Slike strani

the Rebellion to a small, poorly supported library of a few thousand volumes is hailed as a public benefaction, one is inclined to question. The University of Illinois added 47,515 volumes by purchase and 3,817 by gift or exchange-about 8 per cent. In contrast to Illinois, a smaller institution added 1,197 by purchase and 1,092 by gift; in another case, 413 volumes are added by gift and 238 by purchase. In these two institutions the quality of the book collection may be open to question. The library has been in some cases used as a place of interment not only for unemployed individuals, but also for useless books from some friend who must not be offended.

Many libraries, especially in the East and South, have been benefited—or in some cases injured—by the gift of large collections of books, the libraries of deceased clergymen, plantation libraries, and other collections. Such gifts customarily were incorporated bodily into the college libraries. There might be some reason for the largest libraries to collect the various sermons preached on divers occasions in a certain State; certainly the finances of the average land-grant college library do not justify holding this little-used material. Many libraries can reduce the number of volumes on their shelves very greatly with a corresponding increase in efficiency of service.

It is recommended (a) that gifts be as a general rule not accepted unless made unconditionally, and (b) that gifts so made be rigidly examined as to their future usefulness before being catalogued and placed in the library.

Books Withdrawn or Discarded Books, if used, wear out. They also become out of date. Several duplicate copies of Who's Who in America or American Men of Science, may be needed when the new editions first appear. It does not follow that all duplicate volumes are needed as a permanent accession, to be retained after their usefulness is ended. Furthermore, other material not duplicated may become antiquated and seldom used in the average land-grant institution, since such material is replaced by new editions or by publication of results of later investigations. This fact holds true especially in the fields of pure and applied science.

Some large institutions should collect widely, and hold exhaustively, material even of secondary value. Most of the land-grant colleges, however, do not need to hold little-used material to this extent. Material very rarely needed can be borrowed.

A study of the reported number of volumes withdrawn raises several questions. The University of Illinois reports 525 withdrawn during the past two years; Iowa State College, 2,000; Mississippi Agricultural and Mechanical College, 918 in 1927; Louisiana State

111490°-30-VOL 1-44

University, 3,964 for 1928; and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 575. Only 14 institutions out of 48, however, report more than 100 volumes discarded in one year. Sixteen do not report any number of volumes withdrawn, in many cases stating that no record is kept. One institution makes the pathetic report of very few volumes discarded and many worn out but still in use.

With the addition to this library of 363 volumes last year, the worn-out volumes could not be replaced and must still remain in service.

In some cases where no records are available of books discarded. the question arises as to whether the records of the library are kept up to date. Certainly no library is entirely free from book losses. If these losses are not noted in the catalogue, the loan desk is compelled to report to readers that certain titles can not be found, and that no record is available.

It is recommended (a) that care be exercised to withdraw useless material from the library collections, and (6) that more attention be given to withdrawals of missing or lost books from the records of the library with simple statistics as to the cause of withdrawal, such

“out of date," “ lost and paid for,” “ missing,” etc.


Exchanges All land-grant institutions are issuing from time to time publications of value not only to their institutions but also to the faculties and students of other colleges. The publications of a college offer a valuable means by which important publications of other institutions can be obtained if a system of exchanges is ably organized and administered. The means of distribution of these publications, however, is in many cases unorganized and unsatisfactory. Every librarian who handles serial publications is familiar with the difficulties of obtaining current issues regularly and promptly. Often faculty and students are deprived temporarily or permanently of the use of much valuable material through a lack of a satisfactory exchange system.

In many cases, publications are mailed to libraries from a dozen or more different offices on a campus. A request to one office is referred to a second and then to a third, if it is not lost in the meantime. Some offices do not maintain a mailing list. Fifteen libraries reported that they do not receive copies of all publications issued by their own institutions. Others state that they obtain these publications only as a result of “ eternal vigilance.” One librarian denied vehemently that a certain publication was ever issued by his university, although the publication in question was so issued some years earlier. Many institutions do not have anywhere on the campus

of your

[ocr errors]

copies of publications appearing in former years. One librarian stated that “The library of this institution is the last office to be considered when publications of this institution are distributed.”

Requests to other institutions for their publications often meet the stereotyped reply, “A copy was mailed to Professor institution.” Reference to the professor usually brings the statement that the publication in question is regarded as his own personal property. Service to one individual in this instance is at the expense of the many

The universities of Minnesota and Illinois have met difficult conditions with great satisfaction to other institutions by the organization of exchange departments with a professional library assistant in charge. If every library would regard itself as obligated to see that exchanges were mailed out to other libraries, this arrangement would correct the difficulty. If the librarian is so to act, he must be given authority and some measure of control by the administrators of the college.

The handling of incoming publications is in some institutions not any more satisfactory, however, than that of distribution. In typical cases incoming publications are received by the dean of agriculture or the station director and referred by him to various members of the experiment station staff. Eventually, they are supposed to find their way to the library. Actually, the publications seldom reach their destination; none of the students and only few of the faculty have the opportunity to use or to examine them. In other cases the publications are retained in the director's office, either inaccessible or easily lost.

The conclusions from an examination of the methods used at most universities, colleges, and experiment stations in regard to exchanges of publications suggest a real need for careful consideration of reorganization of the collection and distribution of these publications.

It is recommended (a) that the librarian of the college be held directly responsible for the satisfactory exchange with other institutions of available publications of his institution, including the publications of the experiment stations, and that he be given authority and necessary assistance for this duty; (b) that incoming publications be forwarded to the librarian immediately upon receipt, with notes, when desired, that such publications be loaned to certain members of the faculty; (c) that a mailing list of libraries on the exchange list be maintained; (d) that every issuing department on the campus be required to deposit two copies of all publications in the college library and that the rule be enforced; (e) that a reserve stock of publications of value for exchange purposes be placed in the library.

Duplicates What shall be done with material, usually duplicates, not needed in one library but which might be of value elsewhere? Many valuable duplicate numbers are being received at times by many institutions which might be of much use in other colleges. The Societa chimica di Roma is reported to have sold, as old paper, duplicate copies of its own publication, La Gazzetta chimica Italiana. Libraries are now willing to pay $1,000 each for a complete set of the scientific reports of this society. No satisfactory clearing house for duplicate material has been organized, although proposed many times. In many cases the holding of duplicates by an individual library is expensive and not to be recommended. The union list of serials will furnish information as to the need of nongovernmental periodicals in certain institutions. Unfortunately, only 20 of the land-grant institutions are represented in this union list.

It would be of material advantage to the land-grant colleges not in the list if a union list of their holdings could be published. This list would enable other institutions to discover at once what their sister institutions need. In many cases such needs could be supplied without charge.

The Superintendent of Documents has been willing to accept the return of Government publications and automatically acts as a clearing house for duplicates of such publications. If space permitted, the United States Department of Agriculture might perform a useful service by acting as a clearing house for agricultural literature, especially bulletins of the various experiment stations. It is of course possible to return experiment station bulletins to the office issuing these publications. However, the return may mean that these publications will later be distributed to individuals and that copies for libraries may be as unavailable in the future as in the past. A clearing house in the United States Department of Agriculture would make this material available for permanent preservation in libraries. It is possible that eventually some commercial house may be willing to act as a clearing house for scientific and technical periodicals. Many libraries have disposed of periodicals, bound and unbound, to the H. W. Wilson Co., receiving not only a cash payment, but also the assurance that this material would be transferred later to a library for permanent use.

It is recommended (1) that as a general policy duplicates of no value to the library be immediately destroyed or otherwise disposed of; (2) that Government documents not needed be returned to the Superintendent of Documents; (3) that land-grant colleges arrange some cooperative means of exchange of experiment station bulletins and the publication of union lists or want lists of material desired.

Summary of Books and Periodicals (1) More attention by individual institutions should be given to the determination of the adequacy of book collections to meet the instructional and research needs of an institution. Reliance should not be placed upon any fixed mechanical standard of number of volumes or lists of best books.

(2) Instructors should be responsible for the initial recommendation of books for their students and for their research work. The final responsibility should be the duty of the librarian.

(3) The book and periodical collections of a large majority of land-grant institutions are not adequate for instructional work in these institutions. A few land-grant institutions have exceptionally strong collections, ranking among the best of American universities. Improvements of the book collections require not only satisfactory methods of selection, as noted above, but also adequate financial support.

(4) Gifts should be accepted only if needed. Books not needed, whether duplicates or otherwise, should be immediately disposed of and not allowed to accumulate. A clearing house for the transfer of duplicates to institutions needing them would be of value. An exchange department under the control of the library for the publications of each college is recommended.

« PrejšnjaNaprej »