Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Books, poems, drama…

Library Work with Children by Alice I. Hazeltine

Part 6 out of 8

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

upon them to assist in keeping up the standard of good behavior.

We reach the younger children partly through the children's hour,
not by talking to them on these subjects, but by winning them to
us through the stories we tell and in our treatment of them.

With the High School boys and girls, it is more difficult. The
suspension of two boys had a beneficial effect, but the principal
of the High School is our greatest help with them.

Miss Bertha Marx, Sheboypan, Wis.

The matter of discipline has not been of sufficient importance in
our library to be classed as a problem. This may be due to two
facts: First, the atmosphere discourages rowdyism, loud talking
and visiting; secondly, an unwritten rule is that there must be
quiet in the library but not necessarily absolute silence. It
seems to me where the order in a library is not what it would be,
the staff is lacking in its sense of discipline.

If by chance, a group of people happens to make too much noise,
we never hesitate to step up to them and in a courteous manner
request them to be quiet. Such disturbance is usually caused
through thoughtlessness, not from any desire to break a library
rule, and after people have been cautioned they rarely commit the
offense again. I will admit this must be done in a tactful way,
for a grown person does not wish to be dictated to in the library
as though he were a child in school. There are a few old men and
women who persist in talking in a loud tone of voice; we know it
would hurt their feelings if they were told to be quiet and
therefore we wait upon them quickly, even ahead of their turn and
so get rid of them as soon as possible.

The boys and girls of the High School have to be spoken to quite
frequently as they are so imbued with a sense of their own
importance that they have very little regard for the order of the
library. The most effective appeal which can be made to them is
to suggest that every one has equal rights in the library and
that when other people come who wish quiet in the reading rooms,
the High School pupils have no right to deprive them of it.

One evening the pupils were unusually noisy, we had cautioned
them in vain to be quiet, and finally I ordered them all to leave
the library. They were simply aghast for they were to have a test
in history the following day and the material could only be
procured from our reference shelves. I was aware of this at the
time but felt drastic measures must be taken to show them that
the three readers who shared the room with them had a right to
undisturbed order. They plead with me in vain, and finally
admitted that they deserved their punishment. It is needless to
say that their history teacher approved my actions and that for
weeks afterwards we had no more trouble with High School

The library is never used as a club or meeting-place by people
for we discourage all attempts at visiting among our patrons.

It is not often found necessary to discipline the children in
their reading-room as their behavior is on the whole, very good.
When they become mischievous or noisy, it is generally because
they have remained in the library too long and have grown
restless, so they are advised to go out-doors and play for a
time. We have practically none of the rowdy elements to deal with
and when such children do come, we find that the attractive
surroundings seem to have a quieting effect upon them.

Miss Mary J. Calkins, Racine, Wis.

The problem of discipline in the Library, is one which is "ever
with us," and I do not feel sure that I have solved it to my
satisfaction. We have tried "signs" and no signs; gentle
persuasion and stern and rigid rules; and still we cannot always
be sure of order, and a proper library deportment on the part of
either children or grown people. I have come to the conclusion,
that the character of the individual has everything to do with
it. Children who defy rules both at home and at school, will also
give trouble in the library, and nothing but a complete
withdrawal of privileges will do any good. We have had very
little trouble during the past year, but the children themselves
seem to be different, the rougher class not coming to the library
to make trouble, as they did formerly. The High School students
are much more of a problem than the younger children; and cause
much more disturbance, as far as my experience goes. When they
are engaged in preparing their debates, it is necessary to have
one of the staff sit in the room with them, and keep constant
supervision, or the whole library will be disturbed.

Miss Margaret Biggert, Berlin, Wis.

During the past winter, for the first time since we have been in
our new library it has been a question how to manage the
situation without antagonizing the offenders, for it seems to me
a librarian must avoid appearing in the guise of ogre even at the
expense of perfect order. Scholars from the schools use the
library constantly in their school work--including reference work
for their three debating societies and it is with these pupils
that the problem has been, the reference room becoming quite
noisy-- though more from thoughtlessness and high spirits than
otherwise. I feel certain a cork carpet would help to solve this
problem in our library--with the unavoidable noise of heels on
hard wood floors, it is hard to make people realize they are
disturbing others.

My own system of dealing with the problem has been to warn them
as pleasantly as possible that they are forgetting themselves and
then to impress on them individually as the chance offered, the
necessity of remembering that the library is a place for reading
and study--not a "conversation room" as an irate gentleman one
day said a group of ladies seemed to think. Though it is very
seldom that people who meet friends, either by chance or
appointment cause any annoyance by remaining to carry on
conversation. No signs enjoining silence are in evidence. The
younger children have their own reading room and have given very
little trouble. This I believe to be in a measure due to the
influence of their teachers, who keep in close touch with the
work of the library. One lad of about ten, the ringleader of a
group, was sent from the library for misbehavior. I was pleased
but surprised to have him appear at my home one morning and say:
"I am sorry I cut up at the library and I'll never do it again."
He never has and he comes regularly.

We were at one time troubled with boys gathering outside the
library evenings, making considerable disturbance with malicious
intent. I was forced at length to call a police officer, who took
the names of the offenders and walked through the reading rooms
effectually quelling any budding aspirations toward hoodlumism in
the children seated at the tables and we have had no trouble of
that kind since.

Miss Molly Catlin, Stevens Point, Wis.

The matter of discipline has not been a difficult one with us, of
course we have a good deal of noise, the adults are very apt to
forget and talk noisily but as far as real trouble is concerned
we have not had it.

The Boys' Club room is a great help, in that the boy who just
comes down town for fun and not to read goes into that room from

The girls and little children are often times noisy but with a
glance or gentle reminder of some kind, they seem to be all

The discipline of the Boys' Club Room is, however, a different
matter, it really is hard to discipline, but the reason is that
we never yet have gotten just the right kind of an attendant to
care for the room, we need one who is interested in boys, who can
mingle with them and teach them games, etc. We now have a young
man, well educated and a good man but he is lax in discipline and
careless about the room. Nevertheless I think the Boys' Club room
a success, for during the months of February and March we have
sometimes between fifty and seventy boys in attendance at one
time and they seem to enjoy it.

Miss Ella T. Hamilton, Whitewater, Wis.

I suppose I have found much the same difficulties as others in
regard to discipline. Our High School pupils, especially when
working on their school debates, for which they get much of their
material from the library, do sometimes find it easy to work
together to the annoyance of their neighbors, but as they are, on
the whole, well intentioned young people they usually take kindly
the reproof. I do not mean to say that they do always after
remember and act accordingly. Who of us do? And my experience as
a teacher has taught me that some lessons have to be often
repeated. There is, however, a kindly feeling between the young
people who use the library and those who have charge of it, for
we try to help them to whatever they need and they appreciate the
fact; and this fact I think helps in the matter of discipline.
The main reading room seems sometimes rather full with them, but
there are places for but sixteen at the tables and that partly
explains it. I have had occasionally the difficulty of young
people making the library a meeting place. Only two weeks ago, I
told a young Miss and her attendant, that we could dispense with
their presence in the library; they have both been back since,
but not in any way to our annoyance.

We were at one time much troubled by some boys from ten to
fourteen. Sending home didn't help for very long, and I finally
went to the parents of the ring-leaders with very good results.
Perhaps the fact that complaints came to them from several other
sources helped. But I am sure parents can aid the librarian as
well as the teacher. The only notices I have ever had up in my
library in regard to order are two neatly printed signs, "Silence
is golden." I think they have been more suggestive and effective
than the ordinary sign.

Miss Grace E. Salisbury, Whitewater, (Normal School.)

In answer to your circular just received, I hardly know what to
say. We have practically no disciplining to do. Of course
conditions are not the same as in a public library. At the
beginning of the school year every evidence of disorder is nipped
in the bud, and after a few weeks we are entirely freed from any
annoyance from visiting or other disorder. The children from the
model school some times show a little inclination to talk too
much in getting their books. If a word does not quiet them, the
ring leader as it were is sent down to his department room which
is the worst possible punishment as they love to come to the
library. This never happens more than once or twice a year.

The greatest help I have at the opening of the school year in
creating the spirit I wish in the library, is the small work room
opening out of it. If students visit, or get to talking over
their work, I ask them if they will please take their work into
the work room where they can talk things over without disturbing
any one. They never resent that, when many times they would
resent almost anything else in the way of reproof. If they talk
too loud in there or seem to be still disturbing, I call
attention to the fact that others are trying to work, and find it
difficult to do so under the conditions.

After the first few weeks of the year, I think I have to speak to
a student not oftener than once in several weeks if that.

I think the student body recognize the library as a place where
they can find absolute quiet, and welcome it in that light, and
most of them are glad to help to keep it so.

Mrs. Alice A. Lamb, Litchfield, Minn.

Our library opened four years ago. An acquaintance, through
teaching, with most of the children of the town has been of great
assistance. Possibly, mature years with a reputation for strict
order in school have been of value.

At any rate disorder is almost unknown. We started with the idea
of perfect quiet in the building. The text "Be gentle and keep
the voice low" was given a prominent place on the walls of the
children's room for the first year and I'm sure was helpful.

If the little children get to visiting, usually a glance or a
shake of the head is sufficient. To the older children it has
been necessary a few times to say quietly, "We must have perfect
quiet here." This of course is said privately so that no one but
the offender hears.

Sending home seems a legitimate punishment and if judiciously
used ought to produce good results.

The good will of the children, with good nature and firmness on
the part of the librarian would seem the chief essentials to good

If disorder has once become a habit the problem is a serious one.
In small libraries with but one person in charge it would seem
wise to hire an assistant or have an apprentice to do the desk
work during the evening hours or whenever disorder is likely to
occur, and let the librarian be free to go about the rooms and
use her best efforts to establish order, by every tactful means

Our building is so arranged that every part of it can be seen by
the librarian at her desk. This doubtless is a very great aid in
discipline, and perhaps explains why we have never been troubled
by the boys and girls making a "meeting place" of the library.

Miss Agnes J. Petersen, Manitowoc, Wis.

Reading over your questions on the subject of discipline in the
library, brought back very vividly to my mind, the first years of
our library work.

From the first day of opening, absolute quiet was made one of the
rules of the library, and many boys and girls went home early in
the evenings before they would recognize the rule. The fact that
no disturbance of any kind would be tolerated was so impressed
upon everybody, but, especially upon the children, that now,
though the supervision is not so strictly kept, the same good
order is easily maintained. A word or look of warning is at most
times sufficient now to keep a roomful of 75 children in order
except on rare occasions. We did practically I believe what every
librarian does. The offender was warned concerning his conduct,
and if, after several warnings, he still "dared us" he was sent
home, not permitted to return to the library, nor draw books for
a week or two as the case might be, only returning after
promising good behavior in the future. When, as it happened a
few times, the offender did not respond to this treatment, the
president of our Library Board sent a note by the chief of police
to the offender's parents, and that inevitably ended the matter.
Only one boy was suspended for two weeks during this past year,
and he gives a great deal of trouble at school, also.


The function of the story hour as a recognized feature of library
work with children has been variously discussed. The five papers
given below represent these different points of view, and the
experience of several libraries is included in the report of the
Committee on Story- telling given at the Congress of the
Playground Association of America in 1910.

Another group method, which has been adopted as a means of
introducing children to books and of securing continuity of
interest, is that of the reading club. The three articles given
show the influence of the direct, personal effort of Miss Hewins,
and the carefully organized work of somewhat different types in
two large library systems.

The early history of home library work with children as conducted
by the Boston Children's Aid Society and a consideration of the
place of this method in extension work of libraries in general
are included.

Library work in summer playgrounds is one development of
cooperation with other institutions. The first article included
may be supplemented by a statement made by Miss Frances J. Olcott
in an article on "The public library, a social force in
Pittsburgh," printed in the Survey magazine, March 5, 1910. She
states that "Perhaps the most important phase of the library's
work with children which is being developed at present is that of
playground libraries. ... Now that the Playground Association is
establishing recreation centers for winter as well as summer,
arrangements have been made with the library to supply books, the
Association providing the necessary reading rooms in its new
buildings." Practical difficulties in administration are
discussed in the second article.

The last group of articles brings together several unrelated
phases of work. Two special kinds of children's libraries are
mentioned, one a type--the Sunday School library--and one a
library organized for specific work in connection with the
Children's Museum in Brooklyn. Work with colored children in a
colored branch library is described. The last paper gives a vivid
picture of work with children in a foreign district of a large


The paper by Edna Lyman Scott, printed in the Wisconsin Bulletin
for January, 1905, was said to be introductory to a talk which
she was to give at Beloit at the Wisconsin State meeting,
February 22, 1905. The author looks upon the inauguration of the
story hour as but the grasping of an opportunity in working with
children in the library, as a means of cultivating the love of
literature and of introducing the child to books.

Edna Lyman, now Mrs. Scott, was born in Illinois, educated in the
schools of Oak Park, Ill., and at Bradford Academy, Haverhill,
Massachusetts. At the time this paper was written she was the
children's librarian in the Oak Park Public Library, then known
as Scoville Institute. Her work in story telling became known
outside the immediate field of its activity, and in 1907 Miss
Lyman severed her connection with this library to give time to
special preparation, and later to become a lecturer on literature
for children and story-telling, and a professional story-teller.
She spent portions of three years as Advisory Children's
Librarian for the Iowa Library Commission, and during that period
published her book "Story-telling: what to tell and how to tell
it." She holds the position of non-resident faculty lecturer on
Work for Children in the Library School of the University of
Illinois, and the Carnegie Library School of Atlanta, Georgia,
and lectures regularly in other library schools, before teachers'
institutes and normal schools, women's clubs and study classes
throughout the country.

When we touch the question of guiding the reading of children in
our libraries we have opened the consideration of a subject which
is one of the great arguments for the existence of public

All about we see and feel the utter indifference of parents to
what their children are reading, or whether they are reading at
all, and the results of this indifference appear on every hand,
in the character of the books which content the child, or in his
determination to bury himself in a book to the exclusion of every
other interest.

The librarian sees this indifference and its fruit and realizes
that it adds another responsibility to her already long list, and
another opportunity to serve. She may doubt whether her province
is to educate the taste of the public at large, but there can be
no question that in the case of the children the choice is not
left for her to make; the only reason for the child's reading at
all is that he may grow mentally and spiritually. There is no way
to protect the child against worthless books except by giving him
a decided taste for what is good. Hamilton Mabie says that
"tastes depend very largely on the standards with which we are
familiar," and if these standards are acquired hit and miss,
without training, they are likely to be of a most doubtful

The love of literature, like the love of any of the fine arts, is
susceptible of cultivation and is strengthened by constant
contact with the beauty and greatness which can compel it. "They
are exceptional children who read everything regardless of its
character and come out all right. We do not know that any child
is of such a make-up. We must deal with him as though he were not
the exceptional but the normal child." The influence of all that
he reads upon the mind of the child is sufficiently appalling,
but it is not to be compared with the influence on his character.
Henry Churchill King says: "It is his susceptibility to the
faintest suggestion that makes the child so marvelous an
imitator." The significance of this truth lies not only in the
fact that he responds to the example in manners and morals of
those about him, but equally, and perhaps even more exactly, to
the heroes who live within the covers of his books. If the
dangers are great, our response must be as forceful and our
search untiring for the influence which will most surely lead the
child to the best.

And what means shall be found? The answer seems ready to hand in
the use of one of the oldest, yet one of the newest arts, the art
of story-telling. You may talk to a child about books, he will
give a certain kind of response, particularly if he respects your
judgment because of previous experience, but tell him a story and
you have fastened him with chains he does not care to resist.

The inauguration of the story hour then is but the grasping of an
opportunity, first of all to give keenest joy to the child, and
at the same time to set his standard for judging the value of
other stories by those he hears, to give him a love for beautiful
form, to introduce him to books he might never choose for himself
and to bind him to the friend who tells him stories, so that he
will feel a confidence in her suggestions.

Before choosing our stories for telling it will be well to remind
ourselves of our purpose in telling stories, namely, to give
familiarity with good English, to cultivate the imagination, to
develop the sympathy, and to give a clear impression of moral
truth. With this purpose in mind we shall gather our children
into groups whose ages are near, and will be reached by the same
tales. We must be methodical in this as in all our library work,
and have our campaign well planned before we begin.

Not everyone has the gift of telling stories, but if one is not
gifted with the art himself, there will doubtless be someone who
is, who can be secured for the purpose, if we only feel that the
need is great enough.

The way is open to the minds and hearts of the children. Shall we
neglect it because it is old, or because it is new, or because we
seem somewhat hampered by existing conditions? Why not follow the
successes of others, and then find our own?

The above paper by Miss Lyman is offered as introductory to a
talk which she will give at Beloit at the Wisconsin state
meeting, February 22, 1905. The story hour has been most
successfully conducted in a few of our libraries. To be sure
every librarian is not qualified to conduct a successful story
hour, but it is usually possible to find someone in the community
who will tell the stories. The story hour requires a good deal of
preparation. In Pittsburgh the librarians who were to tell
stories had special training under Miss Shedlock, a well-known
English story teller, and gave thorough study to the subject
before attempting to interest the children. This library has
published a pamphlet on Story telling to children from Norse
mythology and the Nibehulgenlied. This pamphlet contains
references to material on selected stories, an annotated reading
list for the story teller and for young people, a full outline of
a course, and many valuable suggestions. The same library
published in its bulletin, October, 1902, the following outlines:

Story 1. Merlin the Enchanter Story 2. How Arthur won his
kingdom and how he got his sword Excalibur. Story 3. The
marriage of Arthur and Guinevere and the founding of the Round
Table. Story 4. The adventure of Gareth Story 5. The
adventure of Geraint. Story 6. The adventure of Geraint and
the Fair Enid. Story 7. The story of the dolorous stroke.
Story 8. How Launcelot saved Guinevere; or, The adventure of
the cart. Story 9. Launcelot and the lily-maid of Astrolat.
Story 10. The coming of Galahad Story 11. The quest of
the Sangreal Story 12. The achieving of the Sangreal.
Story 13. The passing of Arthur.


Story 14. The adventures of Ogier the Dane. Story 15.
More adventures of Ogier the Dane. Story 16. The sons of
Aymon. Story 17. Malagis the wizard Story 18. A Roland
for an Oliver Story 19. The Princes of Cathay. Story
20. How Reinold fared to Cathay. Story 21. The quest of
Roland Story 22. In the gardens of Falerina. Story 23.
Bradamant, the warrior maiden. Story 24. The contest of
Durandal. Story 25. The battle of Roncesvalles.

This regular story course will be broken into at the holidays
when stories appropriate to the season will be told.

Their bulletin for November, 1904, gives the program for 1904-5
on Legends of Robin Hood and Stories from Ivanhoe. The outline


Story 1. How Robin Hood became an outlaw. Story 2. How
Robin Hood outwitted the Sheriff of Nottingham Town. Story
3. A merry adventure of Robin Hood. Story 4. How Robin Hood
gained three merry men in one day. Story 5. The story of
Allin a Dale. Story 6. The story of the Sorrowful Knight.
Story 7. The Queen's champion. Story 8. Robin Hood and Guy
of Gisborne. Story 9. How King Richard visited Robin Hood in
Sherwood Forest. Story 10. Robin Hood's death and burial.
Story 11. The tournament at Ashby-de-la-Zouche. Story 12.
The second day of the tournament. Story 13. The siege of

The following extract on the children's story hour is taken from
the Pittsburgh bulletin of December, 1901.


The Library story hour for the children began in a very modest
way at our West End branch. It has passed through the
experimental stage and is now a part of the regular routine of
our six children's rooms. At first disconnected stories were told
but when we found how much the stories influenced the children's
reading, we began to follow a regular program, which has proved
more effective than haphazard story telling. Last year we told
stories from Greek mythology and Homer and had an attendance of
over 5,000 children. The books placed on special story hour
shelves were taken out 2,000 times.

This year the stories are drawn from the Norse myths and the
Niebelungen Lied. They are told by the children's librarians and
the students of our Training school for children's librarians,
every Friday afternoon from November first to April first. As the
hour draws near, the children's rooms begin to fill with eagerly
expectant children. There is an atmosphere of repressed
excitement, and when the appointed minute comes, the children
quickly form into line and march into the lecture room where the
story is told. Once there, the children group themselves on the
floor about the story teller, and all is attention. It may be
that the story is a hard one to tell, the process of adapting and
preparing it may have been difficult, but in the interested faces
of the children and in the bright eyes fixed upon her face, the
story teller finds her inspiration.

Extra copies of books containing Norse myths have been provided
for each children's room. Since few of these books are for very
young children, we tell these poetic stories of our Northern
ancestors to the older boys and girls only. For the younger ones
there are such stories as The Three Bears, Hop-o'-my-thumb, and
other old nursery favorites. At Thanksgiving, Christmas and a few
other holidays, the program is dropped and one full of the spirit
of the season is told instead. That the children enjoy and
appreciate the stories is seen by the steadily increasing
attendance, and by the fact that the same children return week
after week. Teachers say the very worst punishment they can
inflict is to detain a child so late on Friday that he misses his
story hour. During the summer months, and early fall, when no
stories were being told, there were many anxious inquiries as to
when the story hour would begin. At our West End branch the
children clamored so for their stories that the work was
commenced a month before the time for beginning the regular

And what is the use of story telling? Is it merely to amuse and
entertain the children? Were it simply for this, the time would
not seem wasted, when one recalls the bright and happy faces and
realizes what an hour of delight it is to many children
oftentimes their only escape from mean and sordid surroundings
Col. Thomas Wentworth Higginson once said that to lie on the
hearth rug and listen to one's mother reading aloud is a liberal
education, but such sweet and precious privileges are only for
the few. The story hour is intended to meet this want in some
slight degree, to give the child a glimpse beyond the horizon
which hitherto has limited his life, and open up to him those
vast realms of literature which are a part of his inheritance,
for unless he enters this great domain through the gateway of
childish fancy and imagination, the probability is that he will
never find any other opening. To arouse and stimulate a love for
the best reading is then the real object of the story hour.
Through the story the child's interest is awakened, the librarian
places in his hands just the right book to develop that interest,
and gradually there is formed a taste for good literature.


In the following article, contributed to Public Libraries for
November, 1908, Mr. John Cotton Dana protests against the popular
idea of library story-telling and advocates instruction given to
teachers both in story- telling and in the use of books as a
better method "as to cost and results." John Cotton Dana was born
in Woodstock, Vermont, in 1856, received the degree of A.B. from
Dartmouth in 1878, and studied law in Woodstock from 1878 to
1880. He was a land surveyor in Colorado in 1880-1881, was
admitted to the New York bar in 1883, and spent 1886-1887 in
Colorado as a civil engineer. He was Librarian of the Denver
Public Library from 1889 to 1897; of the City Library,
Springfield, Mass., from 1898- 1902, and since 1902 has been
Librarian of the Free Public Library of Newark, N. J.

Story-telling to groups of young children is now popular among
librarians. The art is practiced chiefly by women. No doubt one
reason for its popularity is that it gives those who practice it
the pleasures of the teacher, the orator and the exhorter. It
must be a delight to have the opportunity to hold the attention
of a group of children; to see their eyes sparkle as the story
unwinds itself; to feel that you are giving the little people
high pleasure, and at the same time are improving their language,
their morals, their dramatic sense, their power of attention and
their knowledge of the world's literary masterpieces. Also, it is
pleasant to realize that you are keeping them off the streets;
are encouraging them to read good books; are storing their minds
with charming pictures of life and are making friends for your

In explaining its popularity I have stated briefly the arguments
usually given in favor of library story-telling. There is another

A library's funds are never sufficient for all the work that lies
before it. Consequently, the work a library elects to do is done
at the cost of certain other work it might have done. The library
always puts its funds, skill and energy upon those things which
it thinks are most important, that is, are most effective in the
long run, in educating the community. Now, the schools tell
stories to children, and it is obviously one of their proper
functions so to do at such times, to such an extent and to such
children as the persons in charge of the schools think wise. It
is probable that the schoolmen know better when and how to
include story-telling in their work with a given group of
children than do the librarians. If a library thinks it knows
about this subject more than do the schools, should it spend time
and money much needed for other things in trying to take up and
carry on the schools' work? It would seem not. Indeed, the
occasional story-telling which the one library of a town or city
can furnish is so slight a factor in the educational work of that
town or city as to make the library's pride over its work seem
very ludicrous.

If, now, the library by chance has on its staff a few altruistic,
emotional, dramatic and irrepressible child-lovers who do not
find ordinary library work gives sufficient opportunities for
altruistic indulgence, and if the library can spare them from
other work, let it set them at teaching the teachers the art of

Contrast, as to cost and results, the usual story-telling to
children with instruction in the same and allied arts to
teachers. The assistant entertains once or twice each week a
group of forty or fifty children. The children--accustomed to
schoolroom routine, hypnotized somewhat by the mob-spirit, and a
little by the place and occasion, ready to imitate on every
opportunity --listen with fair attention. They are perhaps
pleased with the subject matter of the tale, possibly by its
wording, and very probably by the voice and presence of the
narrator. They hear an old story, one of the many that help to
form the social cement of the nation in which they live. This is
of some slight value, though the story is only one of scores
which they hear or read in their early years at school. The story
has no special dramatic power in its sequence. As a story it is
of value almost solely because it is old. It has no special value
in its phrasing. It may have been put into artistic form by some
man of letters; but the children get it, not in that form, but as
retold by an inspired library assistant who has made no mark in
the world of letters by her manner of expression. The story has
no moral save as it is dragged in by main strength; usually, in
fact, and especially in the case of myths, the moral tone needs
apologies much more than it needs praise.

To prepare for this half hour of the relatively trivial
instruction of a few children in the higher life, the library
must secure a room and pay for its care, a room which if it be
obtained and used at all could be used for more profitable
purposes; and the performer must study her art and must, if she
is not a conceited duffer, prepare herself for her part for the
day at a very considerable cost of time and energy.

Now, if the teachers do not know the value of story-telling at
proper times and to children of proper years; if they do not
realize the strength of the influence for good that lies in the
speaking voice--though that this influence is relatively
over-rated in these days I am at a proper time prepared to
show--if they do not know about the interest children take in
legends, myths and fairy tales, and their value in strengthening
the social bond, then let the library assistants who do know
about such things hasten to tell them. I am assuming for purposes
of argument that the teachers do not know, and that library
assistants can tell them. I shall not attempt to say how the
library people will approach the teacher with their information
without offending them, except to remark that tactful lines of
approach can be found; and to remark, further, that by setting up
a story-hour in her library a librarian does not very tactfully
convey to the teachers the intimation that they either do not
know their work or willfully neglect it.

With this same labor of preparation, in the room used to talk 30
minutes to a handful of children, the librarian could far better
address a group of teachers on the use of books in libraries and
schoolrooms. Librarians have long contended that teachers are
deficient in bookishness; and it is quite possible that they are.
Their preparation in normal schools compels them to give more
attention to method than to subject matter. They have lacked
incentive and opportunity to become familiar with books, outside
of the prescribed text-books and supplementary readers. They do
not know the literature of and for childhood, and not having
learned to use books in general for delight and utility
themselves they cannot impart the art to their pupils. As I have
said, librarians contend that this is true, yet many of them with
opportunities to instruct teachers in these matters lying unused
before them, neglect them and coolly step in to usurp one of the
school's functions and rebuke the teacher's shortcomings.

This is not all. A library gives of its time, money and energy to
instruct 40 children--and there it ends. If, on the other hand,
it instructs 40 teachers, those 40 carry the instruction to 40
class rooms and impart knowledge of the library, of the use of
books, of the literature for children and--if need be--of the art
of story-telling, to 1,600 or 2,000 children. There seems no
question here as to which of these two forms of educational
activity is for librarians better worth while.


The National Child Conference for Research and Welfare was
organized at a meeting held at Clark University, Worcester,
Mass., in July, 1909. Several papers on library topics were
presented at this meeting, one of the most interesting of which
was given by Miss Olcott. In this paper she presents the story
hour as a method of introducing "large groups of children
simultaneously to great literature," and asserts that "the
library story hour becomes, if properly utilized, an educational
force as well as a literary guide."

Frances Jenkins Olcott was born in Paris, France; was educated
under private tutors, and was graduated from the New York State
Library School in 1896. From 1898 to 1911 she was Chief of the
Children's Department of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. In
1900 she organized and became the Director of the Training School
for Children's Librarians. Since 1911 Miss Olcott has contributed
to library work with children by writing and editing books for
parents and for children.

The library is a latter day popular educational development. It
supplements the work of the church, the home, the school and the
kindergarten. Its function is to place within the reach of all
the best thought of the world as conserved in the printed page.
This being its natural function, all methods selected by the
library should tend directly to arouse interest in the best
reading. Methods which do not do this are, for the library,
ineffective and a waste of valuable energy and public funds.

The library movement has grown with such startling rapidity that
it has not been possible to codify the best methods of library
work, but there has been an earnest endeavor to establish a body
of library pedagogy by careful experimentation. Unfortunately
during this experimental stage methods have been introduced which
do not produce direct library results. Many of these methods,
which in this paper it is not expedient to enumerate, are
interesting and appeal to the imagination; they may impart
knowledge, but they are not, strictly speaking, library methods.

As childhood and youth are the times in which to lay the
foundation for the habit of reading and of discrimination in
reading, it falls to the library worker with children to build up
a system of sound library pedagogy leading to the increased
intelligent use of the library. The library worker has to deal
with large crowds of children of all ages, all classes and
nationalities. In a busy children's room she is rarely able to
provide enough assistants to do the necessary routine work and
help each individual child select his reading, therefore it
becomes necessary for her to direct the children's reading
through large groups and to adapt for this purpose methods used
by other educational institutions. But these methods have to be
adapted in a practical, forceful way, otherwise they become
sentimental and ineffectual. For instance, a method useful in the
kindergarten for teaching ethics, in the public schools for
teaching geography, science or history, if rightly applied by the
public library, may be useful in arousing interest in good books
and reading. Such is the story telling method, one of the most
effective, if rightly applied, which the public library uses to
introduce large groups of children simultaneously to great
literature. On the other hand, if the library worker uses story
telling merely as a means of inculcating knowledge or teaching
ethics, the story fails to produce public library results and the
method becomes the weakest of methods, as it absorbs time,
physical energy, and library funds which should be expended to
increase good reading.

The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh began systematic story telling
to large groups of children in 1899. After a few months a decided
change was noted in the children's reading. The stories were
selected from Shakespeare's plays and there came an increasing
demand for books containing the plays, or stories from them. It
became evident that if a story was carefully prepared with the
intention of arousing interest in reading, it could prove a
positive factor in directing the reading of large groups of
children. The method was adopted throughout the library system
and extended to the various children's reading rooms, home
libraries, playgrounds and city schools. In order to make the
story telling effective and systematic, a subject was chosen for
each year, stories being told every Friday afternoon in the
lecture rooms of the Central and Branch libraries and at varying
intervals in the other agencies. Large numbers of duplicates of
children's books containing the stories were purchased and placed
on story hour shelves in the children's rooms. Announcements of
the story hours were made in the public schools and notices
posted on the bulletins in the children's reading rooms. The
children responded so eagerly that it became almost impossible to
handle the large crowds attending weekly and it was quite
impossible to supply the demand for the books which, previous to
the story hour, had not been popular.

The story hour courses are planned to extend over eight years and
are selected from romantic and imaginative literature. For the
first two years nursery tales, legends, fables and standard
stories are told. For the following years--Stories from Greek
Mythology; Stories from Norse Mythology and the Nibelungenlied;
Stories of King Arthur and the Round Table, and legends of
Charlemagne; Stories of the Iliad and the Odyssey; Stories from
Chaucer and Spenser; Stories from Shakespeare. At the end of the
eight years the cycle is repeated.

The story hours are conducted most informally. The stories are
told, not in the children's rooms, as this would interfere with
the order and discipline of the rooms, but in the study and
lecture rooms of the library buildings. As far as possible a
group is limited to thirty-six children. When stories are told to
children over ten or twelve years of age, the boys and girls are
placed in separate groups. This enables the story teller to
develop her story to suit the varied tastes of her audience.

The children sit on benches constructed especially for the story
hour. The benches are made according to the following
measurements: 14 in. from floor to top of seat; seat 12 in. wide;
3 benches 9 ft. long, one bench 7 ft. long. Benches made without
backs. Four benches are placed in the form of a hollow square,
the story teller sitting with the children. In this way the
children are not crowded and the story teller can see all their
faces. It is more hygienic and satisfactory than allowing the
children to crowd closely about the story teller. The story hour
benches are so satisfactory that we are introducing them as fast
as possible into all of our library buildings.

Each story is carefully prepared beforehand by the story teller.
In the Training School for Children's Librarians conducted by
this Library, all the students are obliged to take the regular
course in story telling which includes lectures and weekly
practice. Informality in story telling is encouraged. Dramatic or
elocutionary expression is avoided, the self-conscious, the
elaborate and the artificial are eliminated; we try to follow as
closely as possible the spontaneous folk spirit. The children sit
breathless, lost in visions created by a sympathetic and un-
self-conscious story teller.

In closing I should like to dwell for a moment on what have been
called the "by-products" of the Library story hour. Besides
guiding his reading, a carefully prepared, well told story
enriches a child's imagination, stocks his mind with poetic
imagery and literary allusions, develops his powers of
concentration, helps in the unfolding of his ideas of right and
wrong, and develops his sympathetic feelings; all of which
"by-products" have a powerful influence on character. Thus the
library story hour becomes, if properly utilized, an educational
force as well as a literary guide.


The possibility of library story telling in schools as a means of
interesting a larger number of children than is possible at a
story hour held in a library is suggested by Miss Alice A.
Blanchard in the following paper, also given at the Conference at
Clark University in 1909. Alice Arabella Blanchard was born in
Montpelier, Vermont; was graduated from Smith College in 1903;
from the New York State Library School in 1905, and was a special
student in the Training School for Children's Librarians in
1905-1906. From 1906 to 1908 she was the head of the children's
department of the Seattle Public Library; in 1909 the head of the
school department of the Free Public Library, of Newark, N. J.;
from 1910 to 1912 the head of the Schools division of the Seattle
Public Library; from 1913 to 1915 the First Assistant in the
Children's Department and the Training School for Children's
Librarians in the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, and since that
time has been supervisor of work with schools and children in the
Free Public Library of Newark, N. J.

The subject which the printed programme for this morning's
session assigns to me is How to guide children's reading by story
telling. I must begin my talk by an apology; for I shall speak
upon only a limited phase of that subject. The subject of guiding
children's reading by story telling is a pretty broad one. Tell a
good story to a child and he wants to read the book from which it
comes. This simple statement means that wherever the child is, at
home, at school, in the playground, in the library, in Sunday
School, in the settlement, we can exercise a very direct
influence upon his reading taste by the stories we tell him.
Story telling is a most excellent method of advertising the good
books of the world. I shall consider it as a means of advertising
books from the librarian's point of view, and treat it simply as
a library method, calling it, if you will let me, a library tool.

Story telling is becoming widely popular in schools, in libraries
and as a profession by itself. We know that it is an effective
method of reaching and influencing children, and that as a method
it has advantages over the printed word. Libraries are
considering it a part of their work and are using it on a more or
less elaborate scale.

It may be too soon, for we have not been using it very long, to
know just what place story telling should take in the work of the
library; but some of us feel that we are not considering the
subject with sufficient care, that we are letting our enthusiasm
run away with our common sense in the matter, a little too much
in the manner of our friend who has the automobile fever and
forgets that life can hold anything else.

It is evident that since no public library ever has enough time
and money at its disposal for the work it has to do, it cannot
afford to undertake story telling or any other activity which
does not further this work. We say that the function of public
library work with children is to give them an intelligent love
for the best books, and in trying to do this we must reach the
greatest number of children at the least expense. If story
telling can be an effective tool, enabling us to reach with
books more children at less expense than any other method at our
command, then it has a legitimate place in library work. If it
cannot do this we should let it alone.

Most of us feel that school and libraries have experimented with
story telling long enough now to prove that it has its place as a
legitimate and valued tool of the library. At the same time we
see these facts, however; many libraries do not understand what
this place is; many libraries are using story telling as a tool
for another's work at the expense of their own; and some
libraries are using story telling when, because of their peculiar
situation, another tool would better answer their purpose.

If the library is to use story telling it must be to bring
children and books together. This it can do successfully. Library
reports show that it has interested thousands of children in the
library, increased greatly the general circulation of books from
the children's shelves, and created popularity for the books from
which the stories were selected.

Incidentally, the Story Hour makes a delightful form of
entertainment, for the average child loves to hear stories told.
It also establishes a very pleasant personal relation between the
children who hear the story and the person who tells it. Herein
lies a danger for the library of which we take too little
account. Because she can by her stories so delightfully entertain
her audience and thereby win their affection the story-teller is
tempted to lose sight of the purpose of her stories, namely, to
guide the children's reading. If she does forget this purpose,
her stories, although they may bring the children week after week
in throngs, will leave them where they were before, so far as
their reading taste is concerned. The fact that the Story Hour
makes a delightful form of entertainment, the fact that it
establishes a pleasant personal relation between story teller and
children, must not be the reason for its adoption by the library.
The story teller must tell stories from books which are to be
found upon the library shelves and she must tell the children
that they are there. Unless the Story Hour advertises the best
books, and results in an increased use of them, the library is
wasting time and money in its story telling--to put the matter in
its most favorable light.

In the second place, many libraries are making the mistake of
trying to do too many things with the story telling tool. They
forget that the school tells stories, that it can give the child
thereby plenty of facts in science, history, geography, and what
not; that it teaches him by means of stories, morals and
politeness. They forget that the city does not pay them for doing
this school work or for doing the work of the playgrounds and
parks in keeping children off the streets. Much can be done by
the library in all these ways; but it happens that the work which
belongs peculiarly to the library and which no other institution
can at present do for it, is to give good books to all the
children in the city--a task which of itself is enough for any
library to hope to do. Therefore we should discard from our story
telling all the lessons we are trying to teach, our Christmas
tree, our May poles, our fancy costumes and whatever pretty games
we play, and simply tell the children stories from books.
Fortunately a good story from a book is enough to delight a child
without any accompanying frills, so that the time we save by
discarding them does not in the least detract from its

And we must tell the stories to children. It has been said of one
library and, moreover, with some pride, that the story hour was
so popular that many grown people came to it; indeed sometimes
there was little room left for the children!

Thirdly, the average library does not sufficiently consider
whether in its particular case, story telling is the best tool at
its command. What is a good tool in one case may not be in
another and a given library may be sacrificing much better work
when it takes time, as it must always do, from something else for
the story hour.

Often a small library has no story teller upon its staff, but it
may be doing effective work with children through its work with
teachers, its visits to schools and its children's room. It has a
small staff and no room adapted for telling stories at the
library. Obviously such a library has no need for the story
telling tool, yet many libraries like this are struggling hard to
use it. Once a week or oftener they are allowing all the usual
routine of the library to be upset to accommodate the Story Hour,
the story teller has spent many hours of preparation and is under
a strain that is little short of misery, and the children,
because of the general difficulty of the whole situation, are
deriving no greater love for books nor respect for the library.
Such a library would do better to give up story telling and put
its energy into what it could do more effectively.

But here let me say that often the small library thinks it has no
use for story telling as a tool when as a matter of fact it has.

Children's librarians in large or small libraries count school
visiting as part of their work. The school visit offers the best
of opportunities for the work of the Story Hour. A story told at
the end of an informal little talk about the library will bring
the children flocking to the library the minute school is over.
The small library which has no Story Hour room but which has a
story teller can take advantage of this opportunity and do much
with it. The story teller can visit three schoolrooms on
different days, tell stories to forty children each time, and
because the story telling is distributed over the three days,
manage with comparative ease the influx of 120 children who may
come for books as a result. More than this, the story teller can
have told three stories instead of one, so that only one-third of
the children will clamor for the same book. This last point is
important as all who have had story-hour experience know.

And it is not always the small library which might better tell
its stories in school. Consider the city library which has a
story teller who tells stories at a Branch. She gets crowds of
children, it is true, but many more do not come. She has too many
for her story room. Even if she repeats her story until all the
eager children get in eventually to hear it the results are of
doubtful benefit. It has meant a fearfully strenuous day for the
story teller and for the whole Branch; the chances are that the
last children to hear the tale gained little from it because the
story teller was too tired to tell it well; many of the children
have spent most of the afternoon in the scuffle of trying to get
in and having to wait when they might have been out of doors
playing; and practically all the children were the same ones who
always come. And, as in a small library, all the children want
the same books, if the stories were good.

School people, as a rule, are very cordial to the library story
teller. Since they are, this method seems preferable to the Story
Hour at the library. The story teller, besides being spared the
difficulty of managing the story hour at the library, has a
better opportunity to keep in touch with school work; can reach
all the children instead of the same group week after week;
interests teacher as well as the children in the books from which
the stories are told; and saves the library considerable money in
janitor work and heat and light bills. Probably the story teller
has neither time nor strength to tell stories both in school and
library. Would she not be wise in such a case to tell her stories
in the schoolroom?

There is another thing that should be said of story telling as a
library tool. If we aim by stories to advertise the best books,
how shall we tell the stories to make the books seem most
attractive and to get the best results?

We say that the impression the child gets from a story told is
greater than that gained from a story read. Then we proceed to
tell him in our own words stories which we adapt from the books
we think he should know, trusting that he will want the books
themselves as a result. Well and good for those books which
depend for their value upon subject matter, regardless of style;
for folk-lore, for many of the fairy tales and other stories, but
not equally well and good for books that are valuable for their
literary forces. If a story is dramatic enough for the telling
and is written by a master, is it not a shame to give it to a
child in an inferior form when he might have it as it was
written? If a master did it, it is every bit as dramatic and as
easy for the child to understand in the form in which the master
wrote it as in the story teller's version, and many times more

Why do children's librarians spend so much time in the
preparation of their own versions of the good stories of the
world when they have so much material which they can use at first
hand? The theory is, that a story has more life if told in the
story teller's words, that it is likely to be stiff and formal if
she must confine herself to the author's words. This need not be
so. If the story teller enjoys the story, as a story teller
always must, if she appreciates the charm of its expression as
the author wrote it, and sees the value of this charm, the
author's words will come easily from her lips with all the life
of the original. She may have had to cut the original more or
less, but that can usually be done without perceptibly marring
the story. If the tale does not lend itself to this kind of
treatment and she feels that she must adapt the whole thing for
her audience, she can at least quote paragraphs. If the story
teller gives the child her own version, the child wants the story
because or in spite of what she put into it. He gets the book,
fails to find the story teller part of it and, as that is all he
is after puts the book down or finds the real thing and thinks
the teller didn't know it very well, for "She left out some of
the best parts."

I am not saying that the story teller's version is worthless. It
is good as far as it goes. I am only saying that by it we often
miss an opportunity to give the children something better. None
of us can tell the Andersen or the Kipling stories as well as the
men who wrote them. Why not give them to the children "straight
out of the book," as the children say, and why not, for instance,
when we are telling stories of the Trojan War, give them passages
verbatim from Bryant's Iliad? This kind of story telling may take
more time for preparation than the other for some people, it is
true, but the resulting benefit is greater. The librarian who has
once told an Andersen story in the words of a close translation
will never want to do it in her own again.

In spite of all we say about giving him the best books, are we
not giving the child too little credit for literary appreciation?
Are not some of our simplified versions of the good stories of
the world a little too simple? We refuse to leave upon our
shelves such foolish things as the Hiawatha primer, or the
Stevenson reader (this gives upon one page a poem from the
child's garden and on the opposite page a neat translation!), and
yet do we not offend sometimes in the same way in our story
telling? Let us not run the risk of spoiling the atmosphere and
beauty of a good tale by over-adapting it. If it is beyond the
child's comprehension in the beginning, let us leave it for him
to find when he is older. If our library story telling has been
what it should be, the road will be an easy one for him to


Story-telling in playgrounds, settlements and libraries as it is
carried on in various communities, is described in the following
comprehensive report which was made by the Committee on
story-telling, Miss Annie Carroll Moore, Chairman, at the Fourth
Annual Congress of the Playground Association of America. It was
printed in the Playground, August, 1910, and an abridgement
appeared in the Library Journal (September, 1910). A sketch of
Miss Moore appears on page 113.

"Is she a Fairy, or just a Lady?"

A little Scotch girl asked the question after a story hour in a
children's library. "She made me see fairies awful plain."

"She made me see fairies, too," answered the children's librarian
with whom the child had shared her doubt. "Let's go and find her
and make sure."

On the way they spoke of the story they had both liked best. It
was about an old woman who lived long ago in Devonshire, who
loved tulips and planted her garden full of them, and tended them
with great care because they seemed to her so beautiful. After
the old woman died some extremely practical persons came to live
in her house and they considered it very foolish to grow tulips
for their beauty when the garden might be turned to practical
account. So they dug up the garden and analyzed the soil, and
planted carrots and turnips and parsnips and just such vegetables
as promised to yield speedy and profitable returns.

By and by a wonderful thing happened. Tulips no longer grew in
the garden; there was no room for them and nobody had time to
look after such useless things. But on the spot where the old
woman was buried the most beautiful tulips sprang up of
themselves, and every night in the Springtime the faries may be
seen bringing their babies to rock them to sleep in the tulip

The little Scotch girl wondered whether there was "a book in the
library with the tulip story in." She wanted to read it to her
grandmother, she said, because her grandmother was "always
speaking about her garden in Scotland," and she wondered if the
tulips in Scotland had fairies asleep in them.

The storyteller, who was Miss Marie L. Shedlock, looked
wonderfully happy when asked whether she was a "Fairy" or "just a
Lady." She said she supposed she was really "just a Lady," but
she had become so intimate with fairies through listening to
stories about them, and thinking about them, and telling fairy
tales to children and grown people in England and America, that
she felt almost like a fairy at times, and she had come to
believe with Hans Christian Andersen, whose stories she loved
best of all, that life itself is a beautiful fairy tale.

Then she told the little girl that the tulip story was not in a
book, and that she must tell it to her grandmother just as she
remembered hearing it, and that having seen the fairies while she
listened would help her to remember the story better. She could
see pictures all the time she was telling stories, she said. The
little girl had never thought of making pictures for herself
before. She had only seen them in books and hanging on walls.

This unconscious tribute to the art of the storyteller made a
lasting impression on the children's librarian. If a child of
less than eight years, and of no exceptional parts, could so
clearly discriminate between the fairy tale she had heard at
school and the tale that made her "see the fairies," there was
little truth in the statement that children do not appreciate
artistic storytelling. She went back to her children's room
feeling that something worth while had happened. The children who
had listened to the stories now crowded about the book shelves,
eager for "any book about fairies," "a funny book," or "a book
about animals."

The little girl who had seen the fairies was not the only one who
had fallen under the spell of the storyteller. "I always knew
Pandora was a nice story, but she never seemed like a live girl
before," said one of the older girls. "I liked the Brahmin, the
Jackal and the Tiger best," exclaimed a boy. "Gee! but couldn't
you just see that tiger pace when she was saying the words?" "I
just love The Little Tin Soldier," said a small boy who hated to
read, but was always begging the children's librarian to tell him
stories about the pictures he found in books. "Didn't she make
him march fine!"

Before the end of the day the children's librarian had decided
that even if there could be but one such story hour in the
lifetime of an individual or an institution it would pay in
immediate and far-off results. But why stop with one; why not
have more story hours in children's libraries? Other children's
librarians were asking themselves the same question, and then
they asked their librarians, and those who recognized in the
story hour a powerful ally in stimulating a love of good
literature and a civilizing influence wherever the gang spirit
prevailed, gave ready assent.

Ten years have passed and the story hour is now an established
feature in the work of children's libraries. Miss Shedlock came
to America to tell stories to children and to their fathers and
mothers. She returned year after year to remind the schools and
colleges, the training schools and the kindergartens, as well as
the public libraries, of the great possibilities in what she so
aptly called "the oldest and the newest of the arts."

In her lectures upon "The Art of Storytelling;" "The Fun and the
Philosophy; The Poetry and the Pathos of Hans Christian
Andersen," and in the stories she told to illustrate them, Miss
Shedlock exemplified that teaching of Socrates, which represents
him as saying: "All my good is magnetic, and I educate not by
lessons but by going about my daily business." The story as a
mere beast of burden for conveying information or so-called moral
or ethical instruction was relieved of its load. The play spirit
in literature which is the birthright of every child of every
nation was set free. Her interpretation of the delicate satire
and the wealth of imagery revealed in the tales of that great
child in literature, Hans Christian Andersen, has been at once an
inspiration and a restraining influence to many who are now
telling stories to children, and to others who have aided in the
establishing of storytelling. It is now three years since Miss
Shedlock was recalled to England by the London County Council to
bring back to the teachers of London the inspirational value of
literature she had taken over to America.

Interest in storytelling has become widespread, reaching a civic
development beyond the dreams of its most ardent advocates when a
professional storyteller and teacher of literature was engaged to
tell stories to children in the field houses of the public
recreation centers of Chicago. Mrs. Gudrun Thorne- Thomsen has
been known for some years in this country as a storyteller of
great power in the field of her inheritance, Scandinavian
literature. It is very largely due to her work that the city of
Chicago has been roused to claim the public library privileges so
long denied to her children, and to make the claim from a point
that plants the love of literature in the midst of the
recreational life of a great city.

No one who was present at those meetings of the New York
Playground Congress, conducted by Miss Maud Summers, will ever
forget her eloquent appeal for a full recognition of the value of
storytelling as a definite activity of the playground. She saw
its kinship to the folk dance and the folk song in the effort to
preserve the traditions of his country to the foreign-born child.
And she saw the relation of the story to the games, the
athletics, and the dramatics. More clearly than anything else,
perhaps, she saw the value of the story in its direct appeal to
the spiritual nature of the child. Miss Summers' interest and
enthusiasm made the work of the present committee possible. As
one of her associates, its chairman pays grateful tribute to her
memory and links her name with a work to which she gave herself
so freely in life, that her death seems but the opening of
another door through which we look with full hope and confidence
upon childhood as "a real and indestructible part of human life."

There is a line of Juvenal that bids the old remember the respect
due to the young. It is in that attitude, and with some
appreciation of what it means to be a growing boy or girl of the
present time, that the subject of this report has been approached
and is now presented for the consideration of the Playground
Association of America. We know only too well that we cannot give
to childhood in great cities the simple and lovely ways we
associate with childhood. We CAN give to it a wonderful
fortification against the materialism and the sensationalism of
daily life on the streets, against the deadly monotony of the
struggle for existence, by a revival of the folk spirit in story,
as well as in song and in dance, that will not spend its strength
in mere pageantry, but will sink deep into our national

It should be clearly stated that the field of storytelling,
investigated, relates to children above the kindergarten age and
to boys and girls in their teens. The investigation lays no claim
to completeness and has not included storytelling in public nor
in private schools.

An outline covering the main points of this report was sent to
representative workers in thirteen different cities, to several
persons professionally engaged in storytelling, and to other
persons whose critical judgment was valued in such connection.
The outline called--First, for a statement of the extent to which
storytelling is being carried on in playgrounds, public
libraries, settlements, and such other institutions, exclusive of
schools, as might come to the notice of the members of the
committee. Second, for information concerning the persons who are
telling stories, whether their entire time is given to
storytelling and preparation for it; whether it forms a part of
the regular duties of a director or an assistant; and, finally,
whether volunteer workers are engaged in storytelling.

Replies to these inquiries with a brief statement of results have
been grouped by cities,[3] as follows:

[3] Owing to space limitations, in general the formal reports
from cities represented in the discussion are omitted in the body
of the report.


Storytelling in the playgrounds is under the direction of a
special teacher appointed in 1909. The teacher of storytelling
works in co-operation with the teachers of dramatics and of folk
dancing. The visits of the special teacher added interest and
novelty, but it is felt that every playground teacher should be
able to tell stories effectively. Storytelling, therefore, is
considered a part of the daily work of the playground assistant.

In the Boston Public Library, storytelling is not organized as a
definite feature of work with children, but has been employed
occasionally in some branch libraries, regularly in others, by
varying methods. It is regarded as markedly successful in
districts where library assistants are closely identified with
the work of the neighborhood. Co-operation with settlements in
which storytelling has been carried on for some years has been
very successful. Rooms have been furnished by the library; the
settlements, and sometimes the normal schools, have provided
storytellers. The work of a settlement leader with a large group
of boys was especially interesting one winter, as he told
continued stories from such books as "Treasure Island" and "The
Last of the Mohicans."

In the sixty home libraries conducted by The Children's Aid
Society, storytelling and games are carried on by regular and
volunteer visitors on the days when books are exchanged. (For
full information concerning home libraries refer to Mr. Charles
W. Birtwell of The Children's Aid Society, Boston, with whom this
work originated.)

Settlements and libraries report great improvement in the quality
of reading done by the children as well as keen appreciation and
enjoyment of the stories to which they have listened. They
remember and refer to stories told them several years ago.


In the children's room of the Pratt Institute Free Library,
storytelling and reading aloud have had a natural place since the
opening of the new library building in 1896. Years before this
library was built the lot on which it stands was appropriated as
a playground by the children of the neighborhood--a neighborhood
that has been gradually transformed by the life of the
institution which is the center of interest. The recognition of
the necessity for play and the value of providing a place for
it-- children now play freely in the park on the library
grounds-- exercised a marked influence on the conception of work
to be done by this children's library and upon its subsequent

The children's librarian was never allowed to forget that the
trustees had been boys in that very neighborhood and remembered
how boys felt. It was evident from the outset, that the
children's room was to be made of living interest to boys and
girls who were very much alive to other things than books.
Probably more suggestions were gained from looking out of
windows, and from walks in the neighborhood and beyond it, than
from any other sources.

Fourteen years ago there were no other public libraries with
rooms for children, in Brooklyn; and boys frequently walked from
two to five miles to visit this one. During the past six years a
weekly story hour with a well-defined program based upon the
varied interests of boys and girls of different ages has been
conducted from October to May of each year.

The children's librarian plans for the story hour, and does much
of the storytelling herself; but from time to time some one from
the outside world is invited to come and tell stories in order to
give the children a change, and to give breadth and balance to
the library's outlook upon the story interests of boys and girls.
Listening as one of the group has greatly strengthened the
feeling of comradeship between children's librarian and children,
and the stories have been enjoyed more keenly than as if one
person had told them all.

The evening on which Mr. Dan Beard told "Bear Stories" is still
remembered, and another evening is associated with the old hero
tales of Japan told by a Japanese, who was claimed by the boys as
one of themselves, and known thereafter as "The Japanese Boy."
Pure enjoyment of such a story hour by children whose homes
offered nothing in place of it already gives assurance of results
rich in memories and associations, since men and women who were
coming fourteen years ago as children are now bringing THEIR
children to look at picture books.


The institutions in connection with which storytelling is carried
on are: The Chicago Public Library, the municipal parks and
playgrounds, social settlements, vacation schools, institutional
churches, hospitals, and the United Charities. The private
organizations supporting the storytelling movement financially,
by the employment of special storytellers, are: The Library
Extension Story Hour Committee, the Permanent School Extension
Committee, the Library Committee, the Daughters of the American
Revolution, and various women's clubs of Chicago.

A league has been formed of those who are telling stories under
the auspices of the public library. The league holds meetings
once a month for the purpose of upholding the standard of story
work and to strengthen the co-operation with the library. Stories
from Scandinavian literature, and stories of patriotism related
to the different nationalities represented in the story hour
groups, have been notably successful in Chicago.

The following statements are made by (1) Mr. E. B. De Groot,
director of the playgrounds and field houses. "I think that the
story hour is the only passive occupation that should be given an
equal place with the active occupations. I see in the story hour,
not only splendid possibilities but a logical factor in the
comprehensive playground scheme. The place of the story hour, I
believe, is definite and comparable with any first choice
activity. It is unfortunate that we are unable to secure as
playground teachers, at the present time, good story hour men and

(2) Mr. Henry E. Legler, Librarian of the Chicago Public Library:
"We are now engaged in developing the branch library system of
the city, and no doubt storytelling will be made incidentally a
feature of the work planned for the children's rooms. This work
must be done by the children's librarians, the storytelling
growing out of library work and merging into it in order that its
most effective side be legitimately developed." (Mr. Legler
states his views with regard to storytelling and other features
of work for children in an article entitled "The Chicago Public
Library and Co-operation with the Schools." Educational
Bi-Monthly, April, 1910).

(3) Mrs. Gudrun Thorne-Thomsen: "As to the future of the movement
I believe the purposes are best served by the storyteller being
an integral member of the organization she serves. I believe that
if the organizations which express themselves so sympathetic
toward the work would co-operate and give definite instruction in
storytelling to their workers, and also give them a fair amount
of supervision and direction, the whole movement might be placed
on a dignified and wholesome basis."


Storytelling has been carried on in the playgrounds and summer
schools for several years. Since 1907 the work of playground
leaders has been supplemented by storytelling done by public
library assistants who visit the playgrounds by invitation, and
who are scheduled for this work as a part of their regular
library duties.

In the Cleveland Public Library storytelling and reading clubs
have been widely developed under the guidance of the director of
work with children. In each of the branch libraries two story
hours a week are usually held. Storytelling is regarded as a part
of the equipment of the children's librarian, and time is allowed
from the weekly schedule for the preparation of stories.

Definite neighborhood co-operation is the aim of each branch
library. Storytelling visits are therefore made to the public
schools, social settlements, day nurseries, mission schools, and
other institutions of a neighborhood. Requests for such visits
are more numerous than can be supplied.

Storytelling in the settlements is done by club leaders and
volunteer workers mainly in connection with club work. Stories
were told last season in the children's gardens connected with
the social settlement by an assistant from The Home Gardening

Positive results of the effect of storytelling in the Cleveland
Public Library are shown in the favorable direction of the
reading of large numbers of children by a strong appeal to their
spontaneous interests, and by the many requests for library
storytellers. The total number of children who listened to
stories told by library assistants in 1909 was 80,996. The
Cleveland Public Library publishes an illustrated "Handbook"
containing a full account of its storytelling and club work.


One playground has been opened in the Borough of Queens.
Storytelling was introduced into the branches of the public
library in 1908 and was at first carried on entirely by the
supervisor of work with children as a means of putting herself in
touch with the children and library assistants. An experience of
some years at the head of the children's department in the public
library of Portland, Oregon, had given her a full sense of the
social opportunities presented in telling stories.

The branch libraries of Queens Borough are situated chiefly in
separate towns and at seaside resorts. The children in some of
these communities are inclined to be lethargic and lacking in
initiative; or, the commercial instinct is abnormally developed
in them. Habits of visiting a library for pleasure had not been
established except in the case of older girls and boys who
regarded it as a meeting place.

Girls whose reading was as flippant and as vulgar as their
conduct on the streets have become interested members of "A
Girl's Romance Club." Stories appealing to their love of romance
have been told and books have been familiarly discussed with
them. Library assistants as well as the supervisor of children's
work now hold weekly story hours. There has been a great
improvement in the quality and extent of the reading done by the
children. Storytelling visits have been made to public schools
and to the Jewish Home for Crippled Children. A library
storyteller is sent to the playground opened in Flushing in 1910.


Storytelling in the playgrounds of New York City is considered an
important feature of the work of playground assistants wherever
the conditions are favorable to carrying it on.

In the Parks and Playgrounds Association the leader of the Guild
of Play tells stories herself and is supplemented by regular
assistants and volunteer workers with whom she holds conferences
on storytelling. The work of the Guild of Play is extended to
hospitals for Crippled Children, to homes for Destitute Children
and to settlements. (See Handbook and Report of Parks and
Playgrounds Association.)

In the playgrounds and vacation schools maintained by the Board
of Education, storytelling is carried on by the supervisors and
assistants. The Nurses' Settlement, Greenwich House, Union
Settlement, Hartley House, and Corning-Clark House, report weekly
story hours, frequently held on Sunday afternoons. Storytelling
is carried on in other settlements and by several church houses,
St. Bartholomew's Parish House reporting a well attended story
hour following a mid-week church service.

In the New York Public Library, storytelling, under the general
direction of the supervisor of work with children, is in special
charge of a library assistant who has been a student of dramatic
art as well as of library science. Storytelling is not required
of library assistants. Any assistant who wants to tell stories is
given an opportunity to do so and to profit by criticism. Her
trial experience is made with a group of children. If she proves
her ability to hold their interest, she is then allowed to make
up her own program for a series of story hours, basing it upon
her spontaneous interests, her previous reading, and the special
needs of the library where the story hour is to be held. The fact
that storytelling has been regarded as a potent factor in the
unification of work with children in the rural districts, as well
as in the congested centers, where branch libraries are situated,
has greatly influenced the present organization of the work.

Racial interests have been considered, and on such festival days
as are observed by the Hungarians, the Bohemians, and the Irish,
special story hours have been held. In each case a volunteer
storyteller of the nationality concerned lent interest to the

Weekly story hours are now held in most of the branch libraries.
In some of them, two or more story hours are held. Story hours in
roof reading-rooms are held irregularly during the summer.

Marked results of storytelling after three years are shown by a
very great improvement in the character of the recreational
reading done by the children, and in their sense of pleasure in
the children's room.

The keen enjoyment of the library assistants who have been
telling stories, and the interest of other workers in the
library, indicates a valuable contribution to the work, by
bringing its people together in their conception of what the
library is trying to do for children.

Repeated requests for library storytellers have been received
from institutions for the Blind, the Deaf Mutes, the Insane, from
Reformatory institutions, as well as from settlements, church
houses, public and private schools, parents' meetings, and
industrial schools.

Three branches of The National Storytellers' League hold meetings
in New York City. (A full account of the National Storytellers'
League is given by its founder Richard T. Wyche, in the
Pedagogical Seminary, volume 16.) Courses in storytelling are
given at several schools and colleges, at The Summer School of
Philanthropy, and at The National Training School for Young
Women's Christian Associations.


Storytelling in the Pittsburgh playgrounds has a unique
organization in that it is entirely under the direction of the
Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. All storytelling in the
playgrounds is done by Children's librarians or by students of
The Training School for Children's Librarians on the days books
are exchanged.

The organized story hour, developed as a direct method of guiding
the reading of children, originated with this library and has
been carried on in connection with home library groups as well
as in the branch libraries, the public schools, the playgrounds,
and the social settlements of Pittsburgh, for a period of eleven

The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh issues printed lists of the
stories used and a pamphlet entitled "Storytelling--a Public
Library Method" by Miss Frances Jenkins Olcott, Chief of the
Children's Department and Director of the Training School for
Children's Librarians.


In the playgrounds one regularly employed storyteller, who also
assists in directing the games, tells stories throughout the
season. Storytelling is also carried on by playground assistants
and by volunteer storytellers. The interest shown by parents who
frequently join the story hour groups in the parks, is considered
a significant gain in sustaining neighborhood interest in the

In one settlement house, the head worker meets the storytellers
at the beginning of the season and plans and directs the work for
the entire year.

Storytelling in the St. Louis Public Library has been carried on
for several years by children's librarians of branch libraries
who have visited playgrounds, settlements, and public schools, as
visiting storytellers, and have told stories at mothers' clubs
and teachers' meetings. Since February, 1910, it has been under
the direction of the supervisor of work with children, who was
formerly one of the visiting storytellers and assistants to the
supervisor of work with children in the New York Public Library.
Storytelling is regarded by her as a valuable aid in the
unification of the work with children in a system of libraries.


The reports received represent only a small part of the
storytelling that is being done in different parts of the

In New Jersey, the organizer of the State Library Commission has
found her ability to tell stories and to choose books containing
a direct appeal to the people who are to read them, or to listen
to the reading of them, an open sesame in the pine woods
districts, the farming communities, and the fishing villages,
where grown people listen as eagerly as children. In a paper
entitled, "The Place, the Man, and the Book," Miss Sarah B. Askew
gives a vivid picture of the establishment of a library in a
fishing village. (Proceedings of the American Library
Association. 1908.)[4]

[4] Reprinted as a pamphlet by The H. W. Wilson Company.

Recognizing a similar need for the interpretation of books to the
communities where libraries had already been established, the
Iowa Library Commission appointed in 1909 an advisory children's
librarian, who is also a professional storyteller and lecturer
upon children's literature.

In the Public Lecture courses of New York City, it has been found
that storytelling programs composed of folk tales draw large
audiences of grown people who enjoy the stories quite as much as
do the children.

In various institutions for adults as well as for children, where
the library has been a mere collection of books that counted for
little or nothing in the daily life of the institution,
storytelling is making the books of living interest, and is
giving to children, and to grown men and women, new sources of
pleasure by taking them out of themselves and beyond the
limitations of a prescribed and monotonous existence. Just as the
games and folk dances are making their contribution to
institutional life, so storytelling is bringing the play spirit
in literature to those whose imaginations have been starved by
long years of neglect, and is showing that what is needed is not
an occasional entertainment, but the joy of possessing literature

Professional storytellers who have recently visited towns and
cities of the Pacific Coast, the Middle-Western, the Southern,
and the Eastern States, not covered by this report, bear
testimony to an interest in storytelling that seems to be as
genuine as it is widespread. It is apparent that more thought is
being given to the subject than ever before. Wherever
storytelling has been introduced by a "born storyteller" who has
succeeded in kindling sparks of local talent capable of
sustaining interest and accomplishing results, storytelling is
bound to be a success. All reports testify to the need of a well
defined plan for storytelling related to the purpose and the aims
of the institution which undertakes it, and to the varying
capacities and temperaments of the persons who are to carry it


The professional storyteller has played a large part in the
successful establishment of storytelling, and is destined to play
a still larger part in the future development of the work in
playgrounds and other institutions, by raising the standards of
the playground library, or settlement worker, who is expected to
tell stories. This she will do not by elaborating methods and
artifices to be imitated, but by frank criticism of native
ability, by inspiring courses in story literature, and by proper
training of the much neglected speaking voice.

The sooner we cease to believe that "anybody can tell a story"
the better for storytelling in every institution undertaking it.
A candidate for a given position may be required to have
storytelling ability, but no assistant should be required to tell
stories as a part of her duties unless she can interest a group
of children who have voluntarily come to listen to her stories.
Repeating simplified versions of stories is not storytelling.
Exercises in memorizing may be as helpful to the storyteller as
the practice of scales to the piano player, but neither is to be
regarded as a source of pleasure to the listener. Listening as
one of a group is a valuable experience in the training of an
assistant who is telling stories in the playground, the library,
or the settlement. Herein lies the advantage of a visiting
storyteller who does not take the place of the playground or
library assistant, but who enlivens the program for the children
and makes it possible for the regular assistant to listen
occasionally and to profit by the experience. (The professional
listener is delightfully characterized in "Miss Muffet's
Christmas Party," by Dr. Samuel McChord Crothers.)


The outline sent to the members of the Committee on Storytelling
called for the mention of specific stories and for personal
experience in group formation, taking into account age and sex,
time and place, and for a statement of results, in so far as such
results could be stated. From five hundred different stories
mentioned a composite list of "Fifty Stories for the Playground"
has been made. This list is chiefly composed of fairy and folk
tales, Indian legends, and animal stories, as making the
strongest appeal to playground groups and to library groups
unaccustomed to listening to stories.

It also represents the story literature most easily commanded by
the storyteller who has not read widely. Stories from the Norse
and Greek Mythology, from the Niebelungen Lied, the Arthurian
legends, and from Robin Hood; stories of Roland and of
Charlemagne; stories from the Faerie Queene, and from the
Canterbury Tales; historical and biographical stories are
generously represented in the five hundred titles, but such
stories should not be attempted without sufficient reading and
feeling for the subject to enable the storyteller to bring it
vividly and naturally before such a group as she is likely to
meet in her daily experience.

Satisfactory festival stories are reported as exceedingly
difficult to find. Several stories growing out of personal
experiences, such as a "Christmas in Germany," a "May Day in
England," "Fourth of July in the Garden of Warwick Castle," (The
Warwick Pageant of 1900) are mentioned. Atmosphere and festival
spirit are often lacking in stories listed under Festivals and

Poetry and verses are repeated or read at many of the library
story hours. Lear's nonsense rhymes and certain rhythmical story
poems are especially enjoyed by the children. Outlines of stories
or selections from books designed to lead to the reading of an
entire book are mentioned in connection with Dickens, Kipling,
Stevenson, Scott, Victor Hugo, and other authors.

In addition to the list of "Fifty Stories for the Playground" a
list of "Books to Read on the Playground" has been prepared.
Nearly all of the public libraries mentioned in the report send
books to playgrounds when the playgrounds desire it. The use of
books in the roof reading-rooms of libraries is very similar to
their use in the playgrounds. Here and in children's
reading-rooms boys and girls are free to choose the books they
really want to read. In his book entitled "The American Public
Library," Dr. Arthur E. Bostwick makes this statement: "There are
no intellectual joys equal to those of discovery. The boy or girl
who stumbles on one of the world's masterpieces without knowing
what anyone else thinks or has thought about it, and reading it,
admires and loves it, will have that book throughout life as a
peculiar intellectual possession in a way that would have been
impossible if someone had advised reading it and had described it
as a masterpiece. The very fact that one is advised to read a
book because one ought to do so is apt to arouse the same feeling
of repulsion that caused the Athenian citizen to vote for the
banishment of Aristides just because he had grown so weary of
hearing him always called 'The Just.' "


Groups for storytelling are usually assembled in separate rooms
in the libraries and are made up by an approximate but variable
age limit, dividing the children under ten or eleven years old
from the boys and girls above that age. In the settlements the
group is usually determined by the club organization. On the
playgrounds, the experience of a storyteller in Providence is
probably typical of many other workers and is quoted as
suggestive for group formation in playgrounds.

"During the summer of 1909 the stories I told on the Davis Park
Playground were costly fairy tales and folk stories. 'Grimm's
Fairy Tales' was the favorite of both boys and girls and through
the summer I told every story in the book. The boys also liked
'The Merrie Adventures of Robin Hood,' 'The Three Golden Apples,'
'The Golden Touch,' 'The Golden Fleece,' and all the old Indian
legends. While the girls, if offered a choice, always called for
a fairy tale with a Prince Charming in it. Neither boys nor girls
would listen to historical stories saying they were too much like

"The first day to gain an audience I went up to a group of
children who were playing together and asked them if they would
like to hear a story. Four or five replied that they would, while
some fifteen or twenty disappeared as though by magic, and I
decided that they were not interested. I then took the children
who wished to listen, over to a large tree in one corner of the
grounds, and told them that for the rest of the summer that tree
would be known as 'the storytelling tree.' They would, I told
them, find me there every day promptly at half-past one, and that
I would tell stories for a half hour to the whole playground.
Then from half-past two until three I would tell stories to the
older girls. The first day I had a very small audience, the next
day it doubled, and then increased daily until I had from eighty
to a hundred children in a group. As to forming a group, I think
it is impossible in playground work, for a group worth having
must form itself, the reputation of the storyteller being the
foundation of its formation, and this reputation can only be
gained through constant systematic labor, and a thorough
knowledge of your daily audience. That is why I think a
professional visiting storyteller would be a failure in
playground work, as in visiting each playground once or twice a
week it would be impossible for her to gain that intimate
personal knowledge of her audience, which is so necessary to the
playground storyteller, as she must appeal to a different class
of children on each playground.

"The experience of a professional storyteller with a group of
boys, already assembled as a club, is also quoted for its
valuable suggestion and independence of method in gaining the
interest of boys who had been much experimented upon.

"The most interesting experience I have had in a developed series
of stories was with the Boys' Club of Greenwich, Connecticut,
last year. The club is supported by the wealthy women of the
place, and is an outgrowth of a rather serious and perplexing boy
problem. A number of picture shows, pool rooms, cheap
vaudevilles, etc., have crept into the town, and life on the
street is most attractive.

"The head worker of the club wrote that they had failed to hold
the boys in everything but manual training and baseball; that the
boys were insubordinate and unresponsive, and that their school
reports were very poor. I found the conditions even worse than I
had anticipated. It was necessary to train eighty boys to listen,
as well as to interest them, and so, I told very short stories at
first. I chose the ones that were full of dramatic action, that
had little or no description, and a good deal of dialogue. The
stories were strongly contrasted, and there was no attempt at
literary or artistic finish. I used a great many gestures and
moved about on the platform frequently; it is the quickest way of
focusing laggard attention. To be absolutely honest, I had to
come very close to the level of the moving picture show, and the
ten-cent vaudeville, at first.

"The fourth night I eliminated all but a few gestures, and told
the stories sitting down. I also used less colloquial English;
and from then on, until the end, when I told the stories from Van
Dyke in his own words, there was a steady growth in literary
style. I append the programs in the order they were given:


1. Irish Folk-tales. 2. Stories from Scandinavian
Myths. 3. The Rhinegold Stories. 4. German Folk-tales.
5. Arthurian Tales. 6. Stories of Charlemagne and
Frederick Barbarossa. 7. Tales of American Indians. 8.
Negro Tales. 9. Stories of the Carnegie Heroes. 10.
Kipling--Captains Courageous, Jungle Stories. 11. Van
Dyke--A Friend of Justice, The Keeper of the Light. 12.
Irish Folk-tales (Requested).

"The practical results were very satisfactory. The books in the
club library were used more, the boys' composition and recitation
work at school improved, and they acquired the habit of polite,
attentive listening."


The importance of a definite time and place for the story hour,
for a prompt beginning and for an ending before it becomes
tedious, cannot be too strongly urged. The storyteller should
"size up" the conditions and suit the story hour to them. If she
is simple, natural and unaffected, and sufficiently resourceful
to vary her program to suit the interests of the children, the
story hour will be successful.

Various practical forms of co-operation have been suggested,
notably in the visits of library storytellers to playgrounds
wherever the public library is actively interested in
storytelling, and such visits are desired by the playground.

The story hour season in most libraries ends in April, making it
possible in some libraries to release assistants once or twice a
week to visit playgrounds. The benefit derived from such visits
is mutually endorsed by playground and library assistants.

Conferences of groups of workers interested in storytelling,
under the leadership of a professional storyteller, who also
understands the practical conditions and limitations under which
the playground and library assistants do their work have proved
stimulating and suggestive in a number of places. Volunteer
workers who have the ability to tell stories and who can so adapt
themselves to their surroundings as to make their story hours
effective, can do much for storytelling. This is especially true
of men who have had actual experience of the life from which
their stories are taken and can make these experiences of
absorbing interest to their listeners.

In conclusion, the committee recommends that wherever
practicable, storytelling in playgrounds be placed under a
leadership corresponding to that now given to games and to folk
dancing. That a clear distinction be preserved between
storytelling and dramatics, as differentiated, though closely
related, activities of the playground and the settlement. That
the story hour be valued as a rest period; for its natural
training in the power of concentration, and in that deeper power
of contemplation of ideal forms in literature and in life. That
storytelling in settlements be more widely developed as a feature
of social work worthy of a careful plan and of sustained effort.
That storytelling in libraries be made more largely contributory
to storytelling in other institutions by a thoughtful and
discriminating study of story literature, and by effective means
of placing such literature in the hands of those who desire to
use it.

The committee also suggests that the subject of storytelling is

Book of the day: