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Library Administration

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LIBRARY ADMINISTRATION. In recent years the conception of a library's field and functions has grown so rapidly that h brary administration has become a recognized science with problems vastly broader and deeper and demanding well-equipped profes sional schools giving systematic instruction those in whose charge the leading libraries will be placed.

Certain library schools now require for en trace a college degree; in others the course is a regular part of the work of a college. colleges and normal schools conduct courses in bibliography and elementary library adminis tration to enable students to use library facili ties to the best advantage or to take charge of school libraries in connection with teaching positions. There are also numerous summer courses for those already engaged in library work and classes in individual libraries to train their own assistants. There is a growing movement, vigorously supported by the library profession, for certifying librarians, as we do teachers; and several States have already passed laws requiring tests or a certain degree of training or experience for some classes of library positions. This has greatly improved the librarian's status. In salaries, hours of service and vacations he has his place beside other educational officers, as the public recog nizes that in general education, professional training, • executive capacity and all factors which determine salary, the successful librarian should rank with the highest educational offi cer of the same community. In a college the proper salary of the college librarian is that of a full professor. In a university he should rank with deans of departments and in public libraries with superintendents of schools or high school principals. Usual daily hours are now seven and usual vacation one month.

chief function of the old library was to get all the books it could and preserve them safely. The modern library does this also, but has placed free public use infi nitely above getting and keeping. First the word library meant any collection of books. It is now losing that sense and means the community intellectual headquarters for not only books and pamphlets, but also periodicals, newspapers, maps, pictures, music scores, player rolls, phono graph records and other material for informa tion on subjects of current interest, as well as coins, medals and collections illustrating science, history or art. It is no longer a reservoir whose

chief function is to take in and accumulate, but a fountain. Its work is no longer passive, but aggressive. The modern librarian is as anxious to put his wares before the public and have his books and other material used as is the store or factory to secure custom for its goods. He tries to attract the attention and rouse the interest of every resident or transient, child or adult, by bulletins, by book lists and notices in newspapers and in shop and office pay-envelopes, by exhibits, by floats in parades, by posters in hotels and other public places, by talks and by any other creditable means of °library advertising?) We have learned that reading is the greatest engine human genius has evolved. It grows constantly in importance. While most reading is better than most conversation, it is as power ful for evil as for good, so that the greatest problem for educators and statesmen is to de velop in youth a taste for the best reading and to supply it free through life. Hence, develop ment of a children's department in public li braries and fostering of school libraries.

Reading has three great functions: (1) To inform, so that one may stand on the shoulders of all his predecessors and utilize their labors and experience in any subject. This cumulative wisdom of the race passed on in books makes possible the marvels of civilization. Books give this information which builds material pros perity. Increasing interest in vocational books and development of business and other special libraries powerfully stimulate this function. (2) A still more vital function, but less tan gible, is the inspiration which lifts up and builds character, the work of the books of power, the books of all time. (3) The last great function is to afford rest and recreation for the tired and overworked to fit them better to carry life's burdens. The free public library is the only practicable method for shaping this reading, which in its threefold form of infor mation, inspiration and recreation is the great est influence in modern life.

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