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The CHAIRMAN. Without objection they may be inserted in the record at this point.

(The statements above referred to are as follows:)



I should like to express my appreciation for the opportunity to give my views regarding S. 1527 (H. R. 4981), a bill to provide for home rule and reorganization in the District of Columbia.

The Library Trustees were surprised to find that this latest reorganization bill abolishes the independent Board of Library Trustees, provides that the Chief Librarian (redesignated Director) will hold his position at the pleasure of the District Manager, and transfers the Public Library personal under civil service. These recommendations were unexpected, particularly in the light of facts brought out at hearings on earlier reorganization bills.

I should like to take this opportunity to summarize as briefly as possible the history of the case and present for your consideration certain facts which the Trustees feel should be brought to your attention.

The possibility of changes in the present operation of the Public Library of the District of Columbia was first called to my attention by Mr. Auchincloss in a, letter dated June 17, 1947. In addition to inviting me to appear before his committee at a hearing scheduled in July 1947, Mr. Auchincloss requested a statement regarding the advisability of retaining the Library Board, and, if so, under what circumstances. Because it was necessary for me to be out of town at the time of the hearing, Mr. B. N. McKelway, editor of the Star and a member of the Board, appeared in my stead.

Evidently the recommendations (supported by quotations from various authorities in government and library administration) that the Public Library continue to operate under a Board of Trustees met with a favorable reception on the part pf the committee members and Dr. Galloway, who served as its legislative adviser. in any case, when the District reorganization bill (H. R. 4902 appeared, provisions had indeed been made for the Public Library to operate under a Board. Unfortunately that bill called for an elected bipartite Board of Public Education, which was charged with the dual responsibility of supervising the activities of both the public school system and the Public Library. Knowing such an arrangement had not been successful in other cities (the worst instance being that of Kansas City, Mo.) the Trustees asked for an opportunity to present further testimony. Statements were submitted by me, the present Librarian, Mr. Peterson, the two former Librarians, and others.

At the hearing held by the Joint Committee of the Senate and House on February 9, 1948, presided over by Hon. James A. Auchincloss, the following people joined me in urging that the independent Board of Library Trustees be retained:

Mrs. Philip Sidney Smith, Vice president of the Board; Dr. George F. Bowerman, former Librarian; Miss Agnes Winn of the AAUW; and Mr. Paul Howard, representative of the American Library Association. Again the arguments offered seemed to impress the committee members. When I had completed my testimony Mr. Auchincloss thanked me, then added, “You have made the face of the committee quite red. We will consider your views.” This last observation was quoted in the newspaper reports of the session on February 9, 1948. But although the statements seemingly met with favor, they had no lasting effect, for in the next revision of the bill (H. R. 6227, April 14, 1948) the Board of Library Trustees was abolished, the Public Library was established as a department of the District Government the independent personnel merit system was eliminated, and all Library positions were transferred under civil service. This bill was presented to the House but was not acted upon at the last session.

The latest proposals for the reorganization of the District government (H. R. 28, S. 1365, and S. 1527) give proof that it is possible to win all the battles and yet lose a war.

It is my conviction, in which my associates on the Board concur, that, in any revision of the District government, provision should be made for a Board of Library Trustees. Furthermore, we are convinced that it is to the best interests of the city that the Board of Library Trustees be given the same authority it has

The effectiveness of the Public Library and the future development of its services, both as a supplement to the formal educational program of the public schools and in the field of adult education, will be assured only if the Board con

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tinues to establish policies and review administrative practices. We seriously question the advisability of leaving everything to an administrator directly responsible to the head of the District government.

In his book Municipal Administration, Prof. William B. Munro says:

“The public library department should be headed by a board with its members appointed by the mayor, or, in city-manager cities, by the city council

. It has been suggested that in the larger cities unpaid library boards should be abolished and their functions transferred to a full-time, well-paid commissioner or director of libraries, but this idea has not gained much favor, nor does it deserve to do so. For among all branches of municipal administration the library department is the one that most appropriately lends itself to the board system of management. Its problems are of the sort that can best be handled by common counsel, by deliberation, and by the reconciliation of honest but divergent views. Few decisions in library administration have to be made in a hurry. A board of influential citizens can perform great service by interpreting the library to the community and the -community to the library.”

Experience has proven that it is a sound principle in government for a nonprofessional or lay board to supervise the actions of a professional expert, in this case the Chief Librarian. Our Librarian suggests policies and proposes plans for the development of the services; the Trustees, serving as interested representatives of the public, consider the merits of the proposals and approve, modify, or disapprove, as they believe advisable in the interest of obtaining the best possible library service for the entire city. At the same time, the presence of the Board assures the academic freedom so necessary to the professional personnel in the successful administration of any educational institution. This is a basic consideration. Furthermore, the existence of the Board of Trustees insures continuity and uniformity in policies and practices. In this way, long-term programs can be developed; on the other hand, without such a control, service to the public might become disjointed and ineffectual. The Board, composed of local citizens, represents citizen participation in the operations of an important educational agency. By their enthusiastic and unselfish activity in library affairs the Trustees assure complete and progressive library service to all of the reading public. It should also be noted that the Library Board is interested in all aspects of library operations, including personnel and finances, as well as services to the public. The Library Board protects the personnel from any possibility of political manipulation. It checks on expenditures to make sure that the best possible use is made of public funds. As Prof. Carleton B. Joeckel of the School of Librarianship, University of California, has said in his The Government of the American Public Library (1935): "It is evident again and again that the fortunate development of the library cannot be attributed solely to the librarian and the staff, but that it is equally due to the distinguished service of an outstanding trustee or to a board of generally high quality. It is not too much to suggest that there is a high correlation between good libraries and good boards. Intimately associated with the history of many libraries are the names of certain trustees who have played leading roles in their development. As examples may be cited White in Cleveland, Duffield in Detroit, Church in Pittsburgh, Ledyard in New York, Carpenter in St. Louis, Noyes in Washington

and scores of others whose service may be little known outside their own communities but is nonetheless distinguished."

Library boards in general are part of an American tradition. Public libraries throughout the United States are administered by boards. As a matter of fact, this type of organization is by far the most prevalent: many more libraries in cities of 30,000 population or more are controlled by boards of trustees than are not. According to a study made by Dr. Joeckel in 1935, of the 310 cities he reviewed only 13 municipal libraries were without boards of any kind. Although these statistics were compiled in 1935 they still have application since things have not changed appreciably since that time.

The importance of the contribution to be made by trustees has long been recognized by the American Library Association. The trustees section is an integral part of that professional organization.

It is recommended that the Board of Library Trustees be appointed by the head of the District government. To quote again from Professor Joeckel's The Government of the American Public Library:

"The great majority of library boards are appointed either by the chief executive of the dity or by the council, commission, or other governing body, or by the council on recommendation of the mayor. One or the other of these methods is found in 156 of the 203 cities with libraries managed by boards in the 30,000




population group. In about 50 cities the board is appointed by the mayor alone, without council confirmation. This group includes such well-known examples of the 'strong mayor' type of municipal government as Denver, Boston, and San Francisco. In 32 cities appointment is by the council, and in the remainder by the council on nomination of the mayor or by joint action of mayor and council. Even though the mayor may not possess the sole power of appointment, he frequently takes the initiative in bringing names before the council for consideration and therefore is still extremely influential in the selection of members.”

The Board of Library Trustees is of the opinion that the staff of the public library should not be included in any general merit system, with appointment and retention governed by methods comparable to those set up for other government employees. The Public Library is an educational institution and even though its methods are informal, there is as much reason for it to have an independent merit system as there is for the schools. Furthermore, the system now in force is far more efficient than the one proposed.

At the present time the Librarian is appointed for merit alone. By placing executive power and responsibility in the librarian, under the supervision and review of the Board of Library Trustees, the present arrangement guarantees staff appointments for merit alone. Consequently the library staff is made up: of men and women with high professional qualifications. As stated by Dr. Arthur E. Bostwick, formerly librarian of the St. Louis Public Library, in The American Public Library (1929):

“Library opinion generally favors the retention of a separate board of trustees which should preferably be a small one appointed by the mayor, although elected boards have worked well in some places.

It also strongly favors leaving the constitution and regulation of the service entirely to this board, even where other public employees are placed under the authority of a civil-service board of some sort. The experience of libraries seems to have shown pretty conclusively that the control of a governing body by hard-and-fast civil-service regulations enforced by an outside board, while it may be necessary to curb political or personal favoritism in those likely to exercise it, does not conduce to good administration when applied to bodies that are not likely to be prejudiced in either of these directions. Political or personal favoritism in an ordinary public library is in fact rather rare.

At the present time our Public Library operates under most of the regulations governing departments of the Federal Government, including classification of positions, salary scale, retirement, sick and annual leave, efficiency ratings, and automatic within-grade promotions. However, the library does its own recruiting. The qualifications established by the Board of Trustees for professional assistants include graduation from a college or university of recognized standing, and a degree from a library school accredited by the American Library Associations.

When vacancies occur promotions are made from within, as far as possible, according to merit, education, and experience. Should there be no one on the staff qualified to fill a given position, the Librarian recruits from the outside in order to obtain the best person available.

Staff members are never dismissed without just cause, the Librarian taking such action only on the recommendation and advice of one or more department heads. Employees are notified in writing, with the reasons indicated, from 2 weeks to a month in advance of the effective date. It should be noted that staff members have the right of appeal to the Bcard of Trustees.

By recruiting and appointing directly, the library can select those candidate who show the greatest promise. The officers vested with these responsibilivies having first-hand knowledge of the work and the objectives of the Public Library are in a position to select the personnel best qualified to perform the duties involved. There is a distinct advantage in that they are able to concentrate on Public Library requirements without being distracted by the needs of other departments, as is the case of centralized offices with jurisdiction over a number of agencies. Of paramount importance, particularly since qualified librarians are at a premium, is the speed with which vacancies can now be filled.

Both from the standpoint of employee interest and welfare and of library efficiency the present system has demonstrated its worth in actual practice over a period of many years.

At the present time the Chief Librarian is appointed on a 3-year basis. In S. 1527, title IX, page 50, line 17, it is proposed that he shall "serve at the pleasure of the District Manager.” Should a vacancy in this position occur I doubt that any capable, experienced librarian qualified to handle the administration of a system as large and involved as this would be willing to accept an offer of the position on such precarious terms. We recommend that the appointment of the Chief Librarian be left to the Board of Library Trustees, as provided in the existing law, because this method has proven effective over half a century and during the tenure of four incumbents.

Because of these many considerations, I respectfully urge your reconsideration of title IX. On behalf of whe Board of Library Trustees of the Public Library of the District of Columbia

I urgently recommend that any new legislation modifying the government of the Districi of Columbia provide for an independent Board of Library Trustees appointed by the elected representatives of the people to the District government and that other matters pertaining to the control and administration of the Public Library be left substantially as they are. In this way our Public Library administration will conform to the pattern of most other public libraries in the United States. Only in this way can the program of this Public Library, which has been so successful during the past 50 years, continue to expand and develop to meet the ever-growing needs for its services in Washington.


LIBRARY OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, WASHINGTON, D. C. I appreciate this opportunity to present a statement concerning S. 1527 (H. R. 4981) a bill to provide for home rule and reorganization in the District of Columbia. I shall confine my remarks to the proposals which affect the Public Library of the District of Columbia. I am principally concerned with two considerations: (1) The elimination of the Board of Library Trustees (abolished by title IX, sec. 909, pp. 57–58); and (2) the transfer of all public library positions, except that of Director, under civil service (see title XIII, sec. 1301).

I respectfully urge that in any contemplated revision of the District government, the Board of Library Trustees be retained and that it continue to exercise its present responsibilities and powers. Most of the public libraries in the United States operate under independent boards of trustees, as indicated by the attached tabulations taken from the Government of the American Public Library by Dr. Carleton B. Joeckel (see exhibits A and B). Attention is invited to the fact that of the 310 cities reviewed, only 13 municipal libraries are without boards of one kind or another.

While these figures date back to 1935, and no later statistics are available, an informal inquiry reveals that the situation has not changed materially during recent years. Mr. Orin F. Nolting, assistant director of the City Managers Association, stated to the American Library Association in December 1947 that “although a number of cities have adopted the city-manager plan since 1935, most of them have retained their library boards.'

As Professor Joeckel points out in the above-mentioned text (p. 179): "library boards are found in all types of city government, a fact which substantiates the now familiar idea that there is only a slight correlation between the type of city government and the organization of the library. The existence of library boards would naturally be expected in mayor-council cities, in which the old decentralized type of municipal government is still common. However

administration of libraries by boards is still predominant in commission and manager cities as well.”

And the same authority states in another study entitled "A Metropolitan Library in Action” (p. 65) that “in 69 manager cities of over 30,000 population all but 6 retained their library boards.” I think it is most significant that, in spite of the many changes in theories of municipal government during the past 50 years, from mayor-council, to commission, to city-manager plan, the popularity of the independent board for public library control has continued undiminished.

All of the public libraries in cities comparable to Washington operate under boards. In May 1949 I sent a short questionnaire to a number of public libraries in the larger cities. The results are presented below:




Public library

Type of city govern


Library board of trustees

How appointed

Enoch Pratt (Baltimore)

Mayor, council.



By mayor.
3 ex officio; 2 by mayor; 5 from old

library association.

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City manager; county

is governed by 3-
member legislative-
board of county
commissioners plus
elective officials,
e.g., auditor, recorder,

treasurer, etc.
Mayor, council.



Chicago Cleveland.


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Mayor and city council.
By the Cleveland school district,
board of education chosen by elec-

By board of education.
By mayor, subject to council ap-

Six elected by voters; three ex

By mayor and council.
Vacancies in the board (excepting

ex officio members and those ap-
pointed by city council) are filled
alternately by the board and the
mayor, nominations by the
mayor being subject to confirma-

tion by city council. One-half self-perpetuating; one-half

ex officio. By mayor.


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The board system of control has been successful in Washington for the past 50 years. This is not a theory, but a demonstrated fact. It is in no small measure due to the interest and participation of a citizen board that the Public Library has become an effective supplement to the public schools and an outstanding agency for adult education in this city. A mere listing of the present board membership goes a long way toward explaining why this is so: Mr. Albert W. Atwood, president, is a writer associated with the National Geographic, expert on investments, active in many civic affairs; Mrs. Philip Sidney Smith, vice president, also a school board member, associated with many civic and cultural activities; Judge James Cobb, laywer, former municipal judge; Mr. Frank J. Coleman, secretary Central Labor Union; Mr. Clark G. Diamond, first vice president and general manager of Chestnut Farms Dairy; Mrs. Karl Fenning, active in the AAUW and other organizations; Mr. Nelson Hartson, lawyer, head of Hogan and Hartson; Mr. B. N. McKelway, editor of the Star; Mr. William Montgomery,' president Acacia Mutual Life Insurance Co. The Public Library Boards of the past have included such civic leaders as the late Mr. Theodore W. Noyes, editor and publisher of the Star; Judge Wendell P. Stafford, Dr. Felix Morley, and Dr. Herbert Putnam.

Washington is not an isolated instance of board participation in the development of a public library program. Rather it is typical. For more than half a century library boards have made extraordinary contributions to the success of the services of the institutions they represent. I know this from my own experience and observation of public libraries in New York, Texas, and Washington, D. C. It has been noted by Dr. Joeckel (Government of the American Public Library, p. 248) who says, “It is evident again and again that the fortunate development of the library cannot be attributed solely to the librarian and the staff, but that it is equally due to the distinguished service of an outstanding trustee or to a board of generally high quality. It is not too much to suggest that there is a high correlation between good libraries and good boards. Intimately associated with the history of many libraries are the names of certain trustees who have played leading roles in their development. As examples, may be cited White in Cleveland, Duffield in Detroit, Church in Pittsburgh, Ledyard in New York, Carpenter in St. Louis, Noyes in Washington

* and scores of others whose service may be little known outside their own communities but is none the less distinguished.” 1 For further biographical detail, attention is invited to Who's Who in America.

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