A Library Primer
100 Pages

A Library Primer


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Published 08 December 2010
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The Project Gutenberg EBook of A Library Primer, by John Cotton Dana This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.net Title: A Library Primer Author: John Cotton Dana Release Date: March 11, 2005 [EBook #15327] Language: English Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1 *** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK A LIBRARY PRIMER *** Produced by Suzanne Shell, Katherine Delany and the Project Gutenberg Distributed Proofreading Team A Library Primer John Cotton Dana Third Edition Library Bureau, Chicago 1903 Copyright, 1899, by Library Bureau To Samuel S. Green, William I. Fletcher, and Charles A. Cutter PREFACE. A library primer was published in the first six numbers of Public Libraries in 1896. It was quite largely made up of extracts from an article by Dr W. F. Poole on The organization and management of public libraries, which formed part of the report on Public libraries in the U. S., published by the U. S. Bureau of education in 1876; from W. I. Fletcher's Public libraries in America; from Mary W. Plummer's Hints to small libraries; and from papers in the Library journal and A. L. A. proceedings. At the request of a number of people interested I have revised, rewritten, and extended the original draft for publication in book form. Additional material has been taken from many sources. I have tried to give credit in good measure. The prevailing tendency among librarians is to share ideas, to give to one another the benefit of all their suggestions and experiences. The result is a large fund of library knowledge which is common property. From this fund most of this book is taken. The Library Primer is what its name implies. It does not try to be exhaustive in any part of the field. It tries to open up the subject of library management for the small library, and to show how large it is and how much librarians have yet to learn and to do. J. C. D. The City library, Springfield, Mass. CONTENTS CHAPTER I, The beginnings—Library law II, Preliminary work III, What does a public library do for a community? IV, General policy of the library V, Trustees VI, The librarian VII, The trained librarian VIII, Rooms, building, fixtures, furniture IX, Things needed in beginning work X, The Library Bureau XI, Selecting books XII, Reference books for a small library XIII, Reference work XIV, Reading room XV, List of periodicals XVI, Buying books XVII, Ink and handwriting XVIII, Care of books XIX, Accessioning XX, Classifying XXI, Decimal classification XXII, Expansive classification XXIII, Author numbers or book marks XXIV, Shelf list XXV, Cataloging XXVI, Preparing books for the shelf XXVII, Binding and mending XXVIII, Pamphlets XXIX, Public documents XXX, Checking the library XXXI, Lists, bulletins, and printed catalogs XXXII, Charging systems XXXIII, Meeting the public XXXIV, The public library for the public PAGE 9 10 12 15 17 20 23 25 30 35 39 46 53 57 61 63 69 73 76 78 81 84 91 92 94 99 103 108 110 113 114 116 122 123 XXXV, Advice to a librarian XXXVI, The librarian as a host XXXVII, Making friends for the library XXXVIII, Public libraries and recreation XXXIX, Books as useful tools XL, Village library successfully managed XLI, Rules for the public XLII, Rules for trustees and employés XLIII, Reports XLIV, Library legislation XLV, A. L. A. and other library associations XLVI, Library schools and classes XLVII, Library department of N. E. A. XLVIII, Young people and the schools XLIX, How can the library assist the school? L, Children's room LI, Schoolroom libraries LII, Children's home libraries LIII, Literary clubs and libraries LIV, Museums, lectures, etc. LV, Rules for the care of photographs 126 128 131 133 134 135 137 140 146 147 152 154 156 157 160 163 164 166 168 170 171 Library Primer CHAPTER I The beginnings—Library law If the establishment of a free public library in your town is under consideration, the first question is probably this: Is there a statute which authorizes a tax for the support of a public library? Your state library commission, if you have one, will tell you if your state gives aid to local public libraries. It will also tell you about your library law. If you have no library commission, consult a lawyer and get from him a careful statement of what can be done under present statutory regulations. If your state has no library law, or none which seems appropriate in your community, it may be necessary to suspend all work, save the fostering of a sentiment favorable to a library, until a good law is secured. In chapters 44 and 45 will be found a list of state library commissions, important provisions in library laws, and the names of the states having the best library laws at present. Before taking any definite steps, learn about the beginnings of other libraries by writing to people who have had experience, and especially to libraries in communities similar in size and character to your own. Write to some of the new libraries in other towns and villages of your state, and learn how they began. Visit several such libraries, if possible, the smaller the better if you are starting on a small scale. CHAPTER II Preliminary work Often it is not well to lay great plans and invoke state aid at the very outset. Make a beginning, even though it be small, is a good general rule. This beginning, however petty it seems, will give a center for further effort, and will furnish practical illustrations for the arguments one may wish to use in trying to interest people in the movement. Each community has different needs, and begins its library under different conditions. Consider then, whether you need most a library devoted chiefly to the work of helping the schools, or one to be used mainly for reference, or one that shall run largely to periodicals and be not much more than a reading room, or one particularly attractive to girls and women, or one that shall not be much more than a cheerful resting-place, attractive enough to draw man and boy from street corner and saloon. Decide this question early, that all effort may be concentrated to one end, and that your young institution may suit the community in which it is to grow, and from which it is to gain its strength. Having decided to have a library, keep the movement well before the