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published monthly or quarterly, too numerous to be noticed here. The annual New York Tribune Index (the only daily journal, except the London Times, which prints an index) is highly useful, and may be used for other newspapers as well, for the most important events or discussions, enabling one to search the dailies for himself, the date once being fixed by aid of the index.

Mention should also be made here of the admirably comprehensive annual Rowell's Newspaper Directory," which should rather be called the "American Periodical Directory,” since it has a classified catalogue of all periodicals published in the United States and Canada.



"The true University of these days," says a great scholar of our century, Thomas Carlyle,"is a collection of books, and all education is to teach us how to read."

If there were any volume, out of the multitude of books about books that have been written, which could illuminate the pathway of the unskilled reader, so as to guide him into all knowledge by the shortest road, what a boon that book would be!

When we survey the vast and rapidly growing product of the modern press,—when we see these hosts of poets without imagination, historians without accuracy, critics without discernment, and novelists without invention or style, in short, the whole prolific brood of writers who do not know how to write,—we are tempted to echo the sentiment of Wordsworth:

"The intellectual power, through words and things,

Goes sounding on a dim and perilous way.” The most that any one can hope to do for others is to suggest to them a clue which, however feeble, has helped to guide his uncertain footsteps through the labyrinthian maze of folly and wisdom which we call literature.

The knowledge acquired by a Librarian, while it may be very wide and very varied, runs much risk of being as superficial as it is diversified. There is a very prevalent, but very erroneous notion which conceives of a librarian as a kind of animated encyclopaedia, who, if you tap him in any direction, from A to Z, will straightway pour forth a flood of knowledge upon any subject in history, science, or literature. This popular ideal, however fine in theory, has to undergo what commercial men call a heavy discount when reduced to practice. The librarian is a constant and busy worker in far other fields than exploring the contents of books. His day is filled with cataloguing, arranging and classifying them, searching catalogues, selecting new books, correspondence, directing assistants, keeping library records, adjusting accounts, etc., in the midst of which he is constantly at the call of the public for books and information. What time has he, wearied by the day's multifarious and exacting labors, for any thorough study of books? So, when anyone begins an inquiry with, "You know everything; can you tell me,”—I say: "Stop a moment; omniscience is not a human quality; I really know very few things, and am not quite sure of some of them.” There are many men, and women, too, in almost every community, whose range of knowledge is more extended than that of most librarians.

The idea, then, that because one lives perpetually among books, he absorbs all the learning that they contain, must be abandoned as a popular delusion. To know a little upon many subjects is quite compatible with not knowing much about any one.

“Beware of the man of one book," is an ancient proverb, pregnant with meaning. The man of one book, if it is wisely chosen, and if he knows it all, can sometimes confound a whole assembly of scholars. An American poet once declared to me that all leisure time is lost that is not spent in reading Shakespeare.

And we remember Emerson's panegyric upon Plato's writings, borrowing from the Caliph Omar his famous (but apocryphal) sentence against all books but the Koran: "Burn all the libraries, for their value is in this book.” So Sheffield, duke of Buckingham:

"Read Homer once, and you can read no more,
For all books else appear so tame, so poor,
Verse will seem prose, but still persist to read,

And Homer will be all the books you need.” Of course I am far from designing to say anything against the widest study, which great libraries exist to supply and to encourage; and all utterances of a halftruth, like the maxim I have quoted, are exaggerations. But the saying points a moral—and that is, the supreme importance of thoroughness in all that we undertake. The poetical wiseacre who endowed the world with the maxim, "A little learning is a dangerous thing," does not appear to have reflected upon the logical sequence of the dictum, namely: that if a little learning upon any subject is dangerous, then less must be still more dangerous.

The art of reading to the best advantage implies the command of adequate time to read. The art of having time to read depends upon knowing how to make the best use of our days. Days are short, and time is fleeting, but no one's day ever holds less than 24 hours. Engrossing as one's occupation may be, it need never consume all the time remaining from sleep, refreshment and social intercourse. The half hour before breakfast, the fifteen minutes waiting for dinner, given to the book you wish to read, will soon finish it, and make room for another. The busiest men I have known have often been the most intelligent, and the widest readers. The idle person never knows how to make use of odd moments; the busy one always knows how. Yet the vast majority of people go through life without ever learning the great lesson of the supreme value of moments.

Let us suppose that you determine to devote two hours every day to reading. That is equivalent to more than seven hundred hours a year, or to three months of working time of eight hours a day. What could you not do in three months, if you had all the time to yourself? You could almost learn a new language, or master a new science; yet this two hours a day, which would give you three months of free time every year, is frittered away, you scarcely know how, in aimless matters that lead to nothing.

A famous writer of our century, some of whose books you have read,—Edward Bulwer Lytton,-devoted only four hours a day to writing; yet he produced more than sixty volumes of fiction, poetry, drama and criticism, of singular literary merit. The great naturalist, Darwin, a chronic sufferer from a depressing malady, counted two hours a fortunate day's work for him; yet he accomplished results in the world of science which render his name immortal.

Be not over particular as to hours, or the time of day, and you will soon find that all hours are good for the muse. Have a purpose, and adhere to it with good-humored pertinacity. Be independent of the advice and opinions of others; the world of books, like the world of nature, was made for you; possess it in your own way.


find no good in ancient history or in metaphysics, let them alone and read books of art, or poetry, or biography, or voyages and travels. The wide domain of knowledge and the world of books are so related, that all roads cross and converge, like the paths that carry us over the surface of the globe on which we live. Many a reader has learned more of past times from good biographies, than from any formal history; and it is a fact that many owe to the plays of Shakespeare and the novels of Walter Scott nearly all the knowledge which they possess of the history of England and Scotland.

It is unhappily true that books do not teach the use of books. The art of extracting what is important or in

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