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The public schools should stand anxious to increase the scope of their usefulness, and become so far as they may, to all the children of the state, the door of opportunity, as they now are to all the normal children of the state. That we should so order our system of public education that we may care not only for the normal, but for the great majority of those who depart from the normal type, either through lack of some bodily power or sense, such as sight or hearing, or through some intellectual lack, where that lack is not such as to render them incapable of leading self-directed lives. That our search in this direction should not ease until we have brought within the magic circle of our people's schools all the classes of defective or atypical children, except those unfitted by their misfortune to lead self-controlled, self-directed and selfsupporting lives; and have made it possible, in these schools, for them to receive the special care and special educational facilities which they require, while at the same time remaining in their homes, in the care of father and mother in the companionship of brothers and sisters, approaching more and more nearly, as their educational years pass by, to the normal type of the society in which they must take their places, tending less and less to become members of a class apart, unseeking and unsought by their normal fellow men.
THE SCHOOL AND THE LIBRARY
J. W. OLSEN, STATE SUPERINTENDENT OF PUBLIC INSTRUCTION, ST. PAUL,
To be a true teacher, he who would instruct must have the power of seeing education in all its varied, finished entirety. The part must never appear to him greater than the whole. He must ever have before him a definite ideal of the manhood and womanhood into which he would have boyhood and girlhood develop, and must levy upon every means of help within the range of his personal experience, supplemented by the best from universal pedagogics. His endeavor must be to train girls and boys to bear "without abuse" the names of gentlemen and gentlewomen, to wear the names men and women worthily as befits the sons and daughters of God. He must recognize the value of that education which is the outgrowth of communion with nature— appreciation of the charms of sea and sky and land; of that which comes from sympathy with one's fellow -men, from keen competition with active rivals; of that which comes from actual contact with things in workshop or laboratory, from plowing straight furrows-from the solving of life's problems not found in books. Since there is a whole realm of nature and beauty and art around us, he must spur to individual observation, to individual reasoning, to individual reflection. And out of the fulness of his own mental life, the duty is peculiarly his, not to pour book knowledge, as into a sieve or a tank, but to create by well-timed relation, to foster by wise suggestion, the love for the best in literature, the ability to seek and find the best. "Observation and meditation are more valuable than mere absorption," yet Carlyle is right (when
fully understood) in saying, "The true university of these days is a collection of books. All education is to teach how to read." A chest of tools and its bestowal upon a man who has neither knowledge of their use nor interest in their possibilities will not make a carpenter.
Some thirty years ago a poor, fatherless boy of fourteen, come upon by a townsman reading a novel of the yellow-back, yellow-page variety, was told rather brusquely that he was putting his time and brains to poor uses, and was asked why he did not read the good books of the circulating library of the place. On his reluctant admission that he could not afford to pay the annual fee of three dollars, his interlocutor offered to pay it for him on condition that the boy's first reading should be four books that he would name. The lad happily agreed, and tho he never afterwards was able to attend school, he is today a useful, educated man, conversant with the best in English literature, a ready writer, an eloquent public speaker of national reputation; and his success in life he attributes to this timely interest in his boyhood life, by which his attention was directed toward and his admission secured in Carlyle's "university." And if this one man's future could be so molded by the chance kindness of a friendly layman, what may not be accomplished by the concentrated, well-directed effort of those whose chosen profession is the education of the race?
Time was when the public school was concerned chiefly with the mechanics of reading; today the teacher may pass from the irksomeness of the how to the enjoyment of the what. The work of the school should project itself into that of the library. Hitherto school and public library have each, with show of justice, taxed the other with indifference and coldness. Since, however, the necessity for combination of forces in the interests of the child has made. itself more and more apparent, the need of mutual understanding becomes daily more obvious. In working for the welfare of the children, all personal considerations and prejudices must be lost. The librarian must strive to put herself in the place of the teacher, to familiarize herself with her aids and purposes, that the library may intensify, expand, and strengthen the influence. of the school. The teacher must, without trace of narrowness or professional jealousy, introduce her children to the library, and exert herself to see that the acquaintance be satisfying and permanent. We need teachers who are book-lovers, and librarians who are child-lovers. We cannot expect teachers to be technically expert librarians but, besides a good general knowledge of books, they should have some general knowledge of library methods-sufficient, at least, to make the catalog less an unknown quantity to both themselves and the children. And connected with every public library should be a wellpaid librarian who understands child nature and its needs. In rural communities, where conditions are so different from those in cities, it is especially necessary that the teacher, who is also the librarian, should know how and when to order books, as well as what books to order. Recognizing the need of some technical knowledge in this regard on the part of our teachers, some
normal schools already are giving general library courses; and the time has come for making this a feature of the pedagogical work in our teachers' training-schools and institutes, that teachers may thoroly acquaint themselves with the library laws of their state, may know how to select a well-balanced library for school and village, how to catalog it, and how to keep a simple system of records. A brief public document course should also be given them, that they may know how to get, at slight or no cost, the valuable material which the state and federal governments have for distribution with a view to promoting better methods in agriculture, forestry, and horticulture. A general knowledge of the subject in its various phases should be made one of the requirements for the receiving of a teacher's certificate.
Out of the opulence of thought made visible, audible, tangible, the difficulty is to make the best possible selection. Whether the average reader recognizes his responsibility in this is a question for the individual. That the school should see and should live up to its opportunities of implanting, fostering, pruning, and training is vitally incumbent upon it. And in no less measure does the duty of supporting and co-operating with the school, by aiding to a judicious, helpful choice, devolve upon the library. It is in this way that not only will the mass as a whole be elevated through selfendeavor, but individual character will be developed to its highest, individual talent. Even genius will receive its meed of encouragement. Mediocrity cannot be forced into genius by increasing the rigor of its surrounding conditions, neither will genius under happier auspices deteriorate into mediocrity. School and library, in their oneness of interest, must ever have in view the greatest good of the many-and what is that, after all, but the greatest good of the individual as well?
On that eventful day when the average, normal boy, the child of the common people makes his first journey toward the schoolhouse, he closes forever behind him the doors of his babyhood and, willingly or unwillingly, trustfully or suspiciously, enters a charmed square whose sides-the home, the school, the library, the state-will ever be about him, expanding with his growth, or contracting to a prison-house if he, too, narrows. His acquaintance with literature so far has been confined to the classics of the nursery; his intimates outside of his home and of his back-yard associates have been the gullible gentleman who hobnobbed with the pieman, the distressed damsel who had lost her flock, that terrible prototype of Henry VIII whose mildest weakness was dyeing his beard, and that no less terrible personage who had such a penchant for Englishmen for tea.
Now comes on his little stage the kindergartner who, after a prolog he dimly comprehends, raises the curtain on sweet, pastoral scenes where every prospect pleases and vileness is unknown. For gore he has roses; for Bluebeard's scimiter the pretty new moon. And, if all tales he hears be true, no longer need he dread "the dark stair where a bear is so liable to follow one,' for the bear is one of the finest of his new friends, overflowing with sociability
and good nature. It is some time before the child can recover from the shock and adapt himself to fit into the social conditions of this miniature Utopia. And the real psychological moment for getting hold of him, for putting into his breast the love of things fine in child lore, is just when his resilience has responded to nature's touch. The novelty of the change has not passed, and all his little powers of receptivity are on the qui vive. He has not yet learned to read for himself, but oh, how willing he is to be read to, and how willing are his mates to listen with him. The better the story, the better the attention. Children are good natural judges; it is only when driven to it by lack of entertaining substitutes that they take to trash. And surely with today's everincreasing store of true, wholesome child literature, there should be no lack of substitutes.
How far the school library itself should be prepared to meet every phase of growing childhood and youth is one of the problems of education. It would seem, however, that the interests of the primary department and lower grades, should be well covered by the bookshelves intended for their use, and that for the upper grades and the high school the library should consist mainly of standard authors, reference books (especially geographical, historical, and biographical), books representative of the best in modern fiction, and such works as may be called for by the pupils' general or special studies in classroom, laboratory, or workshop. Such a library would be sufficiently catholic to permit of individual choice, as well as a general help, and at the same time would be so restricted as to force the eager inquirer out to the public library in his thirst for more. The square is complete, tho not yet is the child conscious that it is. He has at times felt two of the sides of his enclosure, and has vaguely thought himself walking in a lane between the home and the school; the library is a palace of enchantment, thru the open windows of which he gazes upon landscapes of delight that stretch far out to the bounds of heaven; the state is an impersonal "proposition" he has heard discussed in patriotic orations or has encountered in his studies.
And yet it is to the state that both school and library are looking, must continue to look, for support and encouragement by enactment and appropriation. The parent too infrequently realizes his duty with regard to fitting. for and working with the school and the library in the interest of his family; all three-parent, school, and library-are the servants of the state.
Hitherto one of these servants has had but little recognition from her master, who has been content to look on and see-or to turn his back and disregard—the tips she has been receiving from those on whom she has happened to make a favorable impression. Now, the tip system is bad and cannot but ultimately produce bad results. We value most what costs us the dearest. Our states, many of them, have made the most liberal provision for public schools, but have quite evaded, or have been blind to the fact that the public library is a part of public education, dovetailing with public schooling. That Mr. Carnegie has been widely and impartially generous in his assistance and
proffers of assistance, that local communities have accepted and supplemented his aid, does not absolve the state from library responsibility. A people, to enjoy all the rights and benefits of ownership, must have earned and paid for what
There are those still living who see America's free school in states that in their childhood had no free school unstigmatized as a charity institution— the while their fathers were rate-paying according to the number of their children. Since the state's assumption of public educational control, the system, by becoming what it now is, the best in the world, has gradually proved not only its right to an existence, but the value of central authority emanating direct from the people. If then the library is as educators, philanthropists and other public-spirited men of the day hold-one of the greatest of our educational forces, if it is truly a university of the people, should not it have a chance to flourish under the same fostering care as the public school? In its present dependency upon sporadic endowment by private philanthropy or municipal pride, its benefits reach the individual as a charity, a gift, a privilege (however we may gild the pill), not as his right-his right as a freeborn American to lay hold upon its utilities and wrest them to his purpose of making for himself a livelihood and a life, at the same time that he is increasing his value in the citizenship of his country, his helpfulness in the brotherhood of the world.
One of the arguments used against state control of the library is that the influence of such paternalism would be debilitating. This might be the case were the state to purchase a number of libraries outright, and merely throw them to the people. But that is not the very successful course it has pursued with regard to its public schools. Its policy has been rather to reward welldirected effort by offering further opportunity for increase of effort on the part of those it seeks to assist.
In my own Minnesota the establishment and continued support of publicschool libraries has been by no means neglected. The state meets the district half-way, aiding to the extent of $20 on its first order for each schoolhouse, and $10 annually on subsequent orders, provided the district itself raises an equal amount. For last year there was a total expenditure of over $70,000 by public schools for books appearing on the approved list of the Public School Library Board, including state aid of about $20,000. This outlay represented the purchase of 105,000 volumes by over 3,000 districts. The reports of the county superintendents for the year showed that out of the 7,676 school districts in the state, 5,586 had libraries with a total of 795,000 volumes.
The work of the public library among us has been strongly reinforced by that of the State Library Commission, which, in addition to sending out its secretary wherever a new library is to be organized or local sentiment is to be created or stimulated in favor of establishment, has under its control a system of free traveling libraries. These, in wisely assorted groups, are sent to districts, upon requisition and proper guarantee, for a period of six months