Library Annual Report 1895

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presented to the
of the
South Orange Free Public Circulating Library Association
at the
Annual Meeting held May 14th, 1895

At our last annual meeting your Trustees were able to report a most remarkable increase both in circulation of books and visitors of the Reading Room. It is highly gratifying, therefore, that such surprising progress has been not only maintained but surpassed during the year just passed. 19,118 books were taken out, against 15,190 the previous year, and the number of readers in the room increased from 11,955 to 13,606. Your Trustees feel, therefore, that they are not laboring in vain; and most encouraging of all has been the interest shown by the children, who have contributed $113 for the purchase of juvenile books and $40.73 to be added tot he building fund. Both these contributions were unsolicited, and the entertainments, by which the money was obtained, were planed and carried out by the children themselves.

Owning to the growth of the Library the question of obtaining a building of our own has seriously occupied the Board. negotiations for the purchase of a building lot were begun, and had made considerable progress, when the following letter was received:

"South Orange, November 28th, 1984.
To the South Orange Free Public Library Association:
I hereby offer to give to the Association the lot of land on the north corner of Scotland Road and Taylor Place, having a frontage of fifty feet on said road, and about one hundred and six feet on said place upon the following conditions:
That the sum of seven thousand five hundred dollars be bona fide subscribed for the construction of a Library building on said lot on or before the first day of May next, and that stone or brick building be erected thereon without unnecessary delay.
That such building shall be used only for Library purposes (free) and such purposes as may be incidental thereto or properly connected therewith.
That no mortgage or other lien shall ever be placed or suffered to exist against said building and lands.
That the plans for such building shall be approved by me.
Eugene V. Connett."

Mr. Connett's generous offer was eagerly accepted. We already had a little over $1,500 available for building purposes, and contributions have been pledged sufficient to raise the amount to $7,000. Mr. Connett has kindly extended the time for obtaining the $7,400, and we hope soon to be able definitely to accept the land he has offered to give us. I need not dwell upon the importance to this village of a substantial Library building, and I trust our next annual meting may be held within its walls.

According to the report of the Treasurer we begin the new year with a credit balance of $295.96. Of our receipts more than $500 are the proceeds of private theatricals, concerts, etc., and we are grateful to all who have helped us. While such a mode of raising funds doubtless affords enjoyment to many, and probably, brings in money from some who, perhaps, would not contribute otherwise, I venture to suggest that it means great exertion and the sacrifice of much time on the part of a few, and that the amounts realized sometimes are but small in proportion to the money expended by the public. If those who buy tickets to entertainments would give instead, at the beginning of the winter, five or ten dollars a year for the support of the Library both they and the Library would, doubtless, be better off, and the committee on Ways and Means would have an easier task.

In 1893 we received $300 from the village, but the Board of Trustees had no funds out of which to grant us a similar contribution last year, and I understand that under a law passed by the Legislature some weeks ago no appropriation can now be made without the previous approval of the legal voters of the village.

We have suffered a great loss in the death of Mr. Edwin H. Mean, one of our Trustees, and a warm friend and supporter of the Library. Could Mr. Mead have carried out his intentions the Library would have been in its own building some years ago.

Miss Alma R. Van Hoevenberg resigned her position as Librarian in October last. Miss Elizabeth Van Hoevenberg was appointed to fill the vacancy, and I wish to express the satisfaction of the Trustees with her intelligent and painstaking performance of her duties.

Further particulars of what has been done during the year will be found in the reports of the Treasurer and the Library Committee.

E. Edward Billqvist,


It is quite evident that increased interest has been shown in the Library during the past year. This is demonstrated by a still larger circulation of books and an increased attendance at the Reading Room.

The circulation in the year has reached a total of 19,118 volumes, which is by far the largest circulation for any year in the history of the Library, being an increase over the previous year of 3,928.

These books have been taken out by over 1,000 different individuals, which, in a population so small as ours, shows a most remarkable interest. Of the 1,077 names of those who have taken books from the Library 239 are new names; 217 more names are registered than last year.

Since May 1st, 1894, 13,606 readers have used the Reading Room, an increase of 1,651 over the previous year.

This wonderful increase of interest is not explained entirely by a corresponding increase in reading matter, as the additions to the Library have been but 468 books as against 441 the previous year, although 250 were purchased the past year and but 131 the previous year.

198 were gifts as against 251 last year, and 20 were periodicals bound.


During the year just closed 15,190 books have been used by 860 persons and 11,955 readers have visited the Reading Room. A statement of the circulation and Reading Room use for each year since 1886, the term for which the Library has been a free institution, will be found following the annual report of circulation and readers.

In order to give the much needed space for additions and work, a number of books were sold, 65 (duplicates) were given to the Wyoming Library, and 58 were discarded, as being too much worn for further use. These have been 6 books lost and 40 rebound. Of 441 additions, 251 were gifts, 131 were bought, 59 were volumes of magazines bound.

A list of "Wants" to complete volumes and sets of magazines, has been prepared with the hope that those interested in the Library will contribute any they may have of the numbers specified. Indeed any magazines will be acceptable, for when duplicates they can be exchanged and thus gaps may be filled without expense to the Library.

In the Reading Room a decided increase has been noticeable, in the attendance of the small urchin, - than whom non need more, just such influence.

Since the catalogue-case was give to us, the work of preparing a card catalogue has progressed steadily. The shelf-list or arrangement by subjects is completed and arranged, and 3,000 author and title cards have been written.

By referring to the report of circulation it will be seen that the Extension lectures are having an effect on the circulation of the Library. The six-lecture-course on Literature, given in November and December caused a large increase for those months, and indeed, has materially raised the average of succeeding months.

A reading-list on English history has been compiled and it is proposed to undertake one of American history, on the same general principal.

The most pressing present need is for more shelf-room. Our shelves are now much too crowded for the good of the books, there being moreover no opportunity for adequately increasing the present capacity, and as the Library grows, this condition will be ore and more apparent in the future. With new and better facilities a still further increased use might naturally be expected and an ever widening influence for good in the community.



During the past year, the improvement in the affairs of the Library, which was noticeable during 1893, is still more apparent, the increase in circulation is material, showing a total of 15,190, during the year, an increase over last year of 3,841. The same improvement in Reading Room attendance is evident, showing an increase of 4,514 over last year.

The circulation of books for adults has been greater than for the children. Although the total for the latter is greater than for any previous year, it is not proportionate to other classes, the reason for this is, that fewer juvenile books have been purchased.

There has been an increased demand for books of reference, and books of this character should be added as early as possible. The idea should not be lost sight of, that an important use of books of reference, is that of teaching the young minds how to look up subjects, so that the education begun in school may continue though life, by the help the Library affords.

We need an adequate supply of such books, also a supply of juvenile books - at least 100 would bring this class into prominence again. If we can reach the boys and girls, we building for the future, but at the same time, we cannot afford to neglect to supply our adult readers with new publications, so that their interest is kept alive, and their support, which is so necessary, secured.

During the past year, we have purchased 131 new books, 251 have been present to us, and 59 magazines bound.

The entire aspect of the Library's affairs proves conclusively the great need of more convenient quarters. Our shelves are much too crowded now, and the reading room is in itself unattractive and badly ventilated, the Library has certainly outgrown its present quarters.

We would solicit donations of engravings, maps, casts, photographs, etc., to make the Library room more attractive, such gifts would be greatly appreciated.

The Library Committee most cordially thank all those who have helped the Library in various ways during the year.

It is just, that the Library Committee state that they are satisfied with the efforts of the present Librarian in the performance of her respective duties.

It is with great pleasure that this committee is enable to present a report so gratifying in its character, and we earnestly hope and believe that the improvement so noticeable at present, will continue in the future, and that our Library will speedily become a potent factor in the advancement of this community.

Respectfully, submitted for the Committee,