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[318] question of the success of the Free Lending Library, for the less favored classes, was settled in a way never to be shaken again.

Mr. Ticknor felt that a great deal of good had been done in the humble rooms in Mason Street; for the principles on which a public library might be made to co-operate in the education of a city had been substantially settled. He now induced the Trustees to make the Lower-Hall collection as attractive as possible, by adding to the books brought from Mason Street such English and American books as were still desirable, so as to open with about fourteen thousand agreeable and useful volumes in the English language, and a thousand more in the other modern languages; and then, with some little anxiety, he watched the operations on the day of opening. The practical results justified the theory of the institution in the most gratifying manner, and Mr. Ticknor said that, after witnessing the giving out of the books till eight in the evening, without seeing a moment's trouble or confusion, he went home feeling as if he had nothing more to do so far as this, in his view the most important, part of the institution was concerned.

Troubles there were still, but of other kinds; and, although he was a trifle disappointed by the result of an experiment he tried in 1860, to test the popular disposition for reading useful books,1 he did not lose faith in his theory that, the taste for reading once formed, the standard of that taste would rise. He would have rejoiced in the absolute proof produced, since 1873, of the steady gain in the proportion of useful books taken from the Library, after increased facilities had been afforded for their selection, by the admirable annotated Catalogue of works of the higher class prepared by Mr. Winsor.2

1 He gave the Library fifty copies of Miss Nightingale's ‘Notes on Nursing’; twenty copies of Smiles's ‘Self Help’; twenty copies of Everett's ‘Life of Washington’; ten copies of the ‘Life of Amos Lawrence,’ a merchant of Boston; twelve copies of the ‘Teacher's Assistant,’ and some others. For a time many of these kept well in circulation, especially Miss Nightingale's excellent little book; but at the end of six months the demand for them had substantially ceased.

2 The percentage of increased demand for works of travel, biography, etc., over the increase of general circulation, has continued to be quite remarkable for more than two years, since the publication of this valuable Catalogue.

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