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vision of the Bible has failed, because the people have a better sense of pure English than the pedants.
Those who watch the work of the library feel sure of its beneficence, and welcome every extension of the field of its influence.
The Library Board was originally chartered for library and lyceum purposes. In its early days its rooms were used for both. The old reports give account of lectures and entertainments under the auspices of the Board. This building recognizes the propriety of the lyceum in connection with the library. The room in which we are gathered is designed for the uses of clubs and societies formed among the people of the neighborhood for literary purposes of every kind.
In the hope and faith that this structure may be the scene and center of pure enjoyment and high endeavor, that it will prove a temple on whose altar is ever glowing the flame at which patriotism may be rekindled and public spirit renewed, we now open its doors to the people, and bid them enter into possession of their own.
Of Mr. Carnegie's $1,000,000 gift one-half was set apart by the donor for the construction of branches. The Library Board agreed to furnish sites for the buildings, to buy the books, and to provide a proper fund for main. tenance.
Soon after the close of the World's Fair plans for a first branch were begun, and on Sept. 17, 1906, the completed building was opened to the people. The address delivered on that occasion by Pres. F. W. Lehmann of the Library Board and printed in this report, covers not only the earlier history of the public library, but also the events leading up to the coinpletion of this Barr Branch. It remains only to say therefore that the work done here in the first seven months, as shown in the tables of this report, has been most gratifying to all concerned. It was due to no pressure, to no undue attempts to advertise, or to cater to each temporary demand. The home issue has been simply normal. Regarding the builling itself the accompanying views give some impression of its richness and dignity. The main floor particularly, comprising the two reading rooms, stack and delivery rooms, and the librarian's office, is spacious and handsome. The basement, less embellished but thoroughly equipped, contains in addition to toilet rooms, store rooms, and the heating plant, a club room, an auditorium and a retiring room for the staff. The Barr Branch cost about $72,000.
As this report goes to press the Cabanne Branch, second of the Carnegie buildings, is beginning its work. It was dedicated with simple ceremony on the night of July 27th, in the presence of a large gathering of friends. Pres. F. W. Lehmann spoke for the Library Board and Mr. Saunders Norvell replied in behalf of the neighborhood; the generosity of the Cabanne Library Association provided a band of music and also attractive souvenirs In the form of book marks representing the keys of the library; and in every way the occasion proved itself a happy one.
The Cabanne Branch in its early weeks has repeated the gratifying record of the Barr, both in the registration of new readers and in the issue of books. It is steadily and enthusiastically patronized. This branch, though different in exterior design, is similar to the Barr in size and equipment, and its cost was about $80,000.
At the present time a third branch, the Carondelet, is about two-thirds completed. The site for a fourth was bought this spring at Seventh and Soulard Streets, and another is being sought in the northern part of the city. This growth will go steadily on until seven branches are finished, when the Carnegie fund will be exhausted and the city, it is hoped, will for the time be adequately served.
By the spring of 1907 the Library Board had accumulated for a central library building about $1,200,000, including the $500,000 given by Andrew Carnegie. The site at 13th and Olive was being cleared of the Coliseum and Music Hall and the time had come for the choice of an architect. Late in April therefore, a competition was arranged between nine invited architectural firms, as follows: Carrere & Hastings, Cass Gilbert, Palmer & Hornbostel, and Albert R. Ross of New York; and Barnett, Haynes & Barnett, Eames & Young, Wm. B. Ittner, Mauran, Russell & Garden, and Theodore C. Link of St. Louis. Six weeks later the drawings were called in and submitted to a jury composed of Walter Cook of New York, Frank Miles Day of Philadelphia, Philip Sawyer of New York, architects; Edwin H. Anderson, Librarian of the State Library, Albany, New York, and John F. Lee, of the St. Louis Public Library Board. The three architects in this body were chosen by vote of the competitors. After a three days' session, in which Mr. Crunden took a part, the jury reported to the library board its ranking of the drawings. The Board, at its meeting on the following day, voted to adopt this recommendation, and to appoint the author of the plans ranked first, architect of the new building. This was found to be Mr. Cass Gilbert of New York.
A spirit of good-will marked the progress of the competition. The superiority of Mr. Gilbert's plans was conceded not only by the jury and the Library Board, but also by the competitors themselves. The make-up of the program and the manner of conducting the competition also seemed to please; for the Board made all concessions possible and pursued throughout a liberal policy. For the excellence of the program and the skilful conduct of the competition from the time of its inception to the day Mr. Gilbert was chosen, the library owes a cordial acknowledgment to its consulting architect, Prof. F. M. Mann of Washington Universiiy.
No one could have given more sincere and effective service.
Mr. Gilbert, between the time of his selection as architect and the publi. cation of this report, has devoted himself to a detailed restudy of his competition plans.