The three most essential things to be provided for in a good state library law are:
1 A sure and steady revenue.
2 Careful and consecutive management.
3 A central library authority.
In attempting to alter or make new laws, these essentials should be kept clearly in mind, but special conditions peculiar to each state dictate modifications of any general plan. Anyone interested in the matter could read the general articles upon the subject and the various state laws, and then, with the assistance of the best legal talent to be obtained, frame an act appropriate to the conditions of his state.
A.L.A. and other library associations and clubs
The American Library Association was organized in 1876. It holds annual meetings. It publishes its proceedings in volumes, of which those now in print may be purchased of the A.L.A. Publishing section, 10-1/2 Beacon st., Boston, or of the secretary. It seeks in every practicable way to develop and strengthen the public library as an essential part of the American educational system. It therefore strives by individual effort of members, and where practicable by local organization, to stimulate public interest in establishing or improving libraries, and thus to bring the best reading within reach of all.
Librarians, trustees, and persons interested may become members; the annual fee is $2. Membership entitles one to a copy of the proceedings; it has now about 800 members.
Every person actively engaged in library work owes it to herself, as well as to her profession, to join the American Library Association. If the association is large, if its meetings are well attended, if its proceedings as published show that the problems of library work are carefully studied, if the published proceedings are widely circulated, it is easier to persuade the intelligent part of the public that the librarian’s profession is serious, dignified, and calls to its membership men and women of ability and zeal. If the public is persuaded of these things, the position of the humblest as well as of the highest in the profession is thereby rendered better worth the holding. To attend diligently to one’s business is sometimes a most proper form of advertising one’s merits. To be a zealous and active member of the A.L.A. is to attend to an important part of one’s business; for one can’t join it and work with it and for it and not increase one’s efficiency in many ways.
State associations have been organized in the following states: New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Vermont, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa.
The following states have state library commissions: Connecticut, Georgia, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Vermont, Wisconsin, Indiana, Colorado, Michigan, New Jersey, Minnesota.