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Providence, R. I. (Rhode Island, United States) (search for this): entry libraries-free-public
y sought to ascertain. I asked of some seventy libraries their yearly expenditure for current fiction in proportion to their total expenditure for books. The returns show an average of from 10 to 15 per cent. In one case the amount reached 50 per cent., in others it fell as low as 2 per cent. The ratio for fiction in general is much higher on the average; but fiction in general includes Scott and Thackeray and other standards, an ample supply of which would not usually be questioned. At Providence and at Worcester, two of the most active and popular of public libraries, the purchases of fiction, current and standard, formed in a single year but 7 and 11 per cent., respectively, of the entire expenditure for books. At Boston there were selected but 178 titles of current fiction (out of nearly 600 read and considered). But some dozen copies were bought of each title, so that the entire purchase reached 2,300 volumes, and cost about $2,300. This was about 6 1/2 per cent. on a total
New York State (New York, United States) (search for this): entry libraries-free-public
now lack them. One hundred and ten library buildings there have been the gift of individuals. No form of private memorial is now more popular; no form of municipal expenditure meets with readier assent. Nor are the initiative and the expenditure left wholly to local enterprises. The Commonwealth itself takes part : extending, through a State Commission, State aid in the form of books and continuing counsel. And Massachusetts is but one of eight States maintaining such commissions. New York State, in its system of travelling libraries, has gone further still in supplementing initial aid with a continuing supply of books, and even photographs and lantern slides, purchased by the State, and distributed through the Regents of the State University from Albany to the remotest hamlet. The first stage of all such legislation is an enabling act—authorizing the establishment of a library by the local authorities; the next is an act encouraging such establishment by bounties; and New Ha
Chicago (Illinois, United States) (search for this): entry libraries-free-public
ed volumes, open for a couple of hours each week in some farm-house, under a volunteer custodian, maintained by the town, but enlisting private contribution through bazaars and sociables, sending out its books by the local pro- Reading-room in the Lenox Library, New York City. vision dealer to its remote and scattered constituents. There is the library of the great city, with elaborate equipment and complex organization to meet a vast and complex need. Such a library as you may find at Chicago; a city which, though it has two great endowed reference libraries, still considers its 1,500,000 people entitled to a municipal library, with a $2,000,000 building, studded with costly mosaics, and aided by forty branches and stations in bringing the book nearer each home. Or such a library as exists at Boston; organized as a city department, under trustees appointed by the mayor, maintained, like the schools, or the police, or the fire department, by general taxation, with a central buil
Canterbury (Connecticut, United States) (search for this): entry libraries-free-public
novels in general belong to the literature of power. Their purpose is not to furnish information, but to give pleasure. Literature of this sort adds no new fact, nor is it superseded, nor does it lose any of its value by lapse of time. To assume that it does would be to assume that beauty of form could become obsolete. This is not so in painting, in sculpture, in architecture. Why should it be so in prose fiction, in poetry, in the drama? Was there, in fact, an aesthetic value in the Canterbury tales in 1380, in Hamlet in 1602, in Ivanhoe in 1819, that is not to be found in them now? But a large portion of latter-day fiction is fiction with a purpose; another way of saying that it is a work of art composed for the dissemination of doctrine. This element promotes it at once to the dignity of a treatise, a new view of politics, a new criticism of social conditions, a new creed. Here is something that concerns the student of sociology. And surely his needs are worthy of promp
Worcester (Massachusetts, United States) (search for this): entry libraries-free-public
ain. I asked of some seventy libraries their yearly expenditure for current fiction in proportion to their total expenditure for books. The returns show an average of from 10 to 15 per cent. In one case the amount reached 50 per cent., in others it fell as low as 2 per cent. The ratio for fiction in general is much higher on the average; but fiction in general includes Scott and Thackeray and other standards, an ample supply of which would not usually be questioned. At Providence and at Worcester, two of the most active and popular of public libraries, the purchases of fiction, current and standard, formed in a single year but 7 and 11 per cent., respectively, of the entire expenditure for books. At Boston there were selected but 178 titles of current fiction (out of nearly 600 read and considered). But some dozen copies were bought of each title, so that the entire purchase reached 2,300 volumes, and cost about $2,300. This was about 6 1/2 per cent. on a total expenditure for b
New Hampshire (New Hampshire, United States) (search for this): entry libraries-free-public
State, in its system of travelling libraries, has gone further still in supplementing initial aid with a continuing supply of books, and even photographs and lantern slides, purchased by the State, and distributed through the Regents of the State University from Albany to the remotest hamlet. The first stage of all such legislation is an enabling act—authorizing the establishment of a library by the local authorities; the next is an act encouraging such establishment by bounties; and New Hampshire has reached a third by a law actually mandatory, requiring the local authorities to establish free libraries in proportion to their means and the population to be served. This seems to mark the high-water mark of confidence in the utility of these institutions. It indicates that free public libraries are to be ranked with the common schools, as institutions indispensable to good citizenship, whose establishment the State must for its own protection require. So the movement has progr
Massachusetts (Massachusetts, United States) (search for this): entry libraries-free-public
Of these the free public libraries supported by general taxation number less than 2,000, with 10,000,000 volumes, and with less than $3,500,000 of annual income. They are, however, increasing with disproportionate and amazing rapidity. In Massachusetts, but ten of the 353 cities and towns, but three-fourths of one per cent. of the inhabitants, now lack them. One hundred and ten library buildings there have been the gift of individuals. No form of private memorial is now more popular; no f meets with readier assent. Nor are the initiative and the expenditure left wholly to local enterprises. The Commonwealth itself takes part : extending, through a State Commission, State aid in the form of books and continuing counsel. And Massachusetts is but one of eight States maintaining such commissions. New York State, in its system of travelling libraries, has gone further still in supplementing initial aid with a continuing supply of books, and even photographs and lantern slides,
United States (United States) (search for this): entry libraries-free-public
persons. Under the head of Public, Society, and School libraries, these institutions in the United States aggregate 8,000 in number, with 35,000,000 volumes, with $34,000,000 invested in buildings, ng out each year over 30,000,000 books, to do their work for good or ill in the homes of the United States. The entire 2,000 result from one conviction and a uniform purpose. Yet among them there ido decide, either ignorantly or wisely. A glance at the libraries now in operation in the United States shows that the ends proposed for them fall far short of the service which they actually perfe free public library was started, the number of newspapers and periodicals published in the United States was about 2,500; now it is nearly 20,000. The total annual issues have increased from 400,0 price of a cigar or a bodkin. There are, also, the cheap libraries, which have flooded the United States with engaging literature available to almost any purse. In short, conditions have altered
1850, when the free public library was started, the number of newspapers and periodicals published in the United States was about 2,500; now it is nearly 20,000. The total annual issues have increased from 400,000,000 to over 4,500,000,000 copies. The ordinary daily of 1850 contained perhaps a single column of literary matter. To-day it contains, for the same price, seven columns. In 1850 it gave no space to fiction; now it offers Kipling, Howells, Stockton, Bret Harte, Anthony Hope, Crockett, Bourget, and many others of the best of the contemporary writers of fiction. Then there are the cheap magazines, which tender a half-dozen stories for the price of a cigar or a bodkin. There are, also, the cheap libraries, which have flooded the United States with engaging literature available to almost any purse. In short, conditions have altered. A vast mass of light literature is now cheaply accessible to the individual which formerly could be acquired only painfully, or at grea
on of the newspaper and periodical press. In 1850, when the free public library was started, the number of newspapers and periodicals published in the United States was about 2,500; now it is nearly 20,000. The total annual issues have increased from 400,000,000 to over 4,500,000,000 copies. The ordinary daily of 1850 contained perhaps a single column of literary matter. To-day it contains, for the same price, seven columns. In 1850 it gave no space to fiction; now it offers Kipling, Howells, Stockton, Bret Harte, Anthony Hope, Crockett, Bourget, and many others of the best of the contemporary writers of fiction. Then there are the cheap magazines, which tender a half-dozen stories for the price of a cigar or a bodkin. There are, also, the cheap libraries, which have flooded the United States with engaging literature available to almost any purse. In short, conditions have altered. A vast mass of light literature is now cheaply accessible to the individual which formerl
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