A Library Primer eBook

John Cotton Dana
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 142 pages of information about A Library Primer.
with the literature of the subject, or trying to get in touch with the knowledge and experience of others.  They should not submit for a moment to ignorance or indifference on the part of their chosen administrator.  Success or failure of a library, as of a business, depends on the ability of the man or woman at its head, and only trained men and women should be in charge.  The business of the librarian is a profession, and a practical knowledge of the subject is never so much needed as in starting a new enterprise.

The librarian should have culture, scholarship, and executive ability.  He should keep always in advance of his community, and constantly educate it to make greater demands upon him.  He should be a leader and a teacher, earnest, enthusiastic, and intelligent.  He should be able to win the confidence of children, and wise to lead them by easy steps from good books to the best.  He has the greatest opportunity of any teacher in the community.  He should be the teacher of teachers.  He should make the library a school for the young, a college for adults, and the constant center of such educational activity as will make wholesome and inspiring themes the burden of the common thought.  He should be enough of a bookworm to have a decided taste and fondness for books, and at the same time not enough to be such a recluse as loses sight of the point of view of those who know little of books.

As the responsible head of the institution, he should be consulted in all matters relating to its management.  The most satisfactory results are obtained in those libraries where the chief librarian is permitted to appoint assistants, select books, buy supplies, make regulations, and decide methods of cataloging, classifying, and lending; all subject to the approval of the trustees.  Trustees should impose responsibility, grant freedom, and exact results.

To the librarian himself one may say:  Be punctual; be attentive; help develop enthusiasm in your assistants; be neat and consistent in your dress; be dignified but courteous in your manner.  Be careful in your contracts; be square with your board; be concise and technical; be accurate; be courageous and self-reliant; be careful about acknowledgments; be not worshipful of your work; be careful of your health.  Last of all, be yourself.


The trained librarian in a small library

Julia A. Hopkins, of the Rochester (N.Y.) Public library, in Public Libraries, December, 1897

The value of training for the man or woman who shall take charge of a large city library is now so firmly established that no one thinks of discussing the question.  If it is true that technical training is essential for the headship of a large library, why is it not equally necessary for that of a small library?  Trained service is always of greater value than untrained service, be the sphere great or small.  If a woman

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A Library Primer from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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