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15. (If you omit, as at your option you may, in paragraph 1, to specify
a particular position or division) for what class of work in the Library of Congress do you consider yourself particularly fitted ? For the purpose of this question you may consider the existing work in the Library to be classified as follows: Administration (the purely executive work); Cards (having to do with the sale of card indexes); Clerical; Order (having to do with the purchase or other acquisition of books); Classification; Catalogue; Maps and Charts; Manuscripts; Fine Arts; Music; Law; Public Documents; Newspapers and Periodicals; General Reference; Special Reference (both of these dealing with the public and including the work at the delivery desk); Subordinate Service (pages, messengers, etc.)
16. If you do not specify a particular position, what is the lowest posi
tion as to salary for which you desire this to be considered an
application ? 17. Any other facts you desire to mention indicating (a) your special
aptitude for library work or (b) your particular qualifications for
service in this Library. (Be brief.) 18. REFERENCES: The names below are to be written in by the appli
cant himself. They are not to be names of members of his imme-
who know you personally and will testify as to character. B. The names and addresses of not exceeding six persons
(including, if need be, any of the above) who know per
sonally of your capacity. C. Memorandum of certificates, testimonials, or other docu
ments inclosed with this application. Mention also any
such previously filed. (When completed, fold oblong twice, as indicated, and forward to the Librarian of Congress, Washington, D. C.)
LETTER FROM THE LIBRARIAN OF CONGRESS TO HON.
FREDERICK H. GILLETT, CHAIRMAN COMMITTEE ON RE-
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS
Washington, January 31, 1906 Sır: Proposed H. R. 195, introduced last Friday, requests certain information as to appointments and employees in the Library of Congress. As suggested in my note of Monday, I forward now a statement giving the information requested within what I assume to be the intent of the resolution.
The information called for is as follows:
1. The names of all employees now (January 26 1906 in the Library of Congress and on its pay roll.
2. The date of appointment of each. 3. The actual residence of each at the time appointed. 4. The names of all persons who recommended the appointment.
5. What special training for library work, or for the particular position occupied, each employee had at the time of appointment.
6. What, if any, examinations have been made testing the ability and fitness of applicants before appointed (appointment).
Of the 313 employees now in the Library (including the card section) 22 were in office at the time of the transfer from the Capitol, and 55 others were appointed by my immediate predecessor.& The former group were appointed prior to the enactment of the present law (appropriation act approved February 19, 1897) prescribing the basis of selection; and the application of the law to the second group (appointed be tween July 1, 1897, and April 5, 1899) is but imperfectly shown by our records, no form of application being then in use which set forth the education, training or experience of the applicant. Such data as are of record regarding them are embodied in the statements which I invited from them after I took office. These are, no doubt, imperfectly descriptive of the qualifications of these employees, and are certainly imperfect as an indication of their present “fitness” after years in the service. To give them would not seem wholly just either to the employees or to the appointing executive, and I do not attempt to forward them until certain that they are required.
a There were but 125 employees on the pay roll when I took office.
I can therefore answer with certainty and completeness only as to the 236 present employees appointed since I took office (April 5, 1899).
The list is therefore in three divisions:
II. Of present employees appointed between July 1, 1897, and April 5, 1899.
III. Of present employees who were in the Library at the time of removal from the Capitol.
The entire present pay roll of the Library Service proper, including the Copyright Office, is thus covered. In Division I, under each employee, is given the date of his appointment, his actual (legal) residence when appointed, his antecedent education, training, and experience (indicated briefly, as desired); the salary and position to which he was appointed; and the position and salary now held by him. Under Divisions II and III the facts as to his antecedent education, training, and experience are omitted.
Recommendations.-One question I can not answer without conveying false impression. It is Question 4. It calls for “the names of all persons who recommended the appointment of each employee.” The law (appropriation act approved February 19, 1897), specifies that “all persons employed in ... said Library of Congress under the Librarian . . . shall be appointed solely with reference to their fitness for their particular duties.” It makes no provision for appointments upon “recommendation,” and our records naturally fail to show a basis of appointment not authorized by law.
The form of application invites the applicant to name not exceeding six persons who know him personally, and not exceeding six who know personally of his fitness. He is, of course, at liberty to file letters from these and from other persons. Still others may write to us in his behalf, but not at his instance; and some in answer to direct inquiry from us.
All such communications are on file, but their influence, if any, in the decision is not indicated. The names of the writers could be drawn off; but the mere names, even where significant at all, would not be uniformly significant, and would augment the statement greatly without adding to its value. The only occasion for recourse to them would seem to be where the qualifications of an applicant were not apparent from his education or experience, and some other explanation had to be sought for his appointment.
Examinations.-Question 6 asks “What, if any, examinations have been made testing the ability and fitness of applicants before appointed (appointment)."
The present method of selection, in vogue since April 5, 1899, is as follows: Applicants are required to fill out in their own handwriting a form which tabulates information desired, particularly their education, special training, library experience, business experience, and special accomplishments, languages, stenography, or other facts suggestive of fitness. The answers and the method of answer are in themselves informing. Where special library training is claimed its value can be estimated from our knowledge of the library schools; where experience in a library, by our knowledge of the scope and methods of that library. To this general knowledge is added a particular report as to the efficiency of the applicant, secured by direct inquiry of the head of the library school or library, the reply to which is confidential. For all save the minor positions, and for most of these, there is added the impression gained in personal interviews.
When a vacancy exists, all the applications appropriate to it, together with the accompanying papers, are examined by the chief of the division in which it exiscs. He is free to call for more information concerning an applicant and to secure it, by correspondence or otherwise. He then submits a list of, usually, a half dozen names, in the order of his preference. His examination is checked by the Chief Clerk and reviewed by the Librarian.
An applicant is thus, in conference, selected, not for appointment, but for a test in actual work, during a probationary period. This period, never less than three, generally six, months, and sometimes longer, constitutes the “examination” proper. At the end of it the candidate is dropped unless then recommended by his chief for appointment to the regular service.
No system of examination seems to have been in vogue during the administration of my predecessor, though in April, 1898, one noncompetitive examination by written questions was held of employees in the service appointed by him on probation prior to that date.
As the question raised is as to the qualifications at the time of appointment the list is arranged according to the salaries received at the time of appointment. Very respectfully
Librarian of Congress Hon. FREDERICK H. GILLETT Chairman Committee on Reform in the Civil Service
House of Representatives