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There are now fifty-five reading clubs. Story hour groups to the number of 2,489 have gathered in the Branch Libraries and at the Central Children's Room.

The visit of Miss Marie L. Shedlock, the English story-teller, has been the event of greatest interest to the story-tellers and children. Miss Shedlock first inspired the library story hour in America. On Hans Christian Andersen's birthday Miss Shedlock told his story, "The Steadfast Tin Soldier," and told something of his life to a group of children and their parents in the Central Children's Room. On Shakespeare's birthday she told "The Nightingale" to 270 delegates from the reading clubs assembled at the Central Building. This meeting took the form of a personal greeting from each club by a representative who carried back to the regular meeting of his or her club a full account of the joint meeting.

The Yorkville Boys' Club gave a special programme in honor of their club advisor, who is the author of a recent life of Robert Louis Stevenson, dedicated to the boys of the Yorkville Branch. A review of this book was given, the last chapter, "Vailima," was read aloud by a member, while a boy's estimate of "Treasure Island," and a reading of the chapter called "Israel Hands" concluded the literary part of the programme.

Further details of the work of the children's rooms are shown by Table XVIII in the Appendix.


As usual the Branches were used as meeting places by many literary, educational, and social organizations and clubs. The general rule has been to allow the use of an assembly room in a Branch Library for any meeting of an instructive or literary nature, provided that no admission fee was charged, and that nothing of a political, sectarian, or ultra-controversial character was to be discussed. A complete list of meetings will be found in the Appendix. In addition, many classes of foreigners learning English have met regularly in the Branch Libraries.

The Circulation Department has continued to act as intermediary for any person who wished to borrow lantern slides from the Division of Visual Instruction of the University of the State of New York. The use of these slides, secured at the cost of transportation, has steadily increased.


A list of the publications of the Circulation Department in 1915 will be found in table V of the Appendix. See page 251.

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Through the generosity of friends, the Library has been able to acquire many paintings, etchings, and engravings of note. Chief among these is a collection of ten paintings by N. C. Wyeth, to illustrate Stevenson's "Treasure Island" and "Kidnapped." Among other purchases may be mentioned a collection of large pictures of scenes in the Canadian Rockies, vases, jardinières, window-boxes, plants, and flowers. Since 1909, Mr. Mark Ash, a member of the Circulation Committee, has offered annually a prize of $100 to the librarian of the Branch maintained in the best general condition. This prize was awarded in 1915 to Miss Ida Simpson, Librarian of the 96th Street Branch. A list of previous awards will be found in the Annual Report for 1914.


Collections of the paintings of Bible scenes by Tissot, presented to the Library in 1909 by Mr. Jacob H. Schiff, have been on exhibition at various Branches throughout the year. Other loan exhibitions include paintings of marine scenes lent to the George Bruce Branch by Frederick Waugh; the collection of paintings lent to the Riverside Branch by Freeman Clarke; a collection of etchings by Frank Brangwyn at the Woodstock Branch lent by M. Knoedler and Company; an exhibition of pictures of modern art works at the 58th Street Branch, and exhibitions of pictures lent by the Metropolitan Museum of Art at the Yorkville, St. Agnes, and other Branches. There were loan exhibitions of works relating to Thomas Hardy and to Charles Dickens at the Washington Heights Branch.


The new building of the George Bruce Branch at 78 Manhattan Street was opened June 2, 1915. The opening exercises included addresses by Mr. Cleveland H. Dodge, of the Board of Trustees, the Hon. Henry Bruère, Chamberlain of the City of New York, and the Hon. William D. Brush, Alderman of the district. This Branch was presented by Miss Catharine Wolf Bruce, in memory of her father, George Bruce, to the New York Free Circulating Library in 1888, and was originally situated on West 42nd Street. Owing to the erection of the West 40th Street Branch and the opening of the Central Circulation Branch in the Central Building at Fifth avenue and 42nd street, it seemed better to move the George Bruce Branch to some part of the Borough of Manhattan where there were no library facilities. The proceeds of the sale of the old Branch paid for the new building and site in the Manhattanville district. The first floor of the new building contains the adult circulation department and the reading and reference rooms; the second floor,

the children's room, with sections for both circulation and reading rooms. There is an assembly room in the basement. The building is of colonial design, having a façade of brick with stone trimmings. The architects were Carrère and Hastings.

A fifteen-foot addition was built on the north side of the Tremont Branch at 1866 Washington avenue, The Bronx. A large increase of work made this a necessity, as the Branch is second in number of books lent. The floorspace was enlarged for public use, an assembly-room and administrative offices were added.


There are, perhaps, some people who still think of a library as a place frequented only by those who are engaged in "delving into the past," as a storehouse in which pedants spend their days examining "musty records." A large amount of scholarly research is, in fact, conducted in The New York Public Library - and that is one of the principal justifications for its existence. But to suppose that such an institution does not respond to the interests of the day, does not reflect the thoughts and deeds of the world about it, is to be ignorant of the facts.

The effect of the great War upon the Library is a typical example of this quick response to events in the world of action. The War, of course, is having its influence upon ethics, upon religion, upon politics, upon commerce, and upon art and literature. There is no Division, no Branch of the Library where this fact is not apparent. It enters into the daily work of every member of the Staff. The reports in the preceding pages, give some idea of how the Library is called upon to answer inquiries - geographical, scientific, military, political — which arise from this most tremendous event of modern history. New industries are arising in this country, new commercial and economic conditions have to be considered. The resources of the Library are constantly searched for information and advice about these subjects. The demands upon the Library are going to increase rather than diminish. The perplexing questions arising from the War, and the debate about national defence, indicate the absolute need for sources of information through which the people may keep informed on every aspect of these imminent problems. Herein is one of the Library's opportunities.

Respectfully submitted,



March 1, 1916.

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