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Ask any member of your School Board or Committee what sum is authorized to be raised annually for the schools, and you will be able at once to determine which class of library districts you live in.
Having ascertained this, you will then know how much money you may be able to get for your Free Library; for when a vote in favor of a library has been had, the School Board or Committee is bound to raise by taxation for your library a sum determined by the class of the district in which the library has been voted for.
Thus in districts of the first class, the Board or Committee can raise for the library each year not less than $250, nor more than $600; if of the second class, any sum not less than $150 nor more than $400; if of the third class, any sum not less than $100, nor more than $300; if of the fourth class, any sum not less $75, nor more than $200; if of the fifth class, any sum not less than $50, nor more than $150; if of the sixth class, any sum not less than $40, nor more than $100; and if of the seventh class, any sum not less than $25, nor more than $75.
For example, the Dover Library, being of the First Class, can count upon the School Board of Dover to raise for the Library any sum between $250 and $600.
In each case, the School Board or Committee is given a certain discretion as to the sum which it is to raise for a Free Library; that is, it can't give less than a certain sum named, nor more than a certain other sum specified in the law.
In addition to the sum raised by taxation, the Library also is entitled to a State dividend each year, the amount of which is determinable likewise by the class; the dividend being one-half of the minimum amount authorized to be raised as before explained. Thus, Dover, being in the First Class, will receive $125 yearly from the State, that be
ing one-half of the $250, which is the lowest sum its Board can raise for its Library.
It may be urged that in the case of districts below the first, second or third classes, the sums of money which can be counted on, are too small for the maintenance of a Free Library.
To such an objection, several answers may be made. Make your start, the rest will come. If necessary, begin with a few books only, and build round them. You are not working for one day but for generations. Our free schools were inaugurated on the smallest and most economical scale. They have grown and flourished. So will it be with the Free Libraries.
Moreover, you may increase the amount for your Library to any sum desired by securing a special vote for this purpose at any election of Library Commissioners. Start your Library; make it popular; the money will be forthcoming.
It may be urged again that the people do not really need or want a Library. Persons may and probably do think so. They are the ones who will say to you that they are in favor of the Library themselves, but will warn you against an attempt to establish one. Let me give you our experience in Dover as an answer to such objectors.
For a number of years Dover had a most excellent subscription Library. It had about three thousand books, among the best published, and a good reading room with a dozen or more of the best current periodicals. The membership fee was in time reduced to only one dollar a year, two cents a week, in order that every family (so it was said) might be able to have at least one subscription. Nevertheless, the membership roll became so small that even a trifling sum required for the librarian, and heating and lighting could be secured only through outside philanthropy.
When there was some talk of trying to establish a Free Library in Dover, many people said it was absurd; that
the experience of the subscription Library proved clearly that a Library here was not needed or wanted; that the readers owned their own books; and so forth and so on. Nevertheless the Free Library was established, and before the doors had been opened half a year, in one single month, over sixteen hundred pieces of reading matter had been taken out from its shelves. Sixteen hundred books and periodicals taken out in a single month, after such a brief establishment, was enough to startle the most sanguine of And yet, some very good people had said our town didn't want or didn't need a Free Library!
The need is present in every community, and desire in many; what is needed, and all that is needed, is energy and persistent endeavor, and a little public spirit.
He who calls in the aid of an equal understanding, doubles his own; and he who profits by a superior understanding, raises his power to a level with the height of the superior understanding he unites with. BURKE.
DISTRICT LIBRARY COMMISSIONS.
The law provides that both women and men may serve in these bodies, and that the number of members which compose them shall vary according to the class into which their districts fall, and must be as follows:
1st and 2d class, 9 members.
As the management of a Public Library calls for the exercise of many kinds of intelligence and ability besides those used in the judgment of books, it is in the highest degree important that great care should be taken in the selection of these members, and some of the number should assuredly be chosen because of eminence in executive ability, of business sagacity, and of unblemished
integrity in political power, as well as for knowledge of books.
The Library in fulfilling its highest functions will continually be brought into relations with its community which will require the active use of each one of these qualities as well as many others equally practical, and capacity and willingness to work are more useful than a taste for literature without them.
Last, but by no means least, "the possession of that tolerant temper which allows a man or woman to work harmoniously and effectively as a member of the board, where individual opinions and desires must always be balanced and modified by the will and wisdom of the majority, is also a very necessary endowment for such a position.
If possible try to have the interests of various sections of the town represented and let neither church nor politics. affect the choice of library commissioners.
By reading we acquaint ourselves, in a very extensive manner, with the affairs, actions and thoughts of the living and the dead, in the most remote actions, and in the most distant ages; and that with as much ease as though they lived in our own age and nation. WATTS.
For District Library Commissions.
1. OFFICERS. The officers of the District Library Commission shall be a President, Vice-President and Secretary, who shall be elected annually from its own members.
The President shall perform the duties generally pertaining to that office, and in conjunction with the finance committee shall make an estimate at the close of each fiscal year of the probable expenses for the ensuing year, and submit the same to the Commission for its action.
The Vice-President shall, in the absence or disability of the President, perform all the duties of the President.
The Secretary shall record all the official actions of the Commission and have custody of all its official books, records and accounts except those in current use by another officer.
The regular meetings of the Com-
mission shall be on the
p. m., at
The annual meeting shall be on the in each year.
Special meetings shall be called by the President or by request of any two members of the Commission for the transaction only of business stated in the call.
Five, three or two (according to the class of the District), members shall constitute a quorum.
3. COMMITTEES. At the annual meeting the President shall appoint standing committees as follows: A com
mittee of mittee of
members on books and supplies, a com
members on finance, and a committee
members on buildings and premises.
The committee on books and supplies shall supervise the selection, buying, exchange and binding of books and periodicals, and have general supervision of the administration of the Library and reading room.
The finance committee shall have charge of all Library finances, and examine and report upon all bills against the Commission, and make an annual investigation of and report upon the library fund in the hands of the Treasurer of the School District.
The committee on buildings and premises shall have general charge of the heating, lighting and arrangement of the rooms, and the care of the fixtures and furniture. 4. CLAIMS. All claims against the District Library Commission must be presented at a meeting of the Commission and referred to the committee on finance for in
vestigation and report. The President and the Secretary