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FOR THE YEAR 1943-1944.

The President,
Memorial University College.


I have the honour to present the following report on the Library for the academic year 1943-1944.

Growth and Development. During the year now closing over eight hundred books were added to the College Library -- an increase of two hundred volumes over our normal yearly growth during the past few years. Some of these books were the gifts of the kind friends named below:

    James Baxter, Esq.
    Christian Science Committee on Publication for
    Department of Home Affairs.
    R. P. Duder, Esq., M.A.
    Harry Emerson, Esq.
    H. L. Etheridge, Esq., B.S.
    Miss Mary Fitzpatrick, M.A.
    The Gosling Memorial Library.
    P. J. Hanley, Esq., B.A.
    Harvard University.
    Dr. A. G. Hatcher.
    Dr. A. C. Hunter.
    Mrs. M. H. McCarthy.
    Mrs. R. G. MacDonald.
    Dr. C. Macpherson, C.M.G.
    H. B. Mayo, F.O., R.C.A.F.
    Dr. E. J. Pratt.
    The John Rylands Library, Manchester.
    The Secretary for National Propaganda, Portugal.
    The Smithsonian Institution, Washington.
    The U.S.S.R. Society for Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries.

The rest of this year's additions were bought out of the Book Fund and were acquired to meet two distinct needs:
(1) to provide the students and the Faculty with good books on current events, books on the subjects covered in the College courses and the best works in contemporary creative writing; and
(2) to fill long-standing gaps in the book stock. A backward view as well as a forward view is necessary in building up a college library. The past must not be favoured at the expense of the present, nor the present at the expense of the past, but a nice balance must be struck between the claims of both.

Because the Librarian is more than anyone else aware of deficiencies in the book stock and has easiest access to publishers' announcements and book reviews and because she is really responsible for the character of the entire book collection, it is her pleasant task to select the majority of the books that are annually added to the Library. Other members of the Faculty, however, have this year, as in the past, recommended books dealing with the subjects which they teach and also books of a more general nature.

This year a start was made in building up a collection of well-illustrated children's books, for the special use of the teachers-in-training in preparing assignments. These will form a permanent display which will be useful to the teachers-in-training in their actual work at the College and will also make them familiar with the kind of books available at moderate cost for school libraries.

Use of the Library. The year now closing has seen a steady stream of new and interesting books come into the Library, and supplementing them, with the latest information on subjects about which there are often no books, over fifty good periodicals.

But books and periodicals are in themselves quite valueless. Without a "response in the living soul," the meaning of a work remains with the author. In other words, these things are good only if they are well used. Thanks to the spread of the public library movement throughout Newfoundland, fewer and fewer students are coming to us without any experience of a library. However, efforts must still be made to encourage them to read and during the year the following means were employed:

Orientation Talks. During the first two weeks of the College year, all new students were given by the Librarian an introductory talk on the Library and its procedure, followed by an assignment on the use of certain works of reference.

Library Handbook. All new students were given a copy of the Library Handbook, a fifty-four page guide to the resources of the College Library, now in its fourth edition.

Displays. As new books arrived and were made ready for circulation, their paper jackets were displayed on the large notice-board outside the Library and the books themselves were placed on the Books-of-the-Week table. The response to this was most encouraging. Students usually asked to borrow the books before the time set for displaying them had expired.

Courses in English. The courses given in English naturally require students to use the Library a great deal. Their essays, their weekly assignments on the reading of periodicals, all help to make the students familiar with the books in both the College Library and the Gosling Memorial Library, give them a facility in getting information out of books and help to develop a discriminating taste.

Teachers-In-Training. The teachers-in-training have made better use of the Library than ever before, largely because of the direct encouragement of their professors. I think, however, that as a group they have greater difficulties in reading than the other students. More will be said on this matter later.

Assistance. Miss Louise Whiteway, Ph. D., has continued to give valuable assistance in the Library. Miss Whiteway is employed on half-time and when she is on duty she supervises the North Library, catalogues new books and does other essential work.

The Library Prefects, as usual, gave good service and were always ready to meet those extra demands on their time which emergencies sometimes necessitated.

The Librarian wishes to thank the other members of the Library Committee, Dr. A. C. Hunter; Dr. W. Templeman and Professor P. J. Hanley, for their interest and help, especially when plans were being drawn up for the extension of the Library in the basement.

Thanks are also due to several students who kindly gave copies of the Reader's Digest in response to an appeal for back numbers of this magazine.

Furniture and Equipment. Sufficient new oak chairs to complete the replacing of the metal chairs in the reading-rooms are now being made and will be in use next Fall. Metal parts and glass shades for the reading lamps are urgently required but are impossible to get until after the war. Other much-needed equipment likewise cannot now be obtained.

Gosling Memorial Library. Co-operation and collaboration with the Gosling Memorial Library continues. Our students make heavy demands upon the resources of our sister institution, to which we are indebted for the regular loan of four periodicals and some works of reference.

We have been able to make a slight return by giving some books to the Regional Libraries. However, an even exchange of services is in the nature of things not possible.

General Remarks. In an article entitled "The Library's Role in College Instruction" (in College and Research Libraries, March, 1944), Dr. L. R. Wilson, dean of the Graduate School at the University of Chicago, speaks of the shocking fact that in the United States during the present war

    "thousands of men who had had college training could not be commissioned as officers because they had not learned how to receive or transmit orders with full understanding and clarity.

    "The shock experienced by librarians was not due to the novelty of the revelation but to the numbers involved. They had long suspected that the high percentage of failures by students in College subjects had been due to limited vocabularies, low reading rate, and below-average comprehension. They had not known how extensive such limitations were, nor had they previously thought how serious the results of such limitations could be in a national crisis or in a period when a postwar program of world reorganization and readjustment must be thought out and carried into effect by the total population."

The problem of the student's inability to comprehend what he reads is not confined to the United States. A glance round the College Library will reveal students mouthing every word they read. We also have students who read very slowly and even then (or perhaps because of that) do not comprehend what they read. Remedial measures are taken, but they are perhaps not direct enough. I should like to see reading-comprehension tests given to all new students and appropriate help given where needed.

Increased assistance to students might also be given through suitable books on how to study, how to take notes, etc., and it is hoped to have next year a number of such books available in the Library.

The Future. With the addition of over eight hundred new books, the Library this year reaches a new stage in its history, because the book-collection which now numbers more than thirteen thousand volumes can no longer be housed in its present quarters.

Plans are under way to extend the Library into the basement, access to this extension to be made by means of a small staircase. In this new space it will be possible to provide accommodation for the bocks which we shall get during the next few years, and we shall also be able to provide facilities there for uninterrupted study in complete privacy.

Recommendations for the necessary alterations are in the hands of the Department of Public Works and it is understood that the work will be done during the coming summer holidays.

Expanding into this new space, the Library will continue its healthy growth, a growth not merely of numbers but also of quality. It will be able to interpret more effectively its role of an important teaching instrument in the life of the College. To increase the student's vocabulary and rate of reading; to place before him the books that will give him the knowledge he requires; to make him familiar with the world's rich heritage of creative literature; to set before him the noble writings of the great philosophers; to help him to think clearly, to form right opinions and to act wisely: these are some of the aspirations of the College for every one of its students. It is the Library's proud privilege to share in the attempt to fulfill these aspirations.

In conclusion, I wish to thank you, Sir, for your continued interest in the Library and for your efforts to promote its welfare.

Respectfully submitted,


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