The School Library [1938]

I. General Introduction

In a modern scheme of education greater attention must be given to the school library than has been given in the past. No programme is complete which does not provide definite opportunity for the development of wide reading interests and the cultivation of a discriminating taste in books.

Modern methods require the use of books and other printed materials covering a wide field. The single text-book on any subject is no longer sufficient for the pupil. He must be taught where to find whatever he may need to know. The school library is the place where material is available and where the necessary instruction may be given.

Through the daily use of books for reference-work and pleasure-reading the child will acquire habits of study and a taste for reading which he will carry over into adult life. The freedom, responsibility, and self-direction of library activities have the dignity of an adult situation giving present meaning and purpose to every related pupil activity.

II. General Aims

  1. To provide for a worthy use of leisure-time by arousing an interest in books and reading.
  2. To arouse a critical attitude towards what is read and to develop a taste for and an appreciation of real literature.
  3. To enrich the curriculum by providing books, periodicals, maps, clippings, and visual aids to supplement the work of the class-room.
  4. To teach the use of reference-books and library tools.

III. Equipment.

  1. Size.—The library should be large enough to accommodate approximately ten per cent. Of the enrolment of the school. In a one-room school a corner at the back of the room with the book collection, a table and chairs would be known as the Library Corner.
  2. Location.—In small schools where only a Library Corner is provided, it should be in the quietest part of the school, well lighted and as attractive as possible. In larger schools the room should be centrally located, well lighted and quiet.
  3. Floors.—The floor should be covered with cork or battleship linoleum.
  4. Shelves.—Shelves should be built in and always open-faced. All available wall-space should be used for shelves to allow for expansion. Stacks are not very satisfactory for a school. Shelves should be 5 to 6 feet high, with 6 or 7 shelves to a section, 8 inches wide, ¾ inch thick, and adjustable. The length between the sections should not be more than 36 inches, otherwise the weight of the books will cause sagging.
  5. Furniture.—Tables and chairs should be used instead of desks.
    (a.) Tables should be sturdily built, 3 feet by 5 feet and 26 to 28 inches high. These tables will accommodate 6 people.
    (b.) Chairs should be strong and comfortable, without arms, and fitted with rubber tips to prevent noise. They should be from 13 to 16 inches high, according to the grades using the Library.
    (c.) Desk, preferable U-shaped, should be large enough to take care of the circulation and wide enough for two to work at at the same time.
    (d.) File. A vertical file, legal size for pamphlets, clippings, and pictures.
    (e.) Card catalogue cabinet. This should be in units, so that it may be added to. One drawer will hold 1,100 cards for the Shelf List, but only 600 to 700 for the catalogue.
    (f.) Stands for dictionaries and atlases. Special stands should be provided for these books so that they may be consulted without being moved from their places.
    (g.) Rack for periodicals. A special rack may be provided or a section of the shelving may be adapted for the display of current issues. Back numbers may be kept on the shelves.
    (h.) Bulletin-boards for posters, lists, notices, etc.
    (i.) Work-room. Whenever possible a work-room should adjoin the Library. It should be equipped with running water and furnished with cupboards and a table.

For further descriptions and illustrations of equipment see Gaylord Bros., Inc., Library Furniture and Supplies, Stockton, California; and Globe-Wernicke, Library Equipment, Cincinnati, Ohio.

IV. Selecting and Ordering Books.

  1. The teacher-librarian should use the list at the end of this section as a guide in selecting books. Other sources are listed in the bibliography.
  2. t must be remembered that the school library is primarily for the pupils.
  3. Supplementary readers are not library books.
  4. The curriculum and the needs of the various departments must always be kept in mind.
  5. Balance must be achieved between all departments. Suggested budgets will be found in books on library science listed in the bibliography, but each librarian will be guide by: (a) the number of books the library has on each subject; (b) the number of pupils studying each subject.
  6. Curriculum needs must not be allowed to crowd out books for pleasure-reading. One of the chief aims of the library in the school is to develop a love of reading. This can only be realized when there is a good collection of fiction and books of general interest as well as reference and work-type books.
  7. Careful consideration should be given to the make-up of the book; i.e., the size, quality of paper, width of margin, type, and illustrations.
  8. Attractive editions should be bought whenever possible, especially of the classics. Cheaper editions may be used for duplicates.
  9. Whenever possible, books should be ordered though a re-enforcing company. Lists may be sent to these companies who will procure the books from the publishers and resew them for a small charge. This has been found to be the most economical way to buy, as the binding will then last as long as the paper on which the book is printed. Companies doing this work are: (a) The Ontario Book Company, Kitchener, Ontario; (b) Cedric Chivers, Limited, Portway, Bath; (c) H. R. Hunting, Springfield, Mass. In sending an order to any of these jobbing firms, arrange items as follows: Publisher, author, title, edition (if company publishes more than one edition of the desired title).
  10. Magazines should be ordered through a local agency. All subscriptions should expire at the same time.

V. Selection and Ordering Supplies.

Types and standards for supplies may be seen in Gaylord Bros.' Catalogue. Similar materials may be ordered through the local stationers or in Vancouver. Only the best quality obtainable should be used. Double-stitched binder can only be obtained from Gaylord Bros. Inc.

VI. Repairing and Rebinding of Books.

  1. Repairing. (a.) Incidental repairs may be done by the pupil assistants under the direct supervision of the librarian.
    (b.) Onion-skin paper is used for mending torn pages rather than transparent adhesive tape. (See Toronto Method of Book Repairing and Book craft, free pamphlets from Gaylord Bros., Stockton, California.)
  2. Rebinding. (a.) Extensive repairs should not be attempted on books to be rebound.
    (b.) Only books printed on good-quality paper with fairly wide margins can be rebound.
    (c.) Books to be rebound may be sent to the Vancouver Public Library.
    (d.) The Vancouver Public Library Bindery does work of the highest quality.

School Library Procedure - General Remarks and Suggestions

I. Library Attendance.

  1. Graded schools having a library with a teacher-librarian in charge under the direction of the class-room teacher. A library corner (see Equipment, above) with attractive picture-books and easy reading-books should be provided. The children of these grades should visit the school library (or Public Library if there is no library in the school) once a term.
    Grade III. Should be scheduled to the library for one 40-minute period a week.
    Grade IV., V., and VI. Should be scheduled for two 40-minute period a week.
  2. Ungraded or Semi-graded schools; Graded schools without a library.
    There should be a library corner in the class-room, or in some other accessible place. There should be a regular library period once a week and pupils should be encouraged to step quietly to the library corner for reading or browsing in spare moments.

II. Activities.

    (a.) Organization and administration of the School Library.
    (1.) Book selection and purchase (where there is no Library Supervisor).
    (2.) Preparation and circulation of books and periodicals.
    (3.) Preparation and circulation of pictures and other visual aids.
    (4.) Minor repairs.
    (5.) Preparation of books for the bindery.
    (6.) Records: Accession; Shelf List; Circulation.
    (7.) making and keeping up to date a simplified catalogue: Author card; Title card ; Subject card.
    (b.) Graded instruction in the use of library materials.
    (c.) Guidance of pupils' reading. Pupils should have the widest possible freedom of choice in their reading and guidance should take the form of indirect suggestion and the communication of enthusiasms rather than of required reading lists.
    (d.) Records of pupils' reading.
    (e.) Assistance in reference-work.
    (1.) Teachers: bibliographies, Book lists, Pamphlets, Clippings, Special book collections, Pictures, and other visual aids.
    (2.) Pupils also need help in doing reference-work for home-room or special subject-work.
    (f.) Appreciation. The librarian's enthusiasms are supplemented by: --
    (1.) Story-telling.
    (2.) Reading poetry aloud.
    (3.) Study of book illustrations.
    (4.) Biographical studies of authors and illustrators.
    See also Pupil Activities.
    (g.) Familiarity with children's and general literature.
    (h.) Co-operation with the Public Library. The nature and extent of this co-operation will depend upon local conditions. If there is a Public Library within reach, pupils, beginning in the Third Grade, should be encouraged to take out borrowers' cards.
    (a.) Learning to use library materials.
    (b.) Reading.
    (1.) For study: Reference-work in school subjects and out of school interests.
    (2.) For pleasure: Books and periodicals; Audience reading; Browsing.
    (c.) Appreciation.
    (1.) Book reports. These should be as informal and spontaneous as possible and book-report forms which tend to formality and sterility should be avoided. Pupils should feel that their opinions are of value and that their efforts to express them are appreciated.
    (2.) Story-telling.
    (3.) Projects:- Book posters, Book maps, Costume dolls, Models, Book journeys, evolution of the book.
    (4.) Creative activities: Writing poems, stories, plays, pageants, group or individual effort; Setting up miniature stage scenes;
    Puppets; Special subject or seasonal exhibits; Auditorium or open-day programmes; Book or reading clubs; Book-report booklets or magazine.
    (5.) Records of reading.
    (a.) Shelf reading.
    (b.) Care and decoration of the library.
    (c.) Carding and shelving books.
    (d.) Simple book-mending.
    (e.) Pasting pockets and slips in books.
    (f.) Counting circulation.
    (g.) Helping younger pupils.


The nature and extent of library instruction to be given in the elementary schools will depend upon the library situation in each school. The following lessons are designed for schools which have a well-equipped library with a trained librarian in charge. The lessons may be modified to suit the library resources of schools which have not complete library facilities.


Specific Aims.

  1. To make pupils feel at home in the library.
  2. To establish ideals of library citizenship.


  1. Library citizenship.
    (a.) Care of books and equipment: Clean hands; how to open and handle a book; care of tables, chairs, and all library equipment.
    (b.) respect for rights of others: Quiet; courtesy

  2. .
  3. Physical make-up of book: cover; body.

  4. Printed parts of a book: Author—what an author is; title; illustrations.


Specific Aims.

  1. To establish a love of books.
  2. To acquaint pupils with the general function, arrangement, and use of a library
  3. .
  4. To give pupils a simple knowledge of library tools and library resources.


  1. Introduction to library: Tour of library ; display of library resources.
  2. Printed parts of a book: Review work of previous grades; add: title page—copyright, publisher, illustrator; table of contents.
  3. General function and use of a library: Public and school library; library as a centre for general reading; reference function of a library; instructions for borrowing books.
  4. Classification and arrangement of books: Dewey Decimal scheme—general explanation of the ten classes of books; definite instruction in classes used; call numbers—what the call number consists of, the significance of call number; finding books on shelves.
  5. Dictionary: Thorough understanding of small dictionary; general explanation of an unabridged dictionary.


Specific Aims.

  1. to give pupils a more detailed knowledge of library tools and resources.
  2. to develop skill in using library tools.
  3. To make pupils aware of the importance and usefulness of library resources in relation to the general curriculum.
  4. To develop in pupils an increasing consciousness of the vital part reading interests and skills play in life.


  1. Printed parts of a cook: Review work of previous grades ; add: use of index ; preface ; introduction ; bibliographies ; copyright ; dates ; miscellaneous—appendix, notes, binder's title, dedication, maps, diagrams, etc., glossary.
  2. Classification and arrangement of books: Review work of previous grades; with more detailed instruction ; pupils should become familiar with the class numbers of books which are most frequently used.
  3. Use of the library: Index to library—tells what books are in the library and where to find them.
  4. (a.) Card catalogue: Author, title, and subject cards—pupils should be able to tell from the catalogue:
    (1) Whether the library has a certain book (by author of title) ;
    (2) what books the library has by a certain author;
    (3) what books the library has on certain subjects.
    (b.) Vertical file: Content ; arrangement.
    (c.) Encyclopædias: Name; general content ; general arrangement, alphabetical; volumes—guide words; arrangement of subject matter. Pupils should have a thorough understanding of the divisions of a subject; i.e., headings and subheadings, copyright date, cross-references.
    (d.) Dictionary—unabridged: Spelling; definitions; pronunciation; parts of speech; derivation; abbreviations; illustrations; proper names; pronouncing gazetteer.
    (e.) Other reference tools: Biographical aids—books of biography; books which contain biographical sections. Pupils should be taught the use of such books as sources of biographical information. Canada year book, World almanac, Whitaker's almanac; arrangement—general content. Pupils should know how and when to use such books of statistics.
    NOTE .—For methods and lesson outlines see Bibliography.


American Library Association: A.L.A. catalog. 1926; an annotated basic list of 10,000 books, ed. By I. M. Cooper (A.L.A., 1926). Price, $6.
Beust, Nora, comp.: Graded list of books for children (A.L.A., 1936). Price, $2.
Andrews, Siri, comp.: Children's catalog; 5th ed. (Wilson, 1936). Sold on a service basis, apply to publisher. Annual supplements. Price $12.
Mahoney & Whitney, ed.: The Horn book (264 Boylston St., Boston, Mass.) Price per year, $2.50.
Booklist: A guide to the best new books (A.L.A.). Price per year, $2.50.

Wilson bulletin (Wilson). Price per year (magazine), 50c.
Akers, Susan Grey: Simple library cataloguing (A.L.A., 1927). Price, $1.25.
Dewey, Melville: Abridged Decimal Classification and Relative Index: 4th ed. rev. (Forest Press, 1929). Price, $2.50.
American Library Association: Catalog rules; author and titles entries, comp. by committees of the America Library Association and the British Library Association; American ed. (A.L.A., 1908). Price, $1.
Gaylord: Free booklets on the organization and cataloguing of a library (Stockton, California).
Fargo, Lucile Foster: The library in the school (A.L.A., 1933). Price, $3.
Wilson, Martha: School library management; 5th ed. rev. (Wilson, 1931). Price, $1.25.
Sears, Minnie Earl: List of subject headings for small libraries; 3rd ed. rev. and enl. (Wilson, 1926). Price, $2.75.

Brown, Zaidee: The library key; with practice lessons (Wilson, 1928). Price, 70c. : ten or more copies, each, 35c.
Scripture, Elizabeth, and Greer, Margaret R.: Find it yourself; a brief course in the use of books and libraries; Students ed. (Wilson, 1928). Price, 50c. ; ten or more copies, each, 25c.
Rice, Ole Sacter: Lessons on the use of books and libraries (Rand, 1920). Price, $1.
Detroit Public Schools; course of study in the use of the library, grades 1 to 6 (Board of Education, Detroit).
Library instruction, grades 1 to 6 (Public Schools, Denver, Colorado).

Vertical File service: Catalog monthly (Wilson). Service basis.
Ovitz, Delia G., and Miller, Zana Kate: Vertical file in every library; rev. ed. 1932 (Library Bureau). Free.
King's Printer, British Columbia and Ottawa. For government publications.
League of Nations Society in Canada, Ottawa. For material on League of Nations.

Surveyor-General. Department of the Interior, Ottawa, Maps of Canada—railways, resources, and vegetation. Map of the world, showing trade routes, etc.

Equipment—16 m.m. machines. Eastman Kodascope (Eastman Kodak Co., Granville St., Vancouver). Ampro (Regina Photo Supply Co., Regina Asks). Victor (Victor Animatograph Corporation, Davenport, Iowa).
Filmo—Bell & Howell (Society for visual Education, 327 South La Salle St., Chicago).
Lanterns—film slide, glass slides, opaque. Spencer Film & Side Co., 156 King St. West, Toronto. Dunne & Rundle, 531 Granville St., Vancouver.
Sources for films—16 m.m. Eastman Kodak Co., Granville Street, Vancouver. University of California, Berkeley, California. Bray Pictures Corporation, New York City. Visual Aids Service, 113 University High School, Urbana Illinois.
Film slides—rolls (Spencer Film & Slide Co., 156 King St. West, Toronto).

American Museum of Natural History, 77th St. and Central Park West. New York. The Museum has handbooks, photographs, and lantern-slides on natural science. Leaflets listing publications and series of small catalogues. Free.

American Natures Association, 1214 16th St. N.W., Washington, D.C. Publishers of Bruce Hasfall pictures in colour of birds and animals. Set of 12, 9 by 12 inches. Price per set, 50c.
Art Extension Press, Westport, Conn. Publishers a series of coloured reproduction of great paintings called “Artext prints,” 8 by 10 inches. Price, unmounted, each 35c. Other series available.
Brann & Cie, 62 W. 47th St., New York. Fine photographic reproductions from the original paintings, sculpture, and architecture throughout the world: illustrated catalog. Price, 50c.
British Museum London. Post-cards from the collection in the Museum.
Perry Pictures, Walden, Mass. Publish pictures at from 1 cent to 10 cents each. Also the 2-cent size is 5½ by 8 inches. Larger sizes, classified catalog. 15c.
Curtis & Cameron, 12 Harcourt St., Boston, Mass. Copley Prints ; illustrated catalogue. Price, 25c.
Hale, Cushman & Flint, 357 Boylston St., Boston, Mass. Publishes the Medici prints. Catalog free on request.
National Association of Book Publishers, 347 Fifth Avenue, New York. This association is the headquarters for Book Week. A mailing fee of 25c. is charged for posters and leaflets.
New York (City) Metropolitan Museum of Art, 5th Ave. and 82nd St., New York. List on application.
Order of the Fellowship of the Knights of the Round Table of King Arthur, King Arthur's Hall, Tintagel, England.
Royal Ontario Museum Toronto. The Museum will supply illustrations for history and science. Write for information to Miss Ruth M. Howe, of the Museum.
Tuck, Raphael & Sons, London. Coloured post-cards, including views from all parts of the world ; also literary cards. Catalog on request. University Prints, Newton, Mass. Complete catalog of prints, 5c. Fine list of pictures for the use in English teaching.

Source: British Columbia. Department of Education. Programme of Studies: School Libraries (Victoria: Department of Education, 1938), pp. 223-231.
Transcribed by Erin Strain, History 349, Malaspina University-College, February 2004.