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"Arousing Community Interest in the Library" Address. Library Conference - Hampton Institute, March 15-18, 1927. American Liberty League. 400dpi TIFF G4 page images Digital Library Services, University of Kentucky Libraries Lexington, Kentucky LFP_rblue_2_06_08 These pages may freely searched and displayed. Permission must be received for subsequent distribution in print or electronically. "Arousing Community Interest in the Library" Address. Library Conference - Hampton Institute, March 15-18, 1927. American Liberty League. unknown unknown 1927-03-15 Is Part of the Reverend Thomas F. Blue Papers, ca. 1905-1935 housed at the Louisville Free Public Library, Louisville, KY. This electronic text file was created by Optical Character Recognition (OCR). No corrections have been made to the OCR-ed text and no editing has been done to the content of the original document. Encoding has been done through an automated process using the recommendations for Level 1 of the TEI in Libraries Guidelines. Digital page images are linked to the text file. ï»¿Uarch 15-18, 1927 p. sous ria CGWRWm I highest ur thk mbraht Thorns F. Blue, Head Colored Eeparteent l/juisville Free Public library Just â– short tlr.e ago T received a letter from a colored branch library, In a southern city, saying "Our library is not interesting jsany adultsâ€¢ e have heard of your success. How do you do it?* In discussing the subject under consideration, I trust I will, in a easure, answer that question. In the Library Journal of February 1, 1927, Mr. Frank Jones in his report of a conmiunity library survey, calls attention to the import-anoe of a branch library being of "ready access;" which suggests tho in-portonce of a branch library being properly located. In corxiercial pursuits, the location of the place of business counts for a greet deal. The same Kay be true of a public library. The fortunate locations of our two colored branch libraries has contributed g greet deal o the success of our work. It is a regrettable fact that & colored branch library in a large southern city, housed in a Camerie building, with a trained librarian was a failure bee- us^ of Its unfortunate location. To insure the support of the cornunity, it is necessary that the library be properly located and of *ready access." In our work, we have found that a suitable and sufficient collection of boos will go far towards conn:anding the interest of the ccmunity. In ï»¿this ratter, the tv/o colored branches of the Louisville free Public Library have been most fortunate. In the selection of books, anything won't do, the library mst have something really worth while. A little boy cace to the library for the first tiro. Looking around and seeing tie, he asVed an attendant, ''Is that the library professor?" The attendant answering yes, the little fellow said, "I thought he was something.* We must nake the conasunity feel that the Horsey is sonething. Sone tiise ago I visited a library in one of our southern colleges, which unfortunately, was in charge of an attendant with no training. The room was attractive and equipped with suitable furniture; but it see^s that little interest was taken in the library, greatly to the disccaafiture of the president. A glance at the shelves with their poor collection of unclassified, antiquated, ill-appearing books nade the reason for the lack of interest quite apparent. I have on file a letter which I received fron a branch library in a norther^ city thnt wa.5 trying to interest the colored rsidents of the concmnity. The substance of the letter was, what do you do to interest colored people? Later, I had occasion to visit that library and to ray surprise, there were cataloged only two books by colored authors, and not a single periodical on file by colored editors, :;hich suggested that at least, one way to interest colored readers had been overlooked. In addition to the regular collection of books and periodicals in our department, which is eraple, generous consideration has been given to the selection of books and periodic Is by colored writers. Besides a'large collection of booVs by colored authors, there are on file in our department. ï»¿twenty*two representative colored riewspapers, fthieh to our people i3 a matter of pride. soir.ctij our group is, nWhat kind of books do colored people road, It seerjs that while our people are naturally interested in ooks and periodicals by their own writers, it doe3 not follow that they are any the less interested in rÂ»ooks by ether writers. r'e find that they read the saiae books that any other group reads under similar circumstances. The annual report of the Colored Department of the Louisville Free Public library for the year ending August 31, 1926, shows that the throe lear'ng classes of boo7 s read In the order of their popularity were literature 1,:-9C volumes, sociology 1,921 and useful arts 1,683. In the library it seers that "culture is colorle33.u On one occasion I was visiting socie of the hones of the eonr-unity, trying to get sose long overdue books, girls swinrinz on a r,ate and overheard s I was passing I saw two little That1s the library man, he owns the library.* On the contrary, the people should bo made to feel that they own the library. People are likely to be Interested in what belongs to thasu In the library, one rule for the guidance of the staff is, 11 iver.ecv-ber tha. the library belongs to the people.* In conducting our work we have found that in the library efficient service counts for a great deal in securing and holding the interest of the people. There seems to be no question about the recognition of the advan-tnges of n well conducted public library, but there is a question as to the ï»¿1 propriety of placing in charge of a public library for our people some one with no training and^experience, fcuch a procedure is rore than likely to invite a failure. In business, t?Â»e objective is e sotisfio customer, in the- library inod workers are necessary to give the service that satisfies. In the work with children, we have a story hour each week and an annual story-telling contest is held, trhich has been far reaching in arousing their inter'-sb. Che story-tolling contest is between the children of the Western and the children of te eastern olored Branch libraries and is held before tbe annual meeting of the Kentucky negro ducatâ€¢ nal Association. The mines of the two winners, prinary and intermediate are placed on a silver loving cup known as the Cotter Story Telling Contest Cup. The naaes of eighteen winners are now on the cup. Let ne speak of another feature of our work that lias helped greatly in creating and r aintaining an interest in the library. The library serves as a bureau of information for the general public. Aside from furnishing reference matter for the public schools, the general public is encouraged to come to the library or telephone for in-fomation on all kinds of topics and all sorts of quest!onsf and the library tries to lot no one go away "empty hande o have lonmed that a satis- fied patron is a good advertisement. Finally, among our people we have learned from experience -hat the trained librarian, in a new field, ia fortunate if she possesses a missionary spirit Testament, there is a striking story about Philip ï»¿-5- the Ttbiopian whieh will fittingly illustrate my point. The Ethiopian was returning from Jerusalem, sitting in hi3 chariot reading. Philip, who happened to be passi? g that v y was directed to go near and join himself to the chariot. Philip obeyed and it resulted in reaching and interesting the Ethiopian* It pays for the library to join itself to the community as Philip did to the Ethiopian* Join itself to the public schools ard other educational institutions in the community by cooperating with the teachers and encouraging then to observe the slognn, "Go to the library when in need of reference matter and supplementary reading.w Join itself to the professional, business and vocational activities of the people by suggesting for their use helpful books and magazines. Join itself to sose of the important educational, social and religious gatherings of the people, by the oecasional presence of a member of the staff. The presence of a merber of the staff at these meetings is always a reminder of the library. Join itself to the rtublie by creating a taste for good literature, and supplying the best recreational reading* Join itself to the rrublic by preparing attractive bulletins of our national holidays and important events with suggestive lists of books* Join itsolf to the press by occasionally sending to the newspapers lists of new and important books and items of real interest about the library* In fhet, keep the library in the mind3 of the people. Make them feel that the library belongs to theÂ© and that it is really worth while.