A Library Primer eBook

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

Note.—­It is probably most convenient to have the library year correspond with the calendar year.  It is well to have the trustees appointed and the report of the library made at a different time of the year from either the local or general elections.  The library is thus more likely to be free from the influences of party politics.  To have a library treasurer is probably the better plan, but library money may be kept in the hands of the municipal treasurer as a separate fund, and be paid out by order of the board of trustees only.

Libraries for schoolrooms, to be composed of reference books, books for supplementary reading, class duplicates, and professional books for teachers, should be provided for in the public school law.  School funds should be used and school authorities should manage these libraries.  The business of lending books for home use is better and more economically managed by a public library, having an organization that is independent of the school authorities.

4 A state central authority.—­Establish a state library commission; appointments on this commission to be made by the governor and confirmed by the senate, one each year for a term of five years.  Make the commission the head of the public library system of the state with supervisory powers.  Let the commission manage the state library entirely, and center all its work at that institution.  Let it be the duty of the commission, whenever it is asked, to give advice and instruction in organization and administration to the libraries in the state; to receive reports from these libraries and to publish an annual report; to manage the distribution of state aid, and to manage a system of traveling libraries.

Note.—­Within a few years each of several states has provided for a state library commission, to be in some sense the head of the public library system of the state, as the state board of education is the head of the public school system of the state.  By having small traveling libraries of 50 or 100v. each, to lend for a few months to localities that have no libraries, and by having a little state aid to distribute wisely, the state library commission is able to encourage communities to do more for themselves in a library way than they otherwise would.  There may be cases where the work of the commission might better be centered at the state university library.  The state library commission has proved to be a useful agency wherever tried, and the plan seems likely to spread throughout the country.  In Wyoming the income from 30,000 acres of state land forms a library fund.  It would seem probable that other states will adopt this plan.  By far the most complete and successful state system that has yet been organized is that of New York, where all centers in the state library at Albany as headquarters.

Reading matter on library legislation

The report of the United States commissioner of education for 1895-96 contains a compilation of the library laws of all the states.  Every year new laws and amendments are enacted in several of the states, and the advance is very marked.  The laws of New York, Massachusetts, Wisconsin, and Illinois are among the best.

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A Library Primer from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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