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[Whole Number 232
UNITED STATES BUREAU OF EDUCATION.
CHAPTERS FROM THE REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONER OF EDUCATION
PUBLIC, SOCIETY, AND SCHOOL LIBRARIES
LIBRARY STATISTICS AND LEGISLATION OF THE
PUBLIC, SOCIETY, AND SCHOOL LIBRARIES.
References to preceding reports of the United States Bureau of Education, in which
this subject has been treated: In annual reports, 1870, pp.541, 542; 1871, pp. 668 677; 1872, pp. liii-lvii, 820-887; 1873, pp. lxxxviii-xciv, 729-763; 1874, pp. Ixxxviixcii, 753-793; 1875, pp. civ-cvii, 797-883; 1876, pp. cxxiii-cxxv, 777-779; 1877, pp. cxxxi-cxlii, 583–585; 1878, pp. cxxii, 599-600; 1879, pp. clvii-clviii, 618-619; 1880, pp. clxvi-clxvii, 738–741; 1881, pp.cci-cciv, 668–671; 1882–83, pp.clxxxv-clxxxviii, 694-699; 1883–84, pp. clxxxiii-clxxxiv, 724-737; 1884-85, pp. ccxxix-ccxxx, 691782; 1885–86, pp. 716-719; 1886–87, pp. 901-972; 1887-88, pp. 1031-1039; 1892-93, pp. 575-583, 691-1014; 1893-94, pp. 1503-1504; 1895–96, pp. 339–599. See also in each report statistics of libraries of schools and colleges. Refer also to index in
each annual report from 1888-89 to 1895-96 for libraries in foreign countries. In special reports and circulars of information; 1876, Public Libraries in the United
States of America, their history, condition, and management, Part I, edited by S. R. Warren and S. N. Clark, pp. xxxv, 1187; Rules for a printed Dictionary Catalogue, Part II, by C. A. Cutter, pp. 89; Circular of Information No. 1, 1880, College Libraries as Aids to Instruction, by Justin Winsor and Otis H. Robinson, pp. 27; Circular of Information No. 1, 1881, Construction of Library Buildings, by William Poole, pp. 26; 1881, Library Aids, by Samuel Green, pp. 10; 1886, Statistics of Public Libraries in the United States, pp. 98, reprinted from 1884–85 annual report; 1886, Special Report, New Orleans Exposition 1884-85, pp. 650-655; 1891, Rules for a Dictionary Catalogue, by Charles A. Cutter, pp. 140; third edition, with corrections and additions, reprinted from the 1876 special report; Circular of Information No. 7, 1893, Statistics of Public Libraries in the United States and Canada (in 1891), by Weston Flint, pp. 213; 1893, Catalogue of A. L. A. Library, 5,000 volumes, for a popular library, pp. 592; 1896, Papers prepared for the World's Library Congress, held at the Columbian Exposition, edited by Melvil Dewey, pp. 691-1014, reprinted from annual
report 1892–93. The public library is recognized as one of the great forces in modern educational progress. For nearly thirty years the United States Bureau of Education has constantly emphasized the importance of these institutions as aids to instruction. In every annual report from 1867–68 to the present year has appeared information relating to college and school libraries, and periodically the Bureau bas published detailed statistics of public libraries. The annual report for 1870 contained a list of 161 principal libraries not including college libraries. The report for 1872 contained a list of 1,080 libraries of 1,000 or more volumes. A special effort was made in 1875 to obtain a list of all the libraries in the United States having 300 volumes and over.
The list as printed in the report for that year included 3,648 libraries, and uf these, 2,039 had 1,000 or mo»e volumes. This list was also published in the great special report issued by this office in 1876. That report was a volume of about 1,200 pages devoted to “Public Libraries in the United States of America, their
By Alex Summers, Statistician of the Bureau.
History, Condition, and Management.” The volume contained 39 chapters by as many as twenty eminent specialists in subjects relating to libraries. In the annual report for 1884–85 was published a list of 5,333 libraries of 300 or more volumes; 2,988 of these libraries had 1,000 or more volumes. This list was reprinted in a pamphlet of about 100 pages. A valuable chapter of about 70 pages appeared in the 1886–87 report devoted to “Libraries in the United States.” The statistics of 1,779 libraries were published in seven tables, classified as follows: (1) Free public lending libraries, (2) free public reference libraries, (3) free public school libraries, (4) free corporate lending libraries, (5) libraries of clubs, associations, etc., (6) subscription corporate libraries, and (7) circulating libraries proper. In 1893 this Bureau published 20,000 copies of a circular of information of 213 pages, giving the statistics of 3,503 public libraries in the United States having 1,000 volumes and over. The statistics collected were for the year 1891. Also in 1893 the Bureau published 20,000 copies of “Catalogue of A. L. A. Library, 5,000 volumes for a public library selected by the American Library Association and shown at the World's Columbian Exposition.” So great was the demand for this publication that a second edition was printed in 1896. This special report contained about 600 pages. The papers prepared for the American Library Association for its annual meeting held at Chicago in 1893, and read before the World's Library Congress at the Columbian Exposition, were printed in the Education Report for 1892–93. These papers, which were prepared by about twenty leading members of the association, occupy 324 pages of the above-mentioned report, pages 691-1014. A small edition of the matter was reprinted in a separate pamphlet. One of the most popular publications of this Bureau is Cutter's Rules for a Dictionary Catalogue, which was published in 1876 as Part II of the special library report of that year. The third edition was published in 1891 in a pamphlet of 140 pages. The special report issued by this Bureau in 1886 on “Educational Exhibits and Conventions at the World's Industrial and Cotton Centennial Exposition, New Orleans, 1884–85,” contained much valuable matter in relation to libraries. This report is vow out of print, as are all the earlier reports above mentioned. In addition to the statistics of college and school libraries published every year in the annual reports of this Bureau since 1870, many of the reports have contained valuable facts concerning libraries in foreign countries. This is particularly true of the reports from 1888–89 to 1895–96.
STATISTICS FOR 1896.
Five years having elapsed since the collection of statistics of public libraries published in Circular of Information No. 7, 1893, this Bureau sent out under date of April 1, 1896, forms of inquiry to all the libraries reporting to this office in 1891 and to several thousand others. Efforts were made to secure the names of all the libraries in the United States, but it was the purpose to publish a list of only public and school libraries having 1,000 or more volumes. Nearly 10,000 addresses were obtained and from this number about 8,000 responses were received. The number of libraries reporting 1,000 or more volumes was 4,026; the number reporting less than 1,000 volumes but not less than 300 was 3,167, wbile nearly 1,000 had fewer than 300 volumes each. To obtain the 8,000 reports it was necessary to send out 15,000 blank forms between the 1st of April and the 1st of August. Not more than 50 per cent of the librarians responded promptly, and many hundreds ignored the second and even the third requests for information. It is presumed, however, that most of the libraries from which no returns could be obtained were so small that those in charge of them did not deem them of sufficient importance to be included in the list. It is safe to assume that the list of 4,026 public and school libraries published in this report includes very nearly all the libraries in the United States having 1,000 or more volumes. (See page 366.)
TABLE 1.-Summary of statistics of public, society, and school libraries of 1,000 volumes
and over in 1896.
North Atlantic Division: