This section is from the "Modern Machine Shop Construction, Equipment, And Management" book, by Oscar E. Perrigo. Also see Amazon: Modern Machine Shop Construction, Equipment, And Management.
The expense of providing all the literature for a shop of two hundred men ought not to cost over eight or ten dollars per month. Many publishers will furnish their publications free of expense if their use is explained to them, and in various other ways may good and valuable periodicals and books be acquired for the use of the men.
There is another important use of the material in the Reading Room. This is that of circulating the books and periodicals among the employees for home reading, thus giving them free the advantages of reading matter that might not otherwise come in their way. It will generally be found that there are men in the shop who will act as librarian of the Reading Room, under the direction of the firm. A man of studious nature will naturally enjoy such a position and by various plans and his own personal interest in the scheme will do much to insure its success and to make it popular with the employees, and thus foster a fraternal spirit between shopmates which will be still further cemented by their common interest in the Mutual Aid Association described at the commencement of this chapter.
Carrying out the idea of education of employees still further, there may be instituted among the men during the winter months a series of shop talks or lectures on mechanical and kindred subjects, not only by public-spirited citizens outside the shop, but particularly by the owners and officers of the establishment, that will go far towards the enjoyment and practical education of the men, but also, what is of considerable practical importance, foster a spirit of interest, not to say common interest, between the owners and their workmen, that will bear fruit in increased loyalty and to the best good of all. These lectures may also be profitable when concerned with subjects of public good and town improvement, whereby the workmen may gain enlarged views of the duties of good citizenship and many other important duties not directly connected with the shop.
Another subject which will commend itself to the consideration of the younger mechanics will be a course of lessons in mechanical drawing and the use of plane geometry. These subjects are of great practical utility to young mechanics and at the present time every young man who aspires to become a first-class machinist is expected to be more or less proficient in them. Such lessons can usually be given by the chief draftsman or one of those working under him who possesses an aptitude for this kind of work. While he is imparting to the members of a class the information that is always sought by the ambitious young mechanic, he is receiving from the work much of benefit to himself. Still further, the effect will be to foster a certain feeling of interest between the drafting room and the machine shop, which in many shops is not as strong as it should be, but which is always necessary and valuable to the successful running of the establishment.
This same spirit of unity of interest among the men of different departments is a very desirable condition, and the wise manager or superintendent will always aid and encourage it in every legitimate manner. There is no one condition more conducive to the success of a manufacturing establishment than that all, from the owners to the youngest employee, shall realize and work for the common and mutual interest of all concerned, and no one condition that will go as far toward the avoidance of labor difficulties and the elimination of all disagreeable and adverse conditions as a feeling of mutual respect between owners and employees, and between one class of employees and another, and a feeling that in case of any real difference of opinion as to shop conditions, each side is perfectly willing to listen to the reasonable arguments and explanations of the other in a perfectly friendly and mutually interested spirit.