Statistics of Libraries and Library Legislation in the United States

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Page vii - ... lecturer and lose entirely what they fail to grasp on first hearing. Such pupils, too, grow up with a tendency to require oral explanation made to them and a reluctance to go to the scientific treatise and dig out the whole subject for themselves. What there is good in our American system points toward this preparation of the pupil for independent study of the book by himself. It points toward acquiring the ability of self-education by means of the library.
Page vi - Next after the school and the daily newspaper comes the library in educative power. These three institutions are the great secular means which our people have to prepare themselves for their singular destiny. The school, for the most part, finds its function in teaching how to read. The newspaper and library furnish what to read. It is clear that one of the most important interests in education is to be found in connecting closely the common school with the public library. It is common to call a...
Page vii - There issomething too personal in this exclusively oral method, this lecturing method, and it has its weak sides, as weak as those it condemns in the American school. For if there are pupils in every school and whole classes in exceptional schools that memorize the words of the book without comprehending their meaning, on the other hand there are those...
Page x - By this knowledge one does not, of course, mean a knowledge of his own petty idiosyncrasies and peculiarities, but a knowledge of human nature at large; a knowledge of what is substantial in character and profound in human thought. Literature is the best, but it should not by any means be the exclusive course of reading. For the supplementary reading to be done at home there should be intermingled books of history, books of travel, popular expositions of the different sciences. Some people would...
Page x - No pupil after a good drill on a literary piece ever reads a similar piece in book or periodical without looking consciously or unconsciously for some of the points that have been brought out in his lesson. He is now of a capacity to get more from his reading than was before possible to him. His vocabulary has been increased, but not so much as his power to increase it. If he would only take home with him a book from the library and read a whole story written by the author whose literary gem he has...
Page x - ... belonged to the school library. The library is the most important link in that great movement that has recently spread hither from England. I refer to university and school extension. Few children complete the course even of the primary school. Only one in four who enter the high school completes it. The great desideratum, therefore, is some method by which the school influence can follow the pupils who leave school before completing the work, or who, graduating from it, ought to continue their...
Page x - ... trash." In my opinion tliey could not commit a more serious error. I have known many parents possessed of the science craze who tried to educate their children on science to the exclusion of literature, but their results were pitiful. Their children were deprived of an insight into human life — into the springs of human character and the motives that prevail among the people with whom they must live. This knowledge of human life obtained through the writings of genius should occupy the first...
Page xii - The school is essential to the newspaper reader to give him that knowledge of a printed vocabulary of words and that smattering of geography, history, grammar and science required to understand and follow the newspaper articles. The apparatus for higher investigation is to be found in the bibliographic lists in various fields of human learning. The librarians have constructed indexes to periodical literature, subclassified under such heads as the several special sciences, the special departments...
Page viii - ... by all stages of civilization and by the various races that people the earth. It holds this vast mass of observation, reflection, and insight, not in its crude form, but winnowed out — each grain that the library preserves was taken from a mountain of chaff. Doubtless it holds still on its shelves much chaff, but compared with the crude material of human experience from which it has been saved it is all precious grain.
Page ix - ... human nature, its structure being an embodiment of the logical laws of the mind. Every special science has its own special vocabulary, larger or smaller, of new words. The school-boy must learn their external forms and their internal meanings. But literature is language as a fine art, and its content is the revelation of human life in its aspirations and actions, in its victories and its defeats. Homer, Dante, Shakespeare, and Goethe are the great leaders of the sacred army of men who have made...

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