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.
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
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