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Library essays; papers related to the work of Public Libraries

Library essays; papers related to the work of Public Libraries
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Title: Library essays; papers related to the work of Public Libraries
Release Date: 2018-11-06
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Copyright Status: Public domain in the USA.
Date added: 27 March 2019
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LIBRARY ESSAYS
PAPERS RELATED TO THE WORK OF PUBLIC LIBRARIES

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LIBRARY ESSAYS
PAPERS RELATED TO THE WORK
OF PUBLIC LIBRARIES

ARTHUR E. BOSTWICK, Ph. D.

·    ·
·

THE H. W. WILSON COMPANY
NEW YORK
1920

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PREFACE

The author of these papers began his service in librarianship in April,1895. He celebrates his silver jubilee by gathering them into a singlevolume. Before becoming a librarian he had worked for many years asteacher, editor and journalist, and the use of the pen having becomesecond nature, he took it up in behalf of libraries and librarians,somewhat sooner, perhaps, than experience would warrant. However, thepapers reflect to a certain extent the progress of library work duringthe past quarter century.

A. E. B.

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CONTENTS

Pains and Penalties in Library Work3
Read at the Magnolia Conference of the American Library Association, June, 1902. (A. L. A. Proceedings, 1902, p. 29-34)
How Librarians Choose Books17
(Public Libraries, April, 1903, p. 137-41)
The Work of the Small Public Library29
(Library Journal, August, 1903, p. 596-600)
Lay Control in Libraries and Elsewhere39
Read before the Trustees’ Section of the American Library Association, at the Niagara Conference. (A. L. A. Proceedings, 1903, p. 199-202)
The Whole Duty of a Library Trustee: from a Librarian’s Standpoint49
An address before the Trustees’ Section of the American Library Association (A. L. A. Proceedings, 1906, p. 40-4)
The Day’s Work: Some Conditions and Some Ideals59
Presidential address before the New York Library Association, Lake Placid, September 21, 1903. (Library Journal, October, 1903, p. 704-7)
Library Statistics69
(Library Journal, January, 1904, p. 5-8){viii}
Old Probabilities in the Library—His Modest Vaticinations79
Read before the Pennsylvania Library Club, Philadelphia, May 9, 1904. (Library Journal, October, 1904, p. 517-23)
The Love of Books as a Basis for Librarianship97
Read before the New York Library Association, Twilight Park, September, 1906. (Library Journal, February, 1907, p. 51-5)
The Library as the Educational Center of a Town111
(Public Libraries, May, 1907, p. 171-4)
The Librarian as a Censor121
Presidential address before the American Library Association, Lake Minnetonka Conference, June, 1908. (Library Journal, July, 1908, p. 257-64)
How to Raise the Standard of Book Selection141
Read at the meeting of the Library commissions of the New England States, Hartford, Conn., February 11, 1909. (Public Libraries, May, 1909, p. 163-7)
Library Circulation at Long Range221
(Library Journal, July, 1913, p. 391-4)
Conflicts of Jurisdiction in Library Systems231
Read before the round table of branch librarians at the Washington conference, May 28, 1914. (Library Journal, August, 1914, p. 588-91){ix}
Three Kinds of Librarians241
Read before the Missouri Library Association, Sedalia, November 18, 1914. (Public Libraries, January, 1915, p. 1-4; February, 1915, p. 47-50)
School Libraries and Mental Training255
(School Review, June, 1915, p. 395-405)
The Library and the Business Man269
A luncheon address to the Advertising Club of St. Louis. (Library Journal, April, 1917, p. 259-64)
System in the Library153
Read before the Missouri State Library Association, Columbia, Mo., October 28, 1909. (Library Journal, November, 1909, p. 476-82)
The Exploitation of the Public Library171
Address before the American Library Association at the Pasadena Conference, May 19, 1911. (A. L. A. Proceedings, 1911, p. 60-5)
Service Systems in Libraries183
(Library Journal, June, 1912, p. 299-304)
Efficiency Records in Libraries199
(Library Journal, March, 1913, p. 131-3)
Mal-Employment in the Library205
Read before the Iowa Library Association. (Iowa Library Quarterly, October, 1912, p. 247-52)
Cost of Administration217
Report to the American Library Institute. (Public Libraries, December, 1912, p. 416-18){x}
Poets, Libraries and Realities283
An address at the opening of the new building of the Indianapolis Public Library. (Library Journal, December, 1917, p. 944-50)
The Church and the Public Library299
(Homiletic Review, June, 1918, p. 435-9)
The Future of Library Work309
(A. L. A. Bulletin, September, 1919, p. 50-7)
Popularizing Music Through the Library325
Read before the National Association of Music Teachers and reprinted from the published Proceedings for 1918.
Two Cardinal Sins341
A Message to Beginners357
Luck in the Library373
The Library As a Museum393
The Library and the Locality409
Index:A,B,C,D,E,F,G,H,I,J,K,L,M,N,O,P,R,S,T,V,W.429

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LIBRARY ESSAYS
PAPERS RELATED TO THE WORK
OF PUBLIC LIBRARIES

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PAINS AND PENALTIES IN LIBRARY WORK[1]

In somewhat the same way as Irving makes Diedrich Knickerbocker beginhis history of New York with the creation of the world, so we may open adiscussion of this subject with a word on the theory of punishment. Weall know that neither moral philosophers nor penologists are agreed inthis matter. Do we inflict punishment to satisfy our eternal sense ofjustice, to prevent further wrong-doing on the part of the personpunished, as an example to others, or to reform the delinquent? So faras the justicial theory goes, it is unnecessary here to discuss whetherit is founded merely on the old savage feeling of revenge, which havingdone its part in ensuring punishment to the wrong-doer in theuncivilized past, should now be put aside. As a matter of fact the rule,“Let no guilty man escape,” is a very good one for practical purposes,whatever its theoretical implications. Why should it be necessary toproceed according to any one theory in administering punishment?Practically in the home, at school, and in the courtroom the simpleadministration of justice does very well for us, and when we go a littlefarther into the matter we see that each of the other elements entersinto consideration. Certainly it is so in the library.

Penalties for the infraction of our rules should be so inflicted thatfuture wrong-doing both on the part of the culprit and on that of theremainder of the{4} public becomes less likely than before. Whether wealways do this in the most satisfactory way may be queried.

Punishable acts committed in a library may be divided, according to theold ecclesiastical classification, into mala prohibita and mala inse; in other words, into acts that are simply contrary to libraryregulations and those that are absolutely wrong. To steal a book iswrong anywhere and does not become so merely because the act iscommitted in a library; but the retention of a borrowed book for fifteeninstead of fourteen days is not absolutely wrong, but simply contrary tolibrary regulations.

The keeping of books overtime is a purely library offence, committedagainst the library and to be punished by the library; and with it maybe classed such infractions of the rules as failure to charge ordischarge a book, loud talking or misbehavior below the rank of reallydisorderly conduct, such injury to books as does not constitute wilfulmutilation, the giving of a fictitious name at the application desk,etc.

For all these strictly library offences the favorite penalties seem tobe two in number—the exaction of a fine and exclusion from libraryprivileges—temporary or permanent. The former is more used than thelatter, and I venture to think unjustly so. From the sole standpoint ofpunishment the great advantage of a fine is that it touches people intheir most sensitive point—the pocket. But this is a ganglion whosesensitiveness is in inverse proportion to its size; in one case theexaction of a cent means the confiscation of the possessor’s entirefortune; in another the delinquent could part with a hundred dollarswithout depriving himself of a necessity or a pleasure. Of course thislack of adaptability to the conditions of{5} the person to be punished isnot confined to this one method. Imprisonment, for instance, may be theruin of a life to the hitherto respectable person, while to the tramp itmay simply mean a month’s shelter and food. But in the case of a moneypenalty the lack of adaptability is particularly noticeable, and hencewherever it is exacted a large portion of the public comes to forgetthat it is a penalty at all. Instead of a punishment exacted in returnfor the commission of a misdemeanor and intended to discourage therepetition thereof, it is looked upon as payment for the privilege ofcommitting the misdemeanor, and it in fact becomes this very thing.Thus, in states where there is a prohibitory law, and periodical raidsare made on saloons with the resulting fines, these fines often becomein effect license fees, and are so regarded by both delinquents andauthorities. Where a municipality provides that automobiles shall not bespeeded in its streets under penalty of a heavy fine, the wealthy ownersof motor-carriages too often regard this as permission to speed onpayment of a stated amount, and act accordingly. So in the library, thefine for keeping books overtime is widely regarded as a charge for theprivilege of keeping the books longer than the formal rules allow. Beingso regarded, the fine loses a great part of its punitive effect, andlargely becomes in fact what it is popularly thought to be. Thus we havea free public library granting extra privileges to those who can affordto pay for them and withholding the same from those who cannot afford topay—an extremely objectional state of things.

In making this characterization I am aware that the sale of additionalfacilities and privileges by a free library is regarded as proper by alarge number of librarians, and that the extension of systems of{6} whichit is a feature is widely urged. It is found in the St Louis plan forfiction, which has been so successful, and still more in Mr. Dewey’sproposed library bookstore. That all these plans are admirable in manyways may be freely acknowledged. In so far as they may be adopted byendowed libraries they are certainly unobjectionable. But in spite oftheir advantages, it seems to me that their use in an institutionsupported from the public funds is a mistake. The direct payment ofmoney to any institution so supported, even if such payment is logicallyjustifiable, is open to so much misconstruction and is so commonlymisunderstood or misinterpreted, that I would hold up as an ideal thetotal abolition of all money transactions between the individual membersof a public and institutions supported by that public as a whole.

The present subject evidently does not justify further discussion ofthis point, but its mention here is proper because if library fines havebecome in many cases payments for a privilege, that very fact shouldlead those who agree with what has been said above to strive for theirabolition.

Another objection to the fine, which is, curiously enough, also thechief reason why it is almost hopeless to look for its abolition, is thefact that wherever fines have been applied they have become a source ofrevenue that cannot well be neglected. In a village not far from NewYork the receipts from bicycle fines at one time nearly paid the runningexpenses of the place. Agitation in favor of substituting other methodsof punishing the cyclists who ride on the sidewalks and fail to lighttheir lamps at sundown would evidently be hopeless here.

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