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THE LIBRARY LOG

THE LIBRARY LOG
Published for the citzens of Milwaukee, at the end
of each month, except July and August, by the staff af
the Milwaukee Public Library.
SYLVESTER J. CARTER, Editor.
JOSEPHINE KULZICK, Associate Editor.
/Iny citizen of Milwaukee County may have the
Library Log sent to his home for a year by paying
the postage, / 0 cents. Send name and address to the
editor, Milwaukee Public Library.
The Library Log will gladly publish criticisms of
the library service, and suggestions for making it better.
Kindly give name and address with all communications.
Names will not be used for publication without express
permission.
Beginning July 1st, Mr. Cargill, Assistant
Librarian of the Milwaukee Public Library,
will assume the duties of Camp Librarian at
Camp Grant, Rockford, Illinois. This is one
of the oldest and best equipped of the camp
libraries. It contains more than 15,000 vol-
umes of well selected literature, being espe-
cially well provided with books on military
science and related technical subjects such
as radiotelegraphy and aviation. There is
also a large collection of "war" books. Ad-
ditions are being made rapidly. Mr. Cargill
will remain at Camp Grant for two months.
The August C. Beck Co. has generously
contributed twenty boxes for shipping books
to camp libraries. Any other manufactur-
ers able to assist in this way will find the
library in a receptive attitude.
Mr. Asa Don Dickinson, Dispatch Agent
of A. L. A. War Service, writes as follows:
"Received for shipment to our soldiers and
sailors overseas, 42 boxes of books. A fine
lot of books-very well prepared."
PREPAREDNESS FOR RECON-
STRUCTION
Already, the necessity of preparing for
the immense problems which will arise after
the war is evident. Every one will have to
share in solving these problems. The in-
dividual, city, state and nation will be af-
fected. England has already a branch of
the government which is dealing only with

reconstruction. The Municpal Reference
Library is making a special effort to make
available governmental reports and investi-
gations and any other information which
may offer a solution of the many difficul-
ties which will be encountered.
WAR HOUSING
Milwaukee is feeling the lack of proper
housing facilities to care for the numerous
workers employed on government work.
Many complaints have been made regarding
high rentals and actual lack of rooms.
Mayor Hoan has appointed a committee
which is to investigate and propose remedies
for the difficulty. If you are interested in
what has been done you will find in the
Municipal Reference Library many plans
and reports of English cities, and what the
cities in this country are proposing to do.
THE TRAINING CLASS
The first class in the new course of in-
struction for the Public Library Service
has completed its work and has taken the
civil service examination. Even at this early
(lay, before any members of this class have
been tried by a temporary appointment, it is
clear that systematic instruction in the li-
brary work is a great gain to the institution.
The Civil Service Commission has permitted
the library to employ these young people
in practice work while they were taking
their instruction, and their adaptability to
any position that they were called on to fill
temporarily was very evident. It is not
strange that this is found to be so. We are
always preaching the benefits of education.
Anyone who expresses a doubt of that prop-
osition will immediately feel the heavy hand
of public opinion upon him. No one would
be given a position as teacher without pre-
liminary instruction in his business. No
lawyer or doctor would be permitted to
practice without preliminary instruction in
his business; and by the same reasoning,
it must be evident that any one who would
do special or technical work, such as is done
in the library, is a better public servant in
consequence of preliminary training in his
work. This is made plain in the Milwaukee
Public Library not only as a matter of
theory, but as a matter demonstrated by ex-
perience. Civil Service Commissions have
no divinely inspired wisdom to pick out
public servants who are well qualified with-
out training for their duties. Therefore,
the Board of Library Trustees wisely deter-
mined to offer special training free of cost
to those who sought to do library work.
Our Civil Service law, however, goes fur-
ther. It makes it necessary for those who
would win promotion in library work, to



					
				
					
THE LIBRARY LOG

prepare themselves for the promotion.
Therefore, all library workers will do well
to remember that hereafter any number of
years spent in doing merely the routine
duties of the day will not win promotion.
There must be a distinct effort made to
study and progress in the special work of
one's choice. Those who fail to do this
work will fail to win promotion. The new
law places the responsibility exactly where
it belongs, and no one hereafter need com-
plain that his services and abilities are not
recogiiize-d, if he fails to win recognition.
Whether this is a wise law entirely or
whether the method is the best method that
can be devised are questions unnecessary to
discuss at present. These are the methods
which the laws of Visconsin prescribe in
the library service of the city. The part
of wisdom is for each one to recognize the
fact and play the game under the conditions
prescribed by the law. The Library Board
has done all it can to provide the means of
advancement. It is now the duty of those
who would win advancement to use the
means provided.
The new training class will begin its work
July 8th at the Public Library Building.
HOW TO JUDGE A NOVEL
In the not very far distant past, novel
reading was considered a disreputable occu-
pation and the young person seeking a po-
sition on the staff of a public library who
gravely informed the librarian that she
"loved books and nercr read novels", is not
yet in her dotage. We of today read novels
quite shamelessly, carry them about with
us, read them on street cars, trains and in
other like public places, and certainly have
no disposition to apologize for being "caught
with the goods". It is very true that the
reading public ought to be ashamed of the
kind of novel which is often very popular,
but we have learned that there are novels
and novels and that, as Richard Burton puts
it, "Fiction is only frivolous when the read-
er brings a frivolous mind or makes a frivo-
lous choice". We are none of us willing to
answer to the charge of having minds ca-
pable only of frivolity and if we are to avoid
the frivolous choice we must know how to
choose.
In the field of literary criticism no form
of literature is more difficult to handle than
the novel. It does not, however, follow
that we need abandon all hope of independ-
ent judgment and rely entirely upon the
professional critic. There are a few well
defined tests which we may apply to any
novel and be sure of arriving at a conclu-
sion with regard to the book's merit which
shall serve all practical purposes of the
average reader. Mr. William Lyon Phelps
describes a high grade novel as "A good

story, well told." In other words, Mr.
Phelps takes account first of the intrinsic
value of the content of the book and sec-
ondly he regards the author's manner of
presenting his subject. Our definition is
certainly concise, though it is not quite so
innocent as it looks, and it will answer for
a working basis.
Our first test question with regard to the
content of a novel should be "Is this story
in itself worth the telling?" We demand
that an author shall not write unless he has
ideas which it is worth our while to con-
sider. A "good story" is a good story be-
fore ever it is put on paper, though an au-
thor may work havoc by his manner of
telling the story. There is no hard and
fast rule as to an author's choice of subject
matter for a good novel. All of life fur-
nishes material for the successful novelist.
Arnold Bennett's first successful novel, "The
Old Wives' Tale", details events in the drab
lives of two old sisters, while adventure
a plenty spelled success and permanent
value for "Robinson Crusoe".
The second question with regard to the
story itself is, "Is it interesting to the class
of readers for whom it is intended?" In-
terest depends upon several elements in the
author's work as well as upon the intrinsic
value of his ideas. Originality is one im-
portant factor in holding the interest of the
reader. The mind is attracted and stimu-
lated by that which is fresh and unhack-
neyed. Then too the author often kills in-
terest by dragging in irrelevant material,
therefore he must stick to his theme with
only reasonable digressions. We are not
much interested in the rambling type of
narrative which constantly takes us off into
byways when we wish to be traveling the
main road.
The next test question may very well be
"Are the characters real people?"  False
psychology is one of the worst sins of the
novelist. Very few novelists succeed in ab-
solutely truthful character deliniation but
the really good novel at least approaches
perfection in this respect. Right here is the
worst pitfall for the inexperienced reader.
Interest may be held by various qualities
in the author's work and the reader be
actually duped by the author's presentation
of people, their actions and emotions, as
in reality they are not. It takes a reader
of considerable experience in living to read-
ily detect this fault in an interesting novel,
but once the mind is awake on the subject
we are sure to feel outraged by the novelist
who foists upon us an impossible character.
We do not wish to be lied to concernins
the workings of the human mind and soul.
The novel full of false psychology dies an
early death, but it very frequently runs a
swift race as a "best-seller".
Another test question is "Does this author
show creative imagination?" A really worth
while novel leaves in the mind of the reader
vivid pictures and memories of people who

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