children's Librarians in 1904; was children's librarian in
the Brooklyn Public Library from 1904 to 1907, and since that
time has been the head of the Children's department in the Public
Library of the District of Columbia.

The children's departments of many city libraries are carrying on
a fine aggressive work and through branch children's rooms, close
work with schools, including deposits of books in classrooms,
deposits of books and story-telling in playgrounds, home
libraries and home visiting, are coming close to the children and
putting good books within their reach. Such work rests upon a
large staff and a generous appropriation. On the other hand, the
small town library has the advantage of informal relations with
its people and is a part of the various activities of the town.
Between these two types of libraries is a third. It is located in
a city too large for the helpful informal relations of the town
library. It cannot, on the other hand, carry on its own
aggressive work, for it is hampered by the smallness of its staff
and the meagerness of its appropriation.

To libraries of this sort the effecting of cordial relations with
other civic institutions is of the utmost importance. Upon it
depends largely the outside work of the library and a specialized
knowledge of conditions very essential for intelligent work.

Nor is the library the only one to profit by cooperation.

"I never thought of asking for help there," said a probation
officer recently when talking of her difficulties in keeping a
record of the use of the withdrawn books given to the court by
the library. Not more than we need the benefit of the intimate
personal knowledge of conditions of such workers, do they often
need the help the library stands ready and eager to give but
which they do not think to ask.

The work of the children's department should be then twofold in
purpose--to reach the children directly as far as possible, and
to establish such relations with other organizations as will
render it a vital interested force in the community, a place
where people will naturally turn for help along the line of its

Certain practices which have been found useful in effecting this
cooperation may be suggestive, but the basis of any satisfactory
relationship is interest and the desire to help and has its
beginnings in the children's room.

The children's librarian should keep always in mind that the city
is full of workers who, strong in the belief that the hope of the
future is in the children, are doing devoted work in their
behalf. Sooner or later they will visit the children's room and
the opportunity presents itself to know their particular line of
work. It is interesting to note in how many of such cases the
conversation contains something which may be applied with
advantage to the library's activities. At least, the visitor
receives the impression that the library assistant is interested
in any work done for children and, if at some future time a need
presents itself, turns to her for assistance.

This interest is also shown if the children's librarians attend
meetings or conferences held in behalf of children or from which
they may gather information on home conditions. Frequently there
are courses of lectures given by charity organizations or club
meetings of sociological workers where the problems of the city
are discussed.

Libraries having staff or apprentice meetings frequently invite
as speakers persons representing some particular phase of work,
and these occasions engender mutual interest. In other cases
librarians have added to their staffs former kindergartners and
charity workers that they might profit by their special training
and the knowledge of conditions gathered from their former

Much may be said of the undesirability of distributing withdrawn
books among institutions. But in libraries where the maintenance
of travelling collections is limited they afford perhaps the only
opportunity of reaching the children in orphanages, reform
schools and similar institutions. Such distributions should be
followed by visits to the institutions to talk, if possible, to
the children and to get an idea of their needs and tastes.

Collections of withdrawn books at the juvenile court are used by
the children while on probation and often after release, and by
the grown people of their families as well. In Cleveland the list
of official parents and paroled boys is furnished the library and
booklists and information about the nearest branch are sent them.
In Washington the library supplies the probation officers with
application blanks. When a child who has shown a taste for
reading is to be discharged the officer on the last visit to his
home takes the application blank and secures the parent's
signature. The child brings the application to the library,
obtains cards immediately and is helped in his selection of

The attendance or truant officers of the schools know home
conditions better than teachers. They have a general knowledge of
the city and the peculiarities of the different sections that is
most helpful in the selection of places for home libraries or
deposit stations. Their knowledge of the home life of troublesome
children will often throw light on difficult cases of discipline.

In Washington the attendance officer issues permits under the
child labor law. From this office may be secured a list of stores
and other places of employment for children. The library should
send notices to such buildings and place at the office
invitations to use the library to be distributed at the time the
permits for work are issued.

The Cleveland Public Library uses for a mailing list for
publications pertaining to children's work a card directory of
social workers. This directory gives the name, address and
connection of each individual and includes board members of set-
tlement houses, associated charities, visiting nurses'
associations, pastors and their assistants, of churches
conducting club work, and others similarly engaged. In some
cities this same information may be gathered from the published
directory of philanthropic agencies and their reports. Lists such
as those published by the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh,
"Stories to tell to children," "Books for reading circles,"
"Games," or lists made especially in connection with the
activities of a settlement, playground, etc., mailed to its club
workers attract them to the library.

Rainy days when the hours drag and the children cannot be out of
doors are good times to visit summer camps and vacation homes.
There may be an opportunity to tell stories or for a talk to the
children which, when their vacation is over, they are glad to

There are two special collections which it is well for the
children's department to have--one for the children and one for
grown people.

It should follow Newark's notable example in putting into form,
adapted for children's use, all the information regarding the
city, its institutions, historic spots, etc. The collection of
such material informs the assistants, attracts the cooperation of
those from whom the information is sought and by acquainting the
child with the manifold features of the life of the city, helps
to prepare him for intelligent citizenship.

It should collect, also, all material relative to the children of
the city. It should have reports of settlements, institutions,
summer camps and homes, day nurseries, work with foreigners,
mounted maps of the location of schools and playgrounds, copies
of the child labor law, compulsory education act, in fact, any
information obtainable about the conditions of the child life of
the city. Such material will draw interested people to the
library and thus open up opportunities for further cooperation.

Such are a few of the many ways in which the children's room may
be tied to other organizations working for children. Under the
varied conditions of different cities they develop indefinitely.
Only a few could be mentioned here. Even the work with schools
and playgrounds, the importance of which is generally
established, has not been included. As these relations grow
closer and closer the library's work broadens and deepens and the
realization that all are workers in a common cause brings
encouragement and inspiration for the daily task.


The "possibility and duty," on the part of the children's
library, of being a moral force in the community, was discussed
by Clara W. Hunt in a paper presented at the Narragansett Pier
Conference of the A. L. A. in 1906. Seven years later, at the
Kaaterskill Conference in 1913, Miss Hunt again considered the
influence of children's libraries as a civic force. This later
paper, representing more fully her point of view, and embodying
her later experience, is here reprinted.

Clara Whitehill Hunt was born in Utica, N. Y., in 1871. She was
graduated from the Utica Free Academy in 1889, and from the New
York State Library School in 1898. From 1893 to 1896 she was a
public school principal in Utica. She organized work with
children in the Apprentices' Library, Philadelphia, in 1898, and
had charge of it in the Newark, N. J., Free Public Library from
1898 to 1902. Since 1903 she has been Superintendent of the
Children's Department of the Brooklyn Public Library. Miss Hunt
has been a lecturer and contributor to magazines on children's
literature, library work with children and related topics, and
has published a book on "What shall we read to the children?"

You are probably familiar with the story of the man who, being
asked by his host which part of the chicken he liked best replied
that "he'd never had a chance to find out; that when he was a boy
it was the fashion to give the grown people first choice, and by
the time he'd grown up the children had the pick, so he'd never
tasted anything but the drumstick."

It will doubtless be looked upon as heresy for a children's
librarian to own that she has a deal of sympathy for the
down-trodden adult of the present; that there have been moments
when she has even gone so far as to say an "amen"--under her
breath--to the librarian who, after a day of vexations at the
hands of the exasperating young person represented in our current
social writings as a much-sinned-against innocent, wrathfully
exploded, "Children ought to be put in a barrel and fed through
the bung till they are twenty-one years old!"

During the scant quarter century which has seen the birth and
marvelous growth of modern library work with children, the "new
education" has been putting its stamp upon the youth of America
and upon the ideas of their parents regarding the upbringing of
children. And it has come to pass that one must be very bold to
venture to brush off the dust of disuse from certain old saws and
educational truisms, such as "All play and no work make Jack a
mere toy," "No gains without pains," "We learn to do by doing,"
"Train up a child in the way he should go," and so on.

Our kindergartens, our playground agitators, our juvenile courts,
our child welfare exhibits are so persistently--and rightly
--showing the wrongdoing child as the helpless victim of heredity
and environment that hasty thinkers are jumping to the conclusion
that, since a child is not to blame for his thieving tendencies,
it is our duty, rather than punish, to let him go on stealing;
since it is a natural instinct for a boy to like the sound of
crashing glass and the exercise of skill needed to hit a mark, we
must not reprove him for throwing stones at windows; because a
child does not like to work, we should let him play--play all the

The painless methods of the new education, which tend to make
life too soft for children, and to lead parents to believe that
everything a child craves he must have, these tendencies have had
their effect upon the production and distribution of juvenile
books, and have added to the librarian's task the necessity not
only of fighting against the worst reading, but against the third
rate lest it crowd out the best.

It is the importance of this latter warfare which I wish mainly
to discuss.

We children's librarians, in the past fifteen or twenty years,
have had to take a good many knocks, more or less facetious, from
spectators of the sterner sex who are worried about the
"feminization of the library," and who declare that no woman,
certainly no spinster, can possibly understand the nature of the
boy. Perhaps sometimes we are inclined to droop apologetic heads,
because we know that some women are sentimental, that they don't
all "look at things in the large," as men invariably do. In view,
however, of the record of this youthful movement of ours, we have
a right rather to swagger than to apologize.

The influence of the children's libraries upon the ideals, the
tastes, the occupations, the amusements, the language, the
manners, the home standards, the choice of careers, upon the
whole life, in fact, of thousands upon thousands of boys and
girls has been beyond all count as a civic force in America.

And yet, while teachers tell us that the opening of every new
library witnesses a substitution of wholesome books for "yellow"
novels in pupils' hands; while men in their prime remark their
infrequent sight of the sensational periodicals left on every
doorstep twenty years ago; while publishers of children's books
are trying to give us a clean, safe, juvenile literature, and
while some nickel novel publishers are even admitting a decline
in the sale of their wares; in spite of these evidences of
success, a warfare is still on, though its character is changing.

Every librarian who has examined children's books for a few years
back knows exactly what to expect when she tackles the
"juveniles" of 1913.

There will be a generous number of books so fine in point of
matter and makeup that we shall lament having been born too late
to read these in our childhood. The information and the taste
acquired by children who have read the best juvenile publications
of the past ten years is perfectly amazing, and those extremists
who decry the buying of any books especially written for children
are nearly as nonsensical as the ones who would buy everything
the child wishes.

But when one has selected with satisfaction perhaps a hundred and
fifty titles, one begins to get into the potboiler class--the
written-to-order information book which may be guaranteed to kill
all future interest in a subject treated in style so wooden and
lifeless; the retold classic in which every semblance to the
spirit of the original is lost, and the reading of which will
give to the child that familiarity which will breed contempt for
the work itself; the atrocious picture book modeled after the
comic supplement and telling in hideous daubs of color and
caricature of line the tale of the practical joker who torments
animals, mocks at physical deformities, plays tricks on parents,
teases the newlywed, ridicules good manners, whose whole aim, in
short, is to provoke guffaws of laughter at the expense of
someone's hurt body or spirit. There will be collections of folk
and fairy tales, raked together without discrimination from the
literature of people among whom trickery and cunning are the most
admired qualities; there will be school stories in which the
masters and studious boys grovel at the feet of the football
hero; in greater number than the above will be the stories
written in series on thoroughly up-to-date subjects.

I shall be much surprised if we do not learn this fall that the
world has been deceived in supposing that to Amundsen and Scott
belong the honor of finding the South Pole, or to Gen. Goethals
the credit of engineering the Panama Canal. If we do not discover
that some young Frank or Jack or Bill was the brains behind these
achievements, I shall wonder what has become of the ingenuity of
the plotter of the series stories--the "plotter" I say advisedly,
for it is a known fact that many of these stories are first
outlined by a writer whose name makes books sell, the outlines
then being filled in by a company of underlings who literally
write to order. When we learn, also, that an author who writes
admirable stories, in which special emphasis is laid upon fair
play and a sense of honor, is at the same time writing under
another name books he is ashamed to acknowledge, we are not
surprised at the low grade of the resulting stories.

With the above extremes of good and poor there will be quantities
on the border line, books not distinctly harmful from one
standpoint--in fact, they will busily preach honesty and pluck
and refinement, etc., but they will be so lacking in imagination
and power, in the positive qualities that go to make a fine book,
that they cannot be called wholly harmless, since that which
crowds out a better thing is harmful, at least to the extent that
it usurps the room of the good.

These books we will be urged to buy in large duplicate, and when
we, holding to the ideal of the library as an educational force,
refuse to supply this intellectual pap, well-to-do parents may be
counted upon to present the same in quantities sufficient to
weaken the mental digestion of their offspring beyond cure by
teachers the most gifted.

There are two principal arguments--so-called--hurled at every
librarian who tries to maintain a high standard of book
selection. One is the "I read them when I was a child and they
did me no harm" claim; the other, based upon the doggedly clung-
to notion that our ideal of manhood is a grown-up Fauntleroy,
infers that every book rejected was offensive to the children's
librarian because of qualities dangerously likely to encourage
the boy in a taste for bloodshed and dirty hands.

Now, in this day when parents are frantically protecting their
children from the deadly house fly, the mosquito, the common
drinking cup and towel; when milk must be sterilized and water
boiled and adenoids removed; when the young father solemnly bows
to the dictum that he mustn't rock nor trot his own baby-- isn't
it really matter for the joke column to hear the "did me no harm"
idea advanced as an argument? And yet it is so offered by the
same individual who, though he has survived a boyhood of mosquito
bites and school drinking cups, refuses to allow his child to
risk what he now knows to be a possible carrier of disease.

The "what was good enough for me is good enough for my children"
idea, if soberly treated as an argument in other matters of life,
would mean death to all progress, and it is no more to be treated
seriously as a reason for buying poor juvenile books than a
contention for the fetich doctor versus the modern surgeon, or
for the return to the foot messenger in place of electrical

It would be tactless, if not positively dangerous, if we
children's librarians openly expressed our views when certain
people point boastfully to themselves as shining products of
mediocre story book childhoods. So I would hastily suppress this
thought, and instead remind these people that, as a vigorous
child is immune from disease germs which attack a delicate one,
so unquestionably have thousands of mental and moral weaklings
been retarded from their best development by books that left no
mark on healthy children. In spite of the probability that there
are to-day alive many able-bodied men who cut their first teeth
on pickles and pork chops, we do not question society's duty to
disseminate proper ideas on the care and feeding of children.

Isn't it about time that we nailed down the lid of the coffin on
the "did me no harm" argument and buried the same in the depths
of the sea?

Another notion that dies hard is one assuming that, since the
children's librarian is a woman, prone to turn white about the
gills at the sight of blood--or a mouse--she can not possibly
enter into the feelings of the ancestral barbarian surviving in
the young human breast, but must try to hasten the child's
development to twentieth century civilization by eliminating the
elemental and savage from his story books.

If those who grow hoarse shouting the above would take the
trouble to examine the lists of an up-to-date library they might
blush for their shallowness, that they have been basing their
opinions on their memory of library lists at least twenty-five
years old.

We do not believe that womanly women and manly men are most
successfully made by way of silly, shoddy, sorry-for-themselves
girlhoods, or lying, swaggering, loafing boyhoods; and it is the
empty, the vulgar, the cheap, smart, trust-to-luck story, rather
than the gory one, that we dislike.

I am coming to the statement of what I believe to be the problem
most demanding our study today. It is, briefly, the problem of
the mediocre book, its enormous and ever-increasing volume. More
fully stated it is the problem of the negatively as the enemy of
the positively good; of the cultivation of brain laziness by
"thoughts-made-easy" reading. It is a republic's, a public school
problem, viz.: How is it possible to raise to a higher average
the lowest, without reducing to a dead level of mediocrity the
citizens of superior possibilities? Our relation to publisher and
parent, to the library's adult open shelves of current fiction
enter into the problem. The children's over-reading, and their
reluctance to "graduate" from juvenile books, these and many
other perplexing questions grow out of the main one.

I said awhile ago that the new education has had a tendency to
make life too soft for children, and to give to their parents the
belief that natural instincts alone are safe guides to follow in
rearing a child. I hope I shall not seem to be a good old times
croaker, sighing for the days when school gardens and folk
dancing and glee clubs and dramatization of lessons and beautiful
text-books and fascinating handicraft and a hundred other
delightful things were undreamed-of ways of making pleasant the
paths of learning. Heaven forbid that I should join the ranks of
those who carp at a body of citizens who, at an average wage in
America less than that of the coal miner and the factory worker,
have produced in their schools results little short of the
miraculous. To visit, as I have, classrooms of children born in
slums across the sea, transplanted to tenements in New York, and
to see what our public school teachers are making of these
children--the backward, the underfed, the "incorrigible," the
blind, the anaemic--well, all I can say is, I do not recommend
these visits to Americans of the stripe of that boastful citizen
who, being shown the crater of Vesuvius with a "There, you
haven't anything like that in America!" disdainfully replied,
"Naw, but we've got Niagara, and that'd put the whole blame thing
out!" For myself I never feel quite so disposed to brag of my
Americanism as when I visit some of our New York schools.

And yet, watching the bored shrug of the bright, well-born high
school child when one suggests that "The prince and the pauper"
is quite as interesting a story as the seventh volume of her
latest series, a librarian has some feelings about the lines-of-
least-resistance method of educating our youth, which she is glad
to find voiced by some of our ablest thinkers.

Here is what J. P. Munroe says: "Many of the new methods . . .
methods of gentle cooing toward the child's inclinations, of
timidly placing a chair for him before a disordered banquet of
heterogeneous studies, may produce ladylike persons, but they
will not produce men. And when these modern methods go as far as
to compel the teacher to divide this intellectual cake and
pudding into convenient morsels and to spoon-feed them to the
child, partly in obedience to his schoolboy cravings, partly in
conformity to a pedagogical psychology, then the result is sure
to be mental and moral dyspepsia in a race of milk-sops." How
aptly "spoon-fed pudding" characterizes whole cartloads of our
current "juveniles"!

Listen to President Wilson's opinion: "To be carried along by
somebody's suggestions from the time you begin until the time
when you are thrust groping and helpless into the world, is the
very negation of education. By the nursing process, by the
coddling process you are sapping a race; and only loss can
possibly result except upon the part of individuals here and
there who are so intrinsically strong that you cannot spoil

Hugo Munsterberg is a keen observer of the product of American
schools, and contrasting their methods with those of his boyhood
he says: "My school work was not adjusted to botany at nine years
because I played with an herbarium, and at twelve to physics
because I indulged in noises with home-made electric bells, and
at fifteen to Arabic, an elective which I miss still in several
high schools, even in Brookline and Roxbury. The more my friends
and I wandered afield with our little superficial interests and
talents and passions, the more was the straight-forward
earnestness of the school our blessing; and all that beautified
and enriched our youth, and gave to it freshness and liveliness,
would have turned out to be our ruin, if our elders had taken it
seriously, and had formed a life's program out of petty caprices
and boyish inclinations."

And Prof. Munsterberg thrusts his finger into what I believe to
be the weakest joint in our educational armor when he says, "As
there is indeed a difference whether I ask what may best suit
the taste and liking of Peter, the darling, or whether I ask what
Peter, the man, will need for the battle of life in which nobody
asks what he likes, but where the question is how he is liked,
and how he suits the taste of his neighbors."

What would become of our civilization if we were to follow merely
the instincts and natural desires? Yet is there not in America a
tremendous tendency to the notion, that except in matters of
physical welfare, the child's lead is to be followed to extreme
limits? Don't we librarians feel it in the pressure brought to
bear upon us by those who fail to find certain stories, wanted by
the children, on our shelves? "Why, that's a good book," the
parent will say, "The hero is honest and kind, the book won't
hurt him any--in fact it will give the child some good ideas."

"Ideas." Yes, perhaps. There is another educator I should like to
quote, J. H. Baker in his "Education and life." "Whatever you
would wish the child to do and become, that let him practice. We
learn to do, not by knowing, but by knowing and then doing.
Ethical teaching, tales of heroic deeds, soul-stirring fiction
that awakens sympathetic emotions may accomplish but little
unless in the child's early life the ideas and feelings find
expression in action and so become a part of the child's power
and tendency. . ."

Now we believe with G. Stanley Hall that, "The chief enemy of
active virtue in the world is not vice but laziness, languor and
apathy of will;" that "mind work is infinitely harder than
physical toil;" that (as another says) "all that does not rouse,
does not set him to work, rusts and taints him the disease of
laziness destroys the whole man."

And when children of good heritage, good homes, sound bodies,
bright minds, spend hours every week curled up among cushions,
allowing a stream of cambric-tea literature gently to trickle
over their brain surfaces, we know that though the heroes and
heroines of these stories be represented as prodigies of industry
and vigor, our young swallowers of the same are being reduced to
a pulp of brain and will laziness that will not only make them
incapable of struggling with a page of Quentin Durward, for
example, but will affect their moral stamina, since fighting
fiber is the price of virtue.

Ours is, as I have said, a public education, a republic's
problem. To quote President Wilson again: "Our present plans for
teaching everybody involve certain unpleasant things quite
inevitably. It is obvious that you cannot have universal
education without restricting your teaching to such things as
can be universally understood. It is plain that you cannot impart
'university methods' to thousands, or create 'investigators' by
the score, unless you confine your university education to
matters which dull men can investigate, your laboratory training
to tasks which mere plodding diligence and submissive patience
can compass. Yet, if you do so limit and constrain what you
teach, you thrust taste and insight and delicacy of perception
out of the schools, exalt the obvious and merely useful things
above the things which are only imaginatively or spiritually
conceived, make education an affair of tasting and handling and
smelling, and so create Philistia, that country in which they
speak of 'mere literature.' "

In our zeal to serve the little alien, descendant of generations
of poverty and ignorance, let us not lose sight of the importance
to our country of the child more fortunate in birth and brains.
So strong is my feeling on the value of leaders that I hold we
should give at least as much study to the training of the
accelerate child as we give to that of the defective. Though I
boast the land of Abraham Lincoln and Booker Washington I do not
give up one iota of my belief that the child who is born into a
happy environment, of parents strong in body and mind, holds the
best possibilities of making a valuable citizen; and so I am
concerned that this child be not spoiled in the making by a
training or lack of training that fails to recognize his

It is encouraging to kind growing attention in the "Proceedings"
of the N. E. A. and other educational bodies to the problem of
the bright child who has suffered by the lock-step system which
has molded all into conformity with the capabilities of the
average child.

The librarian's difficulty is perhaps greater than that of the
teacher, because open shelves and freedom of choice are so
essential a part of our program. We must provide easy reading for
thousands of children. Milk and water stories may have an actual
value to children whose unfavorable heritage and environment have
retarded their mental development. But the deplorable thing is to
see young people, mercifully saved from the above handicaps,
making a bee line for the current diluted literature for
grown-ups, (as accessible as Scott on our open shelves) and to
realize that this taste, which is getting a life set, is the
inevitable outcome of the habit of reading mediocre juveniles.

We must not rail at publishers for trying to meet the demands of
purchasers. Our job is to influence that demand far more than we
have done as yet. Large book jobbers tell us that millions and
millions of poor juveniles are sold in America to thousands of
the sort we librarians recommend. I have seen purchase lists of
boys' club directors and Sunday School library committees calling
for just the weak and empty stuff we would destroy. I have
unwittingly been an eavesdropper at Christmas book counters and
have heard the orders given by parents and the suggestions made
by clerks. And I feel that the public library has but skirmished
along the outposts while the great field of influencing the
reading of American children remains unconquered. Until we affect
production to the extent that the book stores circulate as good
books as the best libraries we cannot be too complacent about our
position as a force in citizen making.

An "impossible" ideal, of course, but far from intimidating, the
largeness of the task makes us all the more determined.

This paper attempts no suggestion of new methods of attacking the
problem. It is rather a restatement of an old perplexity. I harp
once more on a worn theme because I think that unless we
frequently lift our eyes from the day's absorbing duties for a
look over the whole field, and unless we once and again make
searching inventory of our convictions, our purposes, our
methods, our attainments, we are in danger of letting ourselves
slip along the groove of the taken-for-granted and our work loses
in power as we allow ourselves to become leaners instead of
leaders. May we not, as if it were a new idea, rouse to the
seriousness of the mediocre habit indulged in by young people
capable of better things? Should not our work with children reach
out more to work with adults, to those who buy and sell and make
books for the young? Is it not time for the successful teller of
stories to children to use her gifts in audiences of grown
people, persuading these molders of the children's future of the
reasonableness of our objection to the third rate since it is the
enemy of the best? May it not be politic, at least, for the
librarian to descend from her disdainful height and make friends
with "the trade," with bookseller and publisher who, after all,
have as good a right to their bread and butter as the librarian
paid out of the city's taxes?

And then--is it not possible that we might be better librarians
if we refused to be librarians every hour in the day and half the
night as well? What if we were to have the courage to refuse to
indulge in nervous breakdowns, because we deliberately plan to
play, and to eat, and to sleep, to keep serene and sane and
human, believing that God in His Heaven gives His children a
world of beauty to enjoy as well as a work to do with zeal. If we
lived a little longer and not quite so wide, the gain to our
chosen work in calm nerves and breadth of interest and sympathy
would even up for dropping work on schedule time for a symphony
concert or a country walk or a visit with a friend--might even
justify saving the cost of several A. L. A. conferences toward a
trip to Italy!

This hurling at librarians advice to play more and work less
reminds me of a story told by a southern friend. Years ago, in a
sleepy little Virginia village, there lived two characters
familiar to the townspeople, whose greatest daily excitement was
a stroll down to the railroad station to watch the noon express
rush through to distant southern cities. One of these personages
was the station keeper, of dry humor and sententious habit, whom
we will call Hen Waters; the other was the station goat, named,
of course, Billy. Year after year had Billy peacefully cropped
the grass along the railroad tracks, turning an indifferent ear
to the roar of the daily express, when suddenly one day the
notion seemed to strike his goatish mind that this racket had
been quietly endured long enough. With the warning whistle of the
approaching engine, Billy, lowering his head, darted furiously up
the track, intending to butt the offending thunderer into Kingdom
Come. When, a few seconds later, the amazed spectators were
gazing after the diminishing train, Hen Waters, addressing the
spot where the redoubtable goat had last been seen, drawled out:
"Billy, I admire your pluck--but darn your discretion!"

The parallel between the the ambitions and the futility of the
goat, and the present speaker's late advice is so obvious that
only the illogicalness of woman can account for my cherishing a
hope that I may be spared the fate of the indiscreet Billy.


This second paper on Values in library work with children, was
presented at the Kaaterskill Conference of the A. L. A. in 1913
by Caroline Burnite. In it are discussed "departmental
organization as it benefits the reading child, and the principles
and policies which have developed through departmental unity."
For inclusion in this volume it has been somewhat condensed by
the author.

Caroline Burnite was born in Caroline County, Maryland, in 1875;
was graduated from the Easton, Maryland, High School in 1892 and
from Pratt Institute Library School in 1894. From 1895 to 1901
she was librarian of the Tome Institute in Port Deposit,
Maryland. She was an assistant in the Carnegie Library of
Pittsburgh from 1902 to 1904, when she became Director of
Children's Work in the Cleveland Public Library, the position she
now holds. Miss Burnite is also an instructor in the Western
Reserve Library School.

To elucidate principles of value, I shall use, by way of
illustration, the experience and structure of a children's
department where the problem of children's reading and the means
of bringing books to them has been intensively studied for some
nine years.... Probably about six out of ten of the children of
that city read library books in their homes during the year, and
each child reads about twenty books on the average. In all,
fifty- four thousand children read a million books, which reach
them through forty-three librarians assigned for special work
with these children, through three hundred teachers and about one
hundred volunteers.

Now, we know that six out of ten children is not an ideal
proportion of the total number. We know also, inversely, that the
volume of work entailed in serving fifty-four thousand children
may endanger the quality of book service given to each child.
Both of these conditions show that the experience of each reading
child should make its own peculiar contribution to the general
problem of children's reading and that the experience of large
numbers of reading children should be brought to bear upon the
problem of the individual. To accomplish this, work with the
children was given departmental organization. My concern in this
paper is with departmental organization as it benefits the
reading child, and with the principles and policies which have
been developed through departmental unity.

We think ordinarily that one who loves books has three general
hallmarks: his reading is fairly continuous, there is a
permanency of book interest, and this interest is maintained on a
plane of merit. But in the child's contact with the library there
are many evidences of modifications of normal book interests.
Instead of continuity of reading, the children's rooms are
overcrowded in winter and have far less use in summer; instead of
permanency of book interest extending over the difficult
intermediate period, large numbers of those children who leave
school before they reach high school have little or no library
contact during their first working years, and without doubt the
interesting experiences with working children, which librarians
are prone to emphasize, give us an impression that a larger
number are readers than careful investigation would show. And as
for the quality of reading of many children who are at work we
cannot maintain that it is always on a high plane.

Such results are largely due to environmental influences.
Deprived for the greater part of the year at least, of
opportunity for normal youthful activities, the child's entire
physical and mental schedule is thrown out of balance and he
turns to reading, a recreation at his service at any time, only
when there is little opportunity to follow other interests. Since
the strain upon the ear and the eye, and back and brain is so
great in the shop, the tendency in the first working years is too
often toward recreations in which the book has no place. The
power of the nickel library over the younger boy and girl can be
broken by the presence of the public library, but the quality of
the reading of the intermediate is often due to the popularity of
the mediocre modern novel, with its present-day social interests.
For these and other reasons, the whole judgment of the results of
library work with children can not rest upon such general tests
of normal book interests as we have stated. Rather such
variations from the normal are themselves conditions which
influence the structure of the work and especially the principles
of book presentation. Children with pressing social needs must
have books with social values to meet those needs; chiefest of
these are right social contacts, true social perspective,
traditions of family and race, loveliness of nature,
companionship of living things, right group association and group

Starting with the principle that books should construct a larger
social ideal for the greater number of children instead of
confirming their present one, it was first necessary to find out
from actual work with children, what their reactions to books
with various interests are. Such knowledge was supplemented by
the recorded testimony of men and women of their indebtedness to
children's books, especially such as "Tom Brown" and "Little
Women," and especially of their youthful appreciation of the
relationships and interdependence of the characters.

After we were able to evaluate books and to have some definite
idea of which were good and which poor, the question arose:
Should we have books with manifestly weak values in the library
as a concession to some children who might not read the better
books, or by having them do we harm most those very children to
whom we have conceded them? The gradual solution of this problem
seems to me to be one of the greatest services which a library
can render its children. A safe answer seems to be: No books weak
in social ideals should be furnished, provided we do not lose
reading children by their elimination. If such books are the best
a child will read, and we take them away, causing him to lose
interest in reading, he is apt to come under even less favorable

Another problem which arose was that the cumulative experience of
librarians working with children showed that many books, weak in
social viewpoint, lead only to others of their kind, and that
such books are the ones read largely by those children which are
most occasional and spasmodic in their reading. Here was a
determining point in the establishment of standards of reading,
for it brought us face to face with the question: Shall we
consider this situation our fault since we supply such books to
children who need something better vastly more than do children
in happier circumstances, or shall we merely justify our
selection by maintaining that those children will under no
circumstances read a higher grade of books? However, observation
showed that other books were read also by children with social
limitations; books which, although apparently no better, lead to
a better type of reading, and this prompted the policy of the
removal of books which had little apparent influence in
developing a good reading taste. This was done, however, with the
definite intention that an increasingly better standard of
reading must mean that no children cease using the library, an
end only made possible by a knowledge of the value of the
individual book to the individual child.

Now let us see what changes have been evolved in the book
collections in the department under consideration:

At first the proportion of books of the doubtful class to those
which were standard was considered, and it was seen that this
preponderance of the doubtful class should be decreased in order
that a child's chances for eventually reading the best might be
improved. It is obvious that the reading for the younger children
should be the more carefully safeguarded, and this was the first
point of attack. As a result, two types of books were eliminated:

1. All series for young children, such as Dotty Dimples and
Little Colonels.

2. Books for young children dealing with animal life which have
neither humane nor scientific value, such as Pierson and

Also stories of child life for young children were restricted to
those which were more natural and possible, and on the other
hand, stories read by older girls in which adults were made the
beneficiaries of a surprisingly wise child hero, such as the
Plympton books, were eliminated.

The successful elimination of these books, together with the
study of the children's reading as a whole, suggested later, that
other books could be eliminated or restricted without loss of
readers. In the course of time, the following results were

1. The restriction of the stories of the successful poor boy to
those within the range of possibility, as are the Otis books,

2. The elimination of stories in which the child character is not
within a normal sphere; for instance, the child novel, such as
Mrs. Jamison's stories.

3. Lessening the number of titles by authors who are undeservedly
popular, such as restricting the use of Tomlinson to one series

4. The restriction of any old and recognized series to its
original number of titles, such as the Pepper series. The
disapproval of all new books obviously the first in a series.

5. The elimination of travel, trivial in treatment and in series
form, such as the Little Cousins.

6. The elimination of the modern fairy tale, except as it has
vitality and individual charm, as have those of George McDonald.

7. The elimination of interpreted folk lore, such as many of the
modern kindergarten versions.

8. The elimination of word books for little children, and the
basing of their reading upon their inherent love for folk lore
and verse.

Without analyzing the weakness of all these types, I wish to say
a word about the series. This must be judged not only by content,
but by the fact that in the use of such a form of literature the
tendency of the child toward independence of book judgment and
book selection is lessened and the way paved for a weak form of
adult literature.

The later policies developed regarding book selection have been

1. Recognizing "blind alleys" in children's fiction, such as the
boarding school story and the covert love story, and buying no
new titles of those types.

2. Lessening the number of titles of miscellaneous collections of
folk-lore in which there are objectionable individual tales, for
instance, buying only the Blue, Green and Yellow fairy books.

3. The elimination, or use in small numbers, of a type of history
and biography which is not scholarly, or even serious in
treatment, such as the Pratt histories.

4. The elimination of such periodical literature for young
children, as the Children's Magazine and Little Folks, since
their reading can be varied more wholesomely without it.

Reports of reading sequences from each children's room have
furnished the basis for further study of children's reading.
These are discussed and compared by the workers, a working
outline of reading sequences made and reported back to each room,
to be used, amplified and reported on again.

While those books which are no longer used may have been at one
time necessary to hold a child from reading something poorer, we
did not lose children through raising the standard, and the
duplication of doubtful books in the children's room is less
heavy now than it was a few years ago. This is shown by the fact
that there are more than twice as many children who are reading,
and almost three times as many books being read as there were
nine years ago, while the number of children of the city has
increased but 72 per cent. Furthermore, the proportion of
children of environmental limitations has by no means diminished,
and the foreign population is much the same--more than 74 per

Of course, the elimination of some books was accomplished because
there were better books on the subject, but the general result
was largely brought about because in the establishment of these
higher standards we did not exceed the ideals and standards of
those who were working with the children. The standards which
they brought to the work, and which they deduced themselves from
their experience, were crystalized through Round Table
discussion, where each worker measured her results by those of
the others and thereby recognized the need of constant, but
careful experimentation.

Experience has proved that a children's department can not reach
standards of reading which in the judgment of librarians working
with the children are beyond the possibility of attainment, for
with them rests entirely the delicate task of the adjustment of
the book to the child. A staff of children's librarians of good
academic education, the best library training, a true vision of
the social principles; a broad knowledge of children's literature
is the greatest asset for any library doing children's work.

But it is true, inversely, that in raising the standards of the
children the standards of the workers were raised. By this I mean
that with definite methods of book presentation in use, the
worker saw farther into the mental and material life of the child
and understood his social instincts better. This has been
evidenced in the larger duplication of the better books. Among
the methods are those which recognize group interest and group
association as a social need of childhood. Through unifying and
intensifying the thoughts and sympathies of the children by
giving them great and universal thought in the story hour, the
mediocre is often bridged and both the child and the worker
reaches a higher plane of experience. Also by giving children a
group interest, not only children recognize that books may be
cornerstones for social intercourse and that there is connection
between social conduct as expressed in books and their own social
obligations, but what is also important, the worker learns that
when children are at the age of group activity and expression
they can often be more permanently influenced as a group than as
individuals. This prompted the organization of clubs for older

Through the recognition of the principle that there are methods
of book appeal for use with individual children and other methods
for groups of children, it was shown that the organization of
the work as a whole must be such that the chief methods of
presentation of literature could be fully developed. It was seen
that, far less with a group of children than with the individual
child, could we afford to give a false experience or an
unfruitful interest, and that material for group presentation,
methods of group presentation and the social elements which are
evinced in groups of children should receive an amount of
attention and study which would lead to the surest and soundest
results. This could be fully accomplished only by recognizing
such methods as distinct functions of the department. In other
words, that there should not only be divisions of work with
children according to problems of book distribution, such as by
schools and home libraries, but there must be of necessity,
divisions by problems of reading. Whereas, in a smaller
department all divisions would center in the head, the volume of
work in a large library renders necessary the appointment of an
instructor in story-telling and a supervisor of reading clubs,
which results in a higher specialization and a greater impetus
for these phases of work than one person can accomplish. Here we
have a concrete instance of the benefit that a large volume of
work may confer upon the individual child.

With the attainment of better reading results and higher
standards for the workers, it is obvious that the reading
experiences of the children and the standards of the workers must
be conserved, and that the organization should protect the
children, as far as possible, from the disadvantage of change of
workers. Considerable study has been given to this, and yearly
written reports on the reading of children in each children's
room are made, in which variations from accepted standards of
the children's reading in that library, with individual
instances, are usually discussed. However, the children's
librarian is entirely free to report the subject from whatever
angle it has impressed her most. Also a written report is made of
the story hour, the program, general and special results, and
intensity of group interest in certain types of stories. This
report is supplementary to a weekly report in prescribed form, of
the stories told, sources used and results. All programs used
with clubs are reported and semi-annual report made of the club
work as a whole. By discussion and reports back to individual
centers, these become bases for a wider vision of work and a
wiser direction of energy with less experimentation.

The connection between work with children and the problem of the
reading of intermediates, referred to in the beginning, should
not be dismissed in a paragraph. However, it is only possible to
give a short statement of it. Recognizing that the reading of
adult books should begin in the children's room, a serious study
of adult books possible for children's reading was made by the
children's librarians, the reports discussed and the books added
to the department as the result. A second report of adult titles
which children and intermediates might and do read was called for
recently and from that a tentative list had been furnished to
both adult and children's workers for further study. The
increasing number of workers in the children's department who
have had general training, and in the adult work who have had
special training for work with children make such reports of much
value. In order to follow the standards of children's work, there
is one principle which is obvious, namely, a book disapproved as
below grade for juveniles should not be accepted for general
intermediate work. This is especially true of books of adventure
which a boy of any age between 12 and 18 would read.

In conclusion, the chief means of determining values in library
work with children are these: An intensive study of the reading
of children in relation to its social and informational worth to
them; the right basis of education and training for such study,
on the part of the workers; the direction of such study in a way
that brings about a higher and more practical standard on the
part of the worker; the conservation of her experience. These are
the great services which the library may render children and they
can be most fully accomplished, I believe, through departmental


The section devoted to administration and methods records the
"expansion of the library ideal" in multiplying the sources from
which books may be borrowed; pictures the opportunities of the
small library; emphasizes the importance of personal work, since
the "child must be known as well as the book"; explains the
library league as a means of encouraging the care of books and as
an advertising medium; gives a thorough discussion of the use of
the picture bulletin, and suggests systematic work with mothers
as an important and resultful method.

Four articles on reference work and instruction in library use
bring out the importance of careful cataloguing, of thorough
knowledge of resources, and of practical plans to enable the
children to help themselves.

Three articles on discipline present this sometimes difficult
problem from varying viewpoints. It is said to resolve itself
"into the exercise of great tact, firmness, and, again,
gentleness." Again, "many of the problems of discipline in a
children's room would cease to be problems if the material
conditions of the room itself were ideal." The Wisconsin report
is of special value because it represents the experiences of
small as well as of large libraries. It lays stress on some of
the points brought out by Miss Dousman, who says: "In our zeal to
control the child, some have lost sight of the fact that it is
quite as important to teach the child to control himself; that if
he is to become a good citizen, he cannot learn too early to
respect the rights of others."


Some of the principles of library work with children, and the
qualifications of a children's librarian were discussed by Miss
Eastman in the following paper read at the fourth annual meeting
of the Ohio Library Association held in Dayton in 1898. Linda
Anne Eastman was born in Oberlin, Ohio, in 1867; was educated in
the Cleveland Public Schools, and taught in the public schools of
West Cleveland and Cleveland from 1885 to 1892, when she became
an assistant in the Cleveland Public Library. In 1895-1896 she
was assistant librarian and cataloguer in the Dayton, Ohio,
Public Library, and in 1896 became vice-librarian of the
Cleveland Public Library, where she has since remained. Since
1904 she has been an instructor in the Library School of Western
Reserve University. She was a charter member of the Ohio Library
Association, and its president in 1903-1904, Miss Eastman has
made frequent contributions to library periodicals.

In the planning of a new library building, or the remodeling of
an old one, there is no department to which I should give more
thought in the working out of the details than in the children's
department, in order to best adapt the arrangement to its use.

Its location in the building is the first matter for
consideration. It should be easy of access from the main
entrance, or, better still, have an entrance of its own directly
from the outside, in order that the noise of the children may not
become a disturbing element in the corridors and in other parts
of the library. It would seem desirable, also, for many reasons,
to have the children's department not too far removed from the
main circulating department.

The children's department in a large library should contain at
least two large rooms, one for the reading and reference room,
the other for the circulating books. The rooms should be light,
bright and cheery, as daintily artistic and as immaculately clean
as it is possible to make and keep them. Wall cases seem best for
the shelving of the books, low enough for the children to reach
the shelves easily. These low cases also allow wall space above
for pictures, and plenty of this is desirable. A children's room
cannot have too many pictures,[1] nor any which are too fine for
it; choose for it pictures which are fine, and pictures which
"tell a story." Provide, also, plenty of space for bulletins, for
the picture bulletins have become an important factor in the
direction of the children's reading. One enthusiastic children's
librarian wrote me recently that her new "burlap walls, admitting
any number of thumb-tacks" were the delight of her heart. There
should be reading tables and rubber- tipped chairs, low ones for
the little children; and wherever there is space for them, the
long, low seats, in which children delight to snuggle down so

[1] If this paper were now open to revision, the writer would
omit "cannot have too many pictures." The reaction against bare,
bleak walls may not make it necessary to warn against
over-decoration, but its undesirability should he recognized.--L.
A. E.

As to the arrangement of the books, I should divide them into
three distinct classes for children of different ages:

(1) The picture books for the very little ones, arranged

(2) The books for children from seven to ten or twelve years of
age. While these books should be classified for the cataloging, I
should place them on the shelves in one simple alphabetical list
by authors, mixing the fiction, history, travel, poetry, etc.,
just as they might happen to come in this arrangement. I believe
this would lead the children to a more varied choice in their
reading, and that they would thus read and enjoy biography,
history, natural science, etc., before they learned to
distinguish them from stories, whereas by the classified
arrangement they would choose their reading much more often from
the one class only.

(3) The books for boys and girls from ten or twelve years of age
to fifteen or sixteen. These should be arranged on the shelves
regularly according to class number, in order that the children
may become acquainted with the classification and arrangement,
learn to select their books intelligently, and be prepared to
graduate from here into the adult library.

Where it is possible to duplicate the simple and more common
reference books in the juvenile department, these should form a
fourth class. Then there should be all of the good juvenile
periodicals, with some of the best illustrated papers, such as
Harper's weekly, for the reading room.

With many libraries a children's department on such a scale is an
impossibility; but if you cannot give two rooms to the children
give them one, and if you cannot do that, at least give them a
corner and a table which they can feel belongs to them; and if
you cannot give them a special assistant, set apart an hour or
two each day when the children shall receive the first
consideration--establish this as a custom, and both adults and
children will be better served.

Whatever one's specialty in library work may be, however far
removed from the work with the children, it is well to understand
something of the principles which underlie this foundation work
with the children.

It is only recently that these principles have begun to shape
themselves with any definiteness; the children's department, as a
fully equipped miniature library, and the children's librarian,
as a specialist bringing natural fitness and special preparation
to her work, are essentially the product of today; but they have
come to stay, and they open to the child-lover, and the educator
who works better outside than inside of the schoolroom limits, a
field enticing indeed, and promising rich results. It is to the
pioneers in this field, the earnest young women who are now doing
careful experimental work and giving serious study to the
problems that arise--it is to them that the children's
departments of the future will be most indebted for perfected

The library must supplement the influence of the schools, of the
home, and of the church; with some children it must even take the
place of these other influences, and on its own account it must
be a source of pleasure and an intellectual stimulus. If it is to
accomplish all or any great part of this, not only for one, but
for thousands of children, what serious thought and labor must go
to its accomplishment! The children's librarian stands very close
to the mother and the teacher in the power she can wield over the
lives of the little ones. No one who lacks either the ability or
desire to put herself into sympathetic touch with child-life
should ever be assigned to work in the juvenile department, and
the assistant who avowedly dislikes children, or who "has no
patience with them," will work disastrous results if allowed to
serve these little ones with an unwilling spirit --she should be
relegated to some department of the library to which the sunshine
of childhood can never penetrate, and kept there.

I would name the following requisites for the successful
accomplishment of the juvenile work:

(1) Love for children.

This being given, the way is open for intimate knowledge and
understanding of them, which are likewise essential.

(2) Knowledge of children's books.

This is imperative if one is to give the right book to a child at
the right time. Familiarity with the titles and with the outsides
of the books is not enough, nor is it sufficient to know that a
certain book is recommended in all of the best lists of
children's books. A child will often refuse to take what has been
recommended to him as a good book, when, if he be told some
graphic incident in it, or have some interesting bit pointed out
or read to him, he will bear it off as prize; with it, too, he
will carry away an added respect for, and sense of comradeship
with, the assistant, who "knows a good thing when she sees it,"
and he will come to her for advice and consultation about his
books the next time and the next, and so long thereafter as she
can hold his confidence.

Carefully prepared lists are most valuable in directing your
attention to the best books, but after your notice has been
called to them read them, form your own judgment on them, and if
you recommend them, at least know why. What? some one asks,
attempt to read all of the best children's books? Yes, read them,
and do more than that with some; the children's classics, the
books which no child can grow up without reading and not be the
poorer, with these one should be so familiar as to be able to
quote from them or turn instantly to the most fascinating
passages--they should form a constant part of her stock in trade.
Other books one could not spend so much time on, nor is it
necessary--the critical ability to go through a book quickly and
catch the salient points in style, treatment and subject matter,
is as essential for the children's librarian as for anyone who
has to do with many books, and it therefore behooves her to
cultivate what I once heard called the sixth sense, the book

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