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BULLETIN

OF THE

NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY

ASTOR LENOX AND TILDEN FOUNDATIONS

Published monthly by The New York Public Library at 476 Fifth Avenue, New York City. President, George L. Rives, 476 Fifth Avenue; Secretary, Charles Howland Russell, 476 Fifth Avenue; Treasurer, Edward W. Sheldon, 45 Wall Street; Director, Edwin H. Anderson, 476 Fifth Avenue.

Subscription One Dollar a year, current single numbers Ten Cents.

Entered at the Post Office at New York, N. Y., as second-class matter, January 30, 1897, under Act of July 16, 1894.

Printed at The New York Public Library, 476 Fifth Avenue. Edmund L. Pearson, Editor.

VOLUME XVIII

JULY, 1914

NUMBER 7

THE BACKS OF BOOKS

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BY WILLIAM WARNER BISHOP
Superintendent of the Reading Room, Library of Congress

Address delivered at the Commencement Exercises
Library School, New York Public Library

June 12, 1914

FEW men who are called upon to ad that you have been prepared for a specific

dress graduating classes in colleges line of work and are about to enter on the and schools can refrain from the tempta actual practice of your profession. The tion to usurp the functions of the preacher. impending change from theory to practice Here is an opportunity too tempting to be faces likewise the graduates of schools of missed. The familiar surroundings so soon law, medicine. theology, and engineering. to be abandoned, the eager students facing But your situation differs in at least one their life-work, the parting of teachers and respect from theirs. For years they (and pupils, combine to set the commencement you) have been hearing lectures, working speaker in the way of moralizing on the in laboratories, studying text-books. From situation, so well-worn by manifold pred books they have chiefly gathered the theecessors, so ainfully familiar to every ory and training they are about to exeraudience of this sort. Try as I may to

cise on

a more or less unwilling world. avoid preaching to you, I too shall prob But you are to abandon the formal study ably be found pointing morals, if not of individual books as vehicles of knowadorning tales, for the occasion inevitably ledge for the practical handling of books lends itself to the giving of gratuitous in masses for the benefit of other people. advice.

In other words, you are to take what There are, however, some differences you have learned in a few books and between the graduation of a class of pro apply it to the marshalling and serving spective librarians and the ordinary school of many books in libraries in aid of or college commencement. There is the readers. What you have gained in theory obvious fact, which this class shares with is to be applied in practice to the very all similar classes in professional schools, material from which the theory has been

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