Mr. E.W. Winkler,
In reply to your notice of the 4th inst. I regret to say that I have no worthwhile statistics available here. We do not keep any record of the number of books used and returned, but simply destroy the cards when the book is returned. In regard to new books and Journals I am sure you can get complete data from Mr. Daniels and Miss Tiffy.
We undertook a complete inventory of all books and Journals in this departmental library last summer and found over 100 books missing-- the last inventory had been taken some 5 years before that. A large per cent of the missing books have reappeared as persons having found them and returned them. No doubt other books have disappeared since then. The missing volumes are in practically all cases replaceable books and not Journal volumes. In view of the free use we encourage and in view of the expense that would be connected with any other plan that would prevent any large part of the losses without at the same time crippling the library service, I think we can well be satisfie[d] with this phase of the work.
This departmental library is open from 7:30 A.M. to 6 P.M. to all users and is available to those having a building key -- instruction force-- at any time. The journal room however has a separate lock and so is open at night only to a few graduate students and to the faculty members. Altho badly crowded we think the library here is giving efficient service-- certainly much more so than under any other practicable plan suggested so far.
We have had some trouble in getting prompt service in the matter of new journals. Apparently most of this trouble is caused by the subscription agencies-- Faxon and Stechert, I believe. Is there any feasible way of subscribing for such journals so as to get current numbers as promptly as an individual does? A case in point right now is the Journal of the American Waterworks Assn. Altho the original order or request seems to have been lost, the order was put in again on February 8, but we have not had any numbers yet. this is not a long time yet but there happens to be so much demand for the journal here now that the mess is causing a good deal of trouble for Dr. Schoch and some M.A. thesis people who are after the references.
There are a large number of books of interest to chemists in other departmental libraries and many here that are of interest to people in other departments. At present the only way to locate books is to go to the Main Library card index or to [those] of the departmental libraries. If it were possible to keep duplicate cards on books of interest to our department even tho the books were in some other departmental library I think the library service could be considerably improved. In regard to books already here the only way to get such cards now seems to be the one followed by the Engineering people recently in case of chemistry books of value to engineers. They went thru our card index and made duplicates of all books considered of interest to engineers. In this way the Engineering library files include such books in the Chemistry Library as are liable to be of interest to engineers.
If the Main Library were to send out weekly a list of books ordered the different departmental librarians could easily look over the list and check of[f] the books of interest to their own branch. Duplicate cards could then be made for such books when they arrive and sent to the department requesting the cards. In this way each department could keep its cards up to date and could thus obviate the necessity of going over a large number of cards as would have to be done in case of books now here. The old "accession list" that used to be sent out would not be as satisfactory, I think, that the "Books Ordered" list because delays in the cataloguing room would be avoided since all requests would be in long before the book arrived in the ordinary course of events. It may be possible to get the same results more easily, but I happen to know of no other way to get the cards up to date without much trouble.