OF all the efforts which have been made within recent years to popularize Public Libraries or to improve the reading standard of the public, none has been so popular, or so generally adopted as the plan of organizing courses of lectures. This in spite of the fact that lectures are becoming less and less necessary as a means of spreading knowledge and ideas. It may be that lectures with experiments, lectures to arouse interest, to amuse, to produce an emotional or æsthetic effect may still have some value, but lectures to call forth intellectual effort and to spread ideas are practically superseded by books. If this be granted it follows that the lecture courses generally given under the auspices of library authorities have this result—they do not stimulate the intellect nor do they create any desire to use books as a means of improving the intellectual standard of the individual. The cause of this is to be found in the miscellaneous character of the lectures. It is no unusual thing to find that a course of library lectures includes such diverse subjects as “The Ice Age,” “Six months in the Tropics,” “Beetles,” “Hygiene,” “The Moon,” “Shakespeare,” &c. The effect of such courses upon anyone who may attend them all is similar to that produced upon the mind of the person who reads the “tit‐bits” pages in one of the popular magazines. Custom has much to do with this state of affairs, and lectures like those above outlined have long been recognized as suitable for a library, mainly perhaps because they can be procured cheaply and with little trouble.
MCB UP Ltd
Copyright © 1907, MCB UP Limited