Department has not in the past or at the present time does not face the problem of keeping an up-to-date library in the department on the small budget which is provided for books. An experiment has proved very successful at the Harlem Branch, New York City. The secretary of the Boys' Department called on the librarian of the public library at 190 Amsterdam Avenue and found that the library officials were quite willing to establish a branch library in the Association, allowing to them the selection of the books. They agreed to pay all the expenses of transportation, etc., and only asked in return, a monthly statement of the number of books used, the Association being held responsible for damage and loss. Thus the Association has been able to provide the best books for their members at no cost to the Branch.
The result is a library of 400 well selected boys' books with a supply of up-to-date books whenever the Association wishes them. A library for parents in which are books dealing with the adolescent boy has also been established in the same way.
Following closely the question of providing good books for the boy is the problem of directing, as well as cultivating, his taste for good reading. A record system has been worked out in which every book that is read by the boys is noted and at the end of the month, if the record shows that Harry Smith has read Alger's books entirely, or that he reads nothing but history, the question of his reading is taken up with him and his likes and dislikes in regard to books are discussed in a free and friendly way, and an honest effort is made to broaden the scope of his reading.
" If we secretaries," says Secretary Ritchie, "stop and ask ourselves how much we know about what our members read, I am afraid the majority of us would have to confess that we know very little and yet we all recognize the fact that the reading of one book has often influenced a young man's life. I believe that the library of the Boys' Department offers a field, full of possibility, that has been practically unexplored".