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EXHIBIT A.-Municipal libraries managed by boards (cities of over
Bay City (2)
Sioux Falls Kansas:
Wichita Falls Lewiston
Salt Lake City Massachusetts:
EXHIBIT B.-Library boards in cities of over 30,000 population (Quoted from: Carleton B. Joeckel The Government of the American Public Library (Chicago, 1935), p.
!1 mayor-council city and 1 manager city have no libraries. 1 mayor-council city is a branch of a county library. Total number of libraries (315) exceeds number of cities because of duplication of libraries in same city.
Mr. PETERSON. At the same time I should like to incorporate a statement regarding the effect of the transfer of the Public Library under civil service, as a supplementary statement.
The CHAIRMAN. Without objection it may be inserted in the record at this point.
(The statement above referred to is as follows:)
THE KEFAUVER BILL (S. 1365) AND THE PUBLIC LIBRARY'S MERIT SYSTEM
Within the past 16 months, four separate bills have been introduced in the United States House of Representatives and the Senate, concerned with home rule and reorganization in the District of Columbia. The first, H. R. 4902 (January 12, 1948), placed the professional staff of the Public Library under the merit system of the present Board of Education and the clerical and maintenance personnel under civil service. H. R. 6227 (April 14, 1948) transferred all Public Library positions under civil service. While H. R. 28 (January 3, 1949) includes no explicit provisions regarding the application of the Civil Service Act to Public Library positions, its Senate counterpart, S. 1365 (March 23, legislative day, March 18, 1949), definitely eliminates the present independent merit system and transfers all Public Library positions (except that of Director) under civil service, by title XIII, section 1301 which states: (a) "Except as otherwise provided in subsections (b) and (c), all offices and positions in the government of the District shall be subject to the Act entitled 'An Act to regulate and improve the civil service of the United States', approved January 16, 1883, as amended, and rules and regulations made in pursuance of such Act.” 1
The vigorous opposition to such a course expressed by many distinguished public librarians on the basis of their own experience and observations impels us to importune for a guaranty of our status quo in respect to the appointment and removal of personnel. The opinions of several library educators and of librarians in a number of Federal Government departments as well as the findings of the Hoover Commission, only serve to strengthen our conclusive belief that a transfer to civil service will result in the serious impairment of public-library service to the citizens of the District.
About a year ago, in connection with H. R. 4902, letters were sent to librarians of public libraries in 17 cities of 500,000 or more population, inquiring their opinions of civil service as applied to public library personnel. Of the four under civil service, only one spoke in its favor and that in a way to indicate his system was unusually liberal. Two (including one under a civil-service set-up conceded to be the best in the country) replied unfavorably; one was noncommittal. In failing to reply, one library under civil service gave the appearance at least, of not endorsing the system.
1 Since this report was prepared, a revision of S. 1365 has appeared. This bill, S. 1527, dated April 7 (legislative day, March 18), 1949, makes no important change in the provisions affecting the Public Library.
Similar letters were sent to the heads of two library schools, to the American Library Association and to a professor in library science and author of the definitive text, The Government of the American Public Library.
One head of a school was very much opposed to civil service in public libraries; one advised acceptance of the principle for diplomatic reasons, while admitting to “tortures of soul” experienced first-hand in an institution operating under the system.
The American Library Association also endorsed civil service in theory under certain conditions but cited the type of service the United States Civil Service Commission performs for the Library of Congress as a possible model for the District of Columbia Public Library. As a matter of fact, the same sort of relationship does exist between the United States Civil Service Commission and the District of Columbia Public Library which enables the latter to maintain its own merit system and which works so ideally we should be loath to see it changed.
As the majority of the foregoing granted permission to quote them, a few salient excerpts from their letters follow: Ralph A. Beals, director of the New York Public Library and formerly assistant librarian of the District of Columbia Public Library wrote: “I have been distressed to learn that the proposed reorganization of the District of Columbia government, which holds such great promise in most particulars, includes a provision for covering the staff of the Washington Public Library completely under civil service. In my opinion this action, if taken, would be a retrogression from a very satisfactory arrangement between the Library and the civil-service authorities with which I was familiar during my 2 years as assistant in the Washington Public Library from 1940 to 1942.
"The arrangement then in effect seems to me admirable: positions were established, graded, and reviewed by civil-service authorities, but the library authorities held the initiative in appointments, promotions and transfers. This arrangement made for the highest possible degree of flexibility and sensitivity in operation. I hope that you will use your influence to see that it is preserved."
This expression came from our nearest comparable neighbor, Emerson Greenaway, librarian of the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore: “The board of trustees and the “administration” over a long period of years have insisted on preserving our independent status so far as employment is concerned. absolutely certain that we would not wish to participate in a civil-service program.
“My one experience with civil service was in Worcester, Mass., (1940-45), and there only the building employees came under the State civil-service program I would not say that the arrangement was ideal or even good.”
Milton J. Ferguson, librarian of Brooklyn Public Library, recently retired, was still in office when he wrote: “I am strongly of the opinion that the method of selection now observed in the Brooklyn Public Library is much better for library purposes than civil service, as we see it."
From Cincinnati came this conviction of Carl Vitz, librarian: "I would be very unwilling to head a library for which an outside agency selected the people through whom I was expected to produce results
It is my observation that when cities are politically controlled, that civil service, if it does exist, operates chiefly to prevent or reduce the worst abuses. If cities are free from political domination, good results may be had, but I know of no place where a civil-service commission selects better than the library itself. Certainly Cleveland, Detroit, Baltimore, and Minneapolis without do not have to take a back seat to Chicago or Milwaukee or St. Paul with civil service."
Ralph Munn is the director of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh and of the Carnegie Institute's library school as well. His standing in the ranks of American librarians is indicated by his having served as president of the American Library Association. His reply is quoted in part: “Pittsburgh offers a marked contrast between civil service and non-civil-service libraries. Its Northside is the former city of Allegheny. The Carnegie Free Library of Allegheny is still independent of the Pittsburgh library system, and it operates under municipal civil service. It has never been able to attract a sufficient number of library school graduates and it is forced to maintain a training class in which it trains its own librarians. With the same salary schedule, the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh secures superior librarians from the library schools."
Several years ago the Detroit Public Library was faced with the possibility of inclusion in a civil-service set-up, and in reply to our request, kindly sent us an extensive collection of the evidence used in a successful campaign to retain an independent merit system. Later reference will be made herein to details of that material which led to the expressed conviction that “The record of accomplish
ment in civil-service libraries to date is nothing to point to with pride, 'except, perhaps, in California. It is generally acknowledged that that State's civilservice set-up is far superior to any other in this country.”.
But although under a civil-service system conceded to be at least as effective as any in the country, this response came from the Los Angeles Public Librarian, Harold Hamill: “Obviously civil service is an advantage over the old spoils system, but libraries which have been competently administered by library boards and qualified administrators have undoubtedly been able to carry out higher levels of service than those which have been forced to surrender their personnel procedure to a considerable extent to civil-service control
“It would seem to me to be a definite mistake for the Public Library of Washington, D. C., which has had such a highly satisfactory administrative record, and which has always offered a very high level of service to the public which it serves, to be forced to surrender any part of its personnel procedure to a civil-service commission, even though it may be under the Federal Civil Service Commission. I think it would very likely result in lowered standards of achievement."
Dr. Carleton B. Joeckel, professor of librarianship at the University of California, former dean of the Chicago Graduate Library School and author of The Government of the American Public Library (University of Chicago Press, 1935) wrote: “Regarding the question of civil service in relation to the library, I think you are probably right in attempting to maintain your present independent status. I have had occasion to check on the operation of civil service in a number of cases recently, and each time it seems to me that an efficient independent organization is preferable to a general civil-service system, however good that system may be."
The preceding have been in the nature of general objections to civil service for public libraries. Following are particular reasons why the foregoing individuals oppose the set-up and why we concur: Examinations fail to test for personality, yet the right personality in library employees is felt to be absolutely essential. In this connection, Wharton Miller, dean of the Syracuse University's Library School, had this to say, “No test, oral or written, has yet been devised to measure such intangibles as enthusiasm, desire to serve, loyalty to the job, temper, temperament, especially desired qualities.” He feels that appointment of a librarian “should be decided on the basis of fitness for the job, because misfits injure not only themselves (as a doctor or lawyer would), they injure the whole institution of which they are a part.”
The librarian of the Evanston, Ill., Public Library (under civil service for many years) is quoted as having remarked at a civil service meeting in December 1940, that while their civil service was of unusually high caliber and very understanding of their library problems, “there was no place in civil service for consideration of personality that will augment qualities already on the staff, that the best rating does not mean that this person will fit in and build up the staff to achieve the best results for the library as a whole.”
Los Angeles (under civil service) feels that limiting an administrator to a selection from the first three names listed does not take sufficient recognition of the value of personality in library work. Baltimore, Brooklyn, Cleveland, Detroit, etc., all emphasized the importance of this trait and mentioned the failure of civil-service examinations to screen for personality defects.
The consensus was that recommendations from library schools and employers, and personal interviews wherever possible, were much more valid selection devices than examinations. Alexander Galt, librarian of the Buffalo, N. Y., Public Library, summarized it thus, “Library administrators not under civil service know that they can evaluate the different library schools as better proof of the scholastic ability of the people than any examination that they themselves could give or could possibly be given by a civil-service board.
“In the majority of cases the new employee has had experience in some other library and the administrator can always make inquiry of the previous or present employer and practically always be sure of receiving an honest report of the ability of the librarian under consideration. When either or both of these methods can be combined with a personal interview, the administrator is in a position to secure the very best librarian that is available for the position to be filled.”
And from Detroit, “We have access to the services of the best library schools and the American Library Association Placement Bureau to which professional librarians throughout the country have recourse. From acquaintance over the years at library conferences, and otherwise, we know the people connected with these institutions, their caliber, their judgment and discrimination, and they know our library, its standards and its needs. We know from experience and knowledge of long standing the people upon whose judgment of possible recruits we can depend, and on the other side they know the type of people and qualifications
we would consider for appointment. * The best librarians do not have to wait to take examinations * * * but get the best position available for which they are fitted.”
Mr. Munn (Pittsburgh) reiterates, “The examinations are unnecessary from the library's viewpoint, because dependable appraisals can always be secured from the library school and former employers."
Another criticism of civil service exams in their present form, is their failure to make allowance for special requirements. Frequently, a library needs someone with special training in a certain field such as science, cataloging, reference service, children's work, etc. Yet an administrator under civil service would be required to accept one of the persons at the top of the eligible list without regard to such special requirements, for which the examinations do not now test. As Lucy L. Morgan, assistant librarian in charge of personnel, wrote from Detroit, ""In 'selecting employees one must not only keep in mind the gaps in the background of the staff as a whole, but any single appointment may require a specific background not available on the eligible list.
“We are making every effort to build a staff the subject background of which corresponds to the fields of knowledge with which we deal.".
The general unpopularity of examinations coupled with delays in holding and posting them, often drive off the best candidates, and result in long periods in which positions remain vacant or filled with temporary appointees of less desirable caliber.
As Mr. Munn (Pittsburgh) sums it up, "The supply of trained librarians is usually below demand, and the more promising librarians can choose from among several openings. They will not bother with qualifying examinations when so many other openings are available to them.”
Dr. Joeckel reported among the findings of his study of the Chicago Public Library (under civil service) in his book Metropolitan Library in Action (1940), "delays in the holding and posting of examinations have greatly embarrassed the library in making badly needed appointments and promotions,” and that, "at no time in the last 20 years has the library (Chicago public) been free from the necessity of making temporary appointments.”
The American Library Association has estimated the need for 18,000 additional librarians in the 6 years following the war,
Even before the war, the percentage of placement from library schools was already 100 percent, and library school enrollment declined during the war years.
The Library of Congress alone has approximately 500 authorized positions for professional librarians and over 300 for subprofessional. The Civil Service Commission lists about 600 additional librarian and archivist positions for which it examines, and nearly 200 library and archive aides.
These figures showing national supply and local demand are dramatic. They clearly indicate the precarious dilemma in which the District of Columbia Public Library may well be placed if deprived of its recruiting function and obliged to rely on civil service lists.
As a matter of fact these fears have been amply confirmed by off-the-record comments of several departmental librarians in Washington, under civil service, who complained that: the examinations do not adequately test for the jobs prescribed; great delay in filling vacancies; examinations do not test for temperament. One agency, for years, has circumvented recruitment from registers by negotiating transfers from other departments; one officer, after a delay in procuring a replacement, went in person to the Commission and transported papers from one office to another in order to expedite the action. It is significant that not a single one of the agencies contacted recommended the civil service system of appointment, from an administrative point of view.
The public library personnel officer is constantly called to suggest candidates for temporary appointments in libraries under United States civil service in the failure of the register to provide eligibles. The most recent request was on April 6, 1949, from the National Security Resources Board. On March 30, 1949, Fort Belvoir asked for names of candidates and similar request came from the Navy Department a few months back with the comment, “The Commission has nobody.”
But if good people are hard to get under civil service, the same appears to be true in respect to the elimination of inefficient personnel. Mr. Hamill (librarian, Los Angeles Public Library, under civil service) pointed out, “The administration is often put on the defensive in making discharges after completion of the 6-months probation period. Some employees are bound to take advantage of the security offered by civil service and of the administrative difficulties involved in the dismissal process.”