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Chapter I.-Introduction

History (1) Before 1900.-The libraries of land-grant institutions are to a large extent a development of the twentieth century. In size of 'collections, in use, and in relationship to instructional work, there is little resemblance in most institutions between the college libraries of 1890 and their successors of 1930. The older eastern colleges and universities, which were founded much earlier than the land-grant institutions, had assembled by 1890 collections of books fairly adequate for that period. Columbia University and the University of Michigan each had more than 75,000 volumes at that time, while many smaller colleges, such as Amherst, had more than 50,000. On the other hand, land-grant institutions had not the same opportunity to obtain similar foundations for their libraries, which in several cases, even in 1900, consisted of only 3,000 or 4,000 volumes.

The catalogue of the North Carolina State College of Agriculture and Engineering in 1890 states: “ The library, like the college itself, is in its infancy, containing about 1,500 volumes. It will be steadily increased by the purchase of standard works.” In 1895, exactly the same statement is repeated. Apparently the “purchase of standard works” was postponed during these years. In 1896, however, the library did show a slight growth, although still in the embryonic stage. The catalogue tells us that “ The library, like the college itself, is in its infancy, containing about 1,900 volumes.'

The catalogue of the Mississippi Agricultural and Mechanical College for 1886 informs us that “ The library, with the additions made during the present year, contains 2,342 volumes, and affords facilities for scientific research.” Ten years later (1896) the library had grown to 3,560 volumes, an addition of about 100 volumes a year. A more modest statement, however, is made in the catalogue for the corresponding year of “some facilities for scientific research.” The conception of bibliographic needs for research has changed greatly since this catalogue w published. In 1893, the president's report of this college, “publisheü "ir the information of the legislature,”


states frankly that the “ library consists mainly of United States Government books. It is deficient in technical and literary books. There are but few books of reference even.”i The expenditures for reading material for this library could not have exceeded a few hundred dollars a year at the most.

The character and use, as well as the size of these small libraries, are reflected, or perhaps in part explained, by the position of the librarian. Usually, the office was intrusted to some professor who gave to the library such attention as he could spare from his regular duties. In 1884, the librarian of the Kansas State Agricultural College stated, “During one hour of the forenoon and a few minutes at the close of the session, I have been in the library myself.” 2 In one institution, at least, a clerk was hired to run the library. In 1876, a librarian was employed in Iowa State College at a fixed salary of $200 per year. “The year before the compensations of librarian and assistant librarians were increased from 7 to 9 cents per hour.” 3 Many of the early catalogues of land-grant institutions do not indicate that anyone had charge of the library. W. J. Beal's History of Michigan Agricultural College states that “there are no records available, giving the names of persons who had served as librarians previous to 1872.” 4 The early catalogues of many institutions do not even mention the library.

Early, however, the need was felt for greater library development. In 1873 the professor at Kansas State Agricultural College who was acting as librarian reported, “It will be noticed that, under the present arrangement, any time that I spend on library work is just so much added to the full work in the teaching. It seems as though the growth of the library must very soon bring the time when it will be desirable to secure some one whose work it shall be to make the library more useful to the students.” 6 In 1894 the librarian at the University of Illinois reported, “* other considerations of importance, in my judgment, make it imperative that a trained librarian should be employed, and that cataloguers should be placed at his direction *. The board gave me the librarian's duty to perform, without my knowledge, until I was actually appointed. I have cared for it as faithfully as I could, but I do not feel that I can continue the work for another year, and accordingly ask to be relieved therefrom."


1 Mississippi Agricultural and Mechanical College, biennial report, 1892–93, p. 10.

2 Kansas State Agricultural College, fourth biennial report. Report of the librarian, 1883-84, p. 63.

8 Quoted in an unpublished thesis by Evangeline Thurber, The library of the land-grant college, 1862–1900, Columbia University, 1928.

4 Beal, W. J., History of Michigan Agricultural College, 1915, p. 472.
5 Kansas State Agricultural College, fourth biennial report, 1883–84, p. 63.
6 University of Illinois, board of trustees, seventeenth report, 1894, pp. 250-251.

Before 1900 the need for a full-time professional librarian and increased purchases of books were being strongly urged in many institutions. These rumblings presaged the development which took effect in most, but not all, of the libraries of land-grant institutions in the first quarter of the twentieth century.

Growth since 1900.-The libraries of land-grant institutions in their development since 1900 fall into three groups. Institutions of the first group have apparently only started on the development of their libraries. In some cases the duties of librarian are even now assigned as an additional duty to a member of the instructing staff. In other cases clerks are employed. The expenditures for books and periodicals in these institutions show little or no increase since 1914, although the cost of books, binding, and periodicals has nearly doubled. The libraries of this group naturally show little use as compared with the growing collections of other institutions. They are still in the status that existed generally in 1890.

Institutions of the second group have started the development of their libraries since 1920. Professional library staffs have been employed, new buildings erected, and library expenditures increased. Louisiana State University was spending less than $6,000 on its library in 1915, but is now allotting $40,500. Iowa. State College was spending $20,000 in 1915 and now has a budget of $110,000. Oregon Agricultural College, from $8,500 in 1915, has risen to $46,000 in 1927. The libraries of these institutions have shown encouraging growth. However, since they started their development so recently, their collections have not reached the adequacy of those libraries which had the advantage of many years of more liberal support.

Libraries of the third group, which had had these advantages, started on their modern development early in this century, or even before. During the first 10 years of the century rapid progress was made. In 1910 the University of California was spending more than $46,000 on its library, the University of Illinois more than $62,000, and the University of Nebraska more than $26,000. Since 1910 the development has been greatly accelerated. In 1927 the Universities of California, Minnesota, and Illinois spent considerably more than $200,000 each for library service.

Growth of libraries in these second and third groups is well illustrated by the number of new library buildings. More than threefourths of the institutions have either erected new buildings or additions within the past 10 years or are planning such buildings.

Increase in use.—The most noteworthy fact in the history of most libraries of land-grant institutions, however, is not the growth in collections of volumes, the increase in expenditures, or in number and size of library buildings, but the increase in use of books. The

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