Libraries 531
of the vicinity were permitted to borrow books provided that some
member of the Society would become responsible for them, although
the frequent regulations about this class of borrowers makes it clear
that the privilege was sometimes abused. Library privileges were
given to the Civil War refugees some of whom, abandoning their
homes in sections occupied by Union armies, found residence in and
around Wake Forest during the War.19
The regulations for the use of the libraries as given above may seem
illiberal as compared with those in use in libraries of the present day,
but for that day they were liberal indeed. Both students and librarians
were under the same roof as their libraries and books might be
consulted if not borrowed at any time the librarian could be found.
Again, during the sessions of the Societies their members sat
surrounded by their books; they saw them in long lines on the shelves,
and thus became acquainted with the external appearance of the
volumes individually, a thing of no little value in creating a desire for
reading. Doubtless, they were also allowed to handle such volumes as
they wished. Few libraries of that day offered students such stimulus
to read or were so serviceable.20
The librarians were untrained, in the Euzelian Society changing
four times a year, in the Philomathesian semi-annually. They
19 Eu. Records, April 21, 1838; April 22, 1862; Phi. Records, March 3, 1848.
20 Take the following account of the great library of the University of Virginia,
Bruce, History of the University of Virginia, II, 201 ff.: "The regulations for the
government of the library were drafted in March, 1825 . . . no student was permitted
to carry away a volume unless he could show a request to that effect from one of the
professors; and the number he was allowed to remove was limited to three. . . . The
Librarian was ordered to be on hand in the library once a week, and to remain at
least one hour to receive all books returned, and to give out all those that were asked
for.... So anxious were the young men to obtain volumes that some of them went so
far as to forge their professors' names to formal permits. Later in the course of the
same year, 1826, the library was accessible to students on every day of the week
except Sunday. . . . Only twenty such (admission) tickets could be made out for a
single day. When he had succeeded in getting through the door, the student was not
permitted to take down a book of reference without the consent of the librarian in
writing.... No student was permitted to enter the room save to consult a book. In
1831 he still had to receive the removable volumes which he asked for through a
hole in the door."
Previous Page Next Page