This section is from the book "Modern Buildings, Their Planning, Construction And Equipment Vol6", by G. A. T. Middleton. Also available from Amazon: Modern Buildings.
(Contributed by H. C. Queree)
A public library may be divided into four sections, namely, newspaper, magazine, reference, and lending departments.
As to the newspaper department, it is, at the present time, a matter of controversy whether it will continue to form part of the public library establishment, or whether it will be altogether abolished. Up to now it has been a very prominent feature, necessitating a great deal of space, as the majority of general and local papers have to be accommodated. The current issue of each is exhibited on a slope, which may be either fixed around the rooms on to the walls, or may be made double, carried on its own pedestal and placed at right angles to the windows. The former (Fig. 108) has a projection of 1 foot 5 inches at its base, which is 3 feet from the floor if for standing use, and 2 feet 4 inches if accommodated to sitting purposes. In this illustration, showing the Library Supply Company's pattern, the slope is of 1 1/4-inch thickness, and is supported by a 2 by 4-inch moulded wall-piece and bracket. As a newspaper stand has a natural tendency to be top-heavy, it is necessary that the pedestal should be strongly and heavily made. The width across base of slope should be about 2 feet 10 inches. The bottom of slope should be 3 feet and the top 5 feet 3 inches above floor, whilst a perpendicular strip at the apex of slope 4 inches high, serves the purpose of holding the name card of the newspaper placed beneath. To each newspaper is allowed a horizontal length of 4 feet. The paper is fastened to the slope by means of weighted springs at top and bottom, or by a brass rod hinged at top and fitted at the bottom with an eye-piece, which is carried through the wood slope and fastened underneath with a hook or lock or some other attachment.
Double Reading Stand.
Single Reading Stand.
The double slopes or stands are made to carry one or more newspapers in a length, and should be kept at least 4 feet apart one from the other. In public libraries no provision is made for telegrams, but this has to be done in newsrooms to which admission is obtained by subscription. The newspaper slope may be used for the purposes of their display, but it is more customary to use a baize-covered board, whilst by some it is preferred to place them in a glazed case protected by lock and key. In the latter instance care must be taken to place the case in such a position that the rays of light will not cause an awkward shimmer on the glass, as it is then practically impossible to clearly discern what lies below the surface. An ordinary baize-covered and glazed notice board will also have to be provided in the most convenient position as regulated by the general plan. The same remarks apply to cases placed in the magazine-room for the display of large black and white or coloured plates which form part of the weekly illustrated papers or magazine Christmas numbers. On Plate IV. will be found a photograph of the interior of reading-room of the Edward Pearce Public Library at Darlington. The fittings were designed by Mr. G. G. Hoskins, F.R.I.B.A., and carried out by the North of England Furnishing Company.
Fig. 109 illustrates a slope, which is made for newspapers or periodicals, being kept at a height and inclination which allows of comfortable reading by persons occupying a sitting position. The newspapers of a past issue are placed on ordinary tables, which, where wall slopes are used, would conveniently occupy the centre of the room. These papers are in many cases left loose, but a better system is to file together some half-dozen back numbers, after which they would be removed to be permanently filed or destroyed according to the custom adopted.
As magazines, reviews, etc., require more continued reading than newspapers they are placed on tables or slopes at such a height as to permit of a sedentary position being taken by the reader. The magazines are usually enclosed in special covers, which may be loosely placed on the table or attached to it by means of a brass chain. The tables may be of the ordinary leather-covered type, 3 feet wide by 2 feet 6 inches high, or may be specially made for the purpose, as that shown in Fig. 109. It is 3 feet to 3 feet 6 inches wide - the best size is 3 feet 3 inches, and of different lengths, which vary from 5 feet to 10 feet long. In the centre of this table, which has a rim of 3 to 4 inches, special brass stands are screwed, into which are dropped the name cards of the magazine reposing on the slope below. Instead of this a sunk channel of 6 inches depth and 2 1/2 to 3 inches width may be formed in the centre of table, into which the magazines are placed.
Double Reading Tables.
As table accommodation for all the magazines would be far in excess of the space at disposal, or far beyond the seating capacity required, a great number of magazines are placed in specially constructed racks, from which they may be removed to the table by the reader and returned to their place when dealt with.
Such a rack is illustrated in Fig. 110, as made by the Library Supply Company to hold some three dozen periodicals. It stands 6 feet high and is 5 feet long and 1 foot 4 inches deep. Another arrangement is to place the rack against the wall, and fit it with carrying laths to which a small fillet should be attached, the magazine being retained in place by means of one or two brass rods on wooden rails, the former being preferable and more generally used. This can naturally be made of any size to suit the accommodation needed, or to fit the recess or space in which it is intended to be placed. Another form of rack is that in which the magazine is kept in its place by means of wire-springs. A rack 5 feet wide and 5 feet deep will hold some forty periodicals.