Omaha daily bee. (Omaha [Neb.]) 187?-1922, September 01, 1912, MAGAZINE, Image 11
PAUT TWO EDITORIAL PAGES (BE TO EIGHT VOL. XL1I-XO. 11. Omaha Sunday Bee PAKT TWO"- MAGAZINE' PAGES ONE TO EIGHT OMAHA, SUNDAY MORNING, SE1TEMBER 1, liH: SINGLE COPY FIVE - CENTS. Royal Fellowship of Readers at Omaha Public Library 1 M ifV), IK, 0 6) 1 V1 ' Where vtories 02 l(ea2 wd Told v1 1 " ' 1 '1 mi. .5' 102 00 la www V A 722 4 ttW'Vl V It V 0 ; 1 .UW"." Blt '3 "T .t. 4 0 O MAKE this library answer tb,e call of all classes; to make it democratic . and yet not offensive to the most . delicate temperament; to establioh goodfellowship this has been my aim," said Miss Edith Tobitt, libra- , rian of Omaha's public library. And ; experts high in authority on euch things have testi fied to the success of the undertaking and declare that never have they seen such an "atmosphere" as that at Omaha's public library. This atmosphere is a source of special pf'ide to the librarian. She considers it her greatest asset and points to it gleefully. More than anyone else she has created" it and worked to preserve it. A corps of able assistants in the reference, cata loguing, children's and bindery departments have co-operated with her. The realization of their dream is a cosmopolitan crowd bound together by one common tie the love of books worshiping at one shrine and paying tribute to the same power, bashing their heads against the1 intricate mysteries of very learned books, rambling together through reams of printed pages. Numerous societies embracing widely diverging fields of study have met and are still meeting at the library. Among these are the Fine Arts so ciety, the Story Tellers' league, the Art guild, the Esperanto society, the French and Persian History associations and the Daughters of the American -Revolution. ' 1 Caste One Prevailed . In the beginning these societies found few traits to commend them to each other. They at once .as Burned a clannishness that boded ill for the libra rian's democratic designs. Daughters of the Amer ican Revolution didn't fall for the study of Esper anto, believing plain American, shorn even of its English frills, was good enough for any descendant of the Pilgrim fathers. Readers of Kant, Nietsche, Schopenhauer and Spencer could find no joy in the lichened rocks and rills of the young readers of novels and poetry. Neither did the disciples of the fine arts hanker after the little ragged regiments of embryonic patri otism who gathered at the Story Tellers' league. Divers and sundry strange creeds and nifty no tions obtained among the patrons. These readers of the innumerable books displayed no intention of traveling toward a common goal. There was no sudden and passionate desire for intellectual democ racy. Mechanics, art students, dressmakers, law years, restaurauteurs, musicians and medical men, the idle and the busy, the tensely earnest and the indifferent, green old age and gray-haired, care bowed youth, pride and prejudice, the low and the high, the poor and the rich, the learned and the unlettered, the enthusiastic and the blase, each sought shelter with his own kind and gave no sign of trespassing nor was any encroachment wel comed. Democracy Now the Order This has been changed. The rich rub elbows with yie poor, the learned seek to convince, their ' ' At ft. 4 V 1. V", tier M 1 S1 l.v '4ii v it: unenlightened brethren, philosophers join in Joy ous combat wRh their finicky, more foolishly in clined brethren. Youth converses with age, toler ance hears the bland platitudes of intolerance; timidity and boldness, love and hate, projeressivlsm -and standpatism, all find a common ground, if nothing but the reason for disagreement. Disciples of the deeper skepticism war earnestly with the apostles of the lighter philosophy and con sider it undemocratic to hold themselves aloof. , Little tots who have forgotten to wash their faces worry through Mother Goose rhymes or laugh over the adventures of Jack and Jill and feel that there is nothing unkind In the glance the bespectacled gentlemen of the bulging brow deign to bestow upon them. ,' , ' When literature of any section. or. sect of the great complex public is received the librarian makes immediate announcement of the fact and is pleased to see her patrons come flocking to the feast. A treatise on languages obsolete or sciences long for gotten, stories of the dreary, wild stretches of the Arctic, or of the land where "lanes are bowered with wan palms," or of some slumbering islands of the lazy seas, have a horde of ready readers, eager for the newest effusion. Tales of the city, with its "somber walls of steel and stone," black ened with the smoke of factory fires, inhabited by the sleep-hungry, red-eyed men and women who love the thunder of its .commerce, its dull white lights, have a hungry following, no more than do the tales . of tragedy, echoing with the mournful cadences of specters of the tombs. For all of them, for somebody, are shot through with the light of high purpose or some gratifying mission of en lightenment or entertainment, often clumsily con structed and confused, but always more or less ap pealing' to at least a few of the many.' ' Papers from All the World There is another attraction that is drawing a constantly growing company to the library. It is the newspapers from far quarters of the earth, printed in strange tongues, but familiar to the newly arrived, who are still battling with the per versities of English. It is in these papers they find tidings of loved ones left behind, while the more ambitious, seeding solace for shattered hopes in a new country, have broken the old ties for thu possi- bilities of the new. These vifiitors at the library still hold the irreverent youth of their adopted land in a little awe, but this attitude they are fast ploughing, for the library has become a place where neither caste nor any kind of exclusivenesa can thrive. So many books are written that many must grow musty on the shelves, while others are thumb worn and frayed, but the majority of all the vol umes gathered at the library subserve their , own faithful coterie. Bindings may be flamboyant and substantial, or inconspicuous and unstable, and this will influence a casual inspection of the con tents, but the meat and the style of the writings indicate how frequently and carefully the book it self will be read. Without regard to the manner of their makeup a number of volumes are often read sever :1 times while the ink is still moist. They are either devoured rapidly or leisurely, depending ' on whether the reader takes his food hastily at' the literary lunch counter or masticates it slowly at a table nearby. However, everything on the menu, from Socrates, and Plutarch to Robert Chambers and Mary Roberts Rinehart, is ordered before the day is over. Types of Reader Readers of books represent as many types as the books that are written. Women smothered in furbelows and feathers, maidens walking in the shadow of sorrow, children in ragged clothes, men and women who pull and fret at life's restrictions, the money-grubbers all of them find some solace In the books. - "This book," said a gray-haired man who thought his neighbor. was wasting time with the .magazines, "is a wonderful thing. None of your sentlmenal slopslop. No, siree. It has pulse- and will. It is a gleam through mist and rain, a moni tory 'flame. Nothing sluggish. Syllabled fire, all of it. It is the child of a rampant soul and you ought to get acquainted with it. 'Child of the rampant soul' is what he calls the' purpose-books, those that yank you out of the rut, and the brawl and brew of life and set you in some sunny crypt of song. No monkeying with metaphysical ding bats, but heat of blood like that which stirred the ancient scops to songs of the sea-mew, and the wild .and bloody battle and rang with the ardor " EL In misuse His neighbor groaned under the deluge of verbi age, kicked a chair viciously and turned another page of the autobiography of the man who laid claim to the greatest expose of corruption ever pei potrated. And his neighbor smiled at the enthusi asm and the memory of the old man and 'made mental note of the stuff that could work such a wonder with him. He was not as old as the man across the table, but he might need such a book some time. For youth flits fast and the blood cools and the fret and fume Is lost as the years slip away. A recluse frowned, for he had come here for quiet, thinking he could find it among the books and the people who peruse them. A garrulous young person began to chatter to her neighbor in a low but unmuffled whisper. A newspaper man saw a "feature" and proceeded forthwith to culti vate the acquaintance of the old enthusiast. What the Sailor Man Wnats Even the sailor is of the assemblage that gath ers dally at the library. Tired business men, weary with the work of the day, enjoy him as they would a whiff of salt-sea spray. But unconscious that of all the numbers who come to Omaha's reading room his kind are fewest In numbers he rolls across the floor,. bracing himself as if to the heave and lunge of the sea, and often asks for some book that will aid him in his correspondence school work applied mechanics, law, medicine or marine lore, but never the books that point the way to the ministry. In this patronage there is an answer, to the ar gument of our forebears who deemed lttaothlng but the height of folly to delve into the mysteries of the papyrus, unless perchance one were ambi tious to become an efficient court fool. These an cestors have been a long time dead and the age in which they lived has grown dim through the years, but their time was comparatively modern, unless they lived in the first nest of civilization on Egypt's dusky plains. There they could have en tered into the cells of the astronomers and If they had pledged their manhood and their lives to -the glory ; of hoodwinking the numberless slaves ; and common people they might have prospered. There was even a ch&nce for them to win a mummyshlp with a Rameses or a Pharaoh in the colossal tombs built up through decade after decade until the peo ple were paupered and the purple of royalty be came flimsy tinsel. All the Hosts of Great Ones Following these ancestors came the ' shadowy host of mighty writers, living and dead, .who' drove Ignorance before them with the chisel, the. quill, the blunt-nosed pen and the belligerent typewriter. And the writers, great and small, medieval and modern, each commanding a battalion of. the great, groping army, still direct, still lead, sometimes dis astrously, more often' with success, in spite of the too intimate knowledge of .them sometimes pos sessed by, the, rank and file. .They are, not phantom leaders, but real men and women,-who have won, after endless toll and endeavor, immortality, ever lasting existence among men. From Boewulf to Chaucer and' from Chaucer., to 'Shakespeare and from. Shakespeare to . Swinburne, including the fawning Boswell, each writer' has' wrought some thing of worth to somebody and to all 'they speak from the covers of the booksl There Is a snadowy fellowship: between the writers of books and those who read what has been written. - In the mind: of ' the' Imaginative 'student vague figures of strong men of. the pen hover over the shelves and flit before the eye as it follows the trail of titles'. From the first man who had Ideas, Invented a new language and chippedhis thoughts ln crude toutlines on stones, . scrawled them on papyrus or pictured them on the bark, of some as siduous tree, after the fashion and facilities of the time, down to the prolific spieler with the modern "mill," the army has never been without its scribe leader! "' ; ' .-',"-"-.