« PreviousContinue »
chiefly with the card catalogue and the Branch Finding List. Later, the books of the collections will be taken up, but a thorough knowledge of the catalogues and finding lists is of the first importance in assisting the public.
EXTENSION OF HOURS.
The extension of hours, which was begun in January, 1902, has proved valuable. The Jamaica Plain Branch, which did not make the change last year, adopted it on December 15th last, so that all the branches except West Roxbury are now open till 9 P.M. every week-day. The Jamaica Plain Branch has also been open on Sunday since January last, and the South End and West Roxbury Branches are the only ones which remain closed on that day during the winter, the former because of its nearness to the Central Library. The statistics of Sunday attendance and issue at the branches show a marked increase.
BOOKS AND CATALOGUES.
The event of the year has been the issue of the consolidated Branch Finding List, for which preparations have been made for a long time. The previous lists have been only of accessions since June 1, 1897, but this one, which is the fifth of the series, contains all the important titles common to the branches, to the number of about 5,500. It represents naturally the newer books and those most in demand. Instead of an annual edition of the Branch Finding List, it will be practicable, for three years or more, merely to enter the accessions in the Monthly Bulletin, and to publish them in the Annual List at the end of each year.
The new books for the branches number 4,559 volumes for the year, as against 6,414 in 1901; the replacements, 2,719, as against 2,272 in 1901. Of current fiction there were bought only 711 volumes—representing sixty-three titles—as against 2,187 volumes the year before.
REPAIRS AND IMPROVEMENTS.
As usual, a considerable amount of furniture has been provided for the branches. Several lunch-rooms for the employees have been fitted up. The interior of the South End Branch has been replastered and repainted. In addition to considerable improvements in light and heating, ventilation has received attention, and various devices have been employed at certain branches.
The cost of the branches has been $54,478.78, as against $55,435.90 in 1901. Allowance must be made, however, for the binding of the fiction and juvenile books since July, which does not appear here. The amount spent for books is
$1,231.16 less than in 1901.
Besides minor changes in the personnel of the branches, including changes of janitors at Brighton, Dorchester, and Jamaica Plain, Miss Alice M. Robinson was appointed Custodian of the South Boston Branch in March last, in place of Miss N. J. Bullard, who had resigned after nearly twenty years of service.
An additional assistant has been employed at the Jamaica Plain Branch.
The branch officers have recently been directed to keep a record of the use of each book in their collection by placing the stamp of the year upon the book card, which serves as a charging slip, and filing the card when it is filled.
The back numbers of certain foreign periodicals have been sent from the Central Library to branches and stations where there seemed to be a demand for them, and the practice was extended to newspapers this year on the recommendation of the Examining Committee. For example, two Greek newspapers, one published at Athens and the other at New York, are sent regularly to Station P, which is situated in a district where many Greeks live.
As has been seen, the close of the year 1902–03 finds the Library supplying with deposits of books sixty-six public schools, as against forty-four at the end of the previous year. Many more classes in individual schools are supplied than last year, and the exchanges are more frequent. The total number of volumes sent to the schools was 12,261, as against 5,820 in the previous year.
Applications for cards have been taken again in nearly all the high and grammar schools of the city. The labor and time involved have been naturally much less this year.
Further effort has been made to provide books suitable for school children at the branches and in the deposit collection. Books on geography were purchased to meet an insistent demand, and many very juvenile books on all subjects were added. Good books of the latter class are very rare. In the case of high schools, the books regularly in demand which the branches could not furnish have been systematically added to all the branches, as well as an additional copy or two to the Central Library. Twenty-seven vacation schools and playgrounds were supplied during the summer, eleven of them from the branches. Four evening schools are now supplied with books as against none last year. With the officers of the city schools there has been continued coöperation. The report of the Superintendent for the year 1901 summed up thoroughly the work of the Library, and helped to increase interest among the teachers. He has recently issued a circular recommended by the Committee on Coöperation, in which special attention is called to the instruction in the use of the Library which is given in the form of talks by the head of the Children's Room at the Central Library, and to the facilities offered at the branches to teachers who wish to bring classes during school hours. The school children now crowd the branches. As one custodian says in her report: “The children are beginning to monopolize the branch.” But this difficulty can be met. From a library standpoint the parochial schools may be considered public schools. By an arrangement therefore with the Supervisor of Parochial Schools, deposits of books have lately been sent by the Library to six of them designated by him. I have visited each one of these schools.
The stations, schools, institutions, and engine-houses show a total circulation of 426,281, a gain of 4,116 volumes over the previous year. Twelve stations have lost in circulation.
The cost of the stations has been $22,074.94, as against $20,413.28 in 1901. The expense of Station C (Parker Memorial), of the enlargement of Station F (Mt. Bowdoin Reading Room), and of a third wagon are the chief causes of this increase.
On March 31 last, Station C, the South End Reading Room, was opened at 55 Berkeley street. This raised the number of service stations to thirteen. The station occupies a large room on the ground floor with space for sixty readers. It is well supplied with reference books and magazines. The room, together with heat and janitor service, was offered to the Library by the Benevolent Fraternity of Churches, and the station is therefore a coöperative one, like Stations N, S, U, and W. The givers also lent a collection of over five hundred books, and have provided regularly several newspapers. Owing to its nearness to the South End Branch and Station P (Broadway Extension) — which badly lacked space for readers — Station C was expected to supplement these agencies rather than to develop a large circulation of its own. And in fact it has been primarily a reading room, though the circulation has been respectable, amounting for ten months to 8,501 volumes. The result in one case of coöperation between the Library and other organizations may be seen by the following quotation taken from the Catholic Associate, published by the Catholic Young Men's Association of St. Patrick’s Church, which has given rooms, heat, light, and janitor service for Station N since its opening in August, 1900: “The Association has had no cause to regret its action. . . . There is no need for children in the district to read “dime novels' or for adults to read trash. . . . Go to the Library and get a card. . . . When no one in the family patronizes the Public Library you are paying for what you do not use. This may be charitable on your part, but it is not altogether creditable unless you yourself have a good selection of books at home.” At Station W (North Bennet Street Industrial School) a new reading room for women and older girls has been opened. It continues to be true that this station draws more books by several thousand volumes yearly from the Central Library than any other station or branch. Though 540 volumes have been added this year to the permanent collection of Station B (Roslindale Reading Room), yet with less than 3,000 volumes on the shelves it could not be expected to maintain the last year's circulation of 44,870 volumes, more than that of some branches. Yet it has almost done so, the circulation for this year being 42,779 volumes. Of late the reading room has received regularly most of the current books which are sent to the branches. * Station F, the Mt. Bowdoin Reading Room, has been enlarged to double its size, and new furniture has been provided. New books to the amount of about 500 volumes have been bought. An assistant to the Custodian has been engaged, and the hours considerably extended. The circulation has increased more than 4,000 volumes. General Hazard Stevens and other residents of Mt. Bowdoin have given pictures and plants to the value of $45.
Station P (Broadway Extension), has a large circulation, amounting this year to 32,019 volumes, and a large number of readers. The sanitary conditions, which are very bad, were investigated by the Board of Health in October. Some additional ventilation has been provided, and the possibility of new quarters considered, but the proposed changes were not found practicable. Twice the space now occupied would be none too much for this reading room. It is, for adults as well as children, a real educational force in the district. Although the circulation of the station has been a little greater for the year, within the last few months it has shown a decrease. I quote the following passage from the report of the custodian :
“To this lack of popular fiction nine out of ten of our constituents would lay the decrease of circulation. The tenth man, being more observing, would say that the decrease would have been much more but for the strength of the deposit fiction collection and the effort made to bring forward forgotten good old novels. There is a certain satisfaction in catering to a people without preconceived ideas who will read anything that interests them without reference to the reviews of the Bookman or the Nation. They may prefer the last book advertised in the street cars, but they will read an attractive story of any period.”
Reference work at the service stations has been encouraged in all practicable ways. From twenty to forty important reference books have been added to the collection at each station. The total number of books of reference at the ordinary service station is now one hundred and fifty. More are needed, but the equipment of the service stations for reference work is no longer entirely inadequate.
On November 1 last, Station K, Bird-street Delivery Station, was discontinued upon the resignation of the Custodian. This discontinuance of the station reduces the number of shop stations to eight.
The institutions supplied number twice as many as last year. In connection with the Anna Ticknor Library, circulars have been sent to a number of institutions, calling attention to the opportunity which it offers.
In August last a collection of books — largely books on nature — was sent to a reading room in the Refectory Build