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New York State Library


To the Regents of the University of the State of New York

I report as follows for the state library for the year ending Sep. 30, 1900.

Following the custom of previous years the report of the library school is bound with the state library report, because its work is largely done by the library staff and is so closely related to the library. A full account of the other work of the home education department is given in its separate report. Home education statistics are not included in the state library report unless specified.

For convenience in comparing reports for various years, a regular outline is followed and comments are grouped under the heads shown in the table of contents.

Summary for 1890-1900. The state library, by far the largest of state libraries, and the center of the home education work summarized on p. 18, has developed greatly in the past 11 years, its use having increased many fold. It now numbers, including the traveling libraries and duplicates, 437,733 v. the present average annual additions requiring nearly a mile in length of new shelves each year. This growth differentiates the library from all other state departments, and makes it hopeless to think of housing it much longer in an administrative building already overcrowded. That 150,000 v. are now in boxes for lack of shelf room is a matter that demands some practical solution and each year makes the problem more serious. Certainly no one will soberly suggest that the state should cease to add desirable new books to its great library, or that it should be false to all traditions of civilization by destroying books once bought or given. Whatever smaller and poorer communities may be forced to do, the Empire state must afford room to house safely and pass on to posterity

the priceless collection which has made its state library famous. It is first in certain important subjects and in total numbers is exceeded only by the Library of congress, Boston public, Harvard university and New York public libraries.

Growth of library. In the period of 11 years since 1889 the library has grown from 210,136 to 437,733 or excluding duplicates, from 140,136 to 302,857, while total yearly growth has risen from 1945 in 1889 to 45,000 v. in 1900, or 2313%. The volumes bound yearly have risen from 1396 to 3680, or 263%. The number of sequents, as we term serials, increased from 3438 in 1893 to 8657 in 1900, or 251%. Though this is a reference library, the number of books lent throughout the state grew from 2120 in 1890 to 25,562 in 1900, or 1205%. This does not include the books, pictures, lanterns and lantern slides lent by the home education department, which in 1899 amounted to 46,516.

Our library has taken a new place in becoming the library of the entire state, not alone for the state officers and those living near Albany, but it lends its books to every section, and every mail brings inquiries from citizens in distant countries asking information not otherwise available to them.

The average yearly gifts to the library including pamphlets grew from 7101 in 1890 to 104,450 in 1900, or 1470%. The only item that has not grown is the average annual salary, which in 1889 was $1571 in the state library and in 1900, $756.86 or less than half.

Table J, p. 68, makes an interesting comparison of the number of books added in each of the 100 divisions during the past 11 years and also compares the totals of these additions with the totals of those of the 72 years (or almost three quarters of a century) preceding them.

In bibliography the additions of the last 11 years exceeded those of the previous 72 by 1086. In library economy the additions were more than fivefold, in education more than threefold, in political economy and medicine nearly threefold. Geology and zoology more than equaled the additions of the previous three quarters of a century and the class, fine arts, more than doubled. In history the average additions for the past 11 years were about 1630 against an average of 628 for the period from 1818 to 1889.

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