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The Library

Report Of The Librarian

To the President of the Virginia Polytechnic Institute:

The library has supervision over all the books and periodicals belonging to the college. It orders all publications that are to be placed in the main library; classifies, catalogs, and otherwise makes ready for the shelves all purchased and gratis printed material received by the various college departments and offices, and answers queries relative to their studies, research or recreations, put to it by members of the faculty and by the students. It includes the main library, the agricultural and engineering branch libraries, and fourteen departmental libraries.

The work of the department was greater during the year than in any former twelve months’ period. This was due to the increased number of students and faculty members, the establishing of new courses, and the cataloging of two large gift collections of books -- the Alwood collection, covering the fields of entomology, plant pathology, horticulture, and fermentation, presented by Professor W. B. Alwood, who for many years was a member of the faculty of the college; and the Campbell collection, consisting mainly of French and German literary works, given to the library by the family of the late Doctor T. P. Campbell, who was for a long period head of the modern language department.

Many county and home demonstration agents had long felt the need of an extension agents’ library from which they could borrow books for their essential professional reading. Neither the college library nor the agricultural extension service could supply the books wanted. The librarian in cooperation with Director John R. Hutcheson, of the extension service, formulated a scheme whereby books furnished by the college and the extension service, are kept in the agricultural branch library, and are loaned to agents. The steadily increasing use shows that the library answers a real need.

During freshman week, the librarian gave, to the incoming class, a short “welcome-to-the-library” talk and a lecture on the use of the library.

Eight hundred and ninety-one books were purchased for the main library, and 216 for the agricultural branch library. A special allotment of $1,000.00 was made to the library for the acquisition of technical and agricultural books; $2,245.30 was expended for books, periodicals, periodical indexes, and society proceedings and transactions; 1,000 books were received as gifts, this being exclusive of government publications; 1,200 volumes of periodicals were bound for the main library and agricultural branch library. There were 46,823 books and 25,000 pamphlets in all the libraries on June 30, 1930. Of the books, 26,709 are in the main library, 15,112 in the agricultural branch library, and 5,012 in the departmental libraries. The pamphlets are about equally divided between the main library and the branch and departmental libraries.

Two hundred and thirty-one periodicals and newspapers are regularly received by the main library, and 320 by the agricultural branch library. Of the latter 230 are exchanges for experiment station publications.

During the year 67,471 persons made use of the libraries and 20,922 books were loaned.

The librarian is a member of the American Library Association, and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

An engineering branch library will be organized and developed during the coming year.

Books likely to inspire and stimulate interest in worth-while subjects will be selected and placed in ail orientation alcove in the reading room.

It is hoped that a beginning may be made in revising the card catalog, which is sadly in need of a thorough overhauling, and in recataloging the government documents according to the superintendent of documents self-indexing classification. This classification has never been published in its entirety, and is now to be found in a two volume supplement, and eight years’ additions in the monthly catalog and the invoices of the superintendent of documents. The librarian has completed the classification, and, after having it typed, will send a copy to the superintendent of documents, retaining the original for his own use.

A bibliography of Commander Matthew Fontaine Maury has been compiled by the librarian, and will be published as a bulletin of the college.

The department needs above anything else, a regular salary increase for the members of the staff for efficient service similar to that which now obtains for the teaching staff. We shall continue to lose our best librarians unless we provide for a fair yearly salary increase for the staff of the department.

A cataloger is needed immediately to catalog the engineering branch library and to revise the main library catalog.

I have a card list of essential books that should be purchased for the main library and the engineering branch library. I made up this list from book reviews in various periodicals and technical indexes, after I had systematically and carefully gone over our entire book collection, noting classes that needed strengthening. To purchase these books an appropriation of $1,018.40 would be necessary, of which $1,290.00 would be paid out for technical publications. I am allowing for a discount of fifteen per cent. I could not use any of the present year’s budget for these books because I have already expended or alloted all of the equipment fund. For the agricultural branch library an expenditure of $2,000.00 is necessary to make that collection a really useful one. It is woefully lacking in modern agricultural books.

We need new flooring in the reading room, my office, the woman’s social room, the government documents room, and the back hallway. It has been estimated that the flooring in rift pine, furnishing and laying, would cost $1,250.00, laid on top of the present flooring.

I should like to have an alcove for reserved books partitioned off to the right of the charging desk. We have much difficulty in looking after reserve books since they have to be kept on open shelves.

Respectfully submitted,

Ralph M. Brown, Librarian.