A Library Primer (1899)/Chapter L

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A Library Primer by John Cotton Dana
Chapter L, Children's room

In recent years a number of the larger libraries of the country have given up a portion of the delivery room, or a separate room entire, to the use of children. All of these special arrangements for children thus far reported have been successful. The plan that seems to give the greatest satisfaction, is to place in a room opening from the delivery room, and perhaps forming in effect a part of it, the books in the library especially adapted to the use of young people up to about 14 years of age. Such of these books as are not fiction are classified as closely as are the books in the main part of the library, and are arranged by their numbers on the shelves.

In this room the children have free access to the shelves. An attendant in charge gives special attention to the wants of the young visitors, and as far as possible gives guidance in the selection and instruction in the use of the books. A collection of reference books adapted to the young is sometimes added to the books which circulate.

Even in the very small library a corner for young people will usually be found an attractive and useful feature. It draws the young folks away from the main collection, where their presence sometimes proves an annoyance. It does not at all prevent the use, by the younger readers, of the books of the elders if they wish to use them, and it makes much easier some slight supervision, at least, of the former's reading.