Part 5 out of 8
those who have grown up in the atmosphere of the public library
to a true appreciation of its value.
ELEMENTARY LIBRARY INSTRUCTION
Principles and methods and the part of the public library in
giving library instruction are presented by Gilbert O. Ward,
Supervisor of High School Libraries, Cleveland, Ohio, in Public
Libraries, July, 1912. This and its allied subjects are more
comprehensively treated in several of the articles included in
the first volume of the present series, entitled "Library and
Gilbert O. Ward was born in 1880 in New York City, and was
educated in the New York City public schools. He was graduated
from Columbia University in 1902 and from the Pratt Institute
Library School in 1908. In 1908- 1909 he was an assistant in the
Pratt Institute Free Library. Since 1909 he has been a member of
the staff of the Cleveland Public Library, as librarian of the
Technical High School in 1909-1910, and as technical librarian
since 1910. From 1911 to 1913 he served as Supervisor of High
School Branches. Mr. Ward has published "Practical use of books
and libraries: an elementary textbook for use with high school
The term "elementary library instruction" is limited here to any
instruction given in the technical use of books and libraries to
students under college or normal school grade.
The object of this paper is to review briefly, (1) the reasons
for giving such instruction, (2) subjects and some methods
suitable for grade and high schools, (3) the part of the public
library in giving such instruction.
The subject of bibliographical instruction for school children
has become more important in recent years because of changes
which have taken place in school methods. Schools now place much
less reliance than formerly upon text-books, while on the other
hand they require of the student more collateral reading and
reference work. This is especially true in courses in English and
history; for instance where the high school student formerly
studied about Chaucer in a textbook, he is now more likely
required to read a selection.
This method while more fruitful in results than the old text-book
method presents new difficulties both to teacher and to student.
On the teacher's part, it is no longer sufficient to assign 10
pages for study and have done with it. References must be
consulted and assigned to the students for written or oral
report. With the troubles of the teacher however, we shall have
nothing to do in the present paper. On the student's part,
instead of being able to sit down to a compact account in a
single book, he is required to use perhaps a dozen books in the
course of a month, to say nothing of possible magazine articles.
In fine, instead of a single book, he must use a library. The
practical effect of this condition is that without some
understanding of the scientific use of books and of the
possibilities of either high school or public library, the
student wastes his time and finds these studies an increased
burden. The ordinary student is ignorant of how to handle books.
The primary purpose of formal library instruction is clearly then
to do away with the friction which hinders the student in his or
her work. There is no charm in bibliographical information as
such and no excuse for attempting to teach a child merely curious
or interesting facts for which he has no natural appetite or use.
An example of this mistake is the attempt to acquaint the student
with very many reference books, or go deeply into the subject of
The subject of library instruction in public schools conveniently
divides itself into two parts, (1) instruction in grade schools,
(2) instruction in high schools. I have elsewhere rather full
tentative outlines by way of suggestion, and limit myself at this
point to more general discussion.
In elementary classes, the subject matter must be simple, first
because the needs of the student are simple, and secondly because
it is more easily and willingly taught if simple. The subjects
which suggest themselves are: (1) The physical care of a book,
(2) printed parts of a book, (3) the dictionary, (4) the public
The physical care of a book comes naturally first because
children have to handle books before they can read them for
pleasure, or need to use them as reference helps. The subject is
important both to librarian and to school boards because it
affects the question of book replacement, and hence the
expenditure of public money. Speaking broadly, it is a question
The ordinary book, not the reference book, is the one with which
the student will always have most to deal; therefore as soon as
he is old enough, or as soon as his text books can serve for
practical illustration, the important printed parts of the
ordinary books can be called to his attention. It should be
sufficient to include the title page (title, author's name, and
date), table of contents and index.
The study of the dictionary (the first reference book) should be
taken up first with the pocket dictionaries when these are used
in class and the children should be practiced in discovering and
understanding the kinds of information given with each word.
Then, when the unabridged is attacked later, the essentials will
be familiar, and the mind freer to attack the somewhat complex
problems of arrangement and added information, e.g., synonyms,
After proper care of books, and the use of an ordinary book, and
the use of a simple reference book, the next natural step is to
the use of the public library. The talk on the public library
obviously includes some description of the library's purpose and
resources both for use and amusement, a very general description
of the arrangement of the books, possibly some description of the
card catalog--personally I am somewhat skeptical as to the
utility of the card catalog for grade pupils--and finally,
possibly an explanation of the encyclopedia.
The instructor for all the subjects mentioned excepting the
public library is logically the teacher, because the subjects
must be introduced as occasion arises in class. For instance the
time for teaching the physical care of a book is when a book is
first put into the child's hands. For the talk on the public
library, the library itself is obviously the place, and the
children's librarian the instructor Some special methods which
suggest themselves are as follows: for the physical care of a
book, a class drill in opening, holding, shutting, laying down,
etc., rewards for the cleanest books, etc.; for the card
catalogue, sample sets of catalogue cards (author, title and
subject). The latter method is successfully used by the
Binghamton (N. Y.) public library.
In high school, students vary in age from the grammar school boy
on the one side, to the college freshman on the other, and the
subjects and methods of instruction vary accordingly. In the
matter of bibliographical instruction this greater range is
reflected in a closer study of reference tools, including those
parts of an ordinary book not taken up in the grades, (e.g.,
copyright date, preface, peculiar indexes, etc.), the unabridged
dictionary, selected reference books, card catalog, magazine
indexes, etc. The intelligent care of books can be re-emphasized
by an explanation of book structure from dissected examples.
The specific subjects to be taught will vary with the time
available, the class of the student, the subjects taught in
school and the method of teaching them, and the material on hand
in the public or school library.
As to general methods of instruction, these also must vary to
suit the subject, the age of the student and the time available.
Straight lecturing economizes time but makes the class restless
and inattentive. An oral quiz drawing on the student's own
experience is useful in getting the recitation started and
revives interest when interspersed through a lecture. Each point
should be illustrated by concrete examples from books themselves
when possible, or from the blackboard. The lesson should be
concluded by a written exercise, not too difficult, which should
be marked. For example, the dictionary might be illustrated from
the sample sheets issued by the publishers; and the class should
then be given a list of questions to be answered from the
dictionary. The questions can frequently be framed so as to be
answered by a page number instead of a long answer, and each
student should as far as practicable have a set of questions to
answer different from every other student's.
If the high school possesses a library, much of the instruction
is most logically given there. This save the time of the class in
travelling back and forth from the school to the public library,
particularly if the course is an extended one.
But why does the instruction of school children in the use of
books and libraries concern the public library?
Because if children learn to use ordinary books intelligently it
means a saving of the librarian's time by her not having to find
the precise page of every reference for a child. It means a
diminished amount of handling of books. It means less disturbance
from children who do not know how to find what they want. Other
results will doubtless suggest themselves.
It is not proposed to train the student to be a perfectly
independent investigator. That would be impracticable and
undesirable. It is simply proposed to give him such
bibliographical knowledge as will be distinctly useful to him as
a student now, and later as a citizen and patron of the library.
But what part may the public library play in this instruction? It
obviously may play a very large part in high schools, the
librarian of which it supplies, as in the city of Cleveland. In
high schools when the librarian is appointed by the school
authorities, it can cooperate with the school librarian by
lending speakers to describe the public library, by furnishing
sets of specimen catalogue cards for comparison--for public
library cataloging may differ from high school cataloging--by
lending old numbers of the Readers' Guide for practice in
bibliography making, etc., etc.
Where there is no high school library and instruction must be
given by the teacher or the public librarian, again the
opportunities of the public library are clear. First there are
teachers to be interested. English and history teachers most
obviously, and department heads of these subjects are strategic
points for attack. The subject of course should never be forced
and a beginning should be made only with those teachers who seem
likely to take interest. In the Binghamton public library before
referred to, the librarian contrived to get the teachers together
socially at the library, and the plan was then discussed before
being put into operation. In laying the foundation for such a
campaign, the librarian should have a simple, but definite plan
in mind, based on her experience with school children so that
when asked for suggestion, she can advance a practicable
Finally, under any circumstances, the public library can always
be open for visits from classes, and ready to give class
instruction in either library or school room as necessity or
opportunity suggests. These methods are of course well known.
Much informal instruction can also be given to students on using
the index of an ordinary book, or the encyclopedia as occasion
Summing up the chief points of this superficial review, we have
seen (1) that the change in teaching methods has made the subject
of library instruction important. (2) That the subjects of such
instruction should be simple, and that both subjects and methods
must be adapted to the occasion, (3) and finally that the public
library is interested in the subject from a practical point of
view and is able to take an influential part in shaping and
THE QUESTION OF DISCIPLINE
The first article quoted on the subject of discipline was
contributed to The Library Journal, October, 1901, by Miss Lutie
E. Stearns, who gives the experience of a number of librarians
and interprets them from her own standpoint. Lutie Eugenia
Stearns was born in Stoughton, Mass.; was graduated from the
Milwaukee State Normal School in 1887, and taught in the public
schools for two years. From 1890 to 1897 she was in charge of the
circulating department of the Milwaukee Public Library; from 1897
to 1914 she was connected with the Wisconsin Library Commission,
part of the time as chief of the Travelling Library Department.
Miss Stearns now devotes her time to public lecturing.
In these days of children's shelves, corners, or departments, or
when, in lieu of such separation, the juvenile population fairly
overruns the library itself, the question of discipline ofttimes
becomes a serious one. The pages of library journals, annual
reports, bulletins, primers, and compendiums may be searched in
vain for guidance. How to inculcate a spirit of quiet and
orderliness among the young folks in general; how to suppress
giggling girls; what to do with the unruly boy or "gang" of boys
--how best to win or conquer them, or whether to expel them
altogether; how to deal with specific cases of malicious mischief
or flagrant misbehavior and rowdiness--all these questions
sometimes come to be of serious importance to the trained and
It was with a view of gaining the experience of librarians in
this matter that letters were recently sent to a large number of
librarians, asking for devices used in preserving order and quiet
in the library. The replies are of great interest, the most
surprising and painful result of the symposium being the almost
universal testimony that the leading device used in preserving
order is the policeman! One librarian even speaks of his library
as being "well policed" in ALL of its departments. Personally, we
think the presence of such an officer is to be greatly deplored,
believing him to be as much out of place in a library as he would
be in enforcing order in a church or school room. The term of a
school teacher would be short lived, indeed, who would be
compelled to resort to such measures. In several instances,
janitors do police duty, being invested with the star of
authority; and in one case the librarian, who openly confesses to
a lack of sentiment in the matter, calls upon the janitor to
thrash the offender! "The unlucky youth who gets caught has
enough of a story to tell to impress transgressors for a long
time to come," writes the librarian. "The average boy believes in
a thrashing, and it is much better in the end for him and for
others to administer it and secure reverence for the order of the
In one state at least, Massachusetts, there is a special law
imposing a penalty for disturbance; and one librarian reports
that he has twice had boys arrested and tried for disturbing
readers. Another librarian does not go as far as this but adopts
the device of showing unruly boys a photograph of the State
Reform School and the cadets on parade. "The mischief is quite
subdued before I am half through," she writes, "and they
frequently return bringing other boys to see the photograph. This
fact undoubtedly acts as a check upon the boys many times." A
pleasing contrast is offered to such drastic and unwholesome
methods as these by the gentle and cheery methods pursued by a
librarian who says, "The children in this library talk less than
the grown-ups. When they do raise their voices, I go up to them
and tell them in a very low tone that if everybody else in the
room were making as much noise as they, it would be a very noisy
place. That stops them. If children walk too heavily or make a
noise on the stairs, I affect surprise and remark in a casual way
that I did not know that it was circus day until I heard the
elephants. This produces mouse-like stillness at once. Really, I
know no other devices except being very impressive and putting
quietness on the ground of other peoples' rights."
But it is not always such smooth sailing. One librarian writes:
"We have had no end of trouble in a small branch which we have
opened in a settlement in a part of our city almost entirely
occupied by foreign born residents. A great many boys have come
there for the sole purpose of making a row. We have had every
sort of mischief, organized and unorganized. We have had to put
boys out and we have had many free fights, much to the amusement
and pleasure of the boys. We have never resorted to arrests, but
instructed the young man who acted as body guard to the young
lady assistants to hold his own as best he could in these melees.
I finally resorted to the plan of taking the young man away and
letting the young ladies be without their guard. This has
resulted most satisfactorily. The order has been much better, and
while I cannot say that we are free from disorder, nothing like
the state of things that before existed now obtains. The manager
of the Settlement House overheard a gang of these very bad boys
consulting on the street a few nights ago, something in this
wise: 'Come, boys, let's go to the library for some fun!' Another
boy said, 'Who's there?' The reply was, 'Oh! only Miss Y----;
don't let's bother her,' and the raid was not made. Of course we
have done everything ordinary and extraordinary that we know
about in the way of trying to interest the boys and having a
large number of assistants to be among them and watch them, but
nothing has succeeded so well as to put the girls alone in the
place and let things take their course."
The experience of another librarian also furnishes much food for
thought. She writes: "I could almost say I am glad that others
have trouble with that imp of darkness, the small boy. Much as I
love him, there are times when extermination seems the only
solution of the difficulty. However, our children's room is a
paradise to what it was a year ago, and so I hope. The only thing
is to know each boy as well as possible, something of his home
and school, if he will tell you about them. The assistants make a
point of getting acquainted when only a few children are in. This
winter I wrote to the parents of several of the leaders, telling
them I could not allow the children in the library unless the
parents would agree to assist me with the discipline. This meant
that about six boys have not come back to us. I was sorry, but
after giving the lads a year's trial I decided there was no use
in making others suffer for their misdeeds. A severe punishment
is to forbid the boys a 'story hour.' They love this and will not
miss an evening unless compelled to remain away. To give some of
the worst boys a share in the responsibility of caring for the
room often creates a feeling of ownership which is wholesome. Our
devices are as numerous and unique as the boys themselves. Some
of them would seem absurd to an outsider. The unexpected always
happens; firmness, sympathy and ingenuity are the virtues
required and occasionally the added dignity of a policeman, who
makes himself quite conspicuous, once in a while."
Another reply is a follows: "Miss C---- has turned over your
inquiry concerning unruly boys to me to answer. I protested that
every boy that made a disturbance was to me a special
problem--and very difficult; and I can't tell what we do with
unruly boys as a class. I remember I had a theory that children
were very susceptible to courtesy and gentleness, and I meant to
control the department by teaching the youngsters SELF control
and a proper respect for the rights of the others who wanted to
study in peace and quiet. I never went back on my theory; but
occasionally, of a Saturday afternoon, when there were a hundred
children or more and several teachers in the room and I was
trying to answer six questions a minute, I did have to call in
our impressive janitor. He sat near the gate and looked over the
crowd and when he scowled the obstreperous twelve-year- olds made
themselves less conspicuous. A policeman sometimes wandered in,
but I disliked to have to resort to the use of muscular energy. I
learned the names of the most troublesome boys and gradually
collected quite a bit of information about them, their addresses,
where they went to school, their favorite authors, who they
seemed 'chummy' with, etc., and when they found I didn't intend
to be needlessly disagreeable and wasn't always watching for
mischief, but credited them with honor and friendly feelings, I
think some of them underwent a change of heart. I made a point of
bowing to them on the street, talking to them and especially
getting them to talk about their books; had them help me hang
the bulletins and pictures, straighten up the books etc. Twice an
evil spirit entered into about a dozen of the boys and my
patience being kin to the prehistoric kind that 'cometh quickly
to an end,' after a certain point, I gave their names to the
librarian, who wrote to their parents. That settled things for a
while and they got out of the habit of talking so much. A serious
conversation with one boy ended with the request that he stay
from the library altogether for a month and when he came back he
would begin a new slate. Once, within a week, he came in, or
started to, when I caught his eye. Then he beckoned to another
boy and I think a transaction of some kind took place so that he
got his book exchanged. But he saw I meant what I said. The day
after the month was up he appeared, we exchanged a friendly smile
and I had no more trouble with him."
We deem the question of banishment a serious one. Unruly boys are
often just the ones that need the influence of the library most
in counteracting the ofttimes baneful influence of a sordid home
life. It is a good thing, morally, to get hold of such boys at an
early age and to win their interest in and attendance at the
library rather than at places of low resort. To withhold a boy's
card may also be considered a doubtful punishment-- driving the
young omnivorous reader to the patronage of the "underground
travelling library" with its secret stations and patrons. Before
suspension or expulsion is resorted to, the librarian should
clearly distinguish between thoughtless exuberance of spirits and
downright maliciousness. "If we only had a boys' room,"
plaintively writes one sympathetic librarian, "where we could get
them together without disturbing their elders and could thus let
them bubble over with their 'animal spirits' without infringing
on other people, I believe we could win them for good."
A number of librarians, however, report no difficulty in dealing
with the young folks. Some state that the children easily fall
into the general spirit of the place and are quiet and studious.
"We just expect them to be gentlemen," says one, "and they rarely
fail to rise to the demand." In such places will generally be
found floors that conduce to stillness, rubber-tipped chairs, and
low-voiced assistants. "Our tiled floors are noisy--not our
children," confesses one librarian. The use of noiseless matting
along aisles most travelled will be found helpful. But one
library mentions the use of warning signs as being of assistance,
this being a placard from the Roycroft Shop reading, "Be gentle
and keep the voice low." In a library once visited were found no
less than eighteen signs of admonition against dogs, hats,
smoking, whispering, handling of books, etc., etc.--the natural
result being that, in their multiplicity, no one paid any
attention to any of them. If a sign is deemed absolutely
necessary, it should be removed after general attention his been
called to it. The best managed libraries nowadays are those
wherein warnings are conspicuous for their absence. Next to the
officious human "dragon" that guards its portals, there is
probably no one feature in all the great libraries of a western
metropolis that causes so much caustic comment and rebellious
criticism as that of an immense placard in its main reading room
bearing in gigantic letters the command, SILENCE--this perpetual
affront being found in a great reference library frequented only
by scholarly patrons. Such a placard is as much out of place
there as it would be in a school for deafmutes.
The solution of the whole problem of discipline generally
resolves itself into the exercise of great tact, firmness, and,
again, gentleness. There should be an indefinable something in
the management of the library which will draw people in and an
atmosphere most persuasive in keeping them there and making them
long to return. A hard, imperious, domineering, or condescending
spirit on the part of librarian and assistants often incites to
rebellion or mutiny on the part of patrons. As opposed to this,
there should ever be the spirit of quietude, as exemplified in
the words previously quoted--"Be gentle and keep the voice low."
MAINTAINING ORDER IN THE CHILDREN'S ROOM
The following paper embodies practical suggestions for helping to
give the children's room a "natural, friendly atmosphere." It was
read by Miss Clara W. Hunt before the Long Island Library Club,
February 19, 1903. A sketch of Miss Hunt appears on page 135.
So many of the problems of discipline in a children's room would
cease to be problems if the material conditions of the room
itself were ideal, that I shall touch first upon this, the less
important branch of my subject. For although the height of a
table and width of an aisle are of small moment compared with the
personal qualifications of the children's librarian, yet since it
is possible for us to determine the height of a table, when mere
determining what were desirable will not insure its production
where a human personality is concerned, it is practical to begin
with what there is some chance of our attaining. And the question
of fitting up the room properly is by no means unimportant, but
decidedly the contrary. For, given a children's librarian who is
possessed of the wisdom of Solomon, the patience of Job, the
generalship of Napoleon, and put her into a room in which every
arrangement is conducive to physical discomfort, and even such a
paragon will fail of attaining that ideal of happy order which
she aims to realize in her children's reading room. The temper
even of an Olympian is not proof against uncomfortable
Children are very susceptible, though unconsciously to
themselves, to physical discomfort. You may say you do not think
so, for you know they would sit through a whole morning and
afternoon at school without taking off their rubbers, if the
teacher did not remind them to do it, and so, you argue, this
shows that they do not mind the unpleasant cramped feeling in the
feet which makes a grown person frantic. But while the child
himself cannot tell what is wrong with him, the wise teacher
knows that his restlessness and irritability are directly
traceable to a discomfort he is not able to analyze, and so the
cause is not removed without her oversight. While the children's
librarian will not have the close relations with the boys and
girls that their school-teachers have, she may well learn of the
latter so to study what will make for the child's comfort, that,
in the perfect adaptation of her room to its work, half the
problems of discipline are solved in advance.
Let us suppose that the librarian is to have the satisfaction of
planning a new children's room. In order to learn what
conveniences to adopt and what mistakes to avoid, she visits
other libraries and notes their good and weak points. She will
soon decide that the size of a room is an important factor in the
question of discipline. Let a child who lives in a cramped little
flat where one can hardly set foot down without stepping on a
baby come into a wide, lofty, spacious room set apart for
children's reading, and, other conditions in the library being as
they should the mere effect of the unwonted spaciousness will
impress him and have a tendency to check the behavior that goes
with tenement- house conditions. We of the profession are so
impressed with the atmosphere that should pervade a library, that
a very small and unpretentious collection of books brings our
voices involuntarily to the proper library pitch. But this is not
true to the small arab, who, coming from the cluttered little
kitchen at home to a small, crowded children's room where the
aisles are so narrow that the quickest way of egress is to crawl
under the tables, sees only the familiar sights--disorder,
confusion, discomfort --in a different place, and carries into
the undignified little library room the uncouth manners that are
the rule at home. In planning a new children's room then, give it
as much space as you can induce the librarian, trustees, and
architects to allow. Unless you are building in the North Woods,
or the Klondike or the Great American Desert you will never have
any difficulty in getting small patrons enough to fill up your
space and keep the chairs and tables from looking lonesome.
The question of light has a direct bearing on the children's
behavior. Ask any school teacher, if you have never had occasion
to notice it yourself, which days are the noisiest in her
school-room, the bright, sunny ones, or the dingy days when it is
difficult to see clearly across the room. Ask her if the pencils
don't drop on the floor oftener, if small feet do not tramp and
scrape more, if chairs don't tip over with louder reports, if
tempers are not more keenly on edge, on a dark day than a bright
one. I need not say "yes," for one hundred out of a hundred will
say it emphatically. So, if you cannot have a room bright with
sunshine, do at least be lavish with artificial light, for your
own peace of mind.
Floors rendered noiseless by some good covering help wonderfully
to keep voices pitched low. I have seen this illustrated almost
amusingly in Newark, where frequent visits of large classes were
made from the schools to the public library. The tramp of forty
or fifty pairs of feet in the marble corridors made such a noise
that the legitimate questions and answers of children and
librarian had to be given in tones to be heard over the noise of
the feet. The change that came over the voices and faces as the
class stepped on the noiseless "Nightingale" flooring of the
great reading room was almost funny. The feet made no noise,
therefore it was not necessary to raise the voice to be heard,
and no strictures of attendants were needed to maintain quiet in
Under the head of furniture I will give only one or two hints of
things worth remembering. One is that whatever you decide upon
for a chair, in point of size, shape, or style, make sure, before
you pay your bill, that it cannot be easily overturned. If you
have a chair that will tip over every time a child's cloak swings
against it, your wrinkles will multiply faster than your years
warrant. And reason firmly with your electrician if he has any
plan in mind of putting lamps on your tables of such a sort that
they positively invite the boy of a scientific (or Satanic) turn
of mind to astonish the other children by the way the lights
brighten and go out, all because he has discovered that a gentle
pressure to his foot on the movable plug under the table can be
managed so as to seem purely innocent and accidental while he
sits absorbed in the contents of his book. I would also ask why
it is that librarians think we need so MUCH furniture, when our
rooms are as small as they sometimes are? We seem to think it
inevitable that the floor space should be filled up with tables,
but, as Mr. Anderson remarked in his paper at Magnolia, if we saw
a family at home gathered around the table, leaning their elbows
upon it and facing the light, we should think it a very unnatural
and unhygienic position to adopt. Why should we, in the library,
encourage children to do just what physiologists tell us they
should not do? Why provide tables at all for any but those
actually needing them as desks for writing up their reference
work? For the many who come merely to read, why is not a chair
and a book, with light on the page of the book, and not glaring
into the child's eyes, enough for his comfort? This is worth
thinking about, I am sure, and worked out in some satisfactory,
artistic little back-to-back benches perhaps, would change the
stereotyped appearance of the children's room, and give the extra
floor space which is always sadly needed. It is an axiom in
library architecture that perfect supervision should be made
easily possible. In a children's room this should be taken very
literally. There should be no floor cases, no alcoves in the
room, no arrangements by which a knot of small mischief makers
can conceal themselves from the librarian for she will find such
an error in planning, a thorn in the flesh as long as the room
So much time devoted to the planning of the children's room, may
give the impression that the room is of more importance than the
librarian. It is a platitude, however, to say that the ideal
children's librarian, with every material condition against her,
will do a thousand times more than the ideal room with the wrong
person in it. The qualifications necessary to make the right sort
of a disciplinarian are, many of them, too intangible for words,
but a few things strike me as not always distinctly recognized by
In the first place, no librarian should compel that member of his
staff who dislikes children to do the work of the children's
department. While on general principles to let an attendant
choose the work she likes to do would be disastrous, since the
person best fitted for dusting might choose to be reference
librarian, in this one particular at any rate, the wishes of the
staff should be consulted. For while all may be conscientious,
faithful workers wherever placed, mere conscientiousness will not
make a person who frankly says children bore and annoy her, a
success in the children's room. Love for children should be the
first requisite, and the librarian who puts a person in charge of
that work against her will, will hurt the department in a way
that will be surely felt sooner or later. While love for
children, sympathy with, and understanding of them are all of the
first importance in the composition of a children's librarian,
some experience in handling them in large numbers (as in public
school teaching, mission schools, boys' clubs, etc.) is
extremely desirable. To deal with a mob of very mixed youngsters
is a different matter from telling stories to a few well-brought
up little ones in your own comfortable nurseries. The best
qualification for the work of children's librarian is successful
experience as a teacher, in these happy days when it is coming to
be the rule that law and liberty may walk side by side in the
school-room, and where firmness on the teacher's part in no wise
interferes with friendliness on the child's.
The children's librarian should have the sort of nerves that are
not set on edge by children. This does not mean that she may not
be a nervous person in other ways, indeed she must be, for the
nerveless, jelly-fish character can never be a success in dealing
with children. But I have seen people of highly nervous
organization who were really unconscious of the ceaseless tramp,
tramp, of the children's feet, the hum and clatter and moving
about inevitable in a children's library. Visitors come into the
room and say to such a person, "How can you stand this for many
minutes at a time?" and the librarian looks round in surprise at
the idea of there being anything hard to bear when she hears only
the little buzz that means to her hundreds of little ones at the
most susceptible age, eagerly, happily absorbing the ennobling
ideals, the poetic fancies, the craving for knowledge that are
going to make them better men and women than they would have been
without this glimpse into the realms beyond their daily
To attempt to enumerate, one by one, the qualities that combine
to make a wise and successful disciplinarian would be fruitless.
We can talk endlessly about what OUGHT to be. The most practical
thing to do to obtain such a person, is not to take a raw subject
and pour advice upon her in hopes she will develop some day, but
to hunt till you find the right one and then offer her salary
enough to get her for your library. And this suggests a subject
worthy of future discussion, that head librarians should reckon
this to be a profession within our profession, just as the
kindergartner is a specialist within the teaching body, demanding
a higher type of training than is the rule, and PAYING THE PRICE
TO GET IT.
Just a word about what degree of order and quiet to expect, and
to work for, in a children's room. Are we to try to maintain that
awful hush that sends cold chills down the spine of the visitor
on his first entering a modern reading room, and tempts him to
back out in fright lest the ticking of his watch may draw all
eyes upon him?
I should be very sorry to have a children's room as perfectly
noiseless as a reading room for adults. It is so unnatural for a
roomful of healthy boys and girls to be absolutely quiet for long
periods that if I found such a state of affairs I should be sure
something was wrong--that all spontaneity was being repressed,
that that freedom of the shelves which is a great educator was
being denied because moving about makes too much noise, that the
question and answer and comment which mark the friendly
understanding between librarian and child, and which make a good
book circulate because one boy tells another that it is good,
were done away with in order that no slight noise might be heard.
If there were such a thing as a meter to register sound to be
hung in a children's room beside the thermometer, I should not be
alarmed if it indicated a pretty high degree, provided I could
look around the room and observe the following conditions: a
large room, full of contented children, no one of whom was
wilfully noisy or annoying, most of them being quietly reading,
the ones who were moving about asking in low tones the children's
librarian or each other, perfectly legitimate questions that were
to help them choose the right thing. It is inevitable that heavy
boots, young muscles that have not learned self-control, the
joyous frankness of childhood that does not think to keep its
eager happiness over a good "find" under decorous restraint, will
result in more actual noise than obtains in the adults' reading
room. And yet, while the "sound meter" of the children's room
would register farther up, it might really be more orderly than
the other room, for every child might be using his room as it was
intended to be used, while the adult department might contain a
couple of women who came in for the express purpose of visiting,
and yet who knew how to whisper so softly as not to be invited to
retire. We must remember that, if children make more noise, they
do not mind each other's noise as adults do. The dropping of a
book or overturning of a chair, the walking about do not disturb
the young student's train of thought; and while I do not wish to
be quoted as advocating a noisy room, but on the contrary would
work for a quiet one, day in and day out, I do feel that
allowances must be made for noises that are not intended to be
annoying, and that we should not sacrifice to the ideal of
deathly stillness the good we hope to do through the child's love
for the room in which he feels free to express himself in a
natural, friendly atmosphere.
PROBLEMS OF DISCIPLINE
The Wisconsin Library Bulletin for July-August, 1908, is given up
to the presentation of widely varying experiences in regard to
discipline, in a report by Mary Emogene Hazeltine and Harriet
Price Sawyer, who sent a list of ten questions to 125 librarians,
and incorporated the replies.
Mary Emogene Hazeltine was born in Jamestown, N. Y., in 1868, and
was graduated from Wellesley College in 1891. She was librarian
of the James Prendergast Free Library in Jamestown from 1893 to
1906, when she became Preceptor of the Library School of the
University of Wisconsin, the position she now holds. She has
given much help to small libraries.
Mrs. Harriet Price Sawyer was born in Kent, Ohio, received the
degree of B. L. from Oberlin College: was an assistant in the
Oberlin College Library 1902-1903; was graduated from the Pratt
Institute Library School in 1904; was librarian of the State
Normal School at New Paltz, N. Y., 1904-1905; a student in the
University of Berlin, Germany, 1905-1906; Library Visitor and
Instructor, Wisconsin Library Commission, 1906-1910. Since that
time she has been chief of the Instructional Department in the
St. Louis Public Library, including charge of the training class.
In 1917 this class was expanded into a library school, with Mrs.
Sawyer as principal.
In March, a list of questions concerning the problem of
discipline in the library was sent out to 125 librarians. The
answers show a most interesting variety of experiences and
conditions. A few report that it is no longer a "vexed" problem,
and one librarian thinks that it is "only a well-maintained
tradition," but most of the writers agree with Miss Eastman of
Cleveland, who says: "You will note that while conditions vary
somewhat in the different branches, discipline is a question
which we have always with us whenever we work with children. I do
believe, however, that each year places the library on a little
higher and more dignified plane in the minds of the children as
well as the public generally; and that the question of discipline
becomes more and more a question of dealing with individuals."
As to disturbance without the library, there is but one opinion,
viz., to turn the matter over to the policemen, and this is
reported in every instance to have put an end to the trouble.
Any serious misbehavior within the library has been treated by
the suspension of library privileges, ranging in severity of
sentence from one day to a month or, in a few cases, even longer.
The variation, however, in the manner of carrying out the
sentence forms an interesting study, from the lightest form
reported, at Chippewa Falls, where the child may draw a book, but
remains in the library only long enough to secure it, to the
drastic measures taken at Sheboygan where the students were
ordered out of the library en masse even in the midst of
preparation for a test in history.
Miss Wood's plan is an interesting one, but the tactful helpers
are difficult to find.
The card system at Kenosha will no doubt solve the difficulty for
many librarians who find the initiative in the disciplining of
the older visitors at the library most difficult to undertake.
In some communities, the personal letter or visit to the parents
has proved most helpful, and, doubtless, the plan reported by
Miss Lord of asking the boy to sign his name will find favor in
the larger libraries.
The aim of discipline, according to educators, is the moral
foundation of character. The library as well as the school has to
make up for the lack of moral training in many homes, and good
conduct must be taught by the librarian as well as by the
teacher. The whole matter is very well summed up by Miss Dousman
"It seems to me that order and good behavior are absolutely
imperative in the library. Good manners, that outward and visible
sign of the respect for the rights of others, should be expected
of children. How? By never failing yourself to treat them with
respect, courtesy and justice. To distinguish between unavoidable
disturbances and those made with mischievous intent. To see and
hear only the things you can prevent, else your nerves will get
the better of your judgment.
"Allow children as much freedom as possible, consistent with the
rights of others--and don't nag.
"In case of bad behavior, make a tactful and pleasant appeal to
the child first, thereby giving him a chance to reinstate
himself. This appeal failing, reprimand in no uncertain terms.
Dismissal from the room is the natural punishment for refusal to
obey regulations. Obedience as a virtue has not entirely gone out
of fashion. Suspension for a definite or indefinite period,
according to the offense is necessary for the maintenance of good
discipline. Limitation as to the number of times a week a
mischievous child may visit the library has a good effect. A
suspended sentence of permanent dismissal on failure to behave
has a most salutary effect. Reinstate as soon as there is an
evident desire to improve.
"In our zeal to control the child, some have lost sight of the
fact that it is quite as important to teach the child to control
himself; that if he is to become a good citizen, he cannot learn
too early to respect the rights of others."
At a meeting of the Massachusetts Library Club, reported in
Public Libraries, v. 12, p. 362 (Nov. 1907), Miss Harriet H.
Stanley of Brookline said of "Discipline in a Children's Room,"
that unnatural restraint was to be avoided, but the restraint
required for the common good was wholesome, and that children
were more, rather than less, comfortable under it, when it was
exercised with judgment and in a kindly spirit.
"Judgment comes with experience. ... As far as you are able, be
just. If your watchfulness fails sometimes to detect the single
offender in a group of children and you must send out the group
to put an end to some mischief, say so simply, and they will see
that they suffer not from your hard heartedness, but from the
culprit's lack of generosity or from the insufficiency of their
devices for concealing him. Be philosophical. Most disturbance is
only mischief and properly treated will be outgrown. Stop it
promptly, but don't lose your temper, and don't get worked up. To
the juvenile mind, 'getting a rise' out of you is no less
exhilarating than the performance which occasions it. Habitually
deny them this gratification and mischief loses its savor.
"Talk little about wrongdoing. Don't set forth to a child the
error of his ways when the 'ways' are in process of being
exhibited, and the exhibitor is fully conscious of their nature.
Choose another time--a lucid interval--for moral suasion.
"When children are intentionally troublesome, the simplest means
of discipline is exclusion from the room; when necessary, formal
exclusion for a definite period with a written notice to parents.
The authority of the library should be exercised in the
occasional cases where it is needed, both for the wrongdoer's own
good and for the sake of the example to others.
"Provided you are just and sensible and good-tempered, your
patrons will respect the library more and like you none the less
for exacting from them suitable behavior. We talk a good deal
about the library as a place of refuge for boys and girls from
careless homes, and they do deserve consideration from us, but to
learn a proper regard for public law and order is as valuable as
any casual benefit from books. The children of conscientious
parents whether poor or well-to-do also deserve something at our
hands, and we owe it to them to maintain a respectable standard
of conduct for them to share. Let us be hospitable and
reasonable, but let us be courageous enough to insist that the
young citizen treat the library with the respect due to a
It has been impossible to publish in full all of the replies to
the circular letter sent out, but as much as possible has been
incorporated in this report, believing that each situation
delineated may give helpful hints toward the solution of this
general difficulty. The list of questions is given in the
synopsis appended to the admirable and helpful report contributed
by the chief of the children's department in Pittsburgh.
Miss Frances Jenkins Olcott, Pittsburgh
After ten years of experience we find our most difficult question
of discipline arises when the older boys and girls come into the
library. They usually come in the evening and we have the
greatest trouble with the boys. Sometimes we suspect that our
trouble with the boys is due to the influence of the girls, who
know how to keep quiet and yet make confusion!
The question of discipline depends largely on the district in
which a branch is placed and also on the planning and equipment
of the children's room--in fact of the whole branch building, and
on the personal attention of the branch librarian toward the
In answer to question ten I might say that everything depends on
the children's librarian's judgment and also on the children.
Some children come into the library to be sent home. They wish to
see how many times they can make mischief, and it is really a
pleasure to them to have you send them out. In other cases
children are much mortified by being sent from the room. It is
necessary that the children's librarian and her assistants should
know the children individually, especially their names and
something of their home conditions wherever possible. The
handling of "gangs" takes a great deal of tact and sympathy with
On the whole, given a well-planned and equipped children's room,
plenty of books, a sufficient number of the right kind of
children's librarians who are firm, tactful and sympathetic
(having a sense of humor and a wide knowledge of children's
books) and by all means a sympathetic branch librarian, the
question of discipline will usually smooth itself out. We have
one room in a crowded tenement district where the right young
woman has produced unusual order. The children come in and go out
happy and interested in their books, and there is little need for
reproof. This is due largely to the fact that we started in with
a determination to have reasonable order and the children learned
that to use the room it was necessary to be orderly, and they are
much happier and get more from the library.
1. At what hour is the discipline most difficult?
Discipline is most difficult during the busiest time, the
evening, our branch libraries being open until 9 o'clock.
2. With what ages do you have the most trouble?
The greatest trouble is with children from 10-16.
3. With boys or girls, or both?
Both boys and girls, but the greatest trouble with boys.
4. Are the scholars from the High School a special trouble?
It depends on the district in which the branch is situated and
the social conditions of the people visiting the branch.
5. Do any use the library as a meeting place, or kind of club?
This also depends largely on the district.
6. Do they come in such numbers that they over-run the library
and keep the older people away because of the consequent
confusion, noise, and lack of room?
No, excepting under conditions produced by bad planning of
7. Do you ever ask for help in the discipline--from the trustees,
police, or others?
The branches which have guards have less difficulty in
discipline, otherwise in some of the crowded districts the
janitors and police are occasionally called in.
8. Do the teachers help by talking to the scholars on the
necessity of behavior in public places?
As far as our knowledge goes, only occasionally.
9. Have you ever addressed the schools on this topic?
No, with one exception, where it proved satisfactory.
10. Do you ever send unruly children (either older or younger
ones) home? If so, with what result in the case of the
individual? With what effect on the whole problem? For how long
do you suspend a child? What are the terms on which he can
(a) We always send unruly children home, procuring their name and
address first whenever possible. If we have to send the same
child from the room frequently, a letter is sent to the parent
stating the reason. (b) This has worked well with but three
exceptions in four years. The crucial point is to find the name
of the child. (c) We have never suspended a child for more than
two months unless he were arrested for misbehavior. (d) An
apology to the librarian and good behavior following.
We send children from the library.
In this district we have two classes of disorderly children.
Those who came from homes where they have had no restraint of any
sort, and have too recently come to the library to have acquired
reading-room manners; and those who know very well how to conduct
themselves, but enjoy making a disturbance. We do our best to
help the former to learn how to conduct themselves quietly--the
essential means of course is to interest them in books and to
make them feel the friendliness of the room. But when a child of
the second class is disorderly, he is first made to sit quite by
himself; if he is persistently noisy, he is sent from the room.
The length of time he is suspended depends on his previous
conduct and on the offense in question; from a day to a month or
more. A child usually behaves like an angel when he first comes
back after being out of the library for any length of time.
We have a good many restless children, especially in winter, whom
it is difficult to interest in reading, but who enjoy pictures.
And we have found it useful to have plenty of copies of
especially interesting numbers of illustrated magazines like
Outing and World's Work to give them. And we have a desk list of
especially interesting illustrated books that we find useful for
these children. (East Liberty)
Mr. Walter L. Brown, Buffalo, N. Y.
Our work, even in the branches, does not offer much suggestion so
far as library discipline is concerned. I have talked the matter
over with all those having charge of the branches, the work with
the children in the main library, and the depositories at the
settlement houses, and they all agree, without hesitation, that
they are having no trouble whatever with the children of any
The William Ives Branch, which is in the district occupied by the
Polish and German people, had some trouble when it occupied a
store opening on the street. For a few weeks after this branch
was opened, the rough boys in the neighborhood bothered by
shouting, throwing things in the doors, and forming in large
crowds around the front of the building. The police helped out by
giving us a guard for a brief period. As soon as the novelty of
the library had worn off, and the children began actually to use
the books and get acquainted with the attendants, all trouble
seemed to stop.
We also had some trouble at one of the depositories when it was
first opened, this being in a rather unruly district in the lower
part of the city. All is now quiet here, and has been for a
number of years.
The consensus of opinion of our staff seems to be that when any
slight disturbance, which is all that we ever have now, occurs
that it is caused by one, two, or three boys. The problem of
preventing its repetition is solved by recognizing these boys,
and when matters are quiet, having a talk with them, gaining
their confidence and friendship. This, of course, is after any
punishment is administered. This has been done in a number of
instances, and has always been successful. Some of the library's
best friends among the older boys have been gained in this way.
The only discipline that is exerted is by sending the children
away from the library, and if they are told that they must stay
away for two or three days or a week, this is final and they are
not allowed to return until the time has expired. If a child is
using the Library, this seems to be all the punishment that is
We should say that in a library where there is any continued
trouble with the young people, it is not their fault, but the
fault of the library, and we should solve it by changing the
Miss Clara F. Baldwin, Minnesota.
Of course we all know that almost everything depends on the
personality of the librarian, and it has been my observation that
the librarians of strong, winning personality, who make friends
with the children and young people from the start, have little
trouble with discipline. Your question relating to the
co-operation with the teachers seems to me very pertinent. In
some cases where discipline in the schools is not properly
maintained, there has been corresponding difficulty in the
library. Does it not all come back to personality, tact, and
strength of character, just as every problem of success or
My theory is that order must be maintained even if the police
have to be called in, but do not drive the offenders away from
the library if you can possibly help it. They are probably just
the ones who need it most. Sometimes it may mean personal visits
to the parents, but I wouldn't lose a boy or girl if I could
possibly hang on to them.
Mr. George F. Bowerman, Washington, D. C.
We have your circular letter inquiring about the discipline in
our library as related to school children. In general I would say
that we have very little trouble in this direction. Most of the
trouble we have comes from the colored element which forms about
one-third of the population.
We are striving to get Congress, from which all our
appropriations come, to give us a regular police officer. I am a
great believer in the moral influence of brass buttons. At the
present time, our engineer and fireman are both sworn as special
police officers. They both have police badges, which they can
display on occasions. I would, however, like to have a regular
officer in uniform.
Miss Isabel Ely Lord, Pratt Institute, Brooklyn.
The difficulties of discipline in this library arise almost
entirely from the nature of the building, as the chief
disturbance with us is the noise of laughing and talking in the
halls. This is done quite innocently because people do not
realize that the big hall, with its beautiful stairway is really
a part of the building and that noise made there echoes through
into the various departments. The children have to cross a wide
stretch of intarsia floor, and any natural, normal child is
seized with a desire to run. For this reason we have the janitor
stationed in the lower hall from twelve to one and three to six
each day. When he is there, there is very little difficulty.
In the library rooms we do not have the trouble that occurs in a
community where the constituents of the Library know each other
well. In a big, shifting population like ours, people meet
usually strangers and there is no temptation to disturbing
conversation or to flirtation
In the children's room, as indeed in the adult department, the
matter is almost entirely controlled by personal knowledge of
people who offend. A child is spoken to by name and is made to
realize that it is a distinct individual matter if he or she has
offended. There have been occasions in the children's room when a
crowd of the older boys has come in, with evident intention of
making a little disturbance. Miss Moore established the custom,
in such cases, of asking each of these boys to sign his name and
address to a slip--or a separate sheet of paper-- and this had
usually a sufficiently quieting effect to obviate the need of
anything further. Occasionally the children's librarian has gone
to visit a child's parents, and so has the librarian. We also
have asked some times fathers and mothers to come to the library
to "hold court," but this has been in cases of theft and
suspected theft, and I suppose you do not include that in your
questions of discipline.
We lay great stress, especially in the Children's Room, on the
importance of a perfectly quiet and controlled manner in the
assistants. The training that our children have received in the
Story Hour, we feel, to be very valuable to them. This is a
special privilege to which they are admitted and they recognize
it as such. They have learned to come in and to go out on Story
Hour evenings with as much quietness as one can expect from a
body of children, and they are very courteous in the Story
Hours, saying a quiet "Thank you" to the story-teller instead of
indulging in clapping of hands, stamping of feet, etc. These
things help, I think, in the general control of the room, and I
think that Miss Cowing (who is not here now to speak for herself)
has occasionaly disciplined some child by refusing a Story Hour
ticket because of misbehavior in the room.
Mr. A. L. Peck, Gloversville, N. Y.
This institution has been in existence over twenty-eight years
and during all this time, there has been no trouble with
discipline. I am not willing to say that our young people or even
our older ones, are better than those of other places, but from
the very beginning everybody was given to understand that they
had to live up to a certain decorum, that is, men and boys have
to take off their hats and disturbing conversation is not
While we do not hesitate to speak to any who need reminding that
reading rooms are for serious purposes, in all these years we
have sent out of the rooms, three adults and five boys. Our
janitor is sworn in as a special policeman and everybody knows
that not only prompt ejection from the room, but also discipline
before the recorder in the city courts would be forthcoming in
consequence of any serious breach of order.
I have never hesitated to make it known that the readers' rights
must be respected and that reading and studying is serious work
and our people have always supported me in this, fully as much as
the board of directors. I do believe that as soon as people
understand this, there will be no trouble, but there must be no
The trouble we have occasionally with boys, mainly, is that they
try to be smart and will deliberately put books on the shelves
bottom side up, but one of the youngsters was caught in the act
and promptly sent home. His father was notified and fully agreed
with us that the library was no place for such mischief and
promised that his youngster would behave henceforth. This had a
wholesome effect on all the others and there has been no trouble
I also have to say that our children's room is 45 feet away from
the adult department and we do not permit young people under 14
to roam about the building, we keep them strictly in their own
room. As soon as young people are admitted to the high school, we
at once admit them to the entire library even if they should be
under 14 years of age. They consider this a great privilege and
we thus far have had no trouble. The high school students come
here for study as well as for reference work and make proper use
of the library. They know from experience that we do not allow
any nonsense and under no consideration would we permit the
library to be a place of rendezvous for promiscuous visiting.
Our institution seems to discipline itself without any
difficulty. The principle upon which we work is very simple.
"Readers demand quiet, therefore, conversation even in low tones,
is strictly prohibited." This is literally carried out and not
the least exception is made. Posters, with the rule quoted above
printed on small cards are distributed through the rooms, placed
on the tables and renewed from time to time.
As soon as the public realizes that it is the intention of the
Board of Managers and their representative officers to live up
strictly to this rule and to carry it out at all hazards, they
soon learn to behave and not much difficulty is experienced.
Mr. A. L. Bailey, Wilmington, Del.
The discipline in this library while occasionally bothersome,
does not on the whole cause us much annoyance. The offenders are
chiefly students from the high school who use the library in the
afternoon and forget at times that the reading room is a place of
quiet. No special measures have been taken to preserve quiet.
Generally once speaking to the offender will prove sufficient to
stop whispering or loud conversation, but if he is persistent in
talking or whispering, we request that he leave the room. This
always has a good effect, for its seldom happens that we have to
expel the same person more than once. In asking readers to leave
the reading room, we realize that we run the risk of making them
so angry that they will never again make use of the library but
we believe that the great majority who are quiet and well-behaved
shall not be annoyed if we can prevent it.
While the older children from the schools are the chief
offenders, perhaps the most exasperating are the influential
women of the city who come to the library on market days
(Wednesday and Saturday mornings) and visit more or less with
each other. This is a custom established long before the library
became free, and owing to the prominence of the offenders and
their real interest in and intelligent use of the library, one
with which it is hard to deal. A sign placed in the reading room
requesting readers to refrain from all unnecessary conversation
has had a most noticeable effect on this class of readers and the
annoyance is much less than it was three years ago.
The juvenile department occasionally has to call upon a policeman
to help keep order. This, however, is due to the fact that there
is a large hallway and broad stairways just outside the rooms
which the library occupies. Discipline in this part of the
building is a cause of great annoyance. We cannot afford to pay a
guard to stay in the hall and as the police force is not
sufficient for the city's needs, a policeman can only spend a few
moments as he passes by on his beat. In the juvenile room itself
we have trouble only with gangs of young negroes and this only
occasionally. When they come to the library it is hard to
interest them and the demoralizing influence that they introduce
compels us at times to expel them and even to forbid them to
return. We have only once sent special word to the schools asking
teachers to request children to preserve order. We believe that
the teachers, so far as they are able, try to inculcate
principles of right behavior in public places, but we believe
that the discipline of this library is entirely in our own hands,
and until the situation becomes one with which we can not cope,
we prefer not to call upon the schools for assistance.
Miss Caroline M. Underhill, Utica, N. Y.
One of the problems in guiding these intermediate readers does
not pertain to their reading, but to controlling the lawlessness
which is frequently manifested. General restlessness, a desire
for fun always and everywhere, characterizes many of the young
people who frequent our libraries. A difference in locality
brings different problems, but this one is universal. In Utica
our new building brought increased opportunity to those inclined
to fun. The strangeness of it, access to the stack, curiosity
concerning the glass floors, the book-lift, the elevator, and
even the electric lights, with the constant moving about of
people who came simply to see the building, increased this
tendency to restlessness among the young readers. In addition to
this came the everpresent problem of the flirtatious boy and
girl. Our wish to let them enjoy all possible liberty was soon
interpreted to mean license.
Finding that they did not yield to ordinary methods, it was
decided, as an emergency measure, to issue "stack cards" through
the second year in High School. These were small cards having
Utica Public Library printed at the top: then space for name and
address, followed by "is hereby granted the privilege of using
the stack for reading and study." These gave permission to use
the stacks for selecting books and for reading at the stack
Before issuing these cards, each boy and girl was instructed as
to the right use of a library and the consideration due from one
reader to another, and then asked to sign a register in which
they promised to use the library properly whenever they came.
These cards were to be shown each time they wished to go into the
stacks, but in no way did they interfere with drawing books at
the desk, if they had neglected to bring them. Any mis-behavior
took away this stack card until they were again ready to fulfill
This plan was entirely foreign to our theories, our wishes, or
our beliefs, but in an emergency proved helpful in making the
boys and girls realize we were in EARNEST when we said we wished
to have it more quiet. Best of all, it gave an opportunity for a
little personal talk with each one, and though of necessity this
took much time, we considered it well worth while. Decided
improvement made it unnecessary to continue the use of the card.
To the older boys and girls we take pains to explain why we ask
them to respect the place and the rights of others. Occasionally
we have written a letter to those who offend continually, signed
by the librarian and a member of the library committee. In the
majority of cases this brought about the needed reform-- if not,
the privileges of the library were taken away.
Miss Mary A. Smith, Eau Claire, Wis.
I am quite interested in your questions about discipline, as we
feel we have reached a very comfortable stage in the problem
after considerable agitation and I have wondered some times what
plan others followed.
Our whole argument with young people--(that means high school
here as they seemed the only disturbing element) was
consideration for other people. When talking to grade pupils that
were soon to come into high school, we explained that we could
have only two grades in a public library, children and grown
people. When they entered high school and used the main library
almost entirely, we classed them as grown people and must expect
from them the same carefulness, as older people were much more
The discipline we found, as usually is the case, one of
individuals. We first spoke to the transgressor. If he did not
pay sufficient regard as shown in action, we suspended him
usually for a week, with a very definite explanation, that before
he returned, he must give a pledge in place of the one on the
registration card which he had broken. He knew these pledges were
filed away as part of the library record. If that pledge was
broken it meant that the case would be referred to the Library
Board. This had to be done but once and that had an excellent
effect. The Board suspended for several months with the
understanding that return then depended on pledges made to the
There must be one person who is making the standard for conduct
and that person must be on hand during hours when trouble is
likely to arise; that means the librarian. Assistants must be in
sympathy, watch, help and report cases, but not take active part
The penalty must be a very certain thing, as sure a law in the
public library as violation of law on the streets. There must not
be nagging of young people nor wasting of words. When a
transgressor is told to do anything, it must be done in such a
manner, and without anger or annoyance in voice, if possible, so
that a librarian can turn away and know the order will be obeyed.
I believe it is possible to establish a standard of conduct in a
public library, which a young person will feel and know if he is
not within that standard. It can not be done in a week nor a
month. I hope we have one here now. I mean by that also that a
librarian can leave the library and not feel that any advantage
is going to be taken of an assistant because she is not there. I
do not believe in a librarian popping in any time during her off
hours making the young people feel she is ready to spring upon
them at unexpected moments.
The above states what we have been doing, and we seldom now have
to think of discipline. If we see signs of carelessness, we nip
them in the bud. One must discriminate between a moment's
thoughtlessness in a young person and the beginning of a wrong
library habit. That may not seem clearly put. A firm, steady
glance in his direction and the way he takes it will usually
diagnose the case.
I think the object of discipline in a Public Library is much more
than to keep young people quiet. It seems now-a-days one of the
few public places where they may mingle with older people and
show them consideration. A quiet library ought to be an antidote
for unseasonable boisterousness suffered by young people. No
librarian need fear she is driving people away, if she tightens
up all along this line. That at least has not been our
experience, as we grew rapidly while we were the most strenuous.
People have more respect for an institution, where each person
will be held to his privileges, and not be allowed to interfere
I was amused the other night when a high school boy, who had
needed suggestion himself two years ago, came to me and said he
thought two younger boys were disturbing an older gentleman in
the reference room. These younger boys who were only talking more
than was necessary, had not used the reference room and did not
clearly understand that the same amount of conversation was not
allowed there as in the other room. I spoke to them and when I
returned suggested to the older boy that he might keep an eye on
them, as I much preferred they stay there and think of the older
man than come into the other room. He reported that they gave no
Our reference room discipline has been very much assisted by a
signing of the simple agreement: "I promise to refrain from all
unnecessary conversation in the reference room." All high school
students sign before using the room. The paper lies on the loan
desk so at a glance we expect to be able to tell who is there.
The room is away from the desk and can not be watched from it.
"Unnecessary" was not in when we began. It was absolute, but we
found we could give more liberty. Whenever this pledge was
violated, which was not often even at first, no explanation was
accepted, a word had been broken: "A bad thing," we said, "for a
young person in a public library. Don't sign what you cannot
One must be even and not allow one day what one lets pass the
next and that is not an easy thing to do. Do not start to evolve
an orderly library out of a disorderly one and expect to escape
all criticism. Be ready to explain fully to the parent whose
child has been disciplined.
I have wondered sometimes if the disorderly library did not have
more than one cause. If you wish orderly conduct you must also
have an orderly library, a place for everything and everything in
its place. We have not a perfect library yet in Eau Claire and we
hope we may obtain some suggestions from other libraries to help
on that glad time.
Miss Harriet A. Wood, Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
The difficulty can be largely overcome by giving the active boys
something to do. We let them put up books and even slip the
books, if they are careful, put in labels, etc. We have a Boy's
Club recently organized. Now the girls are clamoring for one. A
trustee has charge of it. I believe that the librarian should
make more of an effort to know the boys and girls personally.
During the past two months, we have been working along this line
with good results. The boys are simply full of spirit; they are
not bad. We never ought to expect to eliminate noise entirely,
unless we drive out the children. Our library is open without
partitions between the children's room and the other rooms. Boys
that have been troublesome in the past, come in now that they are
older, and read like gentlemen. Many of the boys, we find upon
inquiry, are orphans. some without fathers, some without
mothers. The probation officer of the Juvenile court works with
us. One of her boys is an ardent helper in the children's room.
We have found it much better to speak to a boy quietly when he is
not with his companions. He is more likely to respond. We try to
make the boys and girls feel that we are interested in them. If
they come to us to use the library as a meeting and perhaps a
loafing place, we should be glad. If we have not the time and
strength to seize this opportunity for social betterment, we
should enlist tactful men and women in the city who can help with
Miss Mary A. Smith, La Crosse, Wis.
At the branch, the discipline is the great difficulty. The branch
took the place of a badly managed boy's club so we really did not
have a fair start. The discipline in the room is still a problem
not entirely solved. A large number of the most restless boys had
no respect for authority and had the impression that the library,
being a free and public institution, was a place where they could
act as they pleased. Through the kindness of Mr. Austin and Mr.
Hiller, who have given their time to read aloud to the boys two
evenings a week and have personally interested the boys in the
books at the library, this impression has changed and in its
place has come an attempt on the part of some of the boys at a
system of self government. Next fall we hope to establish clubs
among the boys, giving them the use of the room back of the
reading room and any assistance they may need, but leaving the
organization in their hands.
The reading aloud has been most successful and has had a constant
attendance of about 50 boys. With the children lies our chief
hope of developing the reading habit and love of good books.
Through the children also we look for the increase in adult
readers. This grows slowly at the branch for the reason that
older people do not yet come to read the magazines kept on file
in the room.
Mr. Henry J. Carr, Scranton, Pa.
To send unruly children out of the building and forbid them to
come again until prepared to behave properly is our strongest
"card," and it proves effective, too. No definite period is
Administration of all discipline promptly, pleasantly, but no
less firmly and without relaxation, on the least sign of its
need, we find to do much towards obviating the necessity.
Miss Maude Van Buren, Mankato, Minn.
I make occasional visits to all the schools, and the first talk
of the year usually includes a word on conduct, but I am careful
to have the young people feel that I know their shortcomings in
this matter are only those of thoughtlessness, never of mischief
nor meanness; that the only reason for requiring perfect quiet in
a public library is a consideration of other's rights. It is all
a matter of the librarian's attitude.
Miss Grace D. Rose, Davenport, Iowa.
When the children's room was in the basement in a room much too
small for the numbers which came, there was a great deal of noise
and confusion. Since the removal to the large, beautiful room on
the second floor, the order has been much improved. The children
seem impressed by the dignity and quiet of the room, and even
upon days when they come in large numbers, there is no confusion
and very little of the former playing.
At present, we have several children who are allowed to draw
books but must transact their business as quickly as possible,
and cannot exchange them under two weeks.
Miss Ethel F. McCullough, Superior, Wis.
The question of library discipline is not so much a question of
troublesome and disorderly patrons, as it is a question of
library administration. Given a quiet, attentive staff, a
building arranged for complete supervision, noiseless floors and
furniture intelligently placed--given these five essentials, a
well ordered library must be the inevitable result. With any one
of these lacking, the problem of discipline becomes a complicated
Mrs. Grace K. Hairland, Marshalltown, Iowa.
The matter of discipline, in a small public library, where the
loan desk with its unavoidable attendant confusion, is so near
the Reading Room as to furnish a cover for the whispering and
fun--is not the easiest problem in the world to solve. There is
nothing we desire more than to have every man, woman, and child
love the library. To wet blanket the enthusiasm with which they
seek our sanctuary the instant school is over, surely would not
be good administration. The majority come to do serious work; it
is only a few who use it as a trysting place and who disturb the
"Absolute silence" which we profess to maintain, (and of which we
have tangible reminders conspicuously posted) and yet we realize
that those few irrepressibles may prove most annoying to serious
readers. Tact is necessary and methods must be devised to correct
this without using so much severity or nagging, as to drive away
the thoughtless. Often we have arranged to do some reference
work, looking up material for club programs perhaps, at the hour
just after school when the older children flock into the reading
room. This can be done at the tables and "sitting in their midst"
has a salutary effect. Of course it could not be done with a
staff of one or two.
During this last winter the high school arranged for seven
debates. The unbounded enthusiasm of those taking part resulted
in a total ignoring of the rules; groups of debaters stood about
hotly contesting points, causing consternation to the staff until
the plan of giving over to them the newspaper room, (not used by
the public) was carried into effect. Every effort is made to keep
the good will of the older boys and girls, and it is only with
these that there is any suggestion of trouble. The children's
room, especially since we have had a children's librarian, is
under perfect discipline. There are dissected maps, quiet games,
and stereopticon views on their tables beside Caldecott's and
other picture books and they are so well entertained that there
is no occasion for mischief.
Extreme measures are not resorted to among the older boys and
girls except on rare occasions. If, after being spoken to once or
twice and perhaps sent out, they still prove obstreperous, they
are suspended for a month and this has always resulted in reform.
In no case have we found it necessary to resort to aid from the
police. I should like very much to have a club room, or
"conversation room" perhaps it might be called. The shelves of
the newspaper room are filled with magazines for binding and
these are often misplaced and even torn and lost when that room
is used; besides it is in the basement and out of sight. The
ideal room would have glass doors and the occupants in sight of
the staff all the time. Then the high school students could come
from the strict discipline and restraint of the school room and
have a quiet discussion of their work or even a social chat and
be in a much better place than the cigar stores or post office.
Miss Grace Blanchard, Concord, N. H.
When a librarian is much "dressed up" and can take time to play
that she is an agreeable hostess, all children, whether little
aristocrats or arabs, enter into the civilized spirit of the
occasion and become more mannerly.
Miss Lucy Lee Pleasants, Menasha, Wis.
To achieve the best results, the librarian should never make an
enemy and should lose no opportunity of making a friend. If
children talk at the tables, separate them by asking them
politely to change their seats. If they have really something to
talk over, such as a lesson or a sleighride, permit them to go
into another room to discuss it. They will appreciate the
privilege and will behave better in consequence.
I have known a gang of little boys, who had the habit of coming
to the reading room to make a disturbance, completely won over
and converted into agreeable patrons by being captured red handed
and told an amusing story. Children who come to the library are
like everybody else--very apt to treat you as you treat them.
Mrs. C. P. Barnes, Kenosha, Wis.
About a year ago, I submitted a rule to the Board for their
approval, and asked permission to have it printed on cards, for
use on the tables in the reading room. It was worded as
follows:-- "A rule has been made that no whispering nor talking
shall be allowed in the reading room, even for purposes of study.
For the good of the public, this rule will be strictly enforced,
and anyone failing to observe it will be requested to leave the
building. By order of the Board of Directors." It has been more
effective in promoting order than any other experiment. Of course
it occasionally happens that the card is overlooked or unheeded,
but it is a very simple matter to hand one of these cards to the
offender, and with a pleasant smile say, "We have no choice but
to enforce this rule" and the deed is done.
Miss Helen L. Price, Merrill, Wis.
When we know our young scamp and always speak to him in a spirit
of good fellowship when we meet him, and take an opportunity in
the library some time when there is no one to be disturbed, to
discuss postage stamps, chickens, rabbits, or, best of all, dogs
with him, he will soon lose all desire to torment, and when it is
only exuberance to contend with, then that is easy.
For malicious disturbance, we send the offender out, quickly and
surely and discuss the matter with him later, if at all. "Go--
quickly and quietly--and no noise outside if you want to come
Miss Agnes Dwight, Appleton, Wis.
We do not have absolute quiet all the time and I do not aim to
have, but it is a favorite place for all ages to come. I, myself,
never tell a boy that if I have to speak to him again I shall
send him out. He goes the first time if it is necessary to speak
to him at all. That sounds savage, but it is a long time since I
have had to be so cruel. We have the goodwill of the small boy,
that is for the time being, they may begin to act up at any time.
Mrs. W. G. Clough, Portage, Wis.
Judging from the impression made upon people from other libraries
I should infer that our library is in a pretty well ordered
condition in the matter of discipline.
From the opening of our library we have impressed upon the public
the necessity for quiet and order. We do not permit any talking
aloud, a rule to which there are very few exceptions. The use,
even, of subdued tones in the routine of selecting and exchanging
books is not allowed among children and is discouraged among
adults. The public understand and appreciate the fact that the
library is no place for visitation or conversation. It has been
necessary to pursue this course as we have but one large room for
stacks, reference books, reading tables, children's department
and charging desk.
We have in a measure to contend against the noise attendant upon
hard wood floors, and we are disturbed at times during the last
hour of the evening from the room above which is the armory of
the city company of the national guard. This, however, in no way
affects the discipline of the library, excepting as it makes
discipline there more essential.
Miss Deborah B. Martin, Green Bay, Wis.
Occasionally we have had difficulty from a crowd of boys entering
the room in a body with a great deal of noise, annoying the
librarian and readers by making a disturbance at the tables and
altogether proving themselves a nuisance. We found that the most
effective means for putting a decisive stop to the trouble was to
write a polite note to the parents of each offender, saying that
as the boy was proving an annoyance to library patrons, it might
be well if he was kept away from the library until he was old
enough to understand its uses. The parents have never resented
this notice and after a reasonable time, the youth has returned
to the library chastened and pleasant and there has been no
further trouble with him.
High school boys and girls do make the library a meeting place,
and two years ago it became so noticeable that the Principal of
one of the high schools, in a communication to the parents of
scholars, spoke of the public library as a rendezvous. It is
certainly not the province of the librarian unless these young
people prove an annoyance to the reader, to discipline them or
tell them what company they should keep. At a meeting of the
Woman's club, the librarian was asked to speak to the club on the
Public Library and its Work. This gave an opportunity to bring in
the question of library discipline in its relation to the young
people who flocked there less for study than for pleasure. The
talk in this instance fortunately reached the right people, who
perhaps had never thought the matter over before, and the library
is not now, to any extent, used as a meeting place for high
school students, although they still use it largely in their
Miss Nannie W. Jayne, Alexandria, Ind.
A few boys and girls from the high school and eighth grade have
made two or three attempts to use the library as a meeting place.
These meetings have been promptly broken up and a private talk
with each offender has been the means used to prevent a
repetition of the offense. A special effort has been made to
impress the girls with correct ideas on this point, and in almost
every case, these talks have resulted in an apology from the girl
for her behavior.
If all general conversation be prohibited, the library offers but
little attraction to those who would come merely for a good time.
Miss Martha E. Dunn, Stanley, Wis.
We have had some experience with the older scholars making the
library a meeting place. I mentioned the fact to the library
board, and the president, who was the editor of our local paper
at that time, made mention of it in the next issue. Since then,
there has been no trouble. Our local paper has done much toward
helping to put down any annoyance in and around the library
building. It is a good thing to have the editor of the paper on
the library board.
Miss Anna S. Pinkum, Marinette, Wis.
Our problems of discipline are, in some respects, peculiar to
local conditions and in other respects, are the results of a
larger movement which seems to be sweeping the entire country.
Broadly speaking, two causes which make discipline such a
difficult task stand out prominently:
1. Local causes. A 9 o'clock curfew law and that not enforced;
parents allowing their children to roam the streets at night;
misdemeanors winked at by those in authority, particularly the
police; a general laxity on the part of parents and city
officials in correcting offences.
2. Universal movement. Loss of parental authority. This is not
peculiar to Marinette, but it is a deplorable state of affairs
which is being brought to light all over the country.
We find that moral suasion does not work effectively.
Theoretically probably none of us believes in being caught
wearing a frown, but most of our boys and girls respect sternness
and assertive authority when they will not respond to any sort of
kindly advice or appeal to their better natures.
After the study of this problem for some time, the conclusion
reached is this:--With one assistant, we can control any
situation that may present itself within the library and by so
doing, in time, may create the habit of quiet and orderly
conduct; but until parents realize that their children need
guidance, correction, and above all need to be kept from roaming
the streets at night, the problem of discipline will be an ever
present one both in the schools and in the library at Marinette.
Mrs. Anna C. Bronsky, Chippewa Falls, Wis.
We have had only a few occasions when it was necessary to deny
pupils the privileges of the library. In such cases, the
suspended one may come to the library for any books needed in
school work, but is not allowed to remain longer than is
necessary and may not go in to the reading room. This has been
found helpful in most cases. I dislike very much to send a child
out of the library, and only do so when it is imperative; for
while they may be trying at times, they are the very ones who
need the help that the library can give. Often the mischievous
mood is of short duration, the attention is arrested by something
in one of the books before him, and suddenly, your noisy boy is
transformed into a studious youth. It is a great satisfaction to
know that while the small child is in the library, he is not only
safe from the evil influences of the street but is deriving a
double benefit--the enjoyment of the book that absorbs him for
the time being, and the habit of reading that is unconsciously
Mr. R. Oberholzer, Sioux City, Iowa.
If a real disturbance is made which seems clearly intentional, a
quick dismissal follows. Reproof is never repeated--once speaking
in that way is enough. Reproof is always made in an undertone,
and the command to go home, while imperative, is in a few words
and followed by absolute silence until obeyed. This is much more
impressive than any amount of talk. Dismissal is only for the
day. I have never suspended anyone, and only once did I write to
the lad's mother that it would be better if her son did not come
to the library for a time. If a child really wants to come to the
library he learns to conduct himself so as not to offend the
people who are in other ways such good friends of his. If he only
comes for mischief, he soon concludes that the game is not worth
the candle. The desire to "show off," always a strong element in
a mischievous child, is not gratified, and the whole atmosphere
is against him.
To keep things going in this way is not easy except by eternal
vigilance, both for the public who have to be taught some things
over every day, and for library workers who have to learn to be
good natured but unyielding, obliging but arbitrary, eternally
patient but abnormally quick.
In short, discipline in a library is, as everywhere, a matter of
atmosphere rather than method, and atmosphere always means a
group of forces expressed through personality.
Miss Nelle A. Olson, Moorhead, Minn.
Before our library opened, I visited all the rooms of all the
schools of the city to talk library. I tried to awaken interest
and enthusiasm, and to make perfectly clear to the students
beforehand the purpose of a library and what was expected of them
there and why.
During the first few weeks I managed to spend a good deal of time
in their room, moving about among them, helping them, and ready
with a word of reminder the very moment a boy forgot himself. I
tried in every possible way to help them to form correct library
habits from the first. They all seemed anxious to conform to the
library spirit when they understood it.
Now, when a boy does something a little out of the way, I try to
pass over it as much as possible at the time, then when he comes
in again some time, perhaps having forgotten his feeling of
irritation, I try to talk kindly with him about it and I find he
usually takes it kindly then, and does not trouble again.
I have tried always to take it for granted that the boy did not
mean to annoy but forgot himself or was a little careless. I have
no set procedure, but try to settle each little difficulty as
that particular case seems to warrant and never to let it go on
until it becomes a great one.
Miss Kate M. Potter, Baraboo, Wis.
The burning of our high school, two years ago, made the library
the only place of general meeting for the scholars. While it was
an added trouble at the time, I am not sorry for the experience
either for the scholars or myself. Classes were held downstairs
and study periods in the reading rooms. The children were made to
realize they were under the same discipline as in the assembly
room and while it took our time, it taught them the proper use of
the library and we gained in the experience.
First:--In regard to the children coming in such numbers as to
keep the older readers away. The older people make such little
use of the books in comparison, I believe in giving the time and
room to the children.
Second:--As to their making it a meeting place. In smaller places
the children have no other place to go. Is it not better to
attract them to the library?
Third:--As to discipline. We find one thing essential--not to let
them get started in the wrong way. A boy or girl spoken to at
first, generally does not repeat the offense.
While this all takes the librarian's time I feel that it is
spent, in the greatest good to the greatest number, after all.
Miss Gertrude J. Skavlem, Janesville, Wis.
The Janesville Public Library is so arranged that the desk
attendant has almost no supervision over the Reading and
Reference Rooms. The matter of discipline in those rooms was a
source of considerable trouble until an attendant took charge
there in the evenings. We find it necessary to have this
attendant only during the winter months, when more High School
students use the library than at other times.
It is not the policy of the Library Board to enforce any strict
rules as to quiet in the rooms. Rules are very lenient and the
enforcement more by inference than in any other way. An attendant
if she has the requisite personality, may, simply by her manner
ensure quiet and orderly conduct, at least that has been our
experience during the past year.
Various other means were tried before the one which we now find
so successful. Talks were given in the High School by the
superintendent, and at one time a police officer had the Library
on his regular beat. None of these methods were permanently
Miss Jeannette M. Drake, Jacksonville, Ill.
I have never hesitated to take what measures seemed necessary to
have a quiet library, otherwise how near can we come to
fulfilling the purpose of a library?
Since the first few weeks that I was here as librarian I have had
no trouble in regard to the discipline. I feel sometimes that I
am too strict, but I cannot have patrons say "I cannot study at
the library because of the confusion, etc." The only solution of
the problem that I know of is to ask every one not to talk,
unless he can do so without disturbing others in the least. When
it is necessary for people to talk about their work, except to
us, we give them a vacant room in the building and often have
people in every vacant space and the office at the same time. We
encourage such use of the rooms; try to be courteous in our
demands; interested in all; do everything in our power to get
material for patrons and the result is that they feel that the
library is a place of business.
The boys who used to come "for fun" come now and read for several
hours at a time and are always gentlemanly and are our friends. I
know of none who ceased to come because of the order we must
have. At first, if we had spoken to anyone and they still were
not quiet, we asked them to leave the building and to come back
when they wanted to read or study. We always saw that they left
when we told them to do so, and no one has been sent from the
building for unruly conduct for two years. If I needed help I
would call on the police as I would not want either teachers or
students to feel that we could not manage our patrons when they
were in the library. Of course we are always on the alert as we
realize that the matter would get beyond us if we were careless
for a time. It is not easy for librarians to carry out these
rules, but it pays in the reputation of the library.
Mrs. Alice G. Evans, Decatur, Ill.
We have had very little trouble with discipline since moving into
our own building, the rooms being so arranged that excellent
supervision over them is possible from the loan desk. Then too,
the children's and reference rooms have their own attendants and
any disturbance may be quickly settled.
Perhaps the most disturbing element comes from the boys preparing
debates, who often forget and talk somewhat above a whisper, and
it is sometimes necessary to request them every fifteen minutes,
to lower their voices.
As to making the library a meeting place, this is done, I
suppose, to some extent but we rarely have any particular trouble
I think the main reason for the order in our library is the
separation of the different departments, as we used to have a
great deal of trouble when we had but one room for readers,
students and children.
Miss Elizabeth Comer, Redwood Falls, Minn.
When I first came here, I sent both boys and girls home; it was
seldom necessary to send the same child twice for the same
offense. Some of the boys tried a new tack after being sent home
once and were then told to stay away until they could conduct
themselves properly on the library premises, with the result that
I have not been obliged to send a child away from the library for
Miss Marie E. Brick, St. Cloud, Minn.
The question of discipline has always been such an easy matter
with me and never a problem that it seems rather difficult to
state just how the good results are accomplished. We have none of
the disfiguring printed signs of warning about; we do not need
them. A glance, a word, a motion, at the least sign of uneasiness
or noise, and all is quiet.
Any good disciplinarian will say that her methods are the same.
It is not what she says or does, but her entire attitude, her
manner, her commanding personality, that secure the desired
Our High School pupils never give us any trouble. They enjoy too
many privileges as students to abuse them. The school is in the
next block, so near that the teachers almost daily excuse a
number of them to do supplementary reading in the library during
school hours. They hand me a printed slip or pass on entering,
which I sign with the time of coming and leaving. These are
returned to their respective instructors on returning to the
school room. This pass acts as a check on anyone disposed to
loiter by the way.
Miss Ella F. Corwin, Elkhart, Ind.
We never have had a great deal of trouble with the discipline. We
try to make the children and young people feel that we depend