Skip to main content
BOSTON PUBLIC LIBRARY
JOSIAH H. BENTON
PRESIDENT OF THE LIBRARY TRUSTEES
THE BEACON SOCIETY OF BOSTON
JANUARY 2, 1909
BOSTON PUBLIC LIBRARY
The substance of this pamphlet ivas recently delivered before
the Beacon Society of Boston. I print and circulate it with the
hope that those who receive it will read it, or pass it to some one
who may wish to read it. It deals with the working of an Educa-
tional institution of great value to all the people of the City and
of the Commomvealth, and as to which they ought to have the most
full information possible.
J. H. BENTON,
Ames Building, Boston.
THE ROCKWELL AND CHUECHILL PRESS
BOSTON PUBLIC LIBRARY
JOSIAH H. BENTON
PRESIDENT OF THE LIBRARY TRUSTEES
THE BEACON SOCIETY OF BOSTON
JANUARY 2, 1909
THE ROCKWELL AND CHURCHILL PRESS
752 B V
1 ' The true university of these days is a,
collection of Books. 1 '
THE WORKING OF THE PUBLIC LIBRARY
OF THE CITY OF BOSTON.
r ~T'HE people of Boston have always been fond of
1 reading. One of the purposes of the original
Boston Town House, built in 1657 on the present site
of the old State House, was a free circulating public
library. Such a library, the first of its kind in Amer-
ica, was maintained in the building until its destruction
by fire in 1711, and attempts appear to have been
made to continue the maintenance of a library in the
old State House until its substantial destruction by
fire in 1747. From that time, however, there was no
free public circulating library in Boston until the
present Public Library was opened on May 2, 1854,
in two small rooms, also used for other municipal
purpose, on Mason street.
The Library then had Jess than ten thousand vol-
umes, mostly acquired by gift, and its entire expense
for the first year was $13,838.07, of which $6,247.30
was for books. It has grown to its present condition
mainly by taxes willingly paid by the people, and is
therefore peculiarly a Library made and maintained by
the people for the people.
The Library has developed into a library system
which is not only a collection of books, maps, manu-
scripts, and other literary material unequalled, in some
respects at least, by any of the great Libraries of the
world, but is also a large, complicated, and delicate
business machine. Its proper management not only
requires wide literary knowledge and sound scholar-
ship, but also excellent executive, business, and admin-
istrative ability. The conduct of its business involves
the disbursement for books, supplies, transportation,
salaries and other expenses, many very small in amount,
of over $30,000 every thirty days.
It is in charge of five Trustees appointed by the
Mayor and confirmed by the Board of Aldermen to
serve without compensation for terms of five years.
A special statute law of the Commonwealth con-
stitutes the Trustees a corporation, with authority to
take and hold real and personal estate which may be
given to it and accepted by the Trustees for the benefit
of the Library or any branch thereof, or for any pur-
pose connected therewith. This law also requires the
Trustees to have the general care and control of the
Central Public Library and of all its branches, and of
all the expenditures of money appropriated therefor,
and authorizes them to appoint a librarian and other
officers and employees and to fix their compensation.
I desire to speak about the working of the Library
system, and to do this I must explain what the system
is. What is it as a physical thing, simply as real and
LIBRARY REAL ESTATE.
As real estate the Library consists of twenty-nine
pieces of land and buildings or parts of buildings in
different parts of the City, of an aggregate value of
about four and a half million dollars. The Central
Library building has cost up to the present time, ex-
clusive of the land upon which it stands, $2,743,284.56.
The City also owns nine other pieces of real estate
occupied for library purposes, and the other build-
ings or parts of buildings occupied for library pur-
poses are leased at an annual rental of $16,933. In
addition to rental paid for these leased premises, sums
which in the aggregate are large have been paid for
the necessary and proper adaptation of the premises to
The floor area in daily use in these premises amounts
to 260,000 square feet, or nearly six acres. All these
different buildings and premises must be kept in repair,
cleaned, policed, heated, lighted and maintained in
proper condition for library use. The care of the
Central Library building alone comprises the protec-
tion, repair, cleaning, lighting, heating and mainte-
nance of a building which covers 65,000 square feet of
land, and has a floor area in daily use of 150,000
This building is also a beautiful architectural monu-
ment, and as such has given distinction to the City, and
attracts visitors from every part of the world. It con-
tains fine statuary, valuable marbles, expensive wood-
work, and elaborate and unique decorations, all of
which must be at all times carefully guarded and pro-
tected and suitably maintained. It contains among
other machinery and appliances a heating, lighting,
ventilating and electric power plant with three 100-
horse-power boilers and two tandem compound engines
of 150-horse-power each; also two dynamos with
capacity for 3,600 sixteen candle-power, 110 volt elec-
tric lamps; eight pumps; four ventilating fans; eight
electric motors with capacity of from 2 to 20-horse-
powereach; two passenger elevators; ten electric book-
lifts; a vacuum cleaning apparatus with piping so
arranged that all the books on any floor can be cleaned
by the use of it.
The building is also equipped with a pneumatic tube
and electric carrier system for the transmission of call
slips for books between the different departments and
the book stacks, and of books between the stacks and
the different departments. It has seating capacity for
about 900 readers and a lecture room which will seat
The operation of this building alone requires about
sixteen hundred tons of coal annually, and current is
supplied by its dynamos for nearly 4,000 electric lamps.
Its care and operation require the constant service of
a force of engineers and firemen, janitors, and watch-
men, and a carpenter, painter, expert electrician, and a
The ordinary daily cleaning of the building requires
a force of twenty scrub-women, whose work must be
done at hours which will not interfere with the use of
the building by the public. They work from six until
nine in the morning and on Saturday evenings from
five o'clock until eleven, and render an annual service
in this work of about 20,000 hours.
Such is the library system considered only as real
LIBRARY PERSONAL PROPERTY.
As personal property the Library is primarily a col-
lection of nearly one million volumes of books, accu-
rately speaking 963,090, of which 746,514 are in the
Central Library and 216,576 are in the various Branches
and Reading-rooms. The principal Branches are con-
siderable libraries in themselves, the nine largest
Branches having an average of over 20,000 volumes
There are also in the Central Library about 35,000
separate manuscripts and about 150 volumes of manu-
script books, over 200 atlases, about ten thousand maps,
and nearly thirty thousand photographs, prints, engrav-
ings and other pictures.
Each branch has also its own collection of photo-
graphs and pictures varying in number from 1,000 to
2,000, in all about 13,000.
The catalogues of this collection comprise 3,436,490
separate cards, and the cases containing them would
extend about five-sixths of a mile.
Nineteen different card catalogues, containing 2,977,-
790 cards are necessary for the working of the material
of the Central Library, and fifteen separate card cata-
logues, containing 434,400 cards are employed in
working the collections in the different Branches and
Reading Rooms. The shelves required for the books
in the Central Library and Branches would extend a
distance of about twenty miles.
The Library also has a printing office, employing
seven persons, where an average of over 200,000 cata-
logue cards, half a million forms, nearly two million
call slips for the use of books, and the various weekly
lists of new books, quarterly bulletins, finding lists,
and other publications, amounting annually to about
70,000 copies are printed, for distribution among the
people; and a bindery employing twenty-nine persons,
where photographs and engravings are mounted, vol-
umes repaired, periodicals stitched, library publications
prepared for use, and about 30,000 volumes annually
There are also about 375 different newspapers and
nearly 1,700 different periodicals in daily use in the
Central Library and the Branches. There are many
valuable paintings, photographs, busts of distinguished
persons, and statuary, mainly, but not entirely, con-
tained in the Central building.
The aggregate commercial value of this personal
property is probably not less than three million dollars,
and much of it is unique, so that if destroyed or sold it
could not possibly be replaced. Much of the most
valuable of this personal property has been freely given
to the Library.
In 1873 the Library had 209,466 volumes, of which
92,333 had been given to it, and although the gifts
since that time have not been proportionately as large,
they have been constant, and in many cases large in
amount and of great value.
There are 23 different special collections of books,
manuscripts, and engravings, varying in number from
129 to 14,888 titles, substantially all of which have been
given to the Library with varying conditions as to
their care and use. It is, perhaps, not invidious to
mention among them the almost priceless collection of
Shakespeariana, the famous Prince collection of rare
early Americana, the unique Chamberlain collection of
manuscripts, and the Theodore Parker library contain-
ing rare and valuable books in forty different languages
One of the Chamberlain manuscripts is in the hand-
writing of Governor Bradford and is signed by him
and by four other persons who came over in the May-
flower, including John Alden and Miles Standish.
TOTAL VALUE OP LIBRARY PROPERTY.
The aggregate commercial value of the real and per-
sonal property devoted to free public library purposes
in the City of Boston is not less than seven and a
half million dollars, and in addition to this, gifts have
been made by thirty-three different persons or societies,
in sums varying from $100 to $100,000 for the benefit
of the Library and its Branches to the amount of
$450,000, making an aggregate amount of property of
not less than $8,000,000 employed in the library work
of the City.
COMPARATIVE VALUE OF LIBRARY PROPERTY.
Boston, with less than one-half the population of all
the other 32 cities in the Commonwealth combined, has
approximately twice as much money invested in public
library property as all the other cities combined. It
has 29 3/10 per cent of the population of the 33 cities,
and the other 32 cities have 70 7/10 per cent, that is,
there are about seven persons in the other 32 cities
combined as against about three persons in Boston.
But Boston has about $60.43 invested in its public
library property as against about $39.57 invested in
similar property in all the other 32 cities combined.
Stated in another form, the comparison is this: Bos-
ton has 41 5/10 per cent of the entire population in all
the other 32 cities, while the amount invested in public
library property in these 32 cities is only 65 5/10 per
cent of the amount invested in public library property
in Boston alone. That is, with a population only four-
tenths as large as the combined population of the other
32 cities, Boston puts to the use of its public library
system property nearly 4/10 greater in value than all
property put to similar uses in the other 32 cities com-
If we compare the value of the public library prop-
erty of Boston with the value of such property in all
the other cities and towns in the Commonwealth, we
find that with a population of 19 8/10 per cent of the
entire population of all the other cities and towns, Bos-
ton has public library property of 71 1/10 per cent of
the value of all such property in all the other cities and
towns in the Commonwealth.
ADDITIONS TO THE LIBRARY.
From 35,000 to 40,000 volumes are added to the
Library collection each year. During- the last year,
1907-1908, the number was 40,742. Of this 27,457
were purchased, and 9,347 were given to the Library,
and the remainder were received by exchange, binding
of periodicals into volumes, etc.; 13,417 volumes were
purchased for the Central Library, and 14,040 for the
Branch Libraries and Reading Rooms.
The total amount expended for books, including
$6,916.96 for periodicals and $2,067 for newspapers,
was $45,614.82, or 13 per cent of the entire expenses
of the Library for all purposes.
The average cost of all books purchased was $1.30
per volume. Of these 24,670 were bought from money
appropriated by the City at an average cost of $1.03 a
volume, and 2,430 were bought with the income of
Trust funds at an average cost of $4.58 a volume.
The most expensive book purchased was a perfect
copy of the rare Santarem's Atlas, which was pur-
chased, from the income of a Trust fund applicable to
the purchase of such books, for $324, a low commercial
value for the book.
The most expensive books increase in value with the
lapse of time, and most of the less expensive rapidly
wear out with use or become of less value from the
issue of other books on the same subjects. It is esti-
mated that about 150,000 of the books in the Library
are not worth commercially more than ten cents
Books are purchased only by vote of the Trustees,
and at prices fixed by the vote. The titles of the
books recommended for purchase by the Librarian are
put upon cards and submitted to a Committee of two
of the Trustees weekly. A list of the titles and prices
of books which that Committee recommend for pur-
chase is then made, and copies of it sent to each of the
Trustees at least two days before their weekly meeting.
This list as revised and voted by the Trustees is sent to
the Ordering Department as authority for the purchase
of the books. Duplicate bills of the books are required
to be sent to that department with the books; one bill
is filed at the City Hall, as required by law, and the
other entered alphabetically by the Ordering Depart-
ment in its bill book with the entry date and alphabeti-
cal designation recorded on the bill and on the reverse
of the title-page of each book charged in the bill, by
which the book can always be traced from the bill and
the bill from the book. The book is then examined,
page by page and plate by plate, to see if it is perfect,
the book-plate of the Library pasted in and the original
card upon which its title was written placed in the
book, and it is sent to the Catalogue Department.
This bill is certified by the Ordering Department as
correct and sent to the Library Auditor, by whom it is
compared with the list and price voted by the Trustees,
entered and audited for payment, and finally returned
to the Ordering Department, where it receives a file
number and remains on file.
METHOD OF WORKING THE LIBRARY.
Such is the property and plant of the Library system.
But it is of value only as it is worked. The books,
manuscripts, and other material are useless except
when they are being read and examined. And the
Public Library plant, like every other, should be
worked, if it is worth working at all, to the limit of its
capacity. It would be as absurd to work the Public
Library plant to half its capacity for profitable use as to
work only half the spindles in a mill, or half the loco-
motives upon a railroad. The problem of working the
Public Library, therefore, is the problem of bringing
its books and other material into the most general and
extensive public use within the limit of the amount of
money which the taxpayers are willing to pay for that
The system is worked, as you see from what I have
said and from the map before you, through the Central
Library and a large number of Branches and Reading
Rooms scattered over the entire 43 square miles of
the territory of the City. How can such a collection
be efficiently worked?
CATALOGUING THE LIBRARY.
In the first place it is obvious that it cannot be
worked at all without suitable catalogues, and the
making of suitable catalogues for such a system is a
most complex, delicate, and difficult task. The cata-
logues of the Library are the eyes through which
people who use it can see what there is in it, and find
what they want. Its. system is the card catalogue
system, which is the most easily used, and within the
limits of a library of its size is the best.*
The making of a card catalogue seems a very simple
thing until you try to make it. The simplest form of
cataloguing, however, requires at least two cards for
each book, one with the name of the book, the date
of printing, number of pages, edition, size, etc., the
other with the name of the author and the other
information which is noted upon the first card. This
applies to the ordinary book of fiction, but if the book
of fiction be historical, its scene laid in some partic-
ular country, a third card is desirable containing the
name of the country and the other information upon
the other two cards.
If the book, however, relates to some department of
human knowledge, as for instance, botany, there
must be a card with the name of the book, its subject
matter, botany date of publication, size, pages, etc.,
and a similar card with the name of the author, and a
* The British Museum catalogue in printed volumes contains 2,738,745 titles,
which it is estimated would require about 5,477,490 cards in a card catalogue.
third card with the title, Botany, at the head, and if
the book relate to the botany of a particular part of the
world, for instance, Massachusetts, -- a fourth card
is required under the title Massachusetts.
And if a book is upon a general subject which
embraces several subordinate subjects in the book,
further cards are desirable with the title of each of the
several subjects. So you see the cataloguing of a book
may be simple, or it may be very complex, according to
the character of the information which a person might
obtain if they were looking over the catalogue to find
information as to any particular subject or person.
If the book is printed in English it may be cata-
logued by a person trained in cataloguing who knows
only the English language, but if it is in German, Rus-
sian, Greek, Latin, Spanish or any other foreign or
dead language, the person who is to catalogue it must
be an accurate scholar in the language in which the
book is printed. The Chief of our Catalogue Depart-
ment has a working knowledge, I believe, of about
eleven foreign languages, and one assistant in that
department, who works at a salary of $22 a week, is
not only an accomplished general scholar but has a
working knowledge of eight foreign languages.
But when all this is done, the cards are of no use
until there is put upon them numbers indicating where
in the library the book is to be found. To enable this
to be done the departments of human knowledge are
arbitrarily designated by numbers, differing somewhat
in different systems of cataloguing. For instance,
Botany might be represented by the number 16, indi-
cating that under the number 16 in the library stacks
books on botany are to be found. To this class
number are added other numbers indicating the shelf
in that portion of the stacks where the book is to be
placed, and the position of the book on that shelf.
These three numbers enable the person knowing their
significance to go to the place in the Library where the
book is to be found.
When these numbers are put upon all the cards rep-
resenting the book, the cards must be printed in the
Printing Department, the proof of the cards must be
read in the Catalogue Department, and the proof again
read in what is called the Shelf Department, that is,
the department having charge of the shelves where the
books are placed. All this must be done with absolute
accuracy. There is no room for mistakes in the
Catalogue Department, because if a book is improperly
catalogued, or improperly numbered, it may as well be
lost, for nobody can find it to use it.
But after this is done the book is not ready for use.
The book-plate of the Library must be pasted in, the
plates, if there be any in the book, must all be stamped
with indelible ink to show that they belong to the
Public Library, the title-page must be stamped,
" Boston Public Library," with a perforated stamp, and
then a slip must be pasted into the book upon which
when it is issued for use the date and the fact of issue
can be noted.
All these things must be done in a more or less
simple or complex form before any book can be placed
in the library in a condition and position to be used.
Each of the three million catalogue cards in the
Library system has required these various processes of
work. In addition to all these, there are notes as to
different editions, as to the real name of the author,
where the book is written under a fictitious name, cross-
references to other books relating to the same subject,
and an amount of information more or less extensive,
according to the importance of the book and of the
subject to which it relates, which it is desirable and
often necessary to place upon the cards to enable them
to be conveniently and efficiently used.
Of course, catalogues of engravings, pictures, photo-
graphs, newspapers, and other material, do not require
the same elaborate treatment as cards for books, but
they do require equal accuracy, and in many cases
details quite as extensive as those required upon the
cards for books.
In 1896, the Examining Committee, of which the late
John E. Hudson was Chairman, spoke in their report
of this part of the Library work as follows:
"Few people probably realize the vast amount of work
which is accomplished by the Cataloguing Department,
and it is possible that still fewer fully realize how
comparatively useless a large Library would speedily
become if this department were not maintained with the
highest degree of promptness and efficiency. This
demands the highest ability, the ripest experience, and
most discriminating judgment, a quick sense of the
scientific relations and the relative values of every
department of human knowledge, and the most alert
and efficient executive administration."
SHELVING AND TRACING OF BOOKS.
To keep track of the contents of the Library after
they are thus catalogued, it is necessary to keep a list
called a shelf list, showing the number of books that
belong on each shelf, and by this list the shelves are
read each year, so that if a book is not on the shelf
and is not properly charged out, as being in use, its
absence is detected. This process requires the service
of six competent persons working each forenoon of
each working day throughout the year in the Central
Library alone. The same process of reading is applied
also to the shelves in the Branch Libraries.
About 200,000 volumes in the Central building are
on shelves where they can be taken down and con-
sulted, without the service of an attendant, as in Bates
Hall, or with the service of an attendant, as in the
special collections and in the Fine Arts, Patent and
There are certain portions of the Library collection,
however, which for proper convenience of use must be
separated into specific departments. An illustration
of this is found in the Patent Department. There the
books and specifications, of which the Library has an
exceptionally large and complete collection, can only
be conveniently consulted where they can be examined
together, and one specification or drawing compared
with another. And this requires a specially fitted up
room, shelving, tables, etc., and the services of an
attendant. This is also true of the Special Libraries,
and of those collections of books which are not issued
for use outside the Library, and are so valuable that
examination of them can only be permitted in the pres-
ence of an attendant. This includes the Shakespeare
collection and many other exceedingly rare and valuable
PERSONS WHO WORK THE LIBRARY.
The regular Library staff, so-called, that is, the
persons employed in working the books, maps, manu-
scripts, and other material in the Library, consists of
two hundred and nineteen persons, of whom forty-six
are employed in the Ordering, Cataloguing, and Shelf
Departments, thirty-one in the Issue Department of the
Central Library, nine in Bates Hall, twelve in the
department of Special Libraries, Fine Arts, Music, etc.,
twelve in the Branch Department at the Central build-
ing, and seventy-seven in the Branches and Reading
Rooms. The remaining twenty-one are employed in
the Children's, the Registration, Statistical, and Ex-
ecutive Departments, and in the Patent, Newspaper,
and Periodical Rooms.
Three grades of educational qualifications are
required of these persons and determined by competi-
tive examinations. The lowest grade, which includes
a comparatively small number of pages, sub-assistants,
etc., requires a training equivalent to a grammar school
course. The middle grade requires qualifications
equivalent to a high school training and familiarity
with one foreign language. The third grade, including
seventy-seven of these persons, requires qualifications
equivalent to those obtained by a college course, and
familiarity with two foreign languages.
The proper cataloguing and classifying of books and
the reference work necessary to aid those using the
Library, also requires in many positions much higher
qualifications than those which could be obtained by
the ordinary college course.
For the Sunday and evening service forty-four
places must now be filled in the Central Library, and
thirty-eight places in the Branches, requiring the em-
ployment of one hundred seventy-one persons. Much
of this service is performed by persons employed from
outside the regular library force, and paid by the hour
for actual service according to a schedule of the
positions and rate per hour to be paid authorized by
WORKING HOURS OF THE LIBRARY.
The Central Library and the Branches open and
their work begins at 9 o'clock in the morning. The
Reading Rooms open in the afternoon at varying
hours. The service continues until 10 o'clock at night
at the Central Library building and at the West End
Branch, and until 9 at the other Branches and Reading
Rooms, except during the summer months. During
June, July, August and September the Central
Library and West End Branch are closed at 9 o'clock.
The other Branches and Reading Rooms during a
shorter period close earlier than in winter, but at vary-
ing hours. The Central Library is in operation one
hundred nineteen days of twelve hours each, and two
hundred forty days of thirteen hours each, making an
aggregate of 359 days, and 4,548 hours during each
The persons employed in working the Library
are organized under the following heads: Executive
Department, including the Librarian, Assistant Libra-
rian, Auditor, Clerk, Custodian of the Stock-room, etc.;
Catalogue Department including the Chief Cataloguer
and assistants; Ordering Department; Shelf Depart-
ment; Bates Hall, including the Custodian and assist-
ants; the Special Libraries, including also all persons
employed in the Departments of Music and Fine Arts;
Statistical Department, including documents and manu-
scripts; Periodical and Newspaper Rooms; Patent
Department; Issue Department; Children's Room; and
the Registration Department, which registers card
holders entitled to take out books for home use. All
these are in the Central Library.
In each department a Time-book is kept, in which all
employees are required to enter the exact time that they
arrive on duty each day, and their absence from duty
during regular hours is also noted thereon.
In addition to these there is in the Central Library
building the Branch Department, in charge of the
Supervisor of Branches and Reading Rooms, who has
supervision of the entire machinery of working the
Branches and Reading Rooms individually and in con-
nection with the Central Library.
Each of the twelve Branches has a Custodian in
charge of the work of that Branch, with necessary
assistants, and in most cases a janitor to care for the
premises. And each of the seventeen Reading Rooms
has a Custodian in charge of its work.
BOOK CIRCULATION AND USE OF THE LIBRARY.
Through this organization the general work of the
Library is carried on, and there are annually issued for
direct home use nearly 300,000 volumes at the Central
Library, and from the Central Library through the
Branches about 85,000 more, while the Branches and
Reading Rooms also issue more than a million volumes
for home use, making the entire issue for home use
nearly 1,500,000 annually.
The use of the Library for general reference and
study is so unrestricted that no accurate statistics of it
can be given. Its extent, however, is shown by the
fact that during one year about half a million call slips
for the table use of books in Bates Hall alone were
necessary. The daily use of books and other library
material in the Central Library and in the Branches is
doubtless many times greater than the home use of
books drawn out upon cards and requires constant and
accurate service by a large force of employees.
The mere obtaining 1 and delivering of a book to a
reader in the Bates Hall Reading Room of the Central
Library requires the intelligent and accurate service of
six different persons, if the book is in its proper place
in the stacks. The return of the book to its place
requires the service of four persons.
The obtaining and delivering to a card holder of a
book for home use requires the services of four persons,
and the return of the book to its place requires also the
services of four persons, none of whom must make any
mistakes, and all of these services require the accurate
and efficient working of the book carrier system.
Most of these persons who perform this service
receive only $7.00 a week, and the highest paid to any
of them is f 14.00 a week.
HOW THE LIBRARY SYSTEM IS WORKED AS A UXIT.
The great problem in working the Library is to
handle and work its collections in the Central Library
and the Branches and Reading Rooms as a whole. If
each Branch was worked as an independent Library, its
work, though important, would be of very much less
public benefit than it is when worked with the Central
Library. This is done to a large and increasing extent.
If a person using any one of the Branches desires a
book which is not in the Branch collection but is in the
Central collection, application is made by the Branch
Library to the Central and the book is sent to the
Branch. The same is true of applications at Reading
This requires transportation, and the Library hires
two automobile wagons at a cost of over $5,000 a
year, and also uses local expresses somewhat in addi-
tion, to transport books between the Branches and
Reading Rooms and the Central Library, and to engine
houses, public institutions and public and parochial
schools. In the month of March last, nearly 11,000
books were sent to the Branches from the Central
Library upon such individual applications, and over
3,000 volumes were sent on deposit to the various Read-
ing Rooms. During the same month over 18,000 books
were carried by these wagons from the Branches and
Reading Rooms to the Central Library. The State
law which is construed as limiting the hours the drivers
of these wagons can work to eight hours a day and
not to exceed forty-eight hours a week, limits this
method of transportation and makes the service some-
what more expensive than formerly.
LIBRARY COOPERATION WITH SCHOOLS, ETC.
During the past year the Library has been daily sup-
plying with books 28 Branches and Reading Rooms, 46
engine houses, 31 institutions, and 108 public and
parochial schools, and sending out an average of about
400 volumes every day by its delivery wagons. In
addition to this the Branches themselves and two of
the largest Reading Rooms are sending out books on
deposit distributed among 124 places and amounting to
over 16,000 volumes annually, of which over 12,000 are
sent to schools. That is to say, not only is the col-
lection of the Central Library used as a reservoir from
which books may be drawn for use in the Branches
and Reading Rooms, but each of the Branches and
Reading Rooms is in itself a reservoir from which
books are drawn for use by teachers in schools in its
This applies not only to books, but to photographs
and pictures of different kinds mainly for use in schools
in connection with the work of the teachers. These
are sent out from the Central Library to the Branches,
and also from the Branches to the teachers in their
vicinity in portfolios each containing about 25 pictures,
which when used by the teachers are returned. These
collections consist of illustrations of Fine Arts, Physi-
cal and Commercial Geography, colored views of all
countries, types of peoples, industries, transportation,
etc. In November last one Branch issued 200 pictures
in this way, another 350, and another 822. About
10,000 pictures from the Branch collections are annu-
ally lent to reading-rooms, schools and study clubs,
and the Fine Arts Department of the Central Library
also sends out nearly 700 portfolios of pictures to 85
schools. From the Branches and Reading Rooms
about 3(30 teachers are supplied with books for use in
their work, and the school circulation from the
C 24 ] ,
Branches and Reading Rooms is over 80,000 volumes
In addition to this cooperation in the work of the
schools, there is also the work which is done by the
Library employees in providing selected lists of books
asked for by teachers to aid them in their work.
In October last, 30 requests by teachers for books were
received at the Central Library, accompanied by lists of
books desired, varying in number from four volumes to
239 volumes, and 29 similar requests were received
where the teacher gave only the subject upon which
books were desired. Some of these requests may
interest you: u Moths, butterflies and insects. King
Arthur and his Knights. Fifty books pertaining to
geography and American history. A set of books on
Mohammed, the Koran, Ottoman Empire and Sultans.
Works of American poets as many as possible;
Works of English poets a few. A set of books on
Africa or United States history. Books on Indians,
transportation, days of the ' Forty-niners,' Great Lakes,
Mississippi River, homes of people of different nation-
alities, Hudson Liiiy Co. A set of books on the
colonization and development of the country. Two
hundred books, if possible, on Greek history, Greek
literature, Greek plays, travel and social life in Greece,
Greek art, and English and American fiction, myths
of all lands, American literature, nature books.
American history from the close of the Revolution to
the end of the Civil War."
The following books were recently sent to a teacher
of a grammar school upon an application which stated
only the subjects upon which books were required :
Standish of Standish.
Godson of Lafayette.
In Leisler's time.
Century book of American colonies.
Discovery of the old Northwest.
Stories of the Old Bay State.
Heroes of the Middle West.
Cable story book.
Story of the Iliad.
Wonder book of old romance.
Making of New England.
Our first century.
Peeps at many lands.
Story of the thirteen colonies.
American leaders and heroes.
In Eastern wonderlands.
Wanderings of 2Eneas.
True story book.
Animal story book.
Book of ballad stories.
Heroines every child should know.
Old Greek folk stories.
Lobo, Rag, and Vixen.
Hans the Eskimo.
Every day life in the colonies.
Life in Asia.
Toward the rising sun.
Biography of a grizzly.
Under sunny skies.
Story of Japan.
Children's stories in American literature.
HELP GIVEN PERSONS USING THE LIBRARY.
There is also the constant service of the Library to
children and others who come to find books upon
subjects which they wish to study or write about. On
a single day in December 158 children by actual count
came into the rooms of a single Branch Library between
three and five o'clock in the afternoon, and this was
not regarded as an unusual number.
The following are some of the inquiries recently
made for information at one Branch during three days:
" Please tell me the author " of Ken il worth ?
" " " " Tom Brown at Rugby ?
" " " " " " Birds' Christmas Carol ?
" " " ' Tom Sawyer?
In connection with literature:
Something on the life of Socrates.
" " " " " Coleridge.
about William Tel).
" " Robin Hood.
' on Burns's love of nature.
In connection with geography :
Something on Asia.
" " Africa, rivers, etc.
" about the boys of different countries.
In connection with science :
" Can you give me a book explaining the causes of moisture in the
atmosphere ? "
The origin of the tides?
The dragon fly ?
In connection with the study of history :
Something on Draco.
" " the Persian Wars.
" " " Holy Crusades."
"Sir Walter Raleigh.
" " George Washington.
" General Custer.
" " any American leaders or heroes.
" " Pequot War.
" " the English settlers in America.
" " Salem witchcraft.
" about the Lewis and Clark expedition.
" " Barbara Frietchie.
" A book about the Civil War, for a man."
General requests :
Christmas stories, poems, the story of the first Christmas. (Many
Life of Christ.
New Year's poems.
Lives of the Saints. (Many.)
Life and work of Jean Frangois Millet.
" Who was the best author of the life of Napoleon ? What a pity
Carlyle did not write his life."
" Please find " : My hunt after " the Captain."
Breathes there the man, etc.
The discontented pendulum.
' Have you the Speeches of Henry Grattan ? "
" Can you give me a Polish book ? "
" Have you something on Phonics ?"
" Have you something on Whitney's cotton-gin ? "
" Have you the Directory for 1907 ? "
" Do you have the daily papers ? "
A young lady having an old violin asked for some book giving the
name and history of the old makers, violin being dated 1524.
At the Reading Room, 13 Broadway Extension,
among other inquiries for information during two days
recently were the following :
John Law. His method of finance.
Nationality of Cooper's mother.
Enough about the Star Spangled banner for a composition.
How does the number of words in Greek compare with the number
What does Good-bye really mean ?
All about the Lion of St. Marks.
Story of Daniel Boone, for 4th Grade.
Book on initial letters.
Story of Thor.
What books beside stories for a mother to read ? Anything on the
training of children.
Book on the Desolation Islands.
Some of the subjects asked for by readers at Bates
Hall during a few weeks of last year were :
Treatment of the Indians by the United States government.
Theocratic government of New England.
Emulsions in three color photography.
A dream book to tell the meaning of dreams.
Picture of a pallium.
The habitat of the razor fish.
Illustrations of flying machines.
Effects of the District Option law.
Rate of insurance on a building containing a paint shop.
Chi'istrnas in Spain.
Identification of a religious order from the dress on a doll.
The canon of Ptolemy.
" Some nice book. 1 '
Shakespeare's Taming of the " Crew."
" Casero's Essays on senility and friendship " for
Cicero's Essays on old age and friendship.
Mark Antony's Meditations, i.e., Marcus Aurelius Antoninus's
Picture of an apricot for a grocer's label.
The Grub Street Journal.
Coloring of metals.
Silvering of mirrors.
An automobile road book for England.
A medical book for a young man studying to be an undertaker.
The mail-order business.
An occupation adapted to a nervously prostrated man.
King Leopold and the Congo.
San ctifi cation.
Tara and its harp.
Etiquette of mourning.
Effect of colors on human conduct.
Wall street terms.
History of pantomime.
Education of the nervous system.
On one day in the last month readers in Bates Hall
asked information on the following subjects:
Who predicted the greatness of New York City ?
History of the United States.
Martin's History of Franklin County, O.
Express 4 962 000 in Roman characters.
Vocational schools in Boston.
Walt Whitman's works.
Lassalle, the socialist.
Use of egg albumen.
Lowell Institute lectures.
United States fisheries.
Poem of Singing Leaves.
Glaucoma of the eye.
Shakespeare's Henry VIII.
Emma Marshall's novels.
French and German indexes of magazines.
Heads of families in First Census of United States.
Morse's telegraphic code.
Lieutenant Totten's works.
Livery companies of London.
Scarf's history of Texas.
Stories for Junior Christian Endeavor work.
Poetry of the American Revolution.
A portrait of Sir Francis Bernai-d.
List of public schools in Boston.
City of Seattle, Washington.
Life of Nero and newest fiction.
Foreign menus for Christmas dinners.
Climate of Para, Brazil.
Statistics of deaths in Boston, London, Dresden, and Munich.
Boston city government.
Pictures of wood nymphs.
Biographies of prominent men of to-day.
Who was Gassendi ?
Open shelf system in libraries.
" New Thought " books.
Forestry bill in last session of Congress.
Psychic treatment of nervous diseases.
American Book prices current.
East India Company.
Municipal elections in Boston.
United States consular service.
Signs of the Zodiac.
Text-book on Zoology.
United States War Department reports.
Many books were asked for by name, and numerous routine
questions were also asked and answered.
NEWSPAPERS AND PERIODICALS.
The newspaper room at the Central Library, the
papers for which are mainly purchased from the
income of a bequest of the late William C. Todd for
that purpose, has 355 different papers filed for current
reading of which 267 are in the English language, 1(5
French, 16 German, 7 Italian, 7 Spanish, 7 Swedish,
and the rest in 14 other languages, including one in
Old Hebrew, published in Jerusalem, and one in
Tagalese and English, published in the Philippines,
also Greek, Russian, Armenian, Polish, Welsh, Hun-
One paper at least, from every civilized nation, when
obtainable, and at least two papers from every State in
the Union, are taken. Among them are papers from
Buenos Ayres, Rio de Janeiro, Valparaiso, Melbourne,
Sydney, Auckland, Cape Town, Alexandria, Yoko-
hama, Shanghai, Bombay, Calcutta, Hawaii, the Philip-
pines, Cuba, and Porto Rico. Fourteen papers are
taken from Canada and sixty from Massachusetts. The
papers from Boston comprise one in Lettish, three in
German, one in Italian, one in Swedish, and all the
English dailies and weeklies.
The mere opening, filing, and caring for the use of
these papers and selecting from them those which are
to be bound into files, is no inconsiderable task. The
Boston papers and also the leading papers from other
places are bound and preserved in newspaper files
which now include 6,514 bound volumes which are
much used. During the last year about 32,000 news-
paper volumes were consulted by readers.
One thousand four hundred seventy-seven different
periodicals are regularly filed and used in the periodical
room at the Central Library, 110 in the Statistical,
Music, and Fine Arts Departments and in the Children's
Room, making with the 89 taken at the Branches, 1,676
in all. These include all the leading periodicals of the
world in every department of literature and science
and in almost every language, all of which find ready
readers in the periodical room.
Frenchmen, Germans, Russians, Italians, Spaniards,
Poles, Greeks and Scandinavians are among the con-
stant readers who regularly come to the periodical
room as the current numbers of those periodicals are
received, and the workmen of various trades come
regularly to read their trade journals which are not
always accessible to them elsewhere.
The periodical room is generally filled with readers,
and the bound files of periodicals are also extensively
used, the largest use being by students from colleges
and other schools in the vicinity. Four hundred and
seventy-seven different volumes were recently con-
sulted in one day by students from a single college,
and requests for information from bound volumes of
periodicals made to the attendant in charge of the room
cover a very wide range of subjects. The following
recently made illustrate it:
Ancient Babylon, its social and political condition;
Modern Turkey and the social revolution there; Arti-
cles relating to members of the Cabinet; Poems and
pictures on special subjects; Secret Societies in China;
Designs for and descriptions of Floral pageants;
Psycho-therapy; What Jews have done to promote
[ 34 ]
civilization in England; The Course of noted Irishmen
in the world; Technical information on various sub-
jects; Recipes for condiments; Material for use in
school and in college debates.
Periodicals are also taken and on file in the different
Branches, the largest number being 66 at the West
End Reading-room, and the smallest 12 at Orient
There is another work performed by the Public
Library, which, although not extensive, is still impor-
tant, and that is its participation in what is called the
inter-library loans. It frequently happens that a per-
son in another city or town desires a book which his
local library does not have, but which the Boston
Library has. In that case, if the local library makes
application to the Boston Library the book will be lent
to it upon its responsibility for its care and return, and
thus the person who desires it in his own town or city
can have the use of it.
In this way there were lent to libraries during the
year 1907 about 700 volumes, all of which were safely
returned; and there were also lent to libraries outside
Massachusetts about 180. On the other hand, a per-
son by this arrangement can obtain from other libraries
books which the Boston Library does not have in the
same way, but, of course, the balance is very largely in
favor of the outside library, only a small number of
books being borrowed of them by the Boston Library
for use by our citizens.
The most interesting and, I think, one of the most
useful departments in the Library, is required primarily
because children are unable to use a catalogue under-
standingly. Books for children must either be selected
for them by some older person, or the children must
see the books so that they can select for themselves.
The beginning of this department was in a very small
way, when the Central library was opened in the new
building in Copley square, in 1895. Children did not
much frequent the old Library building on Boylston
street where there was no room for them and nothing
to attract them. But when the new building was
opened children came in large numbers and there was
space for them to run about. They soon began to say:
" Please give me a book," " Please, can I see a book?''
and interfere more or less with the working of the li-
brary for others. As an experiment a large round table
was put in a vacant room off Bates Hall and filled with
books suitable for children. It was soon surrounded
by a fringe of small heads of all colors intently examin-
ing the books. Then another table with books was
added, and still another, until the room was filled with
them. This, of course, required an attendant for that
room, and a competent woman was placed in charge
of it to aid the children and to issue books to them
if they had cards upon which they could take them
Six months after, the Trustees spent about $3,000 in
purchasing books for children, and placed them upon
open shelves in this room. Since that time I think the
room has been the most interesting part of the Library.
Children of all nationalities use it, with perfect good
order, and with a degree of attention to the books
which many older persons might well emulate.
Of course, the success of this experiment at the
Central Library was followed by a demand for similar
work at the Branches, and one Branch after another
was fitted up with what is called a " Children's Room,"
a separate room where space will admit, and where
space does not admit a part of the larger room set
apart for the use of the children, until each Branch
and Reading Room now has special accommodation for
children, and special books and pictures for their use.
At the Central Library the care of the Children's
Room, issuing the books, answering questions for infor-
mation, etc., requires the constant service of a most
competent person. At the Branches and Reading
Rooms this work for children is done by the Custodian
The following requests for help were made of the
Custodian of the Children's Room at the Central
Library in three days of December, and the proper
books to meet their needs were recommended to the
applicants. It is not always possible to furnish the
best book on any required subject, as it may be out of
the Library, and the books advised were from those
available at the time :
Story of the Wooden Horse.
A Poeni about a boy pardoned by Lincoln.
Five requests for material on both sides of a debate on Chinese
Rules of order for presiding at a debate.
Music as sound for a composition.
Battle of Lexington.
Information about the buildings and streets of Paris.
Name of the present Secretary of State.
Material on Zinc.
Sir William Wallace.
A request for " Geology " in which to look up ancestors.
Story of Roland.
Story of Bayard.
Story of the golden touch.
A story to read aloud to a group of children.
Story of Massachusetts.
Life of Lincoln.
Number of deaths from tuberculosis each month for two years.
A piece to speak in school.
A good book to give an elevator boy.
A present to a little girl of six.
Description of Christmas.
Description of Murillo's paintings.
The Poem, Night after Christmas.
Many other requests for poems and stories about Christmas.
EXHIBITIONS OF BOOKS, PICTURES, ETC.
When the Central Library was opened in its new
building in 1895 the rare books, engravings and other
treasures of the Library which had been before inacces-
sible to the public, were placed upon exhibition in the
Fine Arts Room from time to time. This was found
to be of so much public interest that exhibitions of this
character are now systematized and programmes of
them published at the beginning of the winter season
in connection with the programmes of lectures.
The exhibitions of pictures are mainly arranged to
illustrate the Library lectures, but outside lectures, such
as those of the Lowell Institute, are also illustrated here
when practicable, and events either of artistic, historical,
or national importance are noticed. Many of the
exhibits have been lent by friends of the Library, as
Issues of the Kelmscott Press, Portraits of George
Washington, Bookplates by Boston artists, Prayer
Books, a collection of Valentines, Fine Book Bindings,
Among the historical exhibits may be mentioned
those in celebration of the anniversaries of Sebastian
Cabot, Americus Vespucins, Hans Holbein, W. L.
Garrison, H. W. Longfellow, John Milton, Transfer of
the Bradford Manuscript, and among important events
illustrated, the death of Pope Leo XIII., coronation of
Edward VII., the War with Spain, visits to Boston by
Admiral Dewey, by Prince Henry of Prussia, and by
General Kuroki of Japan, also the Old Home Week
of last year, the Grand Army Convention, and the
Convention of American Medical Association.
Exhibitions of pictures are also regularly held in the
Branches and Heading 1 Rooms, the programme of them
being published in the quarterly bulletin. The pictures
are mainly furnished from the Central Library and
hung upon rods in the Branches and Reading Rooms.
They are designed to illustrate matters which are of
immediate general interest to the public, like the cruise
of the United States Fleet, which was illustrated each
month by a different set of pictures of scenes in the
different countries visited by the fleet; or subjects
which are being studied at the time by persons using
the Library. The following list of recent exhibitions
at one Branch and one Reading Room may be taken
Mansions of England in the Olden
CRUISE OF THE UNITED STATES
The Atlantic Coast of the U.S.
Islands of the Pacific.
Beading Room Exhibition.
ENGLAND'S HISTORY AS PICTURED
BY FAMOUS ARTISTS :
B.C. 150-A.D. 1154.
1154-1485. The Plantagenets ;
Lancaster and York.
1485-1603. The Tudors.
1603-1714. The Stuarts.
1714-1900. The House of Han-
Alaska and the Eskimaux.
From twenty to twenty-five lectures are regularly
given in the Lecture Hall of the Library every year,
admission to which is free to all, and for which no
compensation is paid to the persons who lecture.
These lectures are mostly on subjects connected with
the fine arts, and with special regard to the aesthetic
development of cities. Courses have also been given
on Civic Art, the Resources of the Library, Museum of
Fine Arts, the three Museums of Harvard College by
the Curators of each, the Harvard College Library by
its Librarian, Library of Congress, etc. Some of the
lecturers have been Charles W. Eliot, Thomas "W.
Higginson, Edward Everett Hale, A. Lawrence
Lowell, Dr. William Everett, and many of the leading
The course of lectures being delivered this season
includes among others, "A Trip to Brazil," "Art in
Photography, with special reference to Natural Color,"
" Modern City Planning," " Civic Centres and the
Grouping of Public Buildings," " The Hill Towns of
Italy," " The Building Up of Boston," " Constanti-
nople,'' " A Tour through Greece," " Along the
Dalmatian Coast," "On the Study of Art," and "John
Strictly speaking the Library has no revenue as
such. It has only receipts as follows, viz., in 1907-8:
From sale of Catalogues, etc $102.96
From pay telephone commission 93.79
Sale of waste paper 75.19
Money found 16.61
Fines for detention of books 5,584.02
FINES FOR DETENTION OF BOOKS.
Books are issued for home use either for seven or
fourteen days. In order to secure their return within
that time a fine of two cents a day is imposed after the
expiration of the time, to be paid by the card holder
before any more books are issued upon the card. The
approximate number of persons paying such fines
during the year 1907 was 63,060, who paid an average
per person of 8.8 cents, amounting in the aggregate
to $5,584.02. This was all paid into the City Treasury,
as required by law, although the work of collecting
and accounting for it in such small amounts was not
SUPPLIES, REPAIRS AND CONTRACTS.
JSTo supplies are purchased or repairs made without
vote of the Trustees. At each weekly meeting the
Librarian submits a list of these which, upon examina-
tion and revision, is voted by the Trustees, and then
transmitted to the Library Auditor as authority for
the purchase and repairs. All orders for such supplies
or repairs are in writing, signed by the Librarian, and
numbered to correspond with the stub record, upon
which is minuted the date of the list authorized by the
Trustees on which the item appears, and the number
of the item on that list. Bills rendered are checked
up from the stub record, and the receipt of the goods
or the completion of the repairs is certified by the head
of the department to which the goods are delivered,
or in which the work is done, or if the receipt is for
supplies to be kept in stock their receipt is certified by
the custodian of the stock room. The bill then goes to
the Library Auditor, who certifies it as correctly fig-
ured. It is then endorsed by the Librarian, presented
to the Trustees, and its payment voted by them. A
requisition is then drawn by the Library Auditor upon
the City Auditor for the payment, which is signed by
the President of the Trustees, and attested by the
Clerk of the Corporation.
Supplies are disbursed from the stock room only
upon requisition by the head of each department for
which any supply is needed, which must be approved
by the Librarian, and is then honored by the custodian
of the stock room, who keeps a record showing all
purchases, from whom purchased, amount paid, dis-
tribution by day, month and year to the several depart-
ments of the Library, and at the end of each year
makes a summary account showing under each depart-
ment the amount and cost of the supplies furnished to
it, itemized under the several articles.
The originals of all contracts made are filed with the
City Auditor, and a duplicate copy with the Library
Auditor, and under the State law requiring it a copy
of each contract is also deposited in the office of the
WAGES AND SALARIES.
The employees in the Binding and Printing Depart-
ment are paid union wages and work union hours.
All other employees who are classed either as " laborers,
workmen or mechanics " are employed at wages prevail-
ing in those employments and at hours fixed by the
State law applicable to cities which have accepted its
provisions, as Boston has, at " not more than eight
hours in any one calendar day, or more than forty-eight
hours in any one week."
The other employees of the Library, constituting
the regular Library staff, to which I have before
referred, are two hundred nineteen in number. These
employees are paid salaries fixed by votes of the Trus-
tees, and of these employees 79 are males and 149 are
females. The average compensation of all these per-
sons, including the Librarian, Assistant Librarian and
Heads of Departments, is $670.45 a year, the average
of all the males being $853.90 and of the females
$584.28 a year.
Excluding the Librarian, Assistant Librarian and ten
other persons employed as Heads of Departments, the
average salary paid to the remaining 207 persons is
$585.34 a year. Of these 207 persons, 78 are males
who receive the average salary of $610.12 a year, and
129 are females who receive the average salary of
$575.22 a year.
The Custodians of Branches, which are really libra-
ries in themselves, are all women, and the highest
salary paid to any one of them is $910 a year.
A vacation without loss of pay is allowed to each
employee in the regular force of two days in each
month, or twenty-four days for each full year's service.
One-half of this vacation is allowed to all other
employees. Beyond this no person is paid while not
actually on duty, except by special vote of the Trustees
in an occasional case of extreme hardship from sickness.
No person is added to the regular pay-roll, nor is
the salary of any employee on the pay-roll increased,
without a specific vote of the Trustees in the form of
an order in each case, an attested copy of which is
filed with the City Auditor.
PUBLICITY OF THE LIBRARY WORK.
The following regular reports and official statements
are made relating to the administration of the Library :
1. A monthly report is made to the Mayor showing
the receipts and expenditures for the current month.
2. A complete statement must be made to the
Mayor, for printing in a report issued May 1st in each
year, showing the name, residence, rate of salary or
wage and the kind of work done by each employee.
3. An annual report is made by the Trustees to the
Mayor, and with this are incorporated the reports of
the Librarian and Library Auditor showing in detail
the condition and operations of the Library for the
year, and also the report of the Examining Committee.
This annual report is printed and publicly circulated,
sent to the press and to other libraries.
4. The weekly pay rolls are made in duplicate,
showing the name of each person employed, the char-
acter of the service performed, the rate of salary or
wage, and the amount payable to every such person for
the week. These are prepared and signed by the
Library Auditor, and after the approval attested by
signature of the Librarian, must be signed and sworn
to by the President of the Trustees. Each set of rolls
requires 19 large sheets. They are sent to the State
Civil Service Commission, and their certification of
approval affixed, after which one set is sent to the City
Auditor as the warrant for the weekly payment of the
employees, and the duplicate set is filed in the office of
the State Commission.
5. Besides these regular reports and statements
others are made from time to time as requested by the
Mayor or other officials entitled to receive them.
6. The bulletins, weekly lists of books added to the
Library, special finding-lists issued from time to time,
and other library publications also give information
as to the work of the Library.
An Examining Committee is also annually appointed
of citizens residing in different parts of the City to
examine the Library and report upon its condition and
operation as required by the City ordinance. Their
report is required to be printed with the annual report
of the Trustees to the City government, and is of
much value in the working of the Library. Our most
eminent citizens have been willing to serve on this
important Committee. Among others may be men-
tioned Phillips Brooks, "William Byrne, Patrick A.
Collins, Samuel Elliot, Henry L. Pierce, "William H.
Prescott, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Alexander H. Rice,
Benjamin F. Thomas, George Ticknor, Carroll D.
Wright, Walbridge A. Field, Chief Justice of the
Supreme Court, Robert Grant, Hasket Derby, Robert
C. "Winthrop, and Lucius Tuttle.
MONEY FOR MAINTAINING AND WORKING THE
Substantially all the money which the Trustees can
use for the maintenance and working of the library
system comes from the annual appropriation by the
City Council. The income from Trust funds, that is,
property given to the Trustees in trust for the uses of
the Library, amounts to about $16,000 a year. These
funds are by law required to be invested by the City
Treasurer under the direction of the Finance Com-
mittee of the City, and are invested in the bonds of the
City, which makes the income from them small.
January 1, 1908, $418,350 of these Trust funds was
invested in Citv bonds. Of this $10,500 bore three
/ TT /
per cent interest; $187,400 three and a half per cent;
$219,450 four per cent; and $100 five per cent. The
income received from them in 1907 was $15,702. This
income can only be used for the specific purposes of
the several .trusts under which it is held, which vary
widely. Some are for the purchase of books for a
separate branch; some for the addition of books to
special collections, such as books on government and
political economy, books in the Spanish and Portuguese
languages, valuable rare editions of books, books of a
military and patriotic character, books in memory of
specific persons, and in one case only for books pub-
lished before 1850.
The appropriations by the City Council are made
upon detailed estimates annually submitted by the
Trustees to the Mayor, showing what they think will
be required for the work of the Library during the next
financial year. These estimates are made in detail, and
show in parallel columns the amount expended in the
previous year for each item of expense, as for instance,
fuel, postage, salaries, printing, supplies, etc., and the
amount estimated to be required for the same item the
next year, with a specific note of the increase or
decrease in each item. These estimates are transmitted
to the City Council by the Mayor with his statement
of the total amount he recommends should be appro-
priated, and the City Council then appropriate a total
amount which the Trustees are to spend upon the
Library for the next year.
You see, therefore, that the Trustees have no control
over the amount of money which is to be made avail-
able to them for the work of the Library. They must
maintain and work the Library as well as they can
upon the amount which the City Council appropriate.
During the past eight years the estimates of the Trus-
tees, the recommendations by the Mayor, and the
amounts appropriated by the City Council have been
BY CITY COUNCIL.
$300 000 00
$302 000 00
310 144 67
305 000 00
300 000 00
305 500 00
305 500 00
300 000 00
305 000 00
1905 . . . . .
310 000 00
310 000 00
320 000 00
324 550 00
326 100 00
325 000 00
325 000 00
332 800 00
325 000 00
310 000 00
The percentage of increase in these appropriations
during these years has been less than the percentage
of increase in the population of the city during that
time. But although the service of the Library has been
extended in various directions for the public con-
venience the Trustees have not been able lawfully to
exceed the amount annually appropriated for it, nor
have they received by transfer, or otherwise, anything
from the city treasury in addition to the amount of the
appropriation in each year.
The principal increase in the expense of the adminis-
tration of the Library since 1901 has been caused by the
establishment of Reading Rooms and delivery stations,
now in every case transformed into Reading Rooms,
in different parts of the city, by means of which the
people in outlying districts have the collections of the
Central Library brought near to them, and may receive
books therefrom, without the necessity of coming to
the Central Library Building in Copley square. The
work of the Branches and Reading Rooms, including
important work with the schools of the city, is of much
benefit to the various parts of the city in which they are
located, and promotes the convenience of the public by
extending their use of the library.
The payments made from the city appropriations for
the expenses of the Central Library, including the
printing and binding departments, increased during
the years 1901-1907 less than two per cent, while the
payments from the same source for the expenses of
Branches and Reading Rooms increased about twenty-
five per cent.
COMPARATIVE EXPENSES FOE, MAINTENANCE,
Boston expends annually for free public libraries
$45.83 as against $54.17 expended in all the other 32
cities in the Commonwealth combined, that is to say,
with a population of only 41 5/10 per cent of the popu-
lation in the other 32 cities combined, Boston spends
annually for public library purposes 84 6/10 per cent of
the entire aggregate expense of all the other 32 cities
for similar purposes. Or, stated in another form, with a
population four-tenths as large as the combined popu-
lation of the other 32 cities combined, Boston expends
for public library maintenance more than eight-tenths
as much as the other 32 cities combined.
Boston expends annually for public library purposes
about 56 cents per capita of all its population; while
the other 32 cities expend only 27 1/2 cents per capita
for their entire combined population.
The expense for public library purposes in the towns
of the Commonwealth is not reported so as to be avail-
able for comparison, but if such expense corresponds
with the value of the property put to public library
uses in the towns, which may perhaps be fairly
assumed, it would appear that Boston, with less than
20 per cent of the aggregate population of all the other
cities and town^ in the Commonwealth, expends for
public library purposes about 71 per cent of the expense
for similar purposes by all the other cities and towns.
In this connection it may be noted that Boston
spends annually for all municipal purposes $26.69 per
capita of its population, while the other 32 cities
together expend annually for similar purposes only
$13.97 per capita of their combined population. The
average annual expense per capita for municipal pur-
poses of all the cities including Boston is $17.70, vary-
ing from $9.58 in Chicopee to $26.69 in Boston.
If it is asked why the working of the Boston Public
Library should be so much more expensive than the
working of the libraries of other cities in Massa-
chusetts the answer is obvious. First, because the
Boston Public Library is much larger and is worked to
a greater degree of efficiency than the other libraries.
It has more to do with and it does more with what
it has than the other libraries. It does more things
to cause books and other library material to be
conveniently and extensively used, and it works over
[ 51 ]
a very much larger area and with more different
instrumentalities than the other libraries.
Second, Because it is the only great free library
for all the people of Massachusetts. The Common-
wealth gave the City of Boston a considerable portion
of the land upon which the Central Library building
stands upon condition that the building erected thereon,
and its contents, should at all times be free to the use
of all citizens of the Commonwealth. The land thus
given to the city for this purpose is now worth about
$800,000 as land. The Library is also the only free
scholars' library in Massachusetts, that is to say, it is
the only free library where scholars can conduct
scholarly research. It is situated at the center of a
district containing at least a million and a half people
who can by modern means of communication go to the
Library and return to their homes each day, and many
of them do so. The citizen of Lowell or of Taunton,
or of any other place within no greater distance from
Boston, who wishes to use a library in the preparation
of a book, or in some matter of scholarly research,
would not go to his local library because he would
know that while he might find there some of the
material required, he would not find sufficient for his
purpose, and therefore he would go to the Boston
Public Library, where he would find a larger amount
of material than could possibly be given by any other
free library in the Commonwealth.
The result, therefore, is to throw upon the tax-
payers of Boston not only the expense of working the
books and material of its own library for the benefit of
its own citizens, but also the expense of working much
of its books and library material for the benefit of all
the citizens of the Commonwealth who desire to use it.
Every municipality within fifty miles of Boston governs
its own library expenditures for buildings, books and
maintenance by this fact. It knows that, as its people
who require the most expensive books, the most valu-
able library material for their use, will find them in the
Boston Public Library, therefore it does not need to
provide them itself.
To illustrate, the town of Brookline, with ample
means to build an expensive library building, did, as I
am told, reduce the cost of the building to be erected
to a much less sum than was originally proposed,
because it was said that every inhabitant of Brookline
could go and come from the Boston Public Library
and use that.
It is also true that the expense of working a large
library system over a large area is proportionately
greater than the expense of working a small library.
One peculiarity of the working of a library system
is that the expense and waste of the working increases
disproportionately to the additions which are made to
the collection. A library system is like a telephone
system, where each additional subscriber dispropor-
tionately increases the cost of working the whole
system. The expense and waste of efficiently working
a collection of a million books is more than ten times
as great as the expense and waste of working one
hundred thousand books, because each book is worked
in connection with every other.
As it is true that the Public Library System is of
value only as it is used, and that to produce the
utmost value from its use it should be used to the limit
of its capacity, so it is equally true that the increasing
use of it produces a disproportionately greater increase
in the expense and waste of working. Books that
are transported frequently and over a large area of
use wear out proportionately faster than they would if
they were transported less frequently and over a smaller
Again, books for general use wear out very rapidly.
Volumes that are purchased at an average cost of
$ 1.03, which, as I have said, is the average price paid
for books bought with appropriations by the City
Council, are not only books which wear out because
they are in constant use, but they are necessarily of
such paper, typography, and binding as to wear out
rapidly by use. The cost of replacing such books,
either with new books of the same kind or with new
editions or other books upon the same subject, is very
great, and causes a great and constantly increasing
PURPOSE OF THE PUBLIC LIBRARY.
The primary purpose of a free public library, sup-
ported by taxation, is to give the use of good books
and other educational library material to persons who
might not otherwise enjoy such use. But it is also of
great public importance that a library should within
the means at its command afford opportunity for study
and research by scholars and students. In doing 1 this
our Library supplements the work of our public schools
and of the university. It places the highest special
knowledge at the service of all our citizens without
charge and without unnecessary detail or formality.
It touches the elementary and common need, and begins
with the child who has just learned to read and aids
him in the common school. To most of the graduates
of our grammar schools who pass at once into active
life, the Library stands in place of the high school, the
academy and the college, and it is to them a university.
In the aggregate of all its services, the Boston Public
Library should be and I believe is in itself a system of
education for all and free to all.
The distinguishing characteristic of the education
given by a public Library is that it is not imposed
upon the person who has it. The education of the
schools is to a greater or less extent imposed upon
those who receive it, and it is necessarily general in
its character, without regard, to any great extent, to
the individual needs of the persons who receive it.
The schools must educate persons in classes and upon
general lines of knowledge. The Library, however,
educates only in response to individual wants and
demands. Everything that is done by it is done in
response to requests from individuals who ask for that
which they each want most. Every one of the million
and a half volumes issued by the Boston Public
Library in a year for direct home use is issued because
some particular person wants that book. Every book
consulted in the Central Library or its Branches or
Reading Rooms, every newspaper consulted, every man-
uscript, every picture furnished for use is furnished
because some particular person asks for it, presumably
because he needs it. It is obvious that education of
this kind is likely to be more effective in the develop-
ment of individuals along the lines of which they are
each capable than any system of education which deals
with individuals in classes, and imposes upon them cer-
tain required courses of study and investigation.
One of the most interesting things about the Boston
Public Library is the extent to which it has been
created, developed, and worked by voluntary and unpaid
service. None of its Trustees has ever received any
compensation, a large part of its collections have been
given to it, while nearly five hundred citizens have
served from time to time upon its important Examining
Committee, many of whom have given much time and
performed excellent service in that capacity. I am
sure there is no similar institution anywhere which has
been promoted and developed by more unselfish, con-
stant, and effective civic effort. The City govern-
ment representing the taxpayers has also been liberal
in its appropriations for the support of the Library.
In its appropriation for the erection of the Central
Library building Boston has been munificent beyond
any other American city.
All this has been, I believe, because the Library has
been a library for the people, free ta all, far fhe intelli-
gent education of all.
It was the original design of the wise, sagacious, and
public-spirited citizens who promoted the foundation of
this great Public Library that it should be a means oi
education for all. Such has been the course of its
development up to this time, and such, I believe, should
be its future development. Of course, this means con-
stantly increasing appropriations of money by the tax-
payers. In my judgment the proper maintenance and
working of the Library system as it is now maintained
and worked as a means of popular education, for which
taxation can be well justified, now requires an annual
appropriation of not less than $350,000. Without this,
the Library system will fail to be efficiently worked to
its capacity for the education of our people, and its
usefulness will surely decrease. The Library cannot
pimply mark time. It must either march forward, or
fall behind in its work.
I know the sum I have named is a large sum of
money, but it is only two one-hundredths of one per
cent of the tax valuation of the City and only one and
fifty-eight one-hundredths per cent of the annual tax
appropriation. I believe it will be well spent in aiding
to produce that intelligence of our people upon which
security of person and property in a free state must
Cities and states are not made great by economy,
but rather by judicious and even lavish expenditure
for proper public purposes. It is true in civil as in
personal affairs that "There is that scattereth and yet
increaseth ; and there is that withholdeth more than
is meet, but it tendeth to poverty." No money spent
for the education of the people, whose intelligence is
the only basis of good government, is ever wasted.
Property in a civilized state is only a creation of the
law of the state. Our title to our houses and lands, to
the goods and wares in our shops and stores, to the
stocks, bonds, and other obligations which we call
investments, depends solely upon the law which secures
us in the enjoyment of them and permits us to trans-
mit them to our children and others by will.
This law rests either upon that intelligence which
creates just laws and causes them to be willingly
obeyed, or upon force, which compels them to be
obeyed. Security of property, therefore, depends upon
education or upon force, and I believe that free public
libraries worked for the education of the people are
better safeguards of the rights of person and property
than policemen and battalions.
Not to be taken
from this room
Not to be taken from this room
NEWBURYPORT PUBLIC LIBRARY
3 2128 00068 430 9