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Third Period, 1915 - 1928


Mr. Craver resigned as librarian March 31, 1917, to become Director of the United Engineering Societies Library in New York.

"The Board of Trustees decided as a policy that whenever practicable it would endeavor to fill any executive positions which might become vacant from within the Institute's and Library's large force." (Annual Report, 1917, page 1)

In accordance with this policy, Mr. Craver's position, the title of which was changed from Librarian to Director, was filled by the appointment of Dr. John Hopkins Leete, a graduate of Colgate and Harvard and then Dean of the School of Applied Science of the Carnegie Institute of Technology.

Dr. Leete brought Martha V. Wirth, his secretary at Tech, with him as his secretary, but she soon became the Library's Executive Secretary. Her stated duties included the preparation of the budget, supervision of purchases and expenditures, and office management, but in practice they extended into almost every phase of management. Miss Wirth was destined to spend thirty-nine years in the Library's service, much of that time performing many of the duties of an assistant director, although she never carried that title.

Dr. Leete was without training or experience as a librarian, but his reports give clear evidence that he had a full appreciation of the value of a public library as an agency of informal education, its place in the total educational facilities of the City, and the importance of all of its services including those directed toward schools and children. It was his misfortune to serve while City finances and the Library's budget were at low tide, and his reports contain strong and well reasoned appeals for greater support.

Possibly because of his lack of knowledge of the techniques of library administration, Dr. Leete appointed staff committees to "direct and unify the work of the different library agencies." These standing committees and their chairmen were:

Adult Book Selection - Miss Bullock,
Head of the Adult Lending Department.
Juvenile Book Selection - Miss Power,
Head of the Children's Department.
Book Procurement and Publications - Miss Mann,
Head of the Cataloguing Department.
Circulation - Miss Bullock.
Reference Work - Miss Stewart,
Head of the Reference Department.
Cooperation with the Schools - Miss Brotherton,
Principal of Carnegie Library School.
Community Work - Miss Kelly,
Head of the Schools Department.

This was a period of business recession, not comparable with the depression which began in 1929, but sufficiently severe to cause substantial unemployment. Circulation reached 1,632,385 in 1921, when new highs in the number of reference questions and new registrants were also recorded.

Americanization Efforts
World War I had brought an awareness of the many groups of immigrants who had not yet been assimilated into American life and thought. Americanization became a major project of the Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce which established its Information and Service Center in the Penn Avenue "strip" district, between the Allegheny River and the Pennsylvania Railroad tracks.

Carnegie Library was given space in this center, and its Penn Avenue sub-branch was opened July 4, 1921. The collection included books in the prevailing languages of the area, text books for learning English, and books in easy English. Classes in English were given in another part of the building by the Board of Public Education.

Provision of books in foreign languages was continued at Central and appropriate branches until immigration was greatly reduced during the second World War.

At the end of 1932, there were 58,489 volumes in 36 different tongues. Languages represented by more than 1,000 volumes were: French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Polish, Russian and Yiddish.

Thereafter purchases were reduced, major collections were concentrated at Central, Hazelwood, South Side and Wylie Avenue, and dependence was placed upon inter-library loans.

There appeared to be no chance of securing funds to build additional branches, so the chief effort at this time was to restore the system of library stations which had suffered severely when the appropriation was reduced in 1915. At the end of 1927 there were:

18 Adult deposit stations in commercial establishments
14 High school libraries
1 Training school for teachers library
63 Platoon school libraries
8 School deposit stations
12 Schools containing 62 classroom collections.

Schools Department - 1920
Cooperation with the schools has always been a major factor in Carnegie Library's services. At first, teachers were permitted to withdraw a limited number of books from the regular Children's collection for class use. This system proved to be unsatisfactory to both the teachers and the other users of the Library.

A collection of duplicate volumes suitable for school use was established in December, 1898, from which class-room collections were selected. During 1899, 33 elementary schools received 3,172 books. A special assistant was designated to supervise this service.

Classroom collections were placed in 103 schools in 1914, and they continued to be the major method of serving schools until the Board of Public Education began to provide centralized libraries in the schools.

The first centralized school library was opened in the Schenley High School, October 16, 1916. The School Board and the Library had agreed upon a cooperative plan of operation which was set forth in a formal contract which has been renewed annually, and applied to later school libraries as they were established. (A copy of this contract, described as "tentative," appears in the Library's Annual Report for 1916, page 31. The original contract, as approved, could not be located in 1969, but it is believed that it followed the tentative copy very closely.)

In brief, the contract stipulated that the Board of Public Education provides rooms, equipment, personnel, reference and curricular books and periodicals. Carnegie Library furnishes collections of general reading for home use, and temporary loans of other materials needed for special occasions. The Library also performs all cataloguing and binding, but is reimbursed for this work on books belonging to the Board of Public Education.

The opening of the Schenley High School Library, and the Board's announced intention of establishing others, led to the realization that school library operations would soon outgrow the facilities of the Children's Department.

The Schools Department was established March 1, 1920, with Frances H. Kelly as its head. Miss Kelly became more widely known as the Assistant Director of Carnegie Library School from August 1, 1927, until her retirement in 1949.

During the terms of Miss Kelly and Mary E. Foster, her successor, the Head of the Library's Schools Department became, ex-officio, Supervisor of School Libraries. This situation was reversed in 1947 with the appointment of Agnes Krarup. She was recommended by the Library Director to the Superintendent of Schools who appointed her Supervisor of School Library Services, and she became, ex-officio, Head of the Library's Schools Department. This change was recommended by the Library Director, not to save Library salary funds, but to give the Supervisor a firmer standing. When Miss Kelly or Miss Foster visited a school, she was regarded as primarily an employee of Carnegie Library, and the principal was not always responsive to her suggestions. Miss Krarup, as a member of the Superintendent's staff, has responsibility for the complete program of school library development and utilization in the city's public schools.

By 1923, there were fourteen high school libraries in operation, each administered by a library school graduate. Today, the high schools are staffed by one or more full-time librarians and one or more clerks. Five elementary school libraries had been opened. The elementary school program is in the hands of teacher-librarians. Some of them are also library school graduates; others have had selected courses in library school; many are trained on the job by the supervisor, now known as the Director of School Library Services. In 1955, Miss Bertha Bailey was appointed supervisor to work under Miss Krarup's direction, and in 1966 a second supervisor, Mrs. Anna Harkins, was appointed.

The establishment of libraries in the public schools has proceeded at a steady pace. In June, 1969 there were:

23 High school libraries
76 Elementary schools with central libraries
11 Elementary schools, too small to have central libraries,
were receiving class-room collections.

The Schools Department sent 35,304 books from Carnegie Library's general collection to the schools in 1967, in answer to requests for temporary loans.

In recent years, local school library book funds have been greatly enlarged from federal grants.

The National Defense Education Act became operative September 2, 1958. It provided for a fifty percent reimbursement of local funds spent for books in the fields of science, mathematics and foreign languages. An amendment of 1964 added history, civics, English and reading. From 1959 through 1963, $21,347 was received as reimbursement and $13,927 was respent for reference materials.

Under Title II of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, almost $320,000 was received for the purchase of book and audio visual materials during the school year 1965-1966 through 1968-1969.

These federal funds have sparked the growth of book collections in the elementary school libraries from 169,238 in 1959 to 426,548 in 1968. Today, 41 elementary school libraries have more than 5,000 volumes, and none has fewer than 3,000.

There has never been a formal contract covering service to parochial schools, but there were class-room collections in nineteen parochial elementary schools, and the libraries in five Catholic high schools were receiving temporary loans in 1920. "School cards" on which teachers could borrow books for class use were also issued. Later, the Catholic School authorities encouraged both elementary and high schools to establish their own libraries, and courses in librarianship were given at Duquesne University to train members of the religious orders. By 1946, only three Catholic high schools, and three elementary schools were receiving service from Carnegie.

Cooperation between the Board of Public Education and the Library is believed to be of great value to both parties. The school libraries are enriched by loans of books from Carnegie's collections, and the Board receives cataloguing and binding services which it is not equipped to do for itself. The Library gains what are virtually branch libraries for children and young people in more than one hundred schools.

The use of school libraries for general branch use is, however, highly questionable. The Board of Public Education, as part of its adult education program, invited the Library to open the high school libraries in Perry and Taylor Alderdice for community use duing evening hours. Trucks of popular adult books were wheeled into the libraries each evening. This experiment began in December, 1937, but attracted so few adults that it was abandoned in 1938. Long, poorly light approaches and the location of the library on an upper floor, were believed to have added to the psychological barrier against the use of schools by adults.

Downtown Branch
A downtown outlet was finally secured when the Business-District Branch was opened in the City-County Building, June 1, 1924. The branch attempted to combine a specialized business service with general adult lending work. There was daily delivery service from the Central Library.

Space for shelving and seating was entirely inadequate, but the branch did demonstrate in a limited way the value of library services to downtown concerns and individuals. Circulation reached 44,000 in 1926.

The Business-District Branch was continued until 1930, when the City Comptroller preempted its space. The branch was then moved to the Union Trust Building where its general lending services were eliminated, and it became the Business Branch.

City Hall was not an ideal location because of the many petty political hangers-on who divided their days between standing in the corridors and resting in the branch.

The Review of Iron and Steel Literature was first published by the Technology Department in 1919, and has since appeared annually.

The Technical Book Review Index was a Technology Department publication from 1917 to 1928.

Adult education, then the chief interest among public librarians, was studied by a staff committee in 1924. They determined that the objectives of the new movement had always been those of Carnegie Library. They advised that no new department be established in which the work might be centralized, but that the staff be enlarged so that every member would have time to function as a reader's advisor.

Circulation went beyond two million in 1926, without the aid of additional branches.

Mr. Leete's health was such that he was on leave of absence during the fall of 1927, during which time Elwood H. McClelland, Technology Librarian, was the acting Director. Mr. Leete resigned January 9, 1928, but his resignation was not acted upon by the Board of Trustees until May 31 when it was accepted effective June 7, 1928.

Years of Change, 1928-1929

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