A Library Primer eBook

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

The executive committee should take charge of the daily work of the library, of purchases, and of the care of the building; they should carry their duties as far as possible without assuming too much of the responsibility which properly belongs to the full board.  It will be best to entrust the choice of books to a book committee appointed for that purpose purely.  The finance committee should make and watch investments and see that purchases are made on most favorable terms.

5) Relations with the librarian.—­The trustees are the responsible managers of the library; the librarian is their agent, appointed to carry out their wishes.  If they have, however, a first-class librarian, the trustees ought to leave the management of the library practically to him, simply supplementing his ability without impeding it.  They should leave to a librarian of good executive ability the selection, management, and dismissal of all assistants, the methods and details of library work, and the initiative in the choice of books.  A wise librarian the trustees may very properly take into their confidence, and invite his presence at all meetings, where his advice would be of service.

6) Other employes.—­Efficiency of employes can best be obtained through application of the cardinal principles of an enlightened civil service, viz., absolute exclusion of all political and personal influence, appointment for definitely ascertained fitness, promotion for merit, and retention during good behavior.


The librarian

If circumstances permit, the librarian should be engaged even before the general character of the library and plan of administration have been determined upon.  If properly selected, he or she will be a person of experience in these matters, and will be able to give valuable advice.  Politics, social considerations, church sympathies, religious prejudices, family relationship—­none of these should be allowed to enter into his selection.  Secure an efficient officer, even at what may seem at first a disproportionate expense.  Save money in other ways, but never by employing a forceless man or woman in the position of chief librarian.

Recent developments of schools of library economy, and recent rapid growth of public libraries throughout the country, have made it possible for any new library to secure good material for a librarian.  If lack of funds or other conditions make it necessary to employ some local applicant, it will be wise to insist that that person, if not already conversant with library economy, shall immediately become informed on the subject.  It will not be easy, it may not be possible, for trustees to inform themselves as to library organization and administration.  They can, however, with very little difficulty, so far inform themselves as to be able to judge whether the person they select for their chief officer is taking pains to acquaint himself

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A Library Primer from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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