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Library Work with Children by Alice I. Hazeltine

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(3) Knowledge of library methods.

In any work, interest and enthusiasm go a great way, but they can
never wholly take the place of accurate technical knowledge of
the best ways of doing things. The more general knowledge of
library work and methods one can bring to the children's
department, the better it will be both for the work and for the
worker; and given these methods, one must have ability to fit
them to the conditions and to the peculiar needs to be
accomplished, or, where they will not fit, to modify them or
originate new ones which are better for the work in hand.

(4) A thorough knowledge of the course of study of the public

This is very necessary in order to intelligently supplement the
work of the schools. A child comes wanting information on some
subject upon which his ideas are exceedingly vague; for instance,
he wants something about the mayor--what, he cannot tell you, but
he was sent by his teacher to look up something about the mayor.
You ask him what grade he is in, and he tells you the fourth.
Your familiarity with the course of study should give you the
clue at once, for the fourth grade topics in conduct and
government include lessons on the city government, with its
principal departments and officers, so you will look up, if you
have not already done so, an outline of municipal government
describing the position and duties of the mayor, which will be
within the comprehension of the child. It should not happen that
a dozen children ask for Little white lily, and be turned away
without it, before it is discovered to be a poem by George
MacDonald which the third grade children are given to read.

This course of study the children's librarian should--not eat and
sleep with exactly, but verily live and work with; it is one of
her most valuable tools, and she should keep it not only within
reach, at her finger's end, but as much as possible at her
tongue's end, keeping pace with the assignment of work in the
different grades and studies from month to month, and from week
to week. She should know beforehand when a certain subject will
be taken up by a certain grade, and have all available material
looked up and ready, and new books bought if they will be needed
and can be had--not wait until several hundred children come upon
her for some subject on which a frantic search discloses the fact
that the library contains not a thing suitable for their use, and
then ask that books be bought, which, of course, come in after
the demand is over, and stand idle upon the shelves for a whole
year, taking the place of just so many more new books on subjects
which will be needed later.

The course of study, too, will furnish more useful hints for
bulletins, exhibitions, reading-lists, and other forms of
advertising, than can come from any other source; and not only in
supplementing the school work, but also in directing the children
in their general reading, is an intimate knowledge of the course
of study an invaluable aid, as it gives you the unit of
measurement for any child which enables you to correlate his
reading along certain lines to that which has gone before, and to
that which is to follow.

(5) A knowledge of the principles of psychology and of education.

I have placed last the requisite which I feel sure some
theorists, at least, would place first, because I believe that,
as a rule, it will come last in point of time, and will be worked
up to through the preceding stages of the development of the
children's librarian; but her work will not be grounded upon a
firm foundation until she has consciously mastered these
principles, and clearly outlined her own work, this new work of
the book, in perfect harmony with them.

There are many features of the children's work which I should
like to dwell upon in detail, but I can do no more than mention a
few of them. One of these is the Library league, with its
threefold object of training the children in the proper care of
books, of serving as an advertising medium for the library among
the children themselves, and of furnishing a means of directing
the reading of hundreds of children who cannot be reached
individually. The possibilities of the league are beyond
anything we have been able to realize.

Another thing is the necessity of guarding against letting
children read too much, or too entirely along one line. There is
a habit of reading along lines which deaden, instead of
stimulating, thought, and the habit, if carried to excess,
becomes a mental dissipation which is utterly reprehensible; but
the pathway to this habit is entered upon so innocently and
unconsciously by the story-loving child that he (perhaps more
often she) must be guided very tenderly and wisely past its
dangers; the library which ignores this necessity may have much
harm laid at its doors.

The importance of providing, either in the school or the library,
for systematic instruction in the use of books was emphasized in
the report of the library section of the National Educational
Association at Washington this summer; it is a necessity which
must be met somewhere and somehow.

Of one more thing I should speak because of its provision for the
children--the expansion of the library ideal; not so many years
ago branch libraries and traveling libraries were unknown; now we
feel that one library is not enough for a large city; it must
have branch libraries and delivery stations to take the books to
the people, while traveling libraries carry them into the
scattered districts in the country. For the future, we have
visions of a system of libraries so complete that in no town or
country district of the state will a little child be deprived of
the pleasure of good books; and wherever it is possible to put a
live, warm-hearted, sympathetic and child-loving woman as the
medium between the library and the child, it will be done.

Library work in its entirety offers much play for the missionary
spirit, but nowhere else in its whole range is there such a labor
of love as is hers who tries to bring the children early to their
heritage in the beautiful world of books.


The blessings rather than the limitations of the small library
are portrayed and the "possibility of personal, individual,
first-hand contact with the children" is emphasized in this paper
presented by Miss Clara W. Hunt at the Niagara Conference of the
A. L. A. in 1903. A sketch of Miss Hunt appears on page 135.

As the young theological student is prone to look upon his first
country parish as a place to test his powers and to serve as a
stepping-stone to a large city church, so the librarian of the
country town who, visiting a great city library and seeing books
received in lavish quantities which she must buy as sparingly as
she buys tickets for expensive journeys out of her slender
income, a beautifully furnished, conveniently equipped apartment
especially for the children, for the student, for the magazine
reader, evidences everywhere of money to spend not only for the
necessities but also for the luxuries of library life--so it is
quite natural for such a visitor to heave a deep sigh as she
returns to her library home and contrasts her opportunities, or
limitations as she would call them, with those of the worker in a
numerically larger field; and quite natural is it for her to long
for a change which she feels would mean a broadening and
enlarging of outlook and opportunity.

It is encouraging sometimes to look at our possessions through
other people's spectacles, and perhaps I may help some worker in
a small field to see in what she calls her limitations, not a
hedging in but an opening, by drawing the contrast from another
point of view--from that of one who is regretfully forced to give
up almost all personal, individual work with the children and
delegate to others that most delightful of tasks, because her
library is so large and she has so much money to spend that her
services are more needed in other directions. With a keen
appreciation of the privilege it is to have charge of a small
library, I am going to enumerate some of my reasons for having
this feeling.

I should explain, in this connection, that my thoughts have
centered about the small town library, the library whose citizen
supporters do not yet aggregate a population large enough to
admit to dignifying their place of residence with the name of a
city, a place, therefore, where the librarian may really be able
to know every citizen of prominence, every school principal and
teacher, the officers of the women's clubs, many of the mothers
of the children she hopes to reach, and a very large number of
the children themselves.

What are the attractions in a spot like this, the compensations
which make up even for the lack of a large amount of money to
spend? Let me begin first with the less apparent advantages, the
"blessings in disguise," I should call them.

The first is the necessity for economy in spending one's
appropriation. I imagine your astonishment and disapproval of the
judgment of a person who can count the need of economy as any
cause for congratulation. But let us look for a moment at some of
the things you are saved by being forced to be "saving." The
greatest good to your public and to yourself is that you must
think of the ESSENTIALS, the "worth while" things first, last and
always. You cannot afford to buy carelessly. Every dollar you
spend must bring the best return possible and to the greatest
number of people. Every foolish purchase means disappointment to
your borrowers and wear on your own nerves. So, instead of being
able to order in an off-hand way many things which may be
desirable but which are really not essential, one gets a most
valuable training in judgment by this constant weighing of good,
indifferent and indispensable. To apply this to the principle of
the selection of children's books--and nothing in work with
children, except the personality of the worker with them is so
important as this, we cannot buy everything, we must buy the
best, and we therefore have an argument that must have a show of
reasonableness to those borrowers who advocate large purchases of
books you tell them your income will not cover.

What are the essentials in children's books if your selection
must be small? Our children can grow up without Henty. They must
not grow up without the classics in myth and fable and legend,
the books which have delighted grown people and adults for
generations, and upon the child's early acquaintance with which
depends his keen enjoyment of much of his later reading, because
of the wealth of allusion which will be lost to him if he has not
read aesop and King Arthur and the Wonder Book, Gulliver, Crusoe,
Siegfried and many others of like company, in childhood. Then the
librarian cannot afford to leave out collections of poetry. Her
children must have poetry in no niggardly quantity, from Mother
Goose and the Nonsense Book to our latest, most beautiful
acquisitions, "Golden numbers" and the "Posy ring." And American
history and biography must be looked after among the first things
and constantly replenished. So must fairy tales, the best fairy
tales--Andersen, Grimm, the Jungle books, MacDonald, Pyle, "The
rose and the ring." Much more discrimination must be exercised in
selecting the nature and science books than is usually the case.

But, of course, most of the problems come when we are adding the
story books. Here, most of all, the necessity for economy ought
to be a help. It is a question of deciding on essentials, and
having nerve enough to leave out those books whose only merits
are harmlessness, and putting in nothing that is not positively
good for something. The threadbare argument that we must buy of
the mediocre and worse for the children who like such literature
(principally because they know little about any other kind) will
look very thin when we squarely face the fact that by such
purchases we shut out books we admit to be really better, and
when we honestly reflect upon the purpose of the public library.
The sanest piece of advice that I ever heard given to those
librarians who argue in favor of buying all the bootblack stories
the boys want, was that of Miss Haines at a recent institute for
town libraries. She asked that those men and women who enjoyed
Alger and "Elsie" in childhood and who are arguing in their favor
on the strength of the memory of a childish pleasure, take some
of their old favorites and re-read them now, read them aloud to
their young people at home, and then see if they care to risk the
possibility of their own children being influenced by such
ideals, forming such literary tastes as these books illustrate.
Most of us desire better things for our children than we had
ourselves. If a man was allowed to nibble on pickles and
doughnuts and mince pie and similar kinds of nourishment before
he cut all his teeth, miraculously escaping chronic dyspepsia as
he grew older, he does not for that reason care to risk his boy's
health and safety by allowing him to repeat the process. A
child's taste, left to itself, is no more a safe guide in his
choice of reading than is his choice of food. What human boy
would refuse ice cream and peanuts and green pears and piously
ask for whole-wheat bread and beefsteak instead? Or choose to go
to bed at eight o'clock for his health's sake, rather than enjoy
the fun with the family till a later hour? It seems such a
senseless thing for us to feel it our duty to decide for the
children on matters relating to their temporary welfare, but to
consider them fit to decide for themselves on what may affect
their moral and spiritual nature.

Not only in the selection of books as to their contents, but in
the study of the editions the most serviceable for her purposes,
will the town librarian gain valuable training from the necessity
of being economical. The point is worth enlarging upon, but the
time is not here.

It will perhaps be harder to look upon the impossibility of
having a separate room for the children as a blessing which
enforced economy confers. It will doubtless seem heresy for a
children's librarian to suggest the thought. Yet while we
recognize the great desirability, the absolute necessity in fact,
for the separate room in order to get the best results in a busy
city library, we can see the many advantages to the children of
their mingling with the grown people in the town library. It is
good for them, in the public as in the home library, to browse
among books that are above their understanding. It is better for
the small boy curiously picking up the Review of Reviews to
stretch up to its undiluted world news than to shut into his
Little Chronicle or Great Round World. It is good for the
American child to learn just a little of the old fashioned
"children should be seen and not heard" advice, to learn at least
a trifle of consideration for his elders by restraining his voice
and his heels and his motions within the library, saving his
muscles for the wildest exercise he pleases out of doors. The
separate children's room is too apt to become a place for so
persistently "tending" the child that he loses the idea of a
library atmosphere which is one of the lessons of the place he
should NOT miss. I am of the opinion that, while we want to do
everything in the world to attract the children to the library
and the love of good reading, they should have impressed upon
them so constantly the feeling that the children's room is a
reading and study room that when a child is wandering around
aimlessly, not behaving badly but simply killing time, he should
be, not crossly nor resentfully, but pleasantly advised to go out
into the park to play, as he doesn't feel like reading and this
is a LIBRARY. I know that this has an excellent effect in
developing the right idea of the purpose of the place.

Sometimes the town library has a building large enough to admit
of a separate room for the children, and books and readers in
such numbers as would make the use of this room desirable, but
there is not money enough to pay the salary of an attendant to
watch the room. Here indeed is a blessing in disguise. This idea
that the children must be watched all the time, that they cannot
be left alone a minute, is fatal to all teaching of honor and
self-restraint and self-help. It will take time and
determination and tact, but I know that it is possible to train
the children--not the untrained city slum children perhaps, but
the average town children--to behave like ladies and gentlemen
left almost entirely to themselves through a whole evening.

I must hardly allude to further blessings which to my mind the
need of economy insures. It all comes under the head, of course,
of forming the habit of asking "What is most worth while?" before
rushing headlong into thoughtless imitation of the larger
library's methods, regardless of their wisdom for the small one.
The town librarian will thus be apt to use some far simpler but
equally effective style of bulletin than the one that means hours
of time spent in cutting around the petals of an intricate flower
picture, or printing painstakingly on a difficult cardboard
surface what her local newspaper would be glad to print for her,
thus making a slip to thumb tack on her board without a minute's
waste of time.

The question of having insufficient help gives an excuse for
getting a personal hold on some of the bright older boys and
girls who can be made to think it a privilege to have a club
night at the library once in a while, when they will cut the
leaves of new books and magazines, paste and label and be useful
in many ways. Of course they have to be managed, but you can get
a lot of fine work out of assistants of this sort, and do them a
great amount of good at the same time.

Another of the blessings for which the town librarian may be
thankful is that her rules need not be cast iron, but may be made
elastic to fit certain cases. Because the place is so small that
she can get to know pretty well the character of its inhabitants,
she need not be obliged to face the crestfallen countenance of a
sorely disappointed little girl who, on applying for a library
card, is told that she must bring her father or mother to sign an
application, and who knows that that will be a task impossible of
performance. The town librarian may dare to take the very slight
risk of loss, and issue the card at once, enjoying the pleasure
of making one small person radiantly happy.

Then there is the satisfaction of doing a little of everything
about your library with your own hands and knowing instantly just
where things are when you are asked. To illustrate from a recent
experience of my own. At one of the small branches or stations
rather, of the Brooklyn Public Library, a certain small boy used
to appear at least two or three times a week and ask the
librarian, "Have you got the 'Moral pirates' yet?" And over and
over again the librarian was forced wearily to answer, "No, not
yet, Sam." Now, although the library's purchases of children's
books are very generous, running from 1,500 to 2,000 volumes a
month for the 20 branches, of course with such large purchases it
is necessary to systematize the buying by getting largely the
same 50 titles for all branches, varying the number of copies per
branch according to each one's need. The branch librarian of whom
I am speaking did not feel like asking often for specials,
realizing that she was only one of many having special wants, and
knowing that we would in time reach the "Moral pirates" in the
course of our large, regular monthly purchases. But one afternoon
I went up to this station and helping at the charging desk, this
small boy appeared asking me for the "Moral pirates." The
librarian told me of the hopeful persistence of his request, and
it did not take long after that to get the "Moral pirates" into
the small boy's hands. I only hope the realization of a long
anticipated wish did not prove to him like that of many another,
and that his disappointment was not too unbearable in finding a
pirate story minus cutlasses and black flags and decks slippery
with gore.

The point of this tale is, that in a great system it is
impossible often to get as close to an individual as in this
case, while the town librarian, who does everything from
unpacking her books to handing them out to her borrowers, can
many a time have the personal pleasure of seeing a book into the
right hands.

I have only indirectly alluded to the greatest joy of all, the
possibility of personal, individual, first-hand contact with the
children whom you can get to know so well and to influence so
strongly, and another joy that grows out of it--seeing results

We are so ready to be deceived and discouraged by numbers! The
town librarian reads of a tremendous circulation of children's
books in a city library, and straightway gets the blues over her
own small showing. But I beg such an one to think rather of what
the QUALITY of her children's use of the library may be as
compared with that of the busy city library. A great department
must be so arranged for dispatching a large amount of work in a
few minutes of time, that in spite of every effort, something of
the mechanical must creep into its administration.

The town librarian may know by name each child who borrows her
books. Not only that, but she may know much of his ancestry and
environment and so be able to judge the needs of each one. She
will not be so rushed with charging books by the hundred that she
cannot USE that knowledge to help him in the wisest, most tactful
manner. But the joy of watching her children develop, of seeing a
boy or girl whom she helped bring up, grow into a manhood and
womanhood of noble promise, of feeling that she had a large
influence in forming the taste of this girl, in sending to
college that lad who wouldn't have dreamed of such a thing had he
not been stirred to the ambition through the reading taste she
awakened in him--these are pleasures the city children's
librarian is for the most part denied.

The latter can see that her selection of books is of the best,
she can make her room as attractive as money will admit, she can
choose her staff with great care. She knows that good must result
in the lives of many and many a child from contact even in brief
moments with people of strong magnetic personality, and from
constantly taking into their minds the sort of reading she
provides. But very rarely will she be permitted to see the
results in individual cases that make work seem greatly worth
while, and that compensate in a few brief minutes, for weeks and
months and years of quiet, uninspiring, plodding effort.

And so I congratulate the worker with children in the small
library. It would be a delight to me if I could feel that my
appreciation of the blessings that are yours might help you to
look upon your opportunity as a very great and worthy one. The
parents of the small town need your help, the teachers cannot
carry on their work well without you, the boys and girls would
miss untold good if you were not their friend and counselor, the
library profession needs the benefit of the practical judgment
your all-round training gives. And so you may believe of your
position that though in figures your annual report does not read
large, in quality of work, in power of influence it reads in
characters big with significance, radiant with encouragement.


"The whole secret of success is really to be in sympathy with
children, quick to see their needs and to look at things from
their point of view; but above all to have a genuine,
common-sense love for them." This point of view is expressed in
the following paper on Personal work with children, read by Miss
Rosina Gymer before the Ohio Library Association annual meeting
in 1905. Rosina Charter Gymer was born in Cleveland, Ohio;
received a special certificate from the Training School for
Children's Librarians in 1904; was children's librarian in the
Cleveland Public Library from 1904 to 1907; supervisor of
children's work in small branches from 1907 to 1910, and since
that time has been a branch librarian.

Work with children is so large in its scope and so rich in its
possibilities that we shall only consider work in the library
proper, passing over home visiting, school visiting and
cooperation with social settlements and like institutions, all of
which, however, are of the greatest importance to the work as a

Work with children may be grouped under three heads-- that with
girls, that with boys and that with little children. While in
each group the work differs in nearly every point, one point they
have in common--the choosing of fiction according to the
individual child, boy or girl; the choosing of classed books for
the book itself. In giving fiction, the child must be known as
well as the book, his character and needs, for it is on the
character that fiction has most influence. In classed books, on
the other hand, the book is the thing to know, for if a child
wants to know something about electricity or carpentry, he is not
being influenced so much in character as in education. If the
book is not as good as some other, it will not injure him
especially as to morals and character, but of course he should
have the very best you can give him that he can mentally
understand. Girls almost always become interested in books
through the personality of the children's worker. While it is
very desirable to use this regard as a means of influencing their
reading, care must be taken to guard against a merely sentimental
attitude on the part of the girls toward the worker. As a rule,
girls want stories about people, other girls, school stories and
so forth, and will take a book that you say is a good one without
looking into it. If she likes it she will come to you to select
another, and in this way you can lead her from pure fiction to
historical fiction and biography and so on up to good literature,
all through, at the first, knowing a book that would please and
attract her. This is done, in great measure, through the girl's
liking for the worker and also through her interest in people
rather than things.

Boys, on the other hand, are not so much interested in people as
in things, and when they ask for a book it is usually on some
specific subject--electricity, carpentry, how to raise pigeons,
how to take care of dogs. When the book is given them they
usually examine it pretty thoroughly to see whether or not it is
what they want or can use. To know what book will give the boy
what he wants to know and in the most interesting way is to gain
that boy's confidence. To sum up: Boys like you through the books
you give them, while girls learn to like good books through their
liking for you. The result is the same in either case--the
personal influence of the worker with the children.

The problem of managing children is much the same everywhere.
Wherever they are there are sure to be some restless and
disobedient boys and girls whose confidence and good will must be
gained. A willing obedience must be sought for untiringly. The
children's worker must be for and not against the child. To win
is far better than to compel. Conquering may do for those who are
expected to remain as enemies, but friends are won. While a
display of authority should be avoided, a firm attitude must at
times be taken, but it should be an attitude of friendship and
fairness. If a loss to the child of some coveted pleasure can be
made to follow his fault it is an effectual punishment. For
instance, if a boy never misses the story and yet his general
behavior in the library leaves a good deal to be desired, do not
allow him to attend the story hour for one or two weeks. In
extreme cases the plan of not allowing the boys to come to the
library for a number of days or weeks has been tried with good

An endeavor should be made so far as possible to follow the
inclinations of children. Every boy likes the idea of belonging
to a club and if advantage is taken of this fact it will prove a
great help in discipline. When a gang of boys comes to the
library night after night, apparently for no reason except to
make trouble, the best solution of the problem is to form them
into a reading circle or club. They usually prefer to call
themselves a club. A good plan in starting is to ask three or
four of the troublesome boys if they would like to come on a
certain evening and hear a story read. An interesting story is
selected, carefully read and cut if too long, and at the end of
the evening the boys are invited to bring some of their friends
with them next time. It is well to begin in this small way and
thus avoid the mistake of having too many boys at the start or of
getting boys of different gangs in the same club, for this will
always cause trouble. Seven o'clock is a good time for them to
meet. If the hour is later the boys who come early get restless
and it is difficult for them to fix their attention. It is better
to take the boys to a separate room as their attention is easily
distracted from the reading by people passing back end forth. It
is a great effort for boys with, one might say, wholly untrained
minds to concentrate for any length of time, and it is well not
to ask them for more than half an hour at first. Unless the
selection holds their interest they will disappear one after
another, for they simply refuse to be bored. For this reason,
begin with popular subjects, such as animal stories, Indian
stories, fire stories, railroad stories, gradually leading them
on to more solid reading. That this can be done was proved by the
boys' attention to Sven Hedin's account of his search for water
in his Through Asia. The incident is most graphically told of the
repeated disappointments, of the sufferings of the caravan and
the dropping out of one after another until only the author is
left staggering across the sand hills in his search for the
precious water. The boys listened breathlessly until one boy
finally burst out, Ain't they never going to find no water?

Very often the subject of the next evening's reading is
determined by the boys themselves who, if they have been
particularly interested, will ask for another story "just like
that only different." If possible, have good illustrated books to
show them on the subject of the evening's reading. This serves
two purposes --it fixes the awakened interest of the boys and it
also prevents the rush for the door they are apt to make to work
off the accumulated energy of the hour of physical inactivity.
In libraries where there are few assistants it ought not to be
difficult to find some young man or woman interested in work of
this sort to come and read to the boys once or twice a week, but
the same person should have the club regularly.

Work with little children is important because in a year or two
they are going to be readers, and yet they are a problem to the
busy librarian from the fact that they require a good deal of
attention. Perhaps the best plan is to set a time for them to
come to the library, say Saturday morning at ten, when they can
feel that the children's worker is all their own. They like to be
read to, but they love to hear stories told. Telling stories to
them is a great pleasure to the story-teller, because of their
responsiveness, their readiness to enjoy. But besides the
enjoyment of the children there is something far higher to work
for--the development of the moral sense. The virtues of
obedience, kindness, courage and unselfishness are set forth over
and over again in the fairy tale. The story East o' the sun and
west o' the moon, is nothing but a beautiful lesson in
obedience, The king of the golden river in unselfishness,
Diamonds and toads, kindness-- and many others could be named,
all with a lesson to be learned. Little children love repetition
and when a story pleases them ask for it again and again. They do
not see the lesson all at once, but little by little it sinks
into their hearts and becomes a part of their very life. This is
where the fairy tale, properly and judiciously used, does its
great work. Be most careful to give children stories that are
wholly worthy of their admiration. Know your story thoroughly and
in telling it present strong, clear pictures. Tell the story in
such a way that the child's heart swells within him and he says,
I can do that, I could be as brave as that.

But let not the children's worker labor under the delusion that
when she closes the door of the library her work is finished. On
the contrary, another phase of it is only beginning, for she is
constantly meeting the children on the street, in the stores, in
fact almost everywhere she goes, and it behooves her to be on the
watch for friendly smiles, to listen with interest when Johnny
tells her that Mary is coming out of the hospital tomorrow, or
when Mike calls across the street, Did you know Willie was
pinched again? to make a note of it and take pains to find out
whether Willie is paroled under good behavior or whether he has
been sent to a boys' reformatory school; or, when she is waiting
for a street car and a newsboy rushes up and says he can't get
his books back in time and will she renew them for him, the
children's worker takes his library number and renews the books
when she returns to the library.

If the worker is at all earnest in her work she can not help but
have her heart wrung time and again by the sufferings of the
children of the poor. Not that they complain--they take it all as
a matter of course, but by some unconscious remark they quite
often throw an almost blinding light on their home conditions
showing that family life for a good many of them is anything but
easy and pleasant. Children of the poor often have
responsibilities far beyond their years, and the library with its
books, pictures, flowers and story-telling means much more to
them than to a child who has all these at home. One little girl
about 10 years old came one afternoon and was so disappointed to
find there was to be no story. On being told to come at ten
o'clock next morning, she said: What, do you think I can get here
at ten o'clock with four kids to dress! As first heard, funny;
but after all showing a pathetic side, a childhood without
childhood's freedom from care.

The whole secret of success is really to be in sympathy with
children, quick to see their needs and to look at things from
their point of view; but above all to have a genuine, common
sense love for them so that we may feel as did the little girl
who missed one of the assistants, and asking for her was told
that she was taking a vacation. I love her, said the child, and
then, fearing she had hurt the feelings of the one to whom she
was speaking added, I love all the library teachers, 'cos we're
all childs of God.


The interesting experiment of conducting a Library League is
described by Miss Linda A. Eastman in the following account of
the children's work in the Cleveland Public Library. A sketch of
Miss Eastman appears on page 159.

Work with the children assumed its first real importance in the
Cleveland Public Library when the library began, about 10 years
ago, to issue books to the teachers for reissue to their pupils.
This brought the books to the hands of thousands of children who
had never drawn them before, although at no time has the library
been able to furnish all of the books asked for by the teachers.
The next step came with the establishment of our branches, where
it was soon noticed that a most important part of the work done
was that with the children, and that very few of these children
had ever used the main library.

Early in 1897 a notable change was made at the main library in
bringing all of the juvenile books together in what was known as
the juvenile alcove, but which heretofore had contained the
juvenile fiction only, the classed books having been shelved with
the other books on the same subject. This change meant much
planning and shifting in our cramped quarters, and writing of
dummies and changing of records for every book; but it proved to
be well worth all the work, for the children seldom went beyond
this alcove, and those who had been reading fiction only, began
to vary it with history, travel, science, until about half of the
books issued from the department are now from the other classes.

During the Christmas holidays, 1896, we advertised "Children's
week," and the numbers and evident enjoyment of the children who
then accepted the invitation to visit the library or its
branches, led to similar plans for the spring vacation. At this
time we were able to put into circulation about a thousand bright
new books, and the desire to impress upon the children the
necessity for their proper care resulted in starting the Library
League, the general plan of which is so familiar that I need not
go fully into the details concerning it.[2]

[2] For accounts of the Library League, see Library Journal
October and November, 1897.

Without question, the labor spent upon the Library League has
been more than repaid in the greater care which the children take
of their library books. Dirt is at a discount; it is noticed that
many more children than formerly now stop to choose the cleanest
copy of a book, and many are the books reported daily by the
little people as being soiled or torn. A boy, not long ago,
brought a book up to the information-desk, reported a loose leaf,
then very seriously, by way of explanation, opened his overcoat
and displayed his league badge; another replied in all good faith
to a query about a damaged book, "Why, I belong to the Library
League"--proof quite sufficient, he thought, to clear him of any
doubt. Most of the children stop at the wrapping- counter before
leaving the library, to tie up their books in the wrapping paper
which is provided, and which saves many a book from a mud-bath on
its way to or from the library.

But aside from the better care of the books, the Library League
has done much as an advertising medium among the children; the
league now numbers 14,354, and many of its members had never used
the library until they joined the league. Something has been
accomplished through it, too, in directing the reading of the
children, as it gives opportunities, in many ways, for making
suggestions which they are glad to accept. At the South Side
branch a club-room has been finished off in the basement, and two
clubs formed among the members of the league: one, a Travel Club,
is making a tour of England this winter; the other is a Biography
Club, which is studying great Americans; the children who compose
these two clubs are largely of foreign parentage, almost without
exception from uncultured homes, and the work our earnest branch
librarian is beginning with them cannot fail in its effect on
these young lives. A boy's club-room is to be fitted up at the
new West Side branch, in addition to the children's room, which
is already proving inadequate.

The Maxson book marks have been very useful in connection with
the league, and have suggested a series of book marks which will
also serve as bulletins for league notes, little lists of good
books, suggestions about reading, etc. The color will be changed
each time, as variety is pleasing to children. The

================================================== Cleveland

Boys and Girls: How would you like to have a new book mark every
month or two with Library League news, and suggestions about good
books? That is what the Library is going to try to give you. Read
this one through, use it until you get the next one, which will
be Library League Book Mark No. 2; then put No. 1 away with your
League certificate and keep it carefully as a part of your League
records, that some day you will be proud to own and to show.

League Report: The Library League was started March 29th, 1897.
On December 31st, 1897 it numbered 14,074. How large is it going
to be on its first birthday anniversary? What the League has
done: It has brought many children to the Library who never used
it before. It has taught many boys and girls to love books and to
handle them carefully with clean hands. Many books have been
reported which were in bad condition, and the juvenile books are
now in better shape than before the League began its work.

Library League Reading Clubs: Some of the League members have
been starting reading clubs. One of these clubs is a Travel Club,
and another is a Biography Club. The Library assistants will be
glad to tell League members about these clubs if they would like
to form others.

Library League Motto: Clean hearts, clean hands, clean books.
(OVER) ==================================================

The other side of this book mark contains a list of the juvenile
periodicals in the library. No. 2 gives the beginning of a little
serial, in which a thread of story will weave in hints on reading
and on the care and use of books.

At our main library the children have come in such numbers after
school and on Saturdays, that it has been impossible to push the
work much this past winter, for fear the adults should suffer. It
was finally decided that we must achieve the impossible, and by
shifting about and putting up glass partitions, have a separate
children's room instead of the open juvenile alcove. This room,
while not half so large as it should be to meet the needs of the
work, is indeed a great improvement in giving the children a
place which they feel to be really their own; the change has
involved the re-registration of the children having cards here,
but it is affording much needed relief at the general receiving
desks, and will greatly facilitate the service to adults, at the
same time making it possible to do much more for the little

The library is endeavoring to co-operate more and more closely
with the schools. More books have been issued to the teachers
this winter than ever before. A new course of study having been
published, all of the books referred to in it were looked up, and
if not in the library or its branches, were purchased as largely
as seemed desirable or possible. A list of "References for
third-grade teachers," compiled by Miss May H. Prentice, training
teacher in the Cleveland Normal School, has recently been
published by the library. It was given to all of the third-grade
teachers of the city, and sold to others. This is, we believe,
the most comprehensive list ever prepared for a single grade of
the common schools. We are hoping that it will prove so helpful
to third-grade teachers that all of the other grades will demand
similar ones for themselves, and that somehow the way will be
found to meet the demand. The list of books noted by Miss
Prentice for the children's own reading has been reprinted,
without the annotations, in a little folder and 5,000 copies of
it have just been distributed among the children of this grade.

Recently our school children were treated to the largest
exhibition ever made in the United States to photographic
reproductions of the masterpieces in art; to the work of the
library in circulating pictures to teachers and children for
school-room decoration and for illustration, is due no small
share of this new interest in art.

While the children come to the library daily to look up subjects
in connection with their school work, very little attention can
be given to training them to use reference books as tools.
Somewhere, either in the school or the library, this systematic
teaching should be given. It is one of the things which is not
being done.

And another thing is not being done--we are not reaching all of
the children; in spite of our branches, our stations, our books
in the schools, our Library League, there are many children who
sadly need the influence of good books, who are not getting
them--whole districts shut off from the use of the library by
distance and inability to pay carfare. And we cannot give them
branches or send books--for lack of funds.

It is a growing conviction in my own mind that the library, aside
from its general mission, and aside from its co-operation with
the schools in the work of education, has a special duty to
perform for the city child. No one can observe city life closely
without seeing something of the evil which comes to the children
who are shut up within its walls; the larger the city the greater
is the evil, the more effectually are the little ones deprived of
the pure air, the sweet freedom of the fields and woods, to be
given but too often in their stead the freedom of the streets and
the city slums. The evil is greater during the long vacations,
when the five-hour check of the school room is entirely removed,
and many a teacher will testify to the demoralization which takes
place among the children who are then let loose upon the streets.
For these the library must to some extent take the place of
Mother Nature, for under present condition it is through books
alone that some of them can ever come to know her; books must
furnish them with wholesome thoughts, with ideals of beauty and
of truth, with a sense of the largeness of life that comes from
communion with great souls as from communion with nature. If this
be true, the school vacation ceases to be the resting time of the
children's librarian; she must sow her winter wheat and tend it
as in the past, but she must also gather in her crops and lay her
ground fallow during the long summer days when school does not
keep; she must find ways of attracting these children to spend a
healthy portion of their time among the books, always guarding
against too much as against too little reading. For this work the
individual contact is needed, and there must be more children's
librarians, more branch libraries. This necessity and the problem
of meeting it require grave consideration by the librarian of


The practical usefulness as well as the artistic merit of picture
bulletins is discussed in this report prepared for the Club of
Children's Librarians for presentation at the Waukesha Conference
of the A. L. A. in 1901. It is based upon answers received in
response to a circular letter sent to various libraries.

Mrs. Mary E. S. Root was born and educated in Rhode Island,
studied art before her marriage, became interested in children's
literature through her own children, and organized the children's
work in the Providence Public Library, where she still has charge
of this work. She has held many offices in educational and civic
organizations, and has lectured on children's literature. For two
summers she conducted a course in children's work in the Simmons
College Library School.

Mrs. Adelaide Bowles Maltby was born in New York City, and was
graduated from a private school in Elmira, New York, in 1893,
with an equivalent of one year's college work. After completing
the regular course in Pratt Institute Library School in 1900, she
spent six months in the Pratt Library, at the same time taking
lectures in the second-year children's course. For four and
one-half years she was head of the Children's Department in the
Buffalo Public Library. She then became a member of the New York
Public Library staff, first as special children's worker in
Chatham Square Branch, then as branch librarian there, and later
as librarian of the Tompkins Square Branch.

There has been a rather marked difference in activity between
the eastern and western libraries on this subject of picture
work, we of the east seeming more conservative, somewhat prone on
the whole, because there is not time for elaborate work, to doubt
its practical usefulness. The questions upon which this report is
based were sent out in a circular letter to different libraries.
These questions with their answers may be considered in order:

Question 1. If you make picture bulletins in your library, what
is your object in so doing?

To supplement school work, advertise the books, stimulate
non-fiction reading and celebrate anniversaries are the four
answers which the majority give.

There is no question but bulletins made for school helps are
useful, help teacher, pupil and library; but we are all studying
to do away with suggestions of a school atmosphere in our rooms
as far as possible, so, primarily, these bulletins should give
pleasure. They offer a strong point of contact between the
children and the librarian, and if too strongly labelled with
"school work," do we not rob the child of the one place where he
could have the indescribable charm of learning what his natural
tastes prompt him to acquire? It is easy enough in our libraries
to teach without calling it teaching. Again, a bulletin to
"advertise our books," especially new ones, seems misdirected
energy, as the new books are always eagerly sought and there is
often need of checking in some way the desire for the new just
because it is new. If the books to which the attention is
directed by the bulletins enlarge the child's experience, well
and good, but we do not need to post a bulletin merely to
circulate the books or with the feeling of advertisement in any
sense of the word.

Question 2. Are these bulletins used only to illustrate books
owned by the library or are they general, commemorating
anniversaries, etc?

The majority of bulletins seem of the most general character
--book bulletins, illustrations of school work, holidays and
anniversaries especially dear to childhood. Miss Putnam, of the
library at Los Angeles, offers a most serviceable suggestion in
her guide to the books in the children's room: "This is composed
of pictures, each representing a book clipped from the
publisher's catalogs, each author kept separate mounted on large
sheets of tagboard, and when the author's picture, call number,
criticism of books are added, the sheets are kept on the tables
for the children's use." At Detroit there is constantly on the
walls a bulletin board about 28x32 in. covered with dark green
burlap on which are placed lists of books, pictures of their
authors, illustrations, current events, public affairs, etc., not
of sufficient interest to demand a separate bulletin. Some change
is made in this every week, keeping two lists of books, taking
down one and moving the other as a fresh list is added.

Question 3. Of what material and by whom are your bulletins made?

The best material is classified clippings and pictures from
duplicate magazines and illustrated papers. Braun & Cie
photographs, Perry prints, bird portraits from Chapman's "Bird
manual," and from Birds and All Nature, Fitzroy prints and
Perkins' Mother Goose pictures can also be used to advantage.
Card board can be obtained at slight cost, in some cities at
$4.20 per hundred. Pulp board, book cover paper and charcoal
paper, all can be utilized for this purpose. Where the book
cases are low enough to admit of it, red denim stretched above
the top of the cases makes an effective background for the
bulletins. Where the cases are five feet in height this is not
practicable, as the pictures must be opposite the eyes of our
small readers. In the Providence Public Library an excellent
substitute for this is in the shape of a six-panelled mahogany
bulletin surrounding the large circular pillar in the center of
the room. The mahogany serves as an excellent frame to the panel
and the many sides offer opportunities for a series of bulletins
on a given subject, each simple in itself and conveying one idea
to the child, which seems far preferable to us than trying to
crowd all on one bulletin.

Other libraries use a stationary framework across the tables,
with glass each side, so that pictures may be slipped in between.

At Minneapolis Public Library an interesting experiment was tried
with success by Mrs. Ellison. Arrangements were made with the
Director of Drawing to have the pupils furnish the picture
bulletins, Mrs. Ellison furnishing the subjects and doing the
reference work.

The making of bulletins in most cases devolves on the children's
librarian, but we hear from several libraries where different
members of the staff take their turn, all showing a keen interest
in gathering material.

Questions 4 and 5. Do you have more than one bulletin at a time?
Have you noticed any poor results from exhibiting more than one
at a time?

The returns as to this point were not all that had been hoped.
Two bulletins seem to be an accepted number, but more than that a
question. We do not desire to confuse our children, or to detract
in value from a bulletin when once posted, and most certainly not
to cheapen our rooms; but if the standard is held high in each
case, the number would not matter. Take for instance a hero
bulletin. Here is a wealth of material which overwhelms us, and
even when we have selected with the utmost thought our heroes and
placed them side by side, we realize we have more or less of a
jumble and have not told our story simply enough. Some division
is absolutely necessary. We saw a bulletin on this subject
grouped under three excellent heads: When all the world was
young; In the glorious days of chivalry; Heroes of modern times.
We should like to adopt this suggestion, but instead of one,
offer three bulletins, as a safeguard against confusion.

Question 6. Can you show by citing cases that this picture work
is of sufficient practical use to the children to pay for time
and money spent?

One library--and this is an eastern one--gives us an encouraging,
inspiring reply: "Case after case, actually hundreds of letters
from teachers thanking us for the work." A general summary of
reports from all the libraries shows an increased demand for the
books on the subject posted. The perfectly evident pleasure of
the little ones in the mere looking, to say nothing of their joy
in telling at one time or another something they have seen
before, shows with what keenness they observe. At the Buffalo
Public Library there have been on exhibition some excellent
silhouette pictures made by cutting figures, trees, etc., from
black paper and pasting them on white backgrounds. "The pied
piper" was one subject illustrated. To appreciate this it should
be understood that the figure of the piper and of each little
rat, some not more than a half inch high, were cut with scissors,
without any drawing whatever. These were labelled "Scissors
pictures. Can you make them?" When they had been up a week, one
of the boys, 14 years old, brought in four, one of which was
better in composition than any of those exhibited. This was
posted as showing what one boy had done, and this boy is studying
drawing and designing this summer, with good promise. Another
library cites a case in relation to school work, where the
superintendent of schools offered rewards in each school of five
of Landseer's pictures for the best five compositions on Landseer
and his work. A collection of his pictures was gathered, a
bulletin made with lists, which at once attracted the boys and
girls, set many earnestly to work, who would not otherwise have
given it much thought, and finally received the hearty
commendation of the superintendent. Miss Clarke, of Evanston,
says: "We have no children's room, and have not done enough of
bulletin work to be able to speak very surely of results." Yet
she can give us this, which speaks for itself. "An Indian exhibit
which we gave, where among the Indian curios and Navajo blankets
I had all our books on Indian life and customs and our best
Indian stories displayed, aroused a great demand for the books. I
kept the list of Indian books and stories posted for some months,
and it was worn out and had to be replaced by a new copy, owing
to its constant use. Our boys at that time really read a great
deal of good literature on the subject, including Mrs. Custer's
books and those by Grinnell and Lummis." These are but a few of
the many interesting illustrations, yet we all know there is a
great part of our work of which we can see no results, but if
these bulletins beautify the room, offer some new thought to the
child and give pleasure, then the time and work spent on them is
a small factor, and even in that we are the gainers, as we
unconsciously acquire in the making of these bulletins much
general information, and an ability to present subjects in their
relative value to each other which is invaluable.

Question 7. Are these bulletins allowed to circulate?

In most cases, no. Several libraries allow them to go to schools
and a few make duplicates for both library and school, and in
Indianapolis the bulletins are sent to other libraries in the
state. This should prove very helpful to small libraries which
are open but a few hours in the week. The bulletins may wear out,
but a bulletin once planned, three quarters of the work is
accomplished, and it is little labor to make the duplicate one.

Question 8. Please describe the exhibit which has proved of the
greatest interest in the past year.

We wish that time and space would allow a repetition of all the
replies to this question. Miss Hewins says: "The exhibit which
has proved of the greatest interest is on Queen Victoria. Within
an hour after we heard the news of her death we had the bulletin
for her last birthday and 40 portraits of her on our walls. I
made one bulletin on her for the children out at Settlement
Branch, and gave them a little talk about her. In this bulletin
there were pictures of the dolls' house and toys that she gave
the nation and I told the children how careful she must have been
of them to be able to keep them so many years, and something
about how careful she was taught to be also of her spending
money, and that even although she was a princess and lived in a
palace, she never could buy anything until she had the money to
pay for it. I made a Stevenson bulletin for them on his birthday,
and we had Stevenson songs and a talk about him and his
childhood, his lovableness, courage and cheerfulness." At Buffalo
the most popular exhibit was one illustrating the changes of the
last century, taking the post-office methods, transportation of
all kinds, i.e., carriages, boats, railroads, electricity in all
its uses and those which could be appreciated by the
children--guns, lifesaving methods, diving, etc. In each instance
an old and a new type was shown. The children swarmed around the
boards every day for the two months it was up, one of the pages
who was interested in numbers having counted 60 an hour. Nature
exhibits are always popular with children. "Our own birds" was
the title of a bird- day bulletin at Evanston. A green poster
board, on which were tied bunches of pussy-willows, among whose
twigs were perched some of the common birds around Evanston, was
used. The plates used were the nature study bird plates, brightly
colored, which were cut out and pasted on the board in such a way
that the effect was very lifelike. Much the same idea was carried
out in Providence, only in this library the title is "Procession
of the birds and flowers," each bird being added as it arrives.
At the same time in the class room adjoining this library there
was an exhibit of 150 photographs called "Joy in springtime," all
being charming pictures of flowers, birds and happy children,
with appropriate selections of poetry affixed. The long windows
were hung with tranparencies, a framework being built in which to
slide the tranparencies, that they may be changed from time to
time. Invitations were sent to all the schools, and the exhibit
was a great delight to the little ones. Miss Moore, of Pratt,
tells of a picture bulletin illustrating life in Porto Rico and a
companion bulletin illustrating the Porto Rican village at Glen
island (a summer resort accessible to the children), with objects
such as water jugs, cooking utensils made from gourds, etc., a
hat in the process of making, musical instruments made from
gourds, such as were used by the native band at Glen Island. The
objects were carefully selected with the aid of the gentleman who
instituted the village at Glen Island, and who had made a study
of the country and people of Porto Rico. "The bulletin led not so
much to the reading of books, because there are few on the
subject, but it gave the children a very clear idea of the
manner of living of the Porto Ricans and drew the attention of
many visitors to Glen Island, as an educational point as well as
a pleasure resort."

Question 9. Do you do anything with Perry pictures, scrap books,
etc., for the little children?

At Medford scrap books are made by the children themselves, much
to their delight. Several librarians make their own scrap books,
Miss Hammond, of St. Paul, sending perhaps the best description
of work of this nature. For the little children she always keeps
on hand several scrap books made from worn out books, by Howard
Pyle and Walter Crane. Other scrap books enjoyed alike by the
older children and the little ones are "Colonial pictures" and
"Arctic explorers," the last especially liked by the boys. Miss
Hammond also cuts whole articles from discarded magazines,
putting on heavy paper covers, labelling and arranging in a case
according to subject for the use of teachers and pupils.

Question 10. Mention five examples of pictures suitable for a
children's library.

The pictures suggested are given in order, according to the
number of votes assigned to each one.

Raphael, Sistine Madonna, 6 Watts, Sir
Galahad, 6 Guido Reni, Aurora,
4 Bonheur, Horse fair, 4 King
Arthur, (Chapel of Innspruck), 3 Corot,
Landscape, 3 Hardie, Meeting of Scott
and Burns, 2 St. Gaudens, Shaw monument, 2
Murillo, Children of the shell, 2 Stuart,
Washington, 2 Van Dyck, Baby Stuart,

The selection of these pictures must, of course, depend on the
library, but there are a few other suggestions which are worthy
of mention:

Regnault, Automedon and the horse of Achilles.

Raphael's Madonna of the chair.

Reynolds, Penelope Boothby.

Question 11. In preparing your lists of books to accompany
bulletin, do you prepare an analytical list or refer to book

An analytical list seems preferable where any list is used,
although some librarians seem to question the advantage of lists.
Miss Brown, of Eau Claire, says: "I have, however, decided for
myself that the bulletin that pays is the one which tells
something of itself and has no long list of books. If the child
is interested in the bulletin it is no sign that he will take a
book listed, but if he gets a fact from looking at it he has
gained something and you lose the bad effect of having him get
into the habit of skipping the books on the bulletin, which he
usually does." On the other hand, lists help the systematic
reader and relieve the librarian.

In closing we will quote a criticism of an eastern librarian, as
a thought on which we all need to dwell: "From the artistic point
of view such bulletins as I have seen are commonly too scrappy,
ill arranged and given too much to detail. One or two pictures on
a large card, with a brief descriptive note, all conveying one
idea or emphasizing one point only, is the best form. In
bulletins, as in many other things, the rule to follow first of
all is simplicity."


One of the newer developments of organized work is with mothers
who can be interested in the books their children read, although
informal, individual work has always been a part of library work
with children. This paper was read at the joint meeting of the
Michigan and Wisconsin Library Associations in July, 1914, by
Miss May G. Quigley, children's librarian of the Public Library,
Grand Rapids, Michigan.

May Genevieve Quigley was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and was
graduated from the Grand Rapids High School. Soon after this, she
began work in the Grand Rapids Public Library and has been Head
of the Children's Department since it was organized in 1907.

You ask me how to interest mothers in children's reading. I began
by being invited to the different mothers' meetings held in the
schools; public, parochial and private, the churches and women's
clubs. At each institution, the mothers, coming from widely
different circles are always attentive listeners, and many
frequently remain to have a word in private, as to whether I
consider fairy tales good for their children and to get my
personal opinion about detective stories, or some other subject
important to them.

I always take with me our Monthly Bulletin, in which are printed
the new books for children. This list is talked over with the
mothers and books for children of different ages specified. If
there is time, I frequently tell the story the book tells or an
interesting incident which occurs in some one of the chapters.
After such an introduction there is apt to be a "run" on the
Children's department the next few days. Boys and girls come in
numbers to ask for the book "You told mother about yesterday."

These talks at the different schools, clubs and churches are the
means of bringing the mothers to the library. They are interested
now in wishing to see the place where the "fine English books are
kept," as one little foreign mother always says. I find that the
foreign-born mothers are intensely alive to the fact that their
children must get the English language if they are ever to
succeed, and they too, these foreign mothers, ask intelligent
questions as to the books on history and civics for their boys
and girls.

Birthdays and holidays are also strong factors, by means of which
the library can interest the mothers. We have not as yet printed
a list of books suitable for birthdays, but we did print a
Christmas list in our November Bulletin of last year, and like
Mary's little lamb, this book was with me wherever I went during
the Christmas season. It was an exceedingly valuable list,
because prices were given. There were books suitable for every
taste and every purse.

I talked the list over with 250 mothers, whom I met at the
various schools. A large number came to the library to see the
books before buying. Then too, ways and means are always
suggested by which they can obtain additional information, namely
the telephone, post card, and by appointment with me at the book
store, if they desire it, to say nothing of the many times advice
is given outside of library hours.

On three different occasions we have had exhibits of books at the
schools. This perhaps is the ideal way to interest mothers. I
remember at one school the disappointment manifested when it was
announced that orders were not taken for the books, but that the
same could be obtained at the book store.

Our annual Conference on children's reading, which is held on the
first Saturday in May, brings together still another group. The
mothers are represented on the program and they take part in the
discussion. The subject at these conferences is always some phase
of children's reading. The discussions are interesting and
educational, not only for the mothers, but for the library as

If you are able to speak one or two languages besides English,
the way is open for you to the foreign mothers' clubs. I have
frequently been a guest at the Italian mothers' club, where in a
small way I have been able to tell them about the library and the
books--English and Italian.

Not often do these mothers come to the library, but they are sure
to send their children, and through these useful little citizens
I hope some day to see the mothers frequent visitors at the

I would not have you think that these mothers are not interested
because they are not able to come to the library. It is strange
and they are often too busy. When I go to the store or they meet
me on the street they will ask about the books and express their
appreciation of what we are doing for their children.

Three-fourths of the mothers, regardless of nationality, social
position or education, have no definite idea as to the kind of
books their children ought to read.

If you would succeed in this movement, be interested, know your
books, and be ready to have a human interest in every child's
mother, be she rich or poor, American or foreign born. Success
will then attend your efforts.


The importance of reference work with children is indicated in
the next article by the fact that "the subjects on which children
seek information are as varied as those brought by older people,
and the material is equally elusive." Miss Abby L. Sargent
contributed this article to the Library Journal for April, 1895.

Abby Ladd Sargent received her training under her sister, Miss
Mary E. Sargent. She reorganized the Wilmington Library
Association Library in 1890-1891. From 1891 to 1895 she was
librarian of the Middlesex Mechanics Association. In 1895 she
became reference librarian and classifier of the Medford Public
Library, where her sister was librarian. In 1910, after her
sister's death, she became librarian of the Medford Public
Library. In 1900 she organized and purchased books for the
Owatonna, Minnesota, Public Library. She has been instructor in
the Expansive Classification in Simmons College Library School
since its opening. Miss Sargent was joint editor and compiler of
Sargent's "Reading for the young," and its supplement.

Let us suppose that the momentous problem is solved of persuading
children to use the library for more serious purpose than to find
a book "as good as 'Mark the match boy,' " and that we are trying
to convince children that the library is infallible, and can
furnish information on whatever they wish to know about--whether
it is some boy who comes on the busiest morning of the week, to
find out how to make a puppet show in time to give an afternoon
exhibition, or some high-school girl who rushes over in the 20
minutes' recess to write an exhaustive treatise on women's

It is unnecessary to say that the fewer books the library can
supply the more must those few be forced to yield. A large
library, with unlimited volumes, meets few of the difficulties
which beset smaller and poorer institutions.

If the librarian can name at once "a poem about Henry of
Navarre," or tell who wrote "by the rude bridge that arched the
flood," and on what monument it is engraved, can furnish material
for debate on "the Chinese question," "which city should have the
new normal school," "who was Mother Goose," or on any possible or
impossible subject, she gains at once the confidence of the
severest of critics, and is sure of their future patronage.

The subjects on which children seek information are as varied as
those brought by older people and the material is equally
elusive. Perhaps the hardest questions to answer are about the
allusions which are found in literature studies, and which
frequently the teacher who has given the question cannot answer.
I find it helpful whenever I come across material of this nature
to make a reference to it in the catalog, and, in fact, to
analyze carefully all juvenile books, not fiction, whose titles
give no hint of the contents. A great many books otherwise
valueless become thus most useful, especially if one is pressed
for time.

Mr. Jones, in his "Special reading lists," gives many such
references to juvenile literature. Books like Ingersoll's
"Country cousins," which contains an article on shell money, also
an account of Professor Agassiz's laboratory at Newport; Mary
Bamford's "Talks by queer folks," giving many of the
superstitions prevalent about animals; the set of books by Uncle
Lawrence, "Young folks' ideas," "Queries," and "Whys and
wherefores," recently republished under the title "Science in
story," and others of this sort, if carefully indexed, answer
many of the questions brought every day by children, and amply
repay for the trouble. For even if juvenile books are classified
on the shelves, much time is wasted in going through many

A wide-awake teacher often gives his pupils the events of the day
to study, and if they cannot grasp the situation from the daily
papers, juvenile periodicals furnish the best material. For this
a classified index is indispensable; it makes available accounts
of the workings of government, the weather bureau, mint, and
other intangible topics. Until the recent publication of Capt.
King's "Cadet days," I knew of no other place to find any
description of West Point routine outside of Boynton's or
Cullum's histories. One glimpse of either would convince any boy
he would rather try some other subject.

A short article often suffices to give the main facts. My
experience, both as teacher and librarian, persuades me that the
average child is eminently statistical. "A horse is an animal
with four legs--one at each corner," is fairly representative of
the kind of information he seeks. When he becomes diffuse, we may
feel sure he has had help. Sissy Jupes are of course to be found,
who cannot grapple with facts.

Working on this principle, I have made liberal use of a book
issued by the U. S. Government--"The growth of industrial art."
It gives, in pictures, with only a line or two of description,
the progress of different industries--such as the locomotive,
from the clumsy engine of 1802 to the elaborate machinery of the
present day; the evolution of lighting, from the pine-knot and
tallow-dip to the electric light; methods of signalling, from the
Indian fire-signal to the telegraph; time-keeping, etc. A child
will get more ideas from one page of pictures than from a dozen
or more pages of description and hard words.

If lack of space compels one to deny the privilege of going to
the shelves, it seems to me more essential for children to have
ready access to reference-books, and especially to be taught how
to use them, than for grown-up people. The youngest soon learn to
use "Historical notebooks," Champlin's Cyclopaedias, Hopkins'
"Experimental science," "Boys' and Girls' handy books," and
others of miscellaneous contents. If they have a mechanical bent
they will help themselves from Amateur Work or "Electrical
toy-making"; if musical, from Mrs. Lillie's "Story of music" or
Dole's "Famous composers"; if they have ethical subjects to write
about, they find what they need in Edith Wiggin's "Lessons in
manners," Everett's "Ethics for young people," or Miss Ryder's
books, which give excellent advice in spite of their
objectionable titles. They can find help in their nature studies
in Gibson's "Sharp-eyes," Lovell's "Nature's wonder workers,"
Mrs. Dana's "How to know the wild flowers," or turn to Mrs.
Bolton's or Lydia Farmer's books to learn about famous people, if
they are encouraged to do so. These, of course, are only a few of
the books which can be used in this way. As the different
holidays come round there are frequent applications for the
customs of those days, or for appropriate selections for school
or festival. Miss Matthews and Miss Ruhl have helped us out in
their "Memorial day selections," and McCaskey's "Christmas in
song, sketch, and story," and the "Yule-tide collection" give
great variety. If the juvenile periodicals do not furnish the
customs, they can, of course, be found in Brand's "Popular
antiquities," or Chambers's "Book of days." It is necessary
sometimes to use the books for older people, since there is a
point where childhood and grown-up-hood meet. I was recently
obliged to give quite a small child Knight's "Mechanical
dictionary," to find out when and where weather-vanes were first
used, and to give a grammar-school girl Mrs. Farmer's "What
America owes to women," for material for a graduating essay.

A few excellent suggestions for general reference work are given
in Miss Plummer's "Hints to small libraries"; but in spite of all
the aids at command there come times when our only resource is to
follow the adage, "look till you find it and your labor won't be
lost," and to accept the advice of Cap'n Cuttle, "When found,
make a note on't."


Another report based on answers received from various libraries
in reply to a list of questions suggests that we are "concerned
not so much to supply information as to educate in the use of the
library." This report was presented by Miss Harriet H. Stanley at
the Waukesha Conference of the A. L. A. in 1901.

Harriet Howard Stanley is a native of Massachusetts. After
completing a normal school course and teaching for a few years in
secondary schools, she entered the New York State Library School,
where she was graduated in 1895. She served for four years as
librarian of the Public Library at Southbridge, Mass., and
thereafter was for eleven years school reference librarian in the
Public Library of Brookline, Mass. Since 1910 she has had
positions in the Library of the U. S. Department of Agriculture
and the Providence (R. I.) Athenaeum, and was for a year
librarian of New Hampshire College. At various times she has
taught in summer library schools--Albany, India and McGill
University. She is now on the staff of the Public Library of
Utica, N. Y.

Preliminary to preparing this report, a list of 15 questions was
sent to a number of libraries in different parts of the United
States, from 24 of which replies were received. So far as space
would permit, the facts and opinions obtained have been embodied
in this paper.

Reference work with grown people consists in supplying material
on various topics; we consider it sufficiently well done when the
best available matter is furnished with as little cost of time
and trouble to the inquirer as is consistent with the service we
owe to other patrons of the library. To a certain extent this
statement is true also of reference work with children, but I
think we are agreed that for them our aim reaches further--
reaches to a familiarity with reference tools, to knowing how to
hunt down a subject, to being able to use to best advantage the
material found. In a word, we are concerned not so much to supply
information as to educate in the use of the library. Seventeen of
the 24 libraries reporting judge children to be sent to them
primarily, if not wholly, for information. One of the first steps
towards improving and developing reference work with children
will have been taken when the teacher appreciates the larger
purpose, since the point of view must materially affect the
character and scope of the work. Another forward step is for the
library to have definitely in mind some plan for accomplishing
these ends. Whatever the plan, it will in likelihood have to be
modified to accord with the teacher's judgment and deeds, but a
definite proposal ought at least to give impetus to the

Six libraries state that a considerable part of the inquiries
they receive from children are apparently prompted by their
individual interests, and not suggested by the teacher. These
inquiries relate chiefly to sports, mechanical occupations and
pets. This paper is confined to the discussion of reference work
connected with the schools.


In selecting reference books for the purpose, certain familiar
ones come at once to our minds. Beyond those there have been
suggested: Chase and Clow's "Stories of Industry," "Information
readers," Brown's "Manual of commerce," Boyd's "Triumphs and
wonders of the 19th century," Patton's "Resources of the United
States," Geographical readers, Youth's Companion geographical
series, Spofford's "Library of historic characters," Larned's
"History for ready reference," Ellis's "Youth's dictionary of
mythology," Macomber's "Our authors and great inventors,"
Baldwin's "Fifty famous stories," "Riverside natural history,"
Wright's "Seaside and wayside," bound volumes of the Great Round
World, and text-books on various subjects.

A dictionary catalog will be useful in teaching the child to look
up subjects for himself. If a separate catalog is provided for
children, the question arises whether it is wiser to follow
closely the A. L. A. headings or to modify them where they differ
from topics commonly asked for by children or used as headings in
text-books. This question suggests also the advisability of a
modified classification for a children's library.

Last and not least, children should have room and service adapted
to their needs, so that they may not constantly have to be put
aside in deference to the rightful demands of adult readers.

So far as the writer knows, the Public Library of Boston was the
first library to open a reference room expressly for children,
well equipped and separate from the children's reading room or
circulating department, and from the general reference department
for adults.


Many libraries report that they find the topics habitually well
chosen. The gist of the criticisms is as follows:

(a) The teacher should make clear to the child just what he is to
look up and how to ask for it. An eastern library furnishes this

"I want a book about flowers."

"Do you want a special flower?"

"Yes, I want the rose."

A book on the cultivation of roses is handed her. Her companion,
looking over, exclaims, "Why she wants the Wars of the roses!"
The same librarian was invited to provide something on American
privileges; whether social, religious, political, or otherwise,
the child did not know.

(b) The teacher should be reasonably sure that there is on the
topic something in print, in usable shape, that can be gotten at
with a reasonable amount of labor.

(c) The subject when found should be within the child's
comprehension. The topic Grasses is manifestly unfit for
children, since grasses are difficult to study, and the
description of them in encyclopedias and botanies is too
technical. An eight- year-old had to investigate the Abyssinian
war. Pupils under 16 were assigned the topic Syncretism in the
later pagan movement. A western librarian was asked by some girls
for Kipling's "Many inventions" and "Day's work." Both were out.
"Well, what other books of Kipling's on agriculture have you?"
"Why, Kipling hasn't written any books on agriculture; he writes
stories and poems." "But we have to debate on whether agriculture
or manufacturing has done more for the welfare of the country,
and we want a book on both sides."

(d) The topic should be definite and not too broad, and should be
subdivided when necessary. The briefest comprehensive description
of Rome is probably that in Champlin's "Persons and places,"
where the six columns, already much condensed, would take more
than an hour to copy. A young girl came to find out about Italian
painters. None of the several encyclopedias treated them
collectively under either Italy or Art. Mrs. Bolton's book of 10
artists includes four Italians, but it takes some time and skill
to discover them, as the fact of their nationality does not
introduce the narrative. How should a sixth grade pupil make a
selection from the 60 painters in Mrs. Jameson's book? Three
names were furnished by the librarian, and the child made notes
from their biographies. The next day she returned and said she
hadn't enough artists.

(e) The question should preferably be of such nature that the
child can be helped to find it rather than be obliged to wait
while the librarian does the work. One inquiry was, "What eastern
plant is sometimes sold for its weight in gold?" This is not in
the book of "Curious questions."

(f) The topic should be worth spending time upon. The genealogy
of Ellen Douglas will hardly linger long in the average memory.


Suppose the topic to be good and suitable material to have been
found; for older children there are two good ways of using
it--one to read through and make notes on the substance, the
other to copy in selection. Children need practice in doing both.
The first method suits broad description and narration, the
second detailed description. There seems to be a prevailing
tendency to copy simply, without sufficient neglect of minor
points, a process which should be left to the youngest children,
since it furnishes little mental training, uses a great deal of
time, keeps the writer needlessly indoors, and fosters habits of
inattention, because it is easy to copy with one's mind
elsewhere. The necessity for using judgment after the article has
been found is illustrated by the case of some children who came
for the life of Homer. Champlin, in about a column, mentions the
limits within which the conjectures as to the time of Homer's
birth lie, the places which claim to be his birthplace, and tells
of the tradition of the blind harper. The children, provided with
the book, plunged at once into copying until persuaded just to
read the column through. "When you finish reading," I said, "come
to me and tell me what it says." They came and recounted the
items, and only after questioning did they at all grasp the gist
of the matter, that nothing is known about Homer. Even then their
sense of responsibility to produce something tangible was so
great that they would copy the details, and from the children who
came next day I judged that the teacher had required some facts
as to time and place and tradition. While it is true that we
learn by doing and it is well that children should rely upon
themselves, it is evident that young pupils need some direction.
Even when provided with sub-topics, they often need help in
selecting and fitting together the appropriate facts, since no
article exactly suits their needs. About half of the reporting
librarians are of the opinion that it is the teacher's business
to instruct pupils in the use of books; they consider the library
to have done its share when the child has been helped to find the
material. The other half believe such direction as is suggested
above to be rightly within the librarian's province; several,
however, who express a willingness to give such help, add that
under their present library conditions it is impracticable. We
can easily see that time would not permit nor would it be
otherwise feasible for the teacher to examine every collection of
notes made at the library, but there ought to be some systematic
work where the topics are thoughtfully chosen, the librarian
informed of them in advance, and the notes criticised. A moderate
amount of reference work so conducted would be of greater benefit
than a large quantity of the random sort which we now commonly
have. Five librarians state that they are usually given the
topics beforehand. Several others are provided with courses of
study or attend grade meetings in which the course is discussed.


While a general effort is being made to instruct children
individually, only a few libraries report any systematic lessons.
In Providence each visiting class is given a short description of
books of reference. In Hartford an attempt at instruction was
made following the vacation book talks. In Springfield, Mass.,
last year the senior class of the literature department was given
a lesson on the use of the library, followed by two practice
questions on the card catalog. In one of the Cleveland branches
talks are given to both teachers and pupils. At the Central High
School of Detroit the school librarian has for the past three
years met the new pupils for 40 minutes' instruction, and test
questions are given. A detailed account of similar work done in
other high school libraries is to be found in the proceedings of
the Chautauqua conference. Cambridge has given a lecture to a
class or classes of the Latin school. In the current library
report of Cedar Rapids, Ia., is outlined in detail a course of 12
lessons on bookmaking, the card catalog, and reference books. The
librarian of Michigan City, Ind., writes: "Each grade of the
schools, from the fifth to the eighth, has the use of our class
room for an afternoon session each month. Each child is assigned
a topic on which to write a short composition or give a brief
oral report. When a pupil has found all he can from one source,
books are exchanged, and thus each child comes into contact with
several books. At these monthly library afternoons I give short
talks to the pupils on the use of the library, the reference
books, and the card catalog, accompanied by practical object
lessons and tests." At Brookline our plan is to have each class
of the eighth and ninth grades come once a year to our school
reference room at the library. The teacher accompanies them, and
they come in school hours. The school reference librarian gives
the lesson. For the eighth grade we consider the make-up of the
book--the title-page in detail, the importance of noting the
author, the significance of place and date and copyright, the
origin of the dedication, the use of contents and index. This is
followed by a description of bookmaking, folding, sewing and
binding, illustrated by books pulled to pieces for the purpose.
The lesson closes with remarks on the care of books. The ninth
grade lesson is on reference books, and is conducted largely by
means of questioning. A set of test questions at the end
emphasizes the description of the books. In these lessons the
pupils have shown an unexpected degree of interest and
responsiveness. The course brought about 400 children to the
library, a few of whom had never been there before. These were
escorted about a little, and shown the catalog, charging desk,
bulletins, new book shelves, etc. Every one not already holding a
card was given an opportunity to sign a registration slip. The
following year the eighth grade, having become the ninth, has the
second lesson. With these lessons the attitude of the children
towards the library has visibly improved, and we are confident
that their idea of its use has been enlarged.


The inquiry was made of the reporting libraries whether any
bibliographical work was being done by the high school. The
question was not well put, and was sometimes misunderstood.
Almost no such work was reported. At Evanston, III., one high
school teacher has taught her class to prepare bibliographies,
the librarian assisting. At Brookline we have ambitions, not yet
realized, of getting each high school class to prepare one
bibliography a year (we begin modestly) on some subject along
their lines of study. Last May the principals of two grammar
schools offered to try their ninth grades on a simple
bibliography. The school reference librarian selected some 60
topics of English history--Bretwalda, Sir Isaac Newton, East
India Company, the Great Commoner, etc. Each bibliography was to
include every reference by author, title and page to be found in
the books of the school reference collection of the public
library. The pupils displayed no little zest and enjoyment in the
undertaking, and some creditable lists were made. Observation of
the work confirmed my belief in its great practical value. Pupils
became more keen and more thorough than in the usual getting of
material from one or two references on a subject. Such training
will smooth the way and save the time of those students who are
to make use of a college library, and is even more to be desired
for those others whose formal education ends with the high or
grammar schools.

The practice of sending collections of books from the public
library to the schools is becoming general. When these
collections are along the lines of subjects studied, it would
seem as if the reference use of the library by pupils might be
somewhat diminished thereby. No doubt it is a convenience to both
teacher and pupils to have books at hand to which to refer. The
possession of an independent school library also tends to keep
the reference work in the school. But in neither case ought the
reference use of the public library or its branches to be wholly
or materially overlooked, since it is on that that pupils must
depend in after years, and therefore to that they must now be
directed. We recognize that the people of modest means need the
library. As for the very-well-to-do, the library needs them.
Other things being equal, the pupil who has learned to know and
to know how to use his public library ought later so to
appreciate its needs and so to recognize the benefits it bestows
that he will be concerned to have it generously supported and
wisely administered.

Even we librarians claim for our public collection no such fine
service as is rendered by those private treasures that stand on a
person's own shelves, round which "our pastime and our happiness
will grow." Books for casual entertainment are more and more
easily come by. But so far as our imagination reaches, what
private library will for most readers supplant a public
collection of books for purposes of study and reference? Is it
not then fitting that we spend time and effort to educate young
people to the use of the public library? Do not the methods for
realizing this end seem to be as deserving of systematic study as
the details of classification and of cataloging? We have learned
that to bring school authorities to our assistance our faith must
be sufficient to convince and our patience must be tempered by a
kindly appreciation of the large demands already made upon the
schools. Have we not yet to learn by just what lessons and what
practice work the reference use of the public library can best be
taught to children?


The necessity of close cooperation between school and library in
the practical use of books as tools in order that we may have
"our grown people more appreciative of the value of their public
library and better able to use it" is clearly brought out in this
article written by Miss Elizabeth Ellis, Peoria Public Library,
for Public Libraries, July, 1899. Miss Ellis says: "It was
written at a time when we had no children's department and was an
account of my pioneer efforts made entirely as a side issue from
my own work as general reference librarian."

Elizabeth Ellis spent one year in the New York State Library
School, later taking three months of special work. With the
exception of organizing a library at Wenona, Illinois, her work
was with the Peoria Public Library. She is not now in library

Since the public school of today is the source from which must
come our support tomorrow, it behooves us to give some attention
to the proper training of our school children if we would have
our grown people more appreciative of the value of their public
library and better able to use it.

We cannot begin too early, and if the children fall into line
there will be no trouble with the coming generation.

But they must learn to really use the library; to feel that they
are standing on their own feet and using their own tools, not
merely that there is a pleasant room where a good story may be
had for the asking. They must grow up in such familiar use of the
library in all its departments that it will come to be an actual
necessity to them in the pursuit of knowledge.

There are music, drawing, and physical culture teachers for our
schools; may we not have a few lessons in how to use a library to
the best advantage as part of the course? This field for
instruction may be worked to advantage by the librarian, with
comparatively little expenditure of time after the first round
has been made.

Teachers often feel that they have themselves already more
outside work than they can accomplish, but they are really glad
to have this instruction given in their schools, and in our
experience they have invariably taken great interest in it and
have done all in their power to further our efforts.

There is certainly no library work which sends in its returns
more promptly, for children feel an instinctive sense of
ownership in their library, and take a personal interest in
anything pertaining to it. They give the most flattering
attention and put their instructions into immediate practice. I
believe they really take more interest in the subject when
presented by "a lady from the library" than if it were only an
additional school lesson taught them by their teacher.

Most of the practical instruction must come in the grammar grades
and high school, but it is well to begin as early as the third
year, and possibly with the second, if there are found to be many
children in a room who have already begun to take books and if
there is no age limit. If it should so chance that only a small
number in a room are library members, it is better to give only
the general interesting library talk, leaving the specific
instruction till a second visit, when the fruits of the first
will probably appear. There is one point for the lowest room
which it may be well to mention. See to it that they are learning
to say their A B C's in the good old-fashioned way, for upon this
depends all familiar use of catalogs and indexes.

Any child who can write can fill out a call slip, and this we
teach them to do from the very first, either from a catalog when
help in selection must be given, or from a special list of books
for little children.

It must be impressed upon them that if they do not understand the
general instruction you are always ready and glad to explain
further. If they feel that you are really interested, even the
smallest ones will work with enthusiasm to prepare their own call
slips instead of asking each time for just any good book.

The intermediate grades, the fifth and sixth, and sometimes the
fourth, are quite able to understand the general catalog. I
should not advise much explanation at the school, at least in
these grades, of the card catalog, if the library has a printed
list. The use of a classed catalog, with its index, is easily
comprehended, and there are many whole classes of books which
these children will enjoy knowing about; boys, I should say,
perhaps, for it is the pages containing electricity,
photography, boat-building, and hunting, which are worn and
crumpled. It is the classed catalog which they will use most, but
they should understand the difference between it and the author

In all schools it is a good plan to give quizzes, even on a first
visit, to draw the children out. Those who are already patrons of
the library are delighted to show their knowledge. Afterwards it
would be well before the day of the visit, with the teacher's
consent, to send a short set of questions which would be answered
and returned for correction, thus giving you an idea of what
points need dwelling upon. These questions would vary from the
simplest points in filling out library numbers, giving authors to
titles and vice versa, to questions on arrangement, use of
dictionary catalog and of various reference books.

In upper grades and high school add a simple explanation of the
card catalog as being the most complete record, trusting to their
interest in coming to the library to use it practically. If there
is no printed catalog this explanation will have to be given to
fifth and sixth years also.

They should be advised to use both kinds, and particularly the
dictionary catalog for biography, as the short analytical
references are most often what they want.

Children, boys again particularly, take to the card catalog with
a confidence often lacking in their elders. I have seen them even
make out their fiction lists from the cards in preference to the
printed catalog, though for what reason I cannot explain, unless
it is their innate desire to explore the unknown.

It is a good plan to have sample cards plainly written in large
form on a sheet of paper, in addition to using a section of the
catalog itself if it seems advisable to take it. In lower rooms a
blackboard talk holds the attention better.

The use of the guide card, which misleads so many grown people,
the heading in red, and the see and see also cards in the
dictionary catalog, and the arrangement of biography in a classed
list are a few points, which may need dwelling upon, and which I
mention as having been found in our experience to be pitfalls for
the unwary.

In the upper grade rooms, and particularly in the high school,
comes the use of the encyclopedias and reference books.

I have found it hard to hold the attention of sixth-year pupils
in this part, but they ought to be familiar with a good
encyclopedia and biographical dictionary, and the gazeteer.

Tell them about Harper's Book of facts, Hayden's Dictionary of
dates, the Century and Lippincott reference books and so on; also
Chambers' Book of days, and the mythological dictionaries, in
addition to the best encyclopedias, leaving at each school a
descriptive list of these books for their further use. Call
especial attention to the biographical dictionaries--few persons
know how to use a set whose index is in the last volume; also
note difference between table of contents and index in general
books, and accustom them to use the latter. If there is a very
large reference room it might be well to have some of the best
books for school use collected on one shelf, and of course every
children's room should be thus supplied.

Poole's index may be explained for the principle, but practically
people are so sure to select the very volume you have not that it
is well to use a little discretion with regard to it, unless you
have made an index of all your own periodicals which are included
in Poole, and can induce children to be patient enough to use it
as a key to the other. The Cumulative index is rather better to
teach them the use of periodicals, since it does not contain so
many, and also as it gives such a very good idea of the
dictionary catalog. The back numbers can be used in your
explanations in the schoolroom for both purposes. Find out
whether there is a debating society, and if so bring out Briefs
for debate, Pros and cons, and tell them specially about the
periodical indexes for late subjects.

Care must be taken not to crowd too much into one lesson, or to
make it too technical; this latter point we must specially guard
against, and experience in teaching comes into good use here.
Their individual work with these books will have to be overlooked
for some time, even though they are not conscious of it; and one
must be ready to fly to the rescue and lend a helping hand
without a special request, which I have found some children too
timid to make.

In the first year of this kind of work the grammar grades and
high school would need some of the instruction given in the lower
grades, and after the system is really in working order there
would be no actual need to go beyond the grammar grade, as the
aim should be to have all really necessary instruction given then
as so large a majority of pupils never go farther; but in the
high school, if advisable, a course in bibliography could be
introduced, based on their school work.

The use of the reference room, or reference desk, is a thing to
be taught as much as the books themselves, and in this matter
those libraries in which there is not an entirely separate
children's room may have an advantage.

I am told that there is a certain feeling of timidity in entering
a reference room which is sometimes hard to overcome in children
accustomed to a special room and attendant.

Whatever the arrangement, they must be made to feel that the
reference room, its appliances and its attendants, are part of
their school outfit, an annex to the school as it were, however
much we, carrying out the idea of Dr. Harris, may think the
school an annex to the library. Accustom them as far as possible
to use reference books at the library, and perhaps the coming
generation will not invariably demand a book to take home, no
matter how small the subject or how large the number of
applicants for the same.

In this, as in all other school work, we must look to the teacher
for aid after the technical use of our tools is taught.

The average child does not so much need the encouragement to read
which may come from the library as constant guidance, which, to a
large degree, must and does rest with the teacher, and in this
matter of instruction much must depend on her even though the
teaching itself is not imposed upon her as part of her duties.
Explain to her your ideas, get her individual interest, and I can
testify that she will assist in many ways. Children take their
tone from their teacher, and the battle is half won if we have
her hearty cooperation. A catalog should be placed in every
school, and this she will help her pupils to use in nature work,
history, and geography, and at the different holidays; also for
their selections in speaking.

Particularly can she help in regard to their use of the reference
room. She will remind them from time to time to go there instead
of to the general delivery counter for special school topics. She
will furnish a weekly memorandum of her essay work, this
especially in the high school. She will send a warning note when
her whole class is to descend upon us in a body at the busiest
part of the afternoon, thereby probably saving our reputation in
the minds of these young people whom we are laboring to convince
that the library is an inexhaustible storehouse of information,
equal to any demand which may be made upon it.

Now is the time for them to put their theoretical knowledge into
practice, and we must often turn them loose with the reference
books to find their own way, if we would be able in the future to
deny the accusation that we are fostering laziness by having the
very page and line pointed out.

I really believe that when the present library and school
movement, has had time to exert its influence over even one
generation, unlimited possibilities will unfold. Think what it
will be to have our legislatures and city councils, our school
and library boards and corps of teachers, drawn from the ranks of

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