February 7, 2009

Library Tech, circa 1899

The services of electricity to libraries, however, are by no means exhausted by the electric light. It is capable of rendering aid even more important, and the more so in proportion to the extent of the library. The need for rapid communication throughout large buildings has been in some measure met by the telephone, whose usefulness is impaired by its incapacity for transmitting and recording written messages. Recourse must be had to the telegraph – not, of course, that ordinary description of the instrument where the record is made in dots and dashes, intelligible solely to the expert – but the printing telegraph, where the message appears in clear type, or a facsimile of the transmitter’s handwriting…

From “The Telegraph in the Library,” in Richard Garnett’s Essays in Librarianship and Bibliography (New York: Harper, 1899).

Republished in Library Daylight: Tracings of Modern Librarianship, 1874-1922, from Library Juice Press, 2006.

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