Library Studies was part of the first curriculum offered at Simmons Female College when it opened in 1902. The first year of the Library Studies program saw students spending six hours a week in technical study, which included dictionary cataloging and typewriting, order department work, book evaluation, and library economy. Classes started with a lecture, which was followed by practice work pertinent to that lecture. The students were able to visit the Boston Public Library, the Brookline Public Library, and the Library Bureau. Some lecture topics included “Paper, its making and testing” and “Getting on in the world.” Simmons Female College had collected a school library by 1903, where second-year students spent an hour a week doing reference and classification work. An advanced class was added to the curriculum for those students who had completed all of their regular college course work and could devote more time to technical study. The advanced class was designed to cover in two years all the technical ground that normally took four years.
The development of a Library Studies program at Simmons should be understood in the context of the new “recognition to the claim that librarianship required specialized knowledge and training” (Van Slyck 160-161). The professionalization of librarianship was connected to the establishment of schools of library science, such as the school founded by Melvil Dewey at Columbia College, New York, in 1887. Many, including Dewey, believed that librarianship was well-suited to the abilities of women, making it a good fit for a women’s college such as Simmons (Van Slyck 163). At Simmons, Library Studies students took a range of classes, from their basic college classes, such as Biology and English, to their subject-specific classes. Based on study cards and report cards in her scrapbook, we know that Daisie took Typewriting, Cataloging, Library Economy, Library Practice, Classification, Reference, History of Libraries, and Book Selection to qualify for her Library Studies requirements. Other classes she took include German, Physics, Economics, Accounts, and Gym. In 1910 Simmons Female College graduated 20 students from the School of Library Science during their fifth commencement program.
Simmons College. (1910). Microcosm 1910. Andover, MA: Andover Press.
Simmons College (2009). Simmons College Archives Historical Resources. Retrieved from http://my.simmons.edu/library/collections/college_archives/history.shtml
Van Slyck, A. A. (1995). Free to all: Carnegie libraries & American culture, 1890-1920. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.