The Library 145
It was Professor Simmons also who on the request of the faculty
drew up regulations for the Library. These had to do chiefly with
hours of opening, duties of student librarians and keepers of reading
room, loans of books, and order. For the first year, 1879-80,
committees of the faculty did the various tasks of getting the Library
ready for use. The labeling of the books was referred to Professors
Simmons and W. B. Royall. There was a committee on periodicals
and in April, 1880, Professors Simmons and Poteat were made a
standing committee on the Library. These with the student assistants
had got the Library into running order by June, 1880.
A work that was more generally distributed among the members of
the faculty the first year was that of classification. On December 22,
1879, they divided the work among themselves, one group of
three―Simmons, Taylor and Poteat―to work on the afternoons of
Monday and Wednesday and on Saturday morning; and a second
group of three―Mills, Royall and Scarborough―to work on the
afternoons of Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Considering their
inexperience they did their work well. In their classification they used
the Dewey decimal system, then new but now in general use.4
Until the appointment of a regular Librarian, in September, 1908,
students served as librarians and as superintendents of the Reading
Room. They were appointed by the faculty, the first on September 5,
1879, W. H. Ragsdale and W. J. Ferrell.5 Each received as
compensation his college fees and was expected to render two hours'
service a day, to preserve order and keep a record of all books and
periodicals given out on
4 The Decimal System of Classification and Relative Index, by Melvil Dewey,
was published first in 1876.
5 After the construction of a broad staircase between the two stories uniting the
Reading Room and the Library in 1902 the distinction between librarians and
superintendents of the Reading Room was dropped and all were called librarians.
The Librarians kept their records in an ordinary account book or ledger, a page
indicated in the index being assigned to each borrower. Most of these record books
are in the Library, and serve as an index to the reading habits of the individual
students of those years.
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