A Library Primer eBook

John Cotton Dana
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 142 pages of information about A Library Primer.

These points are of greater importance to the live librarian than is the percentage of discount.  Say nothing about per cents; to do so is misleading and unsatisfactory always.  No one understands you.

It is safe to estimate that your purchases of fiction and juvenile literature will average inside of $1 per volume.

A general list, including reference books, of say 4000v., would average about $1.25 per volume, or $5000.

Make your purchases with the needs of your community clearly in mind, securing such books as will be constantly in use, and thereby get returns for your expenditure.  The expensive publications and books that are called for only at rare intervals should be left to libraries with very large incomes, and to those making special collections.

Where possible to do so avoid buying large bills of books at long intervals.  It is better to spend an income of $600 per year in monthly installments of $50, than it is to buy twice a year $300 lots.

The frequent purchase will bring you the new and talked of books while they are fresh in the minds of people, and there is greater economy of time in cataloging and shelving them.

Second-hand books are rarely cheap at any price.

Have confidence in your agent, for your interests are always his.


Ink and handwriting

For catalog cards and all other records use a non-copying black, permanent ink.  Carter’s record ink is good.  It has been adopted, after careful investigation, by the state of Massachusetts for all official records.  The New York state library school, at Albany, has issued a little handbook on “library handwriting,” which recommends Carter’s record, and says they use Stafford’s blue writing ink for blue and his carmine combined for red.

For all labels on the outside of books, and for all writing on surfaces which may be much handled, use Higgins’ American drawing ink, waterproof.

The vertical hand should be used in all library work.  The following rules, with the illustrations, are taken from the Albany school handbook above referred to: 

Brief rules

1 Ink.  Use only standard library ink and let it dry without blotting.

2 Position.  Sit squarely at the desk and as nearly erect as possible.

3 Alphabets.  Follow the library hand forms of all letters, avoiding any ornament, flourish, or lines not essential to the letter.

4 Size.  Small letters, taking m as the unit, are one space or two millimeters high; i.e. one-third the distance between the rulings of the standard catalog card.

Capitals and extended letters are two spaces high above the base line or run one space below, except t, the character &, and figures, which are one and one-half spaces high.

5 Slant.  Make letters upright with as little slant as possible, and uniformly the same, preferring a trifle backward rather than forward slant.

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A Library Primer from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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