Wednesday, July 26, 2006

When It Was 1939

While going through some old files to gather benchmarking statistics, we came across a folder labeled "Librarian's Report 1939". It contained typewritten sheets for each month of the year, outlining receipts and expenditures. The heading states "I haveimage from old card the honor to submit the following report:" (I couldn't find the librarian's name or signature anywhere in the file.) The monthly reports are narrative in nature and include descriptions of library programs and story hours, staffing changes, plumbing problems, and highlights of conferences attended.

"Katherine asked for part-time work... so I am teaching her to do the things a substitute would be expected to do. She learns very readily, working two hours a day, but I pay her for only one. I think she will make a thoroughly satisfactory job of anything she is given to do ... When a girl is willing to work an hour a day without pay in order to get the experience, I usually feel she will make good in the library."

ALA conference in June - "The most frequently discussed question at the meetings was the President's appointment of Archibald MacLeish as Librarian of Congress. The majority of librarians were of course opposed to the appointment, but there were a few who felt very hotly on the other side. The union element seemed to be the ones most strongly for him - strangely enough there are unions among librarians in some of the cities."

In 1939 the library charged fines, rentals, and fees, which accounted for approximately $80.00 per month in revenues. Samples entries under expenditures include:

Cement and wire for mending stereoscopes .35
Bill at Cash & Carry .80
Taxi for delivering Mrs. Harvey's magazines .75
Replacement copies of two magazines that got
wet in the furnace room .40
Sharpening 1 knife and 3 pairs of scissors .50
Laundering of office and work room curtains .50
Machine oil .10
Ribbon for Christmas wreath .38

There is also a detailed listing of all the checks that were mailed for library materials, including many familiar vendors like Gaylord and H.W. Wilson. The librarian also lists the checks for utilities. In April of that year the Gas (New Mexico Gas) bill came to $46.31 and the Electricity (New Mexico Power) was $31.76. There were a lot of checks made out to stationary stores, such as the $14.90 for letterhead and envelopes made out to State Record. Our subscription to the New York Times cost $6.00.

The librarian also includes an itemized listing of donor names, and how many books they gave the library. The librarian was also pleased to report that at the end of the year only 34 books were not accounted for.

Total circs for 1939 came to 74,305
(compared to 448,294 in FY 2004/2005)

Total number of items cataloged was 2,134
(compared to 36,468 for FY 2005/2006)

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