In most places, certainly in all small towns, a sufficient safeguard against the loss of books is found in the signature of the borrower himself. No guarantee need be called for. To ask for a guarantor for a reputable resident is simply to discommode two people instead of one. The application which the borrower signs should be brief and plain. Name, residence, place of business, and any necessary references, should be written in by the librarian on one side; the signature to an agreement to obey the library rules can be written by the applicant on the other. All borrowers agreements should be filed in alphabetical order. They should receive borrowers’ numbers in the order of their issue, and the date. The borrowers’ cards should state that they expire in a definite number of years from the date of issue, and the date of issue should be stamped on them. An index of borrower’s agreements should be kept by their numbers. This need contain only the borrower’s number, his name, and, when necessary, his address. It is conveniently kept in a book. It is better to keep it on cards.
[Illustration: No. 5. Fine slip. (Reduced; actual size 12-1/2 x 7-1/2 cm.)
The City Library Assocation
Fines received FEB 14
No. 34. 5-82 D.
Meeting the public
If the public is not admitted to the shelves, it will be necessary to supply catalogs for public use as well as slips on which lists of books wanted can be made out; but the fullest possible catalogs and the finest appointments in the delivery room cannot take the place of direct contact between librarian or assistants and the public. Wherever possible, the person to whom the borrower applies for a book should go himself to the shelves for it.
The stranger in the library should be made welcome. Encourage the timid, volunteer to them directions and suggestions, and instruct them in the library’s methods. Conversation at the counter having to do with wants of borrowers should be encouraged rather than discouraged. No mechanical devices can take the place of face to face question and answer.
The public like to handle and examine their books, and it is good for them to do it. They like the arrangements in the library to be simple; they object to red tape and rules. They like to have their institutions seem to assume—through, for example, the absence of signs—that they know how to conduct themselves courteously without being told. They don’t like delays. They like to be encouraged to ask questions. They like to be consulted as to their wants, and as to changes in arrangements and methods. They like to feel at home in their library.
The public library for the public