Papers and Proceedings of the Thirty-fourth Annual Meeting of the American Library Association Held at Ottawa, Canada June 26-July 2, 1912 online

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JUNE 26-JULY 2, 1912



General sessions: PAGE

Addresses of welcome and response 57

Address Herbert Putnam 59

President's address: The public library: a
leaven'd and prepared choice Mrs. H. L. Elmendorf 67

Publicity for the sake of information: The
public's point of view W. H. Hatton 72

Secretary's report George B. Utley 75

Treasurer's report Carl B. Roden 81

Reports of boards and committees:

Finance committee C. W. Andrews 81

A. L. A. Publishing Board Henry E. Legler 83

Trustees of endowment funds W. C. Kimball 91

Bookbinding A. L. Bailey 93

Bookbuying W. L. Brown 95

Co-ordination C. H. Gould 96

Co-operation with the N. E. A M. E. Ahern 101

Federal and state relations B. C. Steiner 102

Library administration A. E. Bostwick 102

Library training A. S. Root 113

Library work with the blind Emma N. Delfino 114

Public documents George S. Godard 115

Preservation of newspapers Frank P. Hill 116

Publicity for the sake of support Carl H. Milam 120

Breadth and limitations of bookbuying W. L. Brown 124

Open door through the book and the library C. E. McLenegan 127

What do the people want? Jessie Welles 132

Assistant and the book Mary E. Hazeltine 134

Type of assistants Edith Tobitt 138

Efficiency of the library staff and
scientific management Adam Strohm 143

What library schools can do for the
profession Chalmers Hadley 147

Address Sir Wilfrid Laurier 159

Conservation of character J. W. Robertson 161

Address George E. Vincent 170

Book advertising: information as to subject
and scope of books Carl B. Roden 181

Book advertising: illumination as to the
attractions of real books Grace Miller 187

Report of Executive Board 192

Report of Council 195

Report of resolutions committee 201

Memorial to Frederick Morgan Crunden 203

Report of tellers of election 204

Social side of the conference R. G. Thwaites 205

Day in Toronto M. E. Ahern 208

Day in Montreal Carl B. Roden 209

Post-conference trip Julia Ideson 211


Agricultural libraries 213

Catalog 227

Children's librarians' 247

College and reference 268

Professional training 295

Trustees' 302

Public documents round table 307

Affiliated organizations:

American association of law libraries 312

League of library commissions 316

Special libraries association 329

Attendance summaries 354

Attendance register 355

Index 367

Note: The minutes of the National association of state libraries have
not been received in time to be included in this volume. They will be
separately printed by that association.


JUNE 26-JULY 2, 1912


(Wednesday evening, June 26, 1912, Russell Theatre)

The association convened in a preliminary session on Wednesday
evening, June 26, with Dr. James W. Robertson, C. M. G., chairman of
the Canadian royal commission on industrial training and technical
education, presiding as acting chairman of the Ottawa local committee.

Hon. George H. Perley, acting prime minister of Canada, was introduced
and welcomed the association to Canada on behalf of the Dominion
government. The speaker called attention to the hundred years of
peace between the two countries and the plans being formulated for
celebrating it, and said that international conferences such as this
were the best guarantees of peace; that the more we know of each other
the less liable we were to get into trouble.

In Canada schools and libraries are growing apace, particularly in
the new regions of the far west, very much the same as in the United
States. Exchange of ideas as in this convention is the very best kind
of reciprocity and will help both nations in their aims and aspirations
for the good of civilization.

Comptroller E. H. Hinchey, the acting mayor of Ottawa, spoke the city's
welcome, calling attention to Ottawa as a convention city and its
growing claims for being considered the Washington of the North.

The association was graciously welcomed in behalf of the Women's
Canadian Club of Ottawa by the president, Mrs. Adam Shortt, who also
voiced the welcome from the Women's National Council of Canada. She
said the preachers, the teachers, the writers and the librarians are
four great standing armies, standing to protect us and to dispel the
hydra-headed enemy Ignorance, but that she thought of librarians as
captains of individual garrisons scattered here and there through
towns and cities, who are sending out emissaries among the people and
moulding and forming the mental and moral fibre of each community.

The CHAIRMAN: The Women's Canadian historical society was most kind
in pressing forward its desire to have this convention held here. The
president, however, desires not to speak to-night.

I have now the pleasure of asking Hon. John G. Foster, United States
Consul-General, to speak, as one of ourselves. He is a good citizen,
and though of you, with us - we count him almost one of ourselves.

Mr. Foster said he could have assured that portion of the delegates who
were his fellow countrymen and countrywomen that they would feel very
much at home in this country, whose people, institutions and traditions
are so similar to those of the United States.

The CHAIRMAN: Many other representative bodies joined in the effort
to secure this meeting for Ottawa and are represented on the platform
to-night, but the only other speaker who I shall ask to voice for
them or for himself welcoming sentiments is the Hon. Martin Burrell,
Minister of agriculture, and, if I may say in parenthesis, also
Minister of copyrights, since that comes within his department.

Minister Burrell spoke enthusiastically of the value of books and the
habit of good reading and the greater ease with which books could now
be secured than formerly. Continuing he said:

"I have heard it said by some skeptical gentlemen that it is true
that a librarian never reads a book; in fact, that he cannot be a
perfect librarian and read, because he is immediately lost. I do not
like to hold that view. I rather hold to the view that the ordinary
librarian, perhaps I should say the model librarian, should be a guide,
philosopher and friend, and I do not doubt that many of you are very
real guides, philosophers and friends to those who are seeking for
perhaps they know not what and whom you can direct in right channels
with incalculable good to their after life. It is absolutely true that
in our modern life we need that guidance. I do not know that I could
put it better than in the words of another great book lover, and good
library lover too, our friend Robert Louis Stevenson of imperishable
memory, who said once there was a sort of dead-alive, hackneyed people
in the world who if they were not engaged in a conventional occupation
were in a state of coma; that the few hours they did not dedicate to
a furious toiling in the gold mill were an absolute blank. It is your
high privilege to supply that blank; it is your priceless privilege to
fill the hours of life which have to be a blank because we cannot train
ourselves for them in this more material age, - to fill them up with a
companionship and with an influence of the great thoughts of the great
writers of all ages."

Concluding, he expressed his pleasure at the prospect of entertaining
the delegates at the Experimental Farm on the following Saturday.

The CHAIRMAN: The real president of the Canadian Club found it
impossible to be in Ottawa to-night, and I am the poor substitute for
Dr. Otto J. Klotz, who has been a great pillar of strength in Ottawa to
those who love books and use books. He deputed me to say that he was
exceedingly sorry he could not meet so many old friends of his as would
surely be in attendance, and still more sorry because he was deprived
of the joy of thus paying a little more back to those who love books
and use books for all that books and learning have done for him. He is
one of our good men. I am sorry he is not here.

We are delighted to have a woman as your president; and in calling on
Mrs. Elmendorf to respond may I say - this comes to me after meeting
her yesterday and today - that she is altogether a woman of whom it may
be said in relation to her office as president of the American Library
Association, "thy gentleness has helped to make it great."

The PRESIDENT: Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen, Members of the
American Library Association, - I am sure that I but express what you
are all feeling in saying that this royal welcome to the Dominion of
Canada makes us not only happy but very much honored. Some members of
the association are already at home in their own capital, being keepers
of "kings' treasuries" of Canada itself. Others of us are librarians
from hither and yon in the country beyond the border, but we have all
come with "joy and goodly gree" to sit in council in the very capital
of the lovely land which is so loyally and affectionately

"Daughter in her Mother's house."

A small party of us came across the border, as William Morris's heroes
are wont to move, "by night and cloud," and when we reached the
boundary line a sudden inspiration took us and we stooped down and
silently, gently gathered that boundary line in our hands and brought
its firm lengths with us. I hold what might represent its shining links
here in my hands. Therefore, while we visit here with you, in the very
capital of the Dominion, while we hold that boundary line thus in our
possession, from Boston Harbor down the coast through New York and
Charleston to Key West, along the Gulf to New Orleans, across the great
West to Pasadena, up the Pacific coast line to Seattle, from East to
West, from North to South, there is no let or hindrance to the lines
of influence which go forth. Those lines of influence run free without
chance for knot or tangle or any such thing.

I hope you will not need to try whether "the King's writ runs" but I
am sure that you will find that Shakespeare reigns in our realm, that
Tennyson and Bobby Burns touch our hearts in song, and he who writes
the songs of a people need not care who writes their laws.

Just one small story and then I shall have finished, for thanks must
needs be brief if they come from the heart, and there is one to come
after who will say to you with grace and directness and clear precision
much that I might envy but never approach.

My tall brother happened by good fortune to be in London Town the night
that the great city went nearly wild in her glad rejoicing at the
relief of Ladysmith. It was a sight to see and join in, and he and his
wife went on such progress through the streets as a cab could make for
them. In his hand, at the full length of his long arm, he waved from
the front of the cab a Union Jack and a Stars and Stripes to indicate
his sympathy and good feeling. All went well until in one of the many
enforced pauses a rough chap jumped for his hand crying, "Aw, sir! One
flag'll do!"

We are very happy to be here and are just a little happier to see by
these beautiful draped banners that you have not felt that One flag
need to do!

The CHAIRMAN: Those of us who have gone to Washington have sometimes
thought we should revise our boyhood's interpretation of the New
Jerusalem of the Book of Revelation. Nothing I had ever imagined from
St. John's description was quite a match for the glory and magnificence
of the beautiful Library of Congress. I have found it delightful to
think of a nation of great wealth providing such a fitting home for its
literary treasures. Books are the friends and ministers of the mind and
the soul of the people. The Washington building is the expression in
materials of their aspirations for what is best and most beautiful. It
is a wonderful building, leaving impressions of wonder on the casual
visitor, and still more on those who linger in its chaste corridors
and see something of the working of the library itself. I think of the
sweet and stately beauty of the place, I think of the institution and
its services, and I think also of the man who is more than a match for
the magnificence of the home of those books. We will now hear from the


Our acknowledgments as visitors having now been made by the highest
authority among us, it is not for the purpose of merely enlarging
them that I am assigned a place upon the program. It is rather, I
understand, with the view to an expression in behalf of the community
of interest represented by this gathering as a whole; and some
definition as to what we are, what we aim at, and wherein, if at all,
we differ from our predecessors.

Our aim is in terms a simple one. It is to bring a book to a reader, to
lead a reader to a book. The task may indeed vary in proportion as the
book is obvious or obscure, the reader expert or a novice, so that our
service may be as the shortest distance between two simple points; or
as the readiest point between two distances. But its main and ultimate
end is the same.

And it remains so in spite of organization grown elaborate, apparatus
and mechanism grown complex. For the organization is merely to respond
to a larger and more varied demand, and with a view to a more ample and
diversified response.

What then is the difference between the library of today and the
library of a few centuries - a single century - ago? - Is it merely
in the development of this organization, the introduction of this
apparatus and mechanism? - Is it to such matters that our efforts are
directed? - Is it they which require incessant gatherings such as this
for explanation, exploitation and discussion, and the innumerable
reams of written contribution in our professional journals? They are
indeed accountable for a large percentage of it: but back of them,
beneath them, is a change which is fundamental, a change in attitude
which is essential as no mere form or method can be. It consists in the
birth and development - not indeed of a new characteristic in either
book or reader, or the discovery of new potencies in the one or new
sensibilities in the other - but of a new sense of responsibility on the
part of the library in the utilization of the one for the benefit of
the other. It is an incident of democracy.

Now, so far as democracy means the participation of the community as a
whole in the conduct of its affairs the _form_ of it has existed with
us in the United States for generations; and the substance of it has
existed throughout the Anglo-Saxon world. But democracy ought to mean
something more: it ought to mean the participation of every individual
in its opportunities. And a constitution of society which still left
the resources for power and intellectual direction in the hands of the
few was in effect an aristocracy, and no complete democracy. Among
these resources a chief is education. And the practical monopoly of
education - and of books as an element in it - meant a monopoly of
influence also, - a monopoly which survived after limitations of caste
were removed and the opportunities for wealth became widely diffused.
Against it the free public school, the easily available college, the
cheaply procurable newspaper and magazine, and the free public library
fought and are fighting their fight in the interest of the prerogative
of the individual, in the endeavor to equip him as an independent and
co-equal unit, so that the actual constitution of society shall accord
with its political form, and indeed assure the efficiency and the
permanence of the form.

So, having provided for the mass the interest has of late centred upon
the individual.

Meantime, with the evolution from homogeneity to heterogeneity the
individual himself has become more and more diversified in trait,
aptitude and need; so that the treatment of him by the agencies acting
for the community as a whole has also had to become varied. Not merely
that, but pursuing its responsibilities, to become affirmative, where
before, so far as it existed, it was merely responsive.

Now the service of school and college furnishing definite instruction
and perhaps training, to an organized body of youth, within a
limited age, and under control, can be reasonably systematized and
standardized. But the library is to furnish not merely education but
enlightenment, and even culture, to the community at large - without
respect to age, and without subordination to control. It cannot impose,
it does not control. It may recommend, but it cannot direct. It must
still respond to a need voluntarily expressed; but its duty is held to
go further: it must remind that the need exists, - it must even inspire
the need, - that is to say, the consciousness of it. In this way it is
engaged in creating the very demand which later it seeks to satisfy.

Now this duty upon it accounts for the prodigious energy in the
effort itself, and the activity and range of the discussion, which
are the characteristics of the modern library movement, particularly
in English speaking America. It accounts for the incessant repetition
of explanation, of exhortation, of recited experience, which give to
a present-day library conference something of the aspect of a revival

To librarians of the older school these are somewhat distasteful;
to librarians of the more modern school already convinced and
experienced, they may be tedious; but they seem necessary still for
the enlightenment and encouragement of others newly entering upon the
problem, of a public not yet fully familiar with the relations of it to
their own welfare, and to the helpful solution of local problems where
the idea meets conditions still impeding: for the field is vast and
conditions are still very unequal.

The efforts, still inchoate, include also many devices which are crude
and of doubtful expediency: especially many designed chiefly to
attract - in which the library seems to compete with other enterprises
courting popularity in a way scarcely dignified for a public
institution maintained by government. They shock the conservative in
somewhat the same way as an advertisement by a lawyer or physician
shocks the traditions of those reticent professions: and they include
not merely schemes of advertising - which might seem to impair the
dignity of the book, but auxiliaries for attracting attention such as
savor of the devices of a business house in exploiting its goods. The
ultimate aim is, of course, the commendation of the book itself, - and
the justification lies - or is sought - in this. But the means, - well,
the means often afflict the conservatives in the profession, and even
cause uneasiness to certain of us among the progressives.

The compensating assurance is that they are the promptings of an
enthusiasm in itself meritorious; that they are experiments; that they
may prove to be expedients merely temporary, and that later they may
be dispensed with after they have served their purpose. They are to
rouse the dormant, stir the stagnant: but there are also other agencies
at work to rouse and to stir; and the time may well come when the
operation of these in combination will have achieved the creation of a
spirit in the community safe to act upon its own initiative.

Apart from the portions of our programs devoted to the discussion
of such methods and devices - which concern the direct action of a
particular library upon its own constituents, is the portion - a
large one - devoted to schemes of co-operation among our institutions
as such in the interest of economy and therefore of efficiency - in
their administration. These are necessarily technical, and their
immediate interest is to the librarian rather than to the reader.
But their ultimate benefit is to reach the reader, - particularly in
freeing to his use a larger measure of the direct personal service of
the administration, in interpreting the collections to his need. In
proportion as they succeed in this they will achieve a reversion to
that service held precious in the library of the older type, - which,
lacking the modern apparatus, and with an imperfect collection, at
least put the reader into direct contact with what it had, and gave him
also the inspiring personal touch with an enthusiast already saturated
with its contents: and which accordingly sent him forth with a grateful
glow, too little, alas! evident in one relegated to the mere mechanism
of modern library practice.

The mechanism became inevitable: the increase of the collections,
the increase of the constituency, the greater diversity of the need,
and the demand that this should be met promptly, have required it.
This isn't so apparent to the public, who think of the problem - of
getting the right book to the individual reader - in only its simplest
terms. But to us librarians it is not merely apparent but urgent. And
accordingly we expend upon it a length and a zest of discussion that
quite mystify the portions of our audiences outside of the craft.

What impels us is that the mechanism is not merely elaborate: it
is expensive. It is the more so in proportion as it is variant in
form and involves a multiplication of expense by each library acting
independently in its own behalf. Our effort, and the purpose of our
discussions, is therefore to promote a standardization of the form
and a co-operative centralization of the work itself, in which our
libraries as a whole may secure a participating benefit.

Now the mechanism consists of certain apparatus necessarily independent
with each library - administrative records, charging systems, etc.; but
also of classification, catalog and bibliography. All of these may be
standardized, - but the opportunity for a co-operation which may save
expense occurs chiefly in the three last named. The extravagance, the
needless extravagance, of an absence of it represented by the old
conditions was little apparent to the general public or to boards
of control. It becomes obvious when one considers that thousands of
libraries receiving hundreds of identical books, - and hundreds of

Online LibraryVariousPapers and Proceedings of the Thirty-fourth Annual Meeting of the American Library Association Held at Ottawa, Canada June 26-July 2, 1912 → online text (page 1 of 51)