Ohio. State Library Board.

Sketches of Ohio libraries online

. (page 7 of 58)
Online LibraryOhio. State Library BoardSketches of Ohio libraries → online text (page 7 of 58)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

schools, chiefly those in rural districts and small villages where there are no
public libraries. And last, but by no means least important, come the grangers of
the state through their local organizations to test the practical value of the .system.
The testimony of all these will perhaps most fittingly exhibit what has been done
and what may be done.


The General Federation of Women's Clubs was the first organization in the
state to ask for traveling libraries. October 9. 1896, the first was sent to the Mon-
day Club of Mt. Vernon, Ohio, Miss Nora Mulhane, secretary. Thus far these
clubs lead in the number of applicants. The following extracts from the corre-
spondence on file will indicate their interest in the .system :




November 7th, 1897.

The library is still in circulation among our Club members who are quite
enthusiastic over the good they derive from the books. How we could have
carried out our program in the thorough manner we have so far, without them,
I can't imagine. I hope we may be able to have more libraries and more books in
them in the near future. They are surely needed.


October 1st, 1897.

We appreciate the wisdom of the planners of this beneficent scheme.


Springfield, Ohio, September 23rd, 1897.

I wish to say that not a day passes that does not bring expressions of grati
tude for the library law of 1896 and for the generous treatment of the Ohio Fed-
eration of Clubs by the State Library Commission.


September 7th, 1897.

Our president and othe»- ladies who have seen the list of books are much
pleased with your selection and have already taken out some of the volumes. I
expect them all to be taken out before Saturday evening.


While the Women's Clubs have been the pioneers in this work, letters ad-
dres.<-ed to this office \\ ithin the past month indicate that the common schools of
the itate will soon furnish the largest number of patrons. The first traveling li-
brary sent to them was shipped to Mutual, Champaign County, Ohio, for the
Yankee Hill School, Elba W. Pence, teacher and librarian. We quote briefly from
his last report :

Mutual, Ohio, November 1st, 1897.

I can certify in behalf of the Yankee Hill Library Association that the books
are receiving good care at the hands of parents and pupils. School is now in ses-


.-sion again. I am striving to instill in the minds of pupils a love for reading,
which is growing as their knowledge grows. I therefore wish very much that
you would grant us the privilege of the continued use of the library. It is our
intention to have a reading circle of pupils, and when we get this started the
library will be used very much. We are well pleased with the selection of books
vou sent us.


November 0th, 1897

I am trying to create in the pupils a taste for good literature, and the use
■of the State Library books is an experiment. At first I talked about the books,
told some interesting things that might be found in them, and gave each pupil a
book to take home and keep two weeks. At first they were only looked into and
laid aside. But by meeting with the pupils and reading selected portions I am
able to see quite a lively interest manifested. These meetings were held weekly
in the evenings.

The pupils seem never to have had suggested to them before the idea of
reading a book which was not a text book.

We desire the books another month, and when they are finally returned I
.shall make you a complete report as to their use.


September 13th. 1801

Oui' town of about three thousand population has no public library. The
tnills and factories employ about three hundred children between the ages of
fourteen and twenty-one years. About thirty per cent of the children in our pub-
lic schools drop out and engage in work in the various factories as soon as they
reach the age of fourteen years. I believe that a good percentage of the young
men and young ladies could be interested in a systematic course of reading if we
had a library. There are very few people of wealth living in the community.
Will you kindly inform me how we are to proceed?


To C. M. Freeman, Lecturer of the State Grange, Rex, Ohio is due the credit
of introducinp' this system to the Granges of the State. He visitedt the State
Library to learn how books might be secured for the farmers. In the Ohio State
Grange Qi^arterly Bulletin, of which he is editor, he says:

"If there were more home libraries there would be less demand for social
and public libraries, but in their absence the demand is great. So in the Grange,
if the members were all well supplied with private libraries, the demand would not
be so great for Grange libraries. The personal experience and observation of the
members is very good so far as it goes, but it is limited in any society. To branch
out, to cover a wider range of subjects or to pursue further those subjects with
which we are partially familiar, we must call to our assistance those who possess


the information after which we seek. We can more readily secure what we want
through books than to attempt to obtain it from personal lectures, for to-day there
is scarcely a subject that has not been written upon. It is evident then that we
need books. We need them in the home, in the public library, and in the Grange.
How to get more books into Granges is the subject before us and one I have studied

Not only will a good library assist the lecturer in having a good program,
but it will create a reading interest among the members. A great many boys and
girls in the farmers' homes are starving for the want of good books. The Grange
library will afford them a splendid opportunity, and if you have none, your organi-
zation is in shape to readily get a "Traveling Library" in your community, which
will not only accommodate the boys and girls, but the parents as well. * * *

While the State Library has a large collection of books, in fitting up a "Trav-
eling Library" for the farmer, he (the State Librarian) would need some addi-
tional books dealing directly with agricultural topics. These he assured me
would be forthcoming whenever the demand was made for them, and I am anxious
for the Grange to create a demand. We have as much right to these libraries, as
any one. Let us not be slow in going after them. * * * The leisure montbs
for the farmers are here and now is the time to provide reading for the winter.

Mr. Freeman then proceeds in a very practical way to instruct the Granges
how to effect an organization and apply for traveling libraries. The State Library
can testify that his suggestions have called forth a very hearty response from the

W. H. Hamilton, Lecturer of Darby Grange No. 779, West Jefferson, Ohio,
has the honor of receiving the first library sent out to such an organization.


One of these has been sent to the Congregational Sunday-School at Roots-
town, Ohio, M. L. Stahl, librarian. Another was sent to the Orton Reading Club,
Grand Rapids, Ohio. Mr. Azor Thurston, librian of the club, under date of No-
vember 10, 1897, says:

"We very much appreciate the courtesy of the librarian in allowing us to re-
tain the books so long ; and think we can say that all volumes have been carefully
handled. This arrangements of traveling libraries is a great boon to the districts
which have not access to large collections of books."



J\lr. A. Sheldon, of Norwalk, at the Dayton meeting suggested that the
traveling library system could be successfully operated in counties with the county
seat as the center of distribution. This has already been tested with satisfactory
results in a few cornties of Wisconsin. Legislation permitting county library or-
ganization would doubtless aid the State Library in the work it has undertaken.


The following literature, donated by friends, was forwarded through the
State Library to the Ohio Volunteers in the Spanish-American War: papers,
1,794; magazines, 3.519; books, "271 • pamphlets, 159; total, 5,743. Poor trans-
portation facilities and frequent shifting of camps prevented this patriotic enter-


-prise from accoriiplishing all that might have been desired. Distribution at so great
a distance proved costly and in other respects not entirely satisfactory. A number
of letters were received from army officers, however, expressing appreciation of
the kindly interest of those donating and forwarding the books.


Much space has been devoted in previous reports to the traveling library. The
system continues to work well and seems destined to grow more popular. Almost
every mail brings from a lengthening list of patrons words of appreciation and
encouragement. A few figures will best tell the story of what has been done in
this department :

Traveling Libraries sent out for the year ending September 1, 1897. . 61
Traveling libraries sent out for the year ending September 1, 1898. . 378

Libraries sent out for the past year have been distributed as follows :

To Women's Clubs ,. 69

To Schools 89

To Granges , 92

To other organizations 128



The traveling library department has steadily grown, and difficulty is ex-
perienced in furnishing books to meet the rapidly increasing demand. The depart-
ment was organized in 1896. Libraries have been sent out as follows :

.'Prior to November 15, 1896 2 traveling libraries. . 50 volumes.

November 15, 1896, to November 15, 1897. . 62 traveling libraries. . 1,331 volumes.

November 15, 1897, to November 15, 1898. . 379 traveling libraries. . 9,887 volumes.

.November 15, 1898, to November 15, 1899. . 445 traveling libraries. . 12,817 volumes.

Total 888 24,085 volumes.

Reports received indicate that each book sent out is issued about 10 times.
Taking this as a basis, the circulation of the books issued through the traveling
libraries within the past year would reach about 128,170. The success of this de-
partment continues to surpass the most sanguine expectations of its friends and
promoters. The New York traveling library was pioneer in the movement. Last
year it loaned 14,017 volumes. It is gratifying to report that our own department
organized much later, within the year just ended has been sent out 12,718 volumes.

More than three-fourths of these libraries have been sent to rural communi-
ties and small villages that have no libraries. Many have gone to schools and
•granges remote from cit" or town. Nothing that the State Library has undertaken
has brought to it a larger measure of nublic favor. The selection, accessioning and
• catologing of books and the administration of the system have made much addi-
tional labor for the library stafif, but reports of good results and appreciative words
from many patrons are a most gratifying return for the additional expenditure of
-efifort and money. We have space for a few onl^ of hundreds of appreciative let-
.ters on file in this office.

6 s. OP o. It.


Jackson/ Ohio, April 26, 1899.

* * * The traveling library has been of much benefit to the club-
women and we hope to j rocure liooks frtm the samo source for our work next

Bertha Sternbergej,
Secretary Woman's Literary Cltih.

Westi.and, Ohio, December 21, 189S.

* * * 'I'hc plan you you suggest is a niDst e.xcjllent one and can not
fail to be appreciated by the agriculturists of the State. * * *

S. E. St-rode,
Lecturer, 0,'iij State Grange

New Plymouth, Ohio, May 27, 1899.

* * * The books gave excellent satisfactirn. I hope to be able to-
select others in September. Have talked up several clubs for the purpose. * * *-

Mrs. Mary Lee.

Huron,, Ohio, Oct. 2, 1899.

* * * The traveling library arrived in good condition. We are de-
lighted at the propsect of the use of so many standard books on history and lit-
erature. They will be of great assistance. * * *

Edw^in S. Collier.

Unionville Center, December 6, 1898.

* • * * My high school students read the books and then write a re-
view which is read before the school. The books greatly augment my success
here. * * *

J. M. Martin,
Superintendent Township Schools.

BiDWELL, Ohio, June 10, 1899.

* * * Permit me to say that the use of the books has been highly
profitable to our school and community. We are thankful to you for your prompt-
ness, and to the great State of Ohio for her interest in liberal education. * * *

G. E. Neal.

Sheldon, Ohio, March 20, .1899.

* * * The society extends its tlianks to' yoii fof'prdmp'tness in send-
ing books. It may intcest you to know that since our organization a little over
a month ago, we have made n collection of over 150 volumes — mostly books of
reference. * * *

Frank L. T-AKVIS, Teaclicr.


Powell, Ohio, June 14, 1899.

* * * After the books once got a "start" they wore well — in short,
there have been about 600 readings of the 50 volumes. * * *

Burton McCormic.

Gambier, Ohio, April 11, 1899.

* * * All the different works were quite satisfactory. We only hope
that the next shipment we receive from you may do as much good. * * *

A. C. Beggs,
Librarian Union Reading Club.

RooTSTOwN, Ohio, September 29, 1899.

* * * We certainly enjoyed this lot of books very much. We *\'Ould
like another consignment at your earliest convenience. * * *

M. L. Stahl, Librarian.

Grove City, Ohio, October 25, 1899.

* * * It gives me pleasure to note and report to you the great good
the State Circulating Library is doing in this community. There has been a
steadily increasing desire for reading good books since the first library came among
us a year ago. Some volumes in the traveling library we now have on hand have
been drawn 20 times. About 650 issues of books have been made in the past
five months. * * *

W. C. Merritt.
Superintendent of Schools.

Rootstown, Ohio, September 25, 1899.

* * * I wish to express my appreciation of the plan by which we
are enabled in this small town to reap the advantages of your splendid library.
The books received have been circulated in conneciion with our Sunday school
work. * * * I -wish to thank you for your evident care in sending us good,
fresh books — not "back numbers" of "poor stock." * * *

H. O. Reed,
Proprietor Maple Lawn Farm.

Van Wert, Ohio, April 3, 1899.

* * * We tried to get all the good things that the books contained,
and in looking over my register, I see that there have been about 600 issues made
since we received the books in November. The books were valuable in many
ways, and the subject matter in general is of such high order in this assortment
that I feel glad of the opportunity we have enjoyed of raising the standard of
culture in this school. The benefit accruing from this venture will grow with
time, and I, in behalf of my school, desire to thank you again for your kindness.

John I. Miller,
Clerk of Board of County School Examiners.


The following correspondence relative to a library sent to North
JBass Island, in Lake Erie, is of interest :

Isle St. George, Ohio, October 17, 1899.

* * * The business of this island (North Bass) is almost exclusively
."grape raising and fisheries. Now, if I could choose, I would ask for some works
; along those lines — say two or three volumes — and the remainder books of the
; pupils' and teachers' reading courses as prescribed by the Ohio Teachers' Reading
Circle — good literature for pupils, ages 6 to 20. This we need very much, as we
.have no school library or any public library of any kind. * * *

F. E. Tucker, Teacher.

TEarlv in November Mr. Tucker wrote :

'After the 21st inst, we cannot depend upon transportation from Sandusky,
'so I am quite anxious to receive the library before that time.

A little later the traveling library reached its destination as stated in
the following note :

* * * "Library came all right on boat Wednesday evening. I checked
the list of books and found it correct. I am very sure it will be appreciated by
^e people here."

One can readily imagine how eagerly these books will be read in the lake-girt
isle through the long winter evenings. An interesting report is expected when this
traveling library returns.

While the traveling library has extended to many states, and is essentially
'the same in all, in details the Ohio system differs from others. It is due in part
to the peculiar conditions that confronted the commissioners at the beginning of
the work. The law establishing the commission carried with it the power to estab-
lish a traveling library department, but no appropriation was made for this pur-
pose. The patronage of the State Library was then quite limited and it was found
possible to make a selection of books from the shelves to furnish lists for a few
traveling libraries. When books were sent beck they were returned to their places
•on the shelves. Books are now purchased especially for for this department, and
kept in a separate room of the librar-<^ but the original plan of making up the libra-
ries was found so satisfactory-that it has been continued. It has the advantage of
\great flexibility. Libraries can be made up to suit, in a measure, the preferences
<of patrons. New baoks can be added as thev are published, and the libraries thus
Icept up to date.

The number of books accessioned in this department is 7,138. It is still found

■necessary to draw from the circulating department of the general library, but this

is not permitted to interfere with the proper work of that department. As the

traveling library system grows, it is the policy of the State Library to make that

the only department from which books circulate, while the appropriations for the

rgeneral library are devoted to the purchase of books to be used for reference only.

While the plan now followed has obvious advantages, it means great additional

■Jabor for the library staff. Much less time would be required to handle libraries

-which are kept intact. Such libraries could be made up with advantage for certain

•classes of patrons, granges and public schools for example. The main part of each

traveling library could be kept intact, and a few volumes could be added to meet

special demands and bring the library up to date in matters of current interest.

It is gratifying to note the high character of the literature generally asked for in
applications from traveling library patrons. In two or three instances where re-


Ohio State Library.



Traveling libraries, issued within the year ending Nov. 15,

1901, were distributed as follows: —

To schools 251

To independent study clubs. 224

To women's clubs 118

To religious orginizations ..50

To granges 100

To libraries 19

Total ..762


Travelling libraries, issued within the year ending Nov. 15,

1902, were distributed as follows; —

To schools 310

To independent study clubs. 153

To women' s clubs 146

To religious organizations. . .87

To granges 80

To libraries 27

Total 803

The 803 traveling libraries, issued within the year, were
sent to 597 communities in different parts of the state.

SUMMARY, 1896-1902

Libraries Vols.

Prior to Nov. 15, 18% 2 SO

Nov. 15, 1896, to Nov. 15, 1897 62 1,331

Nov. 15, 1897. to Nov. 15, 1898 379 9,887

Nov. 15, 1898, to Nov. 15, 1899 445 12,812

Nov. 15, 1899, to Nov. 15, 1900 711 19,505

Nov. 15, 1900, to Nov. 15 1901 762 20,689

Nov. 15, 1901, to Nov. 15, 1902 803 22,031




^general library are devoted to the purchase of books to be used for reference only.
While the plan now followed has obvious advantages, it means great additional
•ZaboT for the library staff. Much less time would be required to handle libraries
•which are kept intact. Such libraries could be made up with advantage for certain
■classes of patrons, granges and public schools for example. The main part of each
traveling library could be kept intact, and a few volumes could be added to meet
special demands and bring the library up to date in matters of current interest.

It is gratifying to note the high character of the literature generally asked for in
applications from traveling library patrons. In two or three instances where re-



quests were sent in for '■25 or 3U volumes of the latest fiction," of course the order
could not be filled, but the patrons consented to a compromise selection that in-
cluded volumes of more substantial literature.

In the selection of books we have been guided to a great extent by recognized
authority. Large purchases have been made from lists recommended by the Board
of Control of the Ohio Teachers' Reading Circle. Many agricultural books have
been selected on the approval of the lecturer of the State Grange. The calendars
of Women's Clubs that were received early in the year were used as guides in pur-
chases for that class of patrons. Catalogues and supplemental lists of other libra-
ries have been consulted in making selections for the consideration of the Board
of Library Commissioners, who pass final judgment.

From the issue of the first traveling library the importance of keeping a com-
plete and accurate record of all books issued, has been fully realized. The serial
number of each traveling library, the name of the organization and the librarian
to whom it was sent, postoffice address, express office, county, number of vol-
umes, date of issue and return, have all been made matters of permanent record.
Duplicate lists of books properly indexed have been kept for reference, so that a
complete history of the system, including a full account of what has been issued
to ever\ patronizing organization, is constantly at hand for reference. The books
sent out over the State have been, as a rule, carefully handled. The entire loss
to the State has been only five volumes. It is expected that the price of these will
be recovered in due time.



The demand for traveling libraries increases steadilj'. From November 15,
1900, 711 of these libraries, aggregating 19,505 volumes, were sent out. They
were distributed as follows:

Schools 252

Independent study clubs 1T9

Women's clubs 125

Religious organizations 50

Granges 95

Libraries 10

Total Til

Not only has the traveling library been popular within the State, but corre-
spondence in this office shows that what has been done in Ohio has attracted atten-
tion and favorable comment in other states.

Renewed interest has been manifested in the county library system and the
establishment of local traveling libraries with the county seat as a center of dis-




The Ohio Supreme Court I,hw Library is one of the best in the
United States. It contains twenty thousand volumes and is open for refer-
ence to the citizens of the State. It is under the control of the Judges of
the Supreme Court. The latest catalogue, published in 1901, is a useful
reference book for all attorneys. This library has attained its present
high standard largely through the efficient and long continued service of
Frank N. Beebe, who has been librarian since July 12, 1880. Tenure of
office is dependent upon efficient service, and changes in the library stafif
ure infrequent.

The library has been moved into the new Judiciary building, where
it occupies the most beautiful and commodious library quarters in the

The law books forming a part of the State Library were taken to
the rooms assigned for the use of the Supreme Court and Law Library
in the present Capitol building as soon as said rooms were ready for
occupancy. There is no data obtainable showing just when this change
was made, but it was about i860. At this time the number of volumes
could not have exceeded a couple of thousand. In 1866, a count showed

Online LibraryOhio. State Library BoardSketches of Ohio libraries → online text (page 7 of 58)