« PreviousContinue »
and that in general they have sought so to watch over its interests, as to make it what it should be and what they believe it is,
a blessing to the City of Boston.
J. COFFIN JONES BROWN. PUBLIC LIBRARY, 13 November, 1861.
REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE OF EXAMINATION.
THE Committee appointed “to examine the Library and make report of its condition to the Trustees," in accordance with Sect. 7, of the Ordinance of October 14, 1852, have discharged that duty, and make the annexed
An examination of the Library discloses the following facts, which the Committee have arranged according to the precedents observed by their predecessors in office.
THE BOOKS. -- The additions made to the Library since it was last officially examined, have been as follows: Printed volumes.
6,674 Maps and charts
PURCHASE FROM INCOME OF TRUST FUNDS AND APPROPRIATIONS.
DONATIONS INCLUDING THE PARKER BEQUEST.
Total of books and other objects added this year
The Committee would state that the above aggregates have been arrived at by the actual enumeration of the accurate and accomplished Superintendent.
A grateful duty of the Committee is to recognize bequests and donations, which are the life of all libraries, and to refer to those which have been made to our own since the last examination. The rich legacy of that eminent scholar, the Rev. Theodore Parker, has been enhanced by Mrs. Parker, who, in a spirit of noble liberality, has waived all claims upon the books given to her by the testament of her late husband. These books, including 11,061 volumes and 3,088 pamphlets, have been placed temporarily upon the shelves, but in accordance with the wise and expressed wish of the donor, they will probably be kept together- a monument of his industry and scholarship. The value of this choice library is not to be estimated by the number of volumes which it contains. It is a collection made for his own use, by a man of great and various crudition, and, in several special departments of human learning, it is uncommonly full and curious.
The Library has continued to receive from abroad substantial evidence of the good-will with which it is regarded in the universal republic of letters. From the Emperor of the French have been received noble copies of his own works and those of his illustrious predecessor; and the Patent Commissioners of Great Britain have added to their previous gifts 68 volumes, of which 33 are in folio. A reference to the Annual Report of the Superintendent (Appendix AA.) will show the continuous and unflagging interest felt in the Public Library, not only at home, but in other parts of the civilized world.
The records of the Library show a circulation of the books, which must be in the highest degree gratifying to the friends of public intelligence. The following table exhibits the circulation during the present and several previous years: –
The number of books loaned per diem throughout the last year exceeds by 15.5 per cent. and by an aggregate of 9,857 volumes the loans of the year preceding; and these loans, in the opinion of the Superintendent, will be materially increased by the opening of the Upper Hall for circulation of the books,
most of which can now be borrowed.
The following additional statements respecting the circulation, are presented in a condensed form:-
New names inscribed during the year
4,522 Total of names inscribed
22,660 Books unaccounted for, 5th November, 1861
340 Missing books reclaimed, for 1860
119 Missing books unreclaimed, for 1860.
143 Books worn out this year ,
261 Books replaced
157 Books condemned since opening new building
661 Books condemned and replaced
432 Duplicates presented to city troops
440 Fines collected this year
·$81.00 The more the affairs of the Institution are investigated and understood, the more the Municipal Government will be satisfied with its condition and usefulness. The following facts may be relied upon:
1. By a careful examination concerning the character of the books in the Lower Hall of the Library, it appears that there
835 vols. or 4.3
On American History
amusement in French, German,
1,734 1,316 2,820 1,278 2,411 4,530
All being in English except the 1,734 in French, German, and Italian, as stated above.
This is believed to be a fair proportion of light literatute for the popular demand, and probably is as great as a public library, which depends on resources furnished to it by the taxes out of the City treasury, or by benevolent, public-spirited men who desire the improvement rather than the mere amusement of the community, would be justified in purchasing. It is not easy, however, to ascertain what the public demand is. But, three times within the last year a count was made of those who went away without books, and the result was that less than 3 per cent. of those who applied for books failed, and of these nearly all asked only for novels.
* This number taken from the shelf-lists varies, it may be noticed, from the number actually upon the shelves; because some of the books worn out or lost - mostly surplus copies — have not yet been replaced.