Miskatonic University Press

University of Toronto Library School Annual Examinations, 1934-35

While I was preparing for my April 2005 final examinations at the Faculty of Information Studies (FIS) at the University of Toronto, I had a look at some of the exams that students wrote decades ago at previous incarnations of the school. Here are the exams from the 1934-35 year. I have no details about the structure or requirements of the degree, except that it was a Bachelor of Library Science. Some of the names of the instructors will be known to people now at FIS or in Toronto or Canadian librarianship: Bertha Bassam went on to become dean of FIS and wrote a history of it, and Lillian H. Smith was so renowned for her work as a children's librarian that the Toronto Public Library named a library after her.

It is interesting to see what has changed in the last seventy years and what has stayed the same. There is a much greater emphasis on children and story-telling than FIS has now, and it is possible to get a master's at FIS without knowing anything about library administration or the history of libraries, or indeed without having read any fiction. Some things are much the same: Book Selection is now called Collection Development, Evaluation, and Management, but fundamentals are unchanged. Of course, all of the advances in library and information studies since 1935 are covered at FIS, and even in a two-year program some things had to give way to allow time for metadata application profiles, law librarianship, research methods, user interface design, and much more.

The question on the Canadian Literature exam that asks for a definition of Canadian literature and if there is anything distinctive about it is a perennial question and probably still asked at universities across the country.

William Denton <wtd@pobox.com>

Accession and Shelf-List Records

Examiner: B. Bassam

  1. "Cutter numbers are less necessary in a small library than in a large library." Discuss this statement.
  2. Explain how book numbers may be used to bring about a second subject arrangement under a class number. OR Explain the methods of assigning book numbers for editions and the use of special location marks.
    1. How much information should a shelf-list provide?
    2. Why is the shelf-list one of the most important library records?
  3. Arrange in alphabetical order the following entries and state the rules which they illustrate:
    • Elizabeth and her German garden
    • Elizabeth, princess of Great Britain
    • Elizabeth of Hungary, Saint
    • Elizabeth, New Jersey
    • Elizabeth the queen
    • Elizabeth of the Trinity, Sister
    • Elizabeth, Saint
    • Elizabeth, queen of England
    • Elizabeth, consort of Charles I, king of Rumania
    • Elizabeth, duchess of York
    • Elizabeth, pseud.
    • Elizabeth, consort of Francis Joseph I, emperor of Austria
    1. State the filing rules for two of the following:
      • Entries under the Bible;
      • Subdivisions under subjects;
      • Shakespeare entries.
    2. Discuss another method of arrangement for any one of these.

Administration of Libraries

Examiner: G.H. Locke

  1. It seems clear that there is a strong movement for "Bigger and Better Libraries." Comment on this tendency pointing out what may seem to you to be points of weakness, excellence, difficulty of administration, etc.
  2. These are difficult days for Libraries. The amount at the disposal of the municipality, or the University, or the business corporation is less than usual. How would you suggest that the Library should justify its position as meriting substantial support?

Administration of Libraries (A)

Examiner: B. Bassam

  1. Explain any three of the following: voucher, budget, quorum, debenture.
  2. Discuss fully the details and advantages of any three of the following provisions in the Public Libraries Act:
    1. Municipal appropriation of a fixed amount per capita rather than a mill rate on the assessment.
    2. The present method of appointing board members, their term of office and re-appointment or retirement.
    3. Ensuring regular board meetings and regular attendance of members.
    4. Dealing with library patrons' damage to library's property.
  3. Making specific reference to the library where your practical experience was obtained, comment upon three of the following:
    1. Ventilation and heating.
    2. Artificial lighting.
    3. Arrangement of stacks and shelving of stock.
    4. Convenience of equipment and accessories at circulating desk.
  4. Library A and library B, submit the following statistics in their annual reports:
    A B
    Population 11,000 22,000
    Municipal appropriation $2,350 $6,850
    Credit balance of previous year $160 $310
    Total Receipts $2,525 $8,080
    Periodicals $160 $150
    Adult Classed $85 $810
    Juvenile $25 $340
    Adult Fiction $310 $770
    Chief Librarian $910 $1,100
    Assistants $140 (one part-time) $2,560 (three full-time)
    Total 43,000 168,000
    Adult Classed 2,760 21,460
    Volumes in Stock 10,400 14,200
    Hours open daily 7 11
    Analyse in turn and comment upon the adequacy of provision implied by these details

A copy of the Act will be available to each candidate for consultation.

Bibliography 2

Examiner: W.G. Barnstead

Candidates will answer any FOUR questions.

  1. Assess the scope and value of national bibliography using any one country as an illustration.
  2. Explain the principles of arrangement you would adopt for the bibliography of an author or of a place.
    1. Discuss the following statement: "The description of a perfect copy is indispensable as a standard of reference."
    2. What is meant by "standard description"?
  3. Describe the catalogues of any two national libraries.
  4. Write brief notes on the following:
    1. Stationers' Company;
    2. Universal bibliography;
    3. Watt;
    4. Index translationum;
    5. Sabin.

Book Selection

Examiners: W.G. Barnstead, L. Lyle

Candidates will answer questions 1, 2, 3, AND 4 or 5.

    1. Describe the community with which you are most familiar, with a view to showing how the type of community would influence your purchase of books in the 300's, 500's, and 600's.
    2. Name two recent books in each of the three classes which you would consider necessary for purchase for your readers. Write a short account of each book.
  1. Describe briefly the following aids in book selection for the 300's and 600's.
    1. Great Britain. H.M. Stationery office. Monthly circular.
    2. New Republic.
    3. Pratt Institute book lists.
  2. In the literature of the Fine Arts suggest three books: (a) which you would regard as authoritative; (b) which would interest the casual reader.
  3. In selecting books for a library with travel literature as your immediate concern what other types of literature might be considered as a means of strengthening the travel section? Illustrate with titles that you have read.
  4. Prepare an annotated list of five books for use in a book talk on any subject of current interest.

Bookcrafts and Printing

Examiner: B. Bassam

Candidates will answer THREE questions: 1 OR 2; and TWO of 3, 4, 5.

  1. In preparing a display of early Canadian printing what printers should be included in your list? State the reasons for your selection.
  2. Describe the development of printing in Italy in the fifteenth century.
    1. Write a note on paper, its history and development.
    2. Discuss briefly the importance of the markings in the paper of old books.
  3. Write notes on three of the following: Christopher Plantin, Bruce Rogers, Frederic Goudy, Francis Meynell, John Baskerville.
  4. Write notes on three of the following: Braille type, Diamond Sutra, Roman type, Private press movement, Monotype.

Canadian Literature

Examiner: W.S. Wallace

Candidates will answer any FOUR questions

  1. Define what you mean by Canadian literature. Is there anything distinctive about this body of literature?
  2. Give a list of ten general works of reference regarding Canadian literature, and indicate the value of each.
  3. How far do existing bibliographies cover the field of books, pamphlets, and serials printed and published in Canada?
  4. If you were asked to draw up a reading list of ten books for a study group in Canadian history, what ten books would you recommend? Give reasons for your answer.
  5. Write notes on the chief works of the following Canadian poets:
    1. Archibald Lampman,
    2. William Wilfrid Campbell,
    3. Marjorie Pickthall,
    4. William Henry Drummond.
  6. Discuss the chief works of the following Canadian novelists:
    1. John Richardson,
    2. Sir Gilbert Parker
    3. Ralph Connor.
  7. Write notes on the value for research of the following types of Canadian serial publications: (a) almanacs, (b) government documents, (c) transactions of learned societies.

Cataloguing 1

Examiner: B. Bassam

[Candidates are to answer question 1 and any TWO of 2, 3, 4.]

  1. Write notes on five of the following: adaptations, editions, inverted title, selections, supplements, anonymous classics.
    1. "Library administrators are always interested in any new methods which will (i) reduce cost; (ii) release professional workers from mechanical drudgery; and (iii) give better service to those who come to their libraries." Discuss the use of Library of Congress cards showing their contributions to these three points.
    2. Discuss whether your arguments on these points apply equally to all libraries.
  2. Discuss the importance of analytical entries. Outline a standard form to be followed in typing cards for these entries. Suggest a method other than card entries in the catalogue for locating some of this information.
    1. State the A.L.A. Catalog rule for entering surnames with prefixes.
    2. Indicate how cards should be made to show: (i) that the library has a requested work but published under another title; (ii) the items of a numbered series to be found in the library.
    3. Explain the method of tracing the cards indicated in the above question.

Cataloguing 2

Examiner: B. Bassam

[Candidates are to answer question 1 and any TWO of 2, 3, 4.]

  1. The cataloguer will frequently have to supplement the A.L.A. Catalog with other codes and manuals. Select ten which you consider to be most useful and give reasons for your choice.
  2. "The catalog department and the reference department are not two separate things, rather they are the two sides of a shield which is reference service as a whole." Discuss this statement.
  3. Suggest methods of cataloguing or otherwise caring for numbered series and special publications issued by the departments of our government.
  4. Discuss the problems and methods of cataloguing a county library.


Examiner: D. Thompson

Candidates will answer any FOUR questions.

  1. If you believe the library should be mainly popular, outline a publicity campaign for the circulation department, or if your emphasis is on the more academic group, what methods would you pursue to interest readers?
  2. What constitutes a good report of the work of the circulation department?
  3. Discuss inter-library loans. What new developments have increased the possibilities of interchange of material between libraries?
  4. As readers' advisor what policy would you pursue in advertising the services and interviewing readers?
  5. Write short notes on:
    1. Remission of fines for a definite period;
    2. Privileges to special classes of readers;
    3. Special indexes;
    4. Inter-library use of borrowers' cards.


Examiner: B. Bassam

Candidates will answer any THREE questions

  1. Explain the meaning and use of "geographical division" in classification. How is it accomplished in the Dewey, Cutter and Library of Congress schemes?
  2. Write notes on three of the following: Bacon, Callimachus, Brunet, Cutter.
    1. Discuss the scope and arrangement of the literature class in the Dewey Decimal classification.
    2. State the rule for classifying a book which is:
      1. the influence of one literature upon another.
      2. non-fiction in a foreign language.
      3. the literary history of a place.
      4. a subject treated in poetry.
    1. Discuss the possibilities of adjusting the Dewey Decimal classification to meet the needs of a library for children.
    2. Review briefly the list of subject headings which you would use in a library for children.
  3. What are the points to be noted in classifying the following topics by the Dewey scheme: (a) mythology and folklore; (b) dictionaries; (c) essays; (d) books about the Jews.

College and University Libraries

Examiner: W.S. Wallace

Candidates will answer any FOUR questions.

  1. Discuss the problem of book selection in a university of college library.
  2. Explain the difference between classification, cataloguing, and shelving.
  3. To what extent should "censorship" of books be practiced in a university library?
    1. Why are fines for the breach of library regulations as a rule heavier in university libraries than in public libraries?
    2. Is it possible to abolish fines in university libraries?
  4. Into what departments is the organization of a university library most logically divided? Give reasons for your answer.
  5. Discuss the problem of departmental libraries. What is, in your opinion, the best solution of the problem?
  6. Discuss any new developments in university library architecture.
  7. Should the functions of the university librarian be regarded as administrative or academic? Give reasons for your academic.

History of Books and Libraries

Examiner: W.G. Barnstead

  1. Write short notes on the following:
    1. The Vatican Library;
    2. The Fraser Valley Library;
    3. "Soviet libraries are an active social and educational force";
    4. The Library of Congress, Washington;
    5. The Library problem in the province of Quebec.
  2. Compare the English with the German system of library service.
  3. "We owe the alphabet to the Semites, the vowels to the Greeks and the letter forms as well as the transmission of the alphabet to the Romans." Discuss this statement.
  4. Write a short description of any three famous manuscripts which are in existence today.
  5. Describe a Mediaeval Monastic Library, its arrangement, system of lending, collection of books.

Modern Fiction

Examiners: G.H. Locke, C.R. Sanderson

Candidates will answer THREE questions, question 1, and two of questions 2, 3, 4.

  1. "The wide public read novels, or romanticised biographies, or books of travel; in a word, books which tell of adventure and life perilous and strange, because the primary appeal of literature has always consisted in the supply of a vicarious thrill to humdrum existence and escape from monotonous surroundings." Comment on this.
  2. Accepting for the purpose of argument the main test of a good novel as being vividness in the interpretation of life, apply this test briefly to any novel by three of the following writers: Hardy, Wells, Galsworthy, Bennett, Sinclair Lewis, Cather, Woolf, Huxley, Dreiser, Lawrence.
  3. How does the realism of the general post-war novel differ from the realism of the general pre-war novel.
  4. "Almost all novelists have had in their writings a definite element of revolt against their times." "The tendency of present-day novelists is in the direction of a portraiture or reflection of their time." Can you reconcile these two views?

Reference Work, Bibliography 1

Examiner: W.G. Barnstead

Candidates will answer questions 1, 2, 3, AND 4 or 5. Questions 3, 4 and 5 should be illustrated with titles of books you have examined.

  1. Prepare a set of rules to follow in compiling a reading list.
  2. Outline a plan for comparing the treatment of any subject in two reference works.
  3. Write brief notes on the following:
    1. Indexes,
    2. Catalogues of dissertations,
    3. Dictionaries of dates.
  4. What types of reference material would be of value in answering questions dealing with recent developments in economic and political fields? List and discuss in order of importance.
    1. Discuss the reference use of the History Section.
    2. Indicate aids which are classified elsewhere in a library, but which might be of material assistance in certain types of historical questions.

School Libraries

Examiner: J. Merchant

    1. For organizing library instruction in a High School, on the contract plan, give:
      1. Your outline of lessons;
      2. A general outline of the contracts for an individual subject;
      3. Your method of using the system.
    2. How would you deal with the problems that arise on account of the following types of lesson assignment?
      1. A general assignment to a whole year (approximately eight forms);
      2. Individual assignments on one general subject to each member of a class.
  1. Explain the tendencies noted in the reading interests of boys and girls of high school age. Discuss four books that you would use for reading guidance to meet those interests.
  2. Discuss the question of school library administration in its development under school board, public library, or joint control, in relation to:
    1. Budget;
    2. Book selection — (i) Reading, (ii) Reference, (iii) Classroom collections;
    3. Purchasing of books, equipment and supplies;
    4. Instruction in the use of books;
    5. Staff — (i) Appointment, (ii) Qualifications, (iii) Salaries.

Special Libraries

Examiner: M.E.M. Poole

  1. What is a special library and how does work in a special library different from work in a general library?
  2. Discuss the value of:
    1. Reprints in a scientific library;
    2. Clippings in a newspaper library.
  3. Name and describe the periodical index most useful in:
    1. a financial library;
    2. a medical library.
  4. Why is knowledge of filing methods essential in any business libraries? Outline the methods used in correspondence filing.
  5. Discuss the problem of classification in a special library. How can one justify an alphabetical arrangement by author?


Examiner: M. Baldwin

Candidates will answer any FOUR questions.

  1. What reasons would you give for holding story and reading hours in libraries?
  2. Draw up a six weeks' story-hour programme for children under twelve.
  3. Discuss the different methods of learning a story.
  4. Compare the characteristics of the folk tales of any two of the following countries: England, Norway, Germany, Russia.
  5. Choose one story that has been told during the term either by a member of the class or a visitor. Explain what there was in the story and in the manner of telling it that gave it value.
    1. What are the qualities in an epic story that distinguish it from a simple folk tale?
    2. In what way do these qualities influence you in regard to:
      1. The manner of telling it;
      2. The age of your audience;
      3. Your use of the available material?

Work with Boys and Girls

Examiner: L.H. Smith

Candidates are required to write on question 1 OR to answer any FOUR of questions 2 to 6.

  1. Discuss: The development of reading taste and of variety in reading interests in boys and girls through the books in the children's room.
  2. Describe the qualities that make a successful picture book for little children. Illustrate your points by reference to specific picture books.
  3. Mention six poems which you think children would enjoy, and six books of poetry which you would select for first purchase for a children's library.
  4. Discuss briefly: "There is no need to adapt the classics to children for children are adapted to the classics," having in mind Homer's Odyssey and other epics.
  5. What place would you give to fairy tales in children's reading?
  6. What would be your standard in selecting history for a children's room?

Work with Boys and Girls (A) (Elective)

Examiner: L.H. Smith

  1. Discuss the necessary reading background of a children's librarian from one of the following standpoints (a) selecting books for a children's room or (b) advisory work with boys and girls.
  2. Compare or contrast the style, characterization and subject matter or any two children's books you have read during the course.
  3. In considering the divisions other than fiction of the book collection in the children's room, what in your opinion is the most rewarding type of reading for the boys and girls to follow? Give reasons for your choice but limit your answer to two hundred words.

Work with Boys and Girls (B) (Elective)

Examiner: L.H. Smith

Candidates will answer any FOUR questions.

  1. What qualities would you look for in a book that would satisfy both your own standard of selection for the children's room shelves and also a boy's and girl's demand for "a good story"?
  2. Contrast two books for children that are similar in subject but different in style, plot and incident.
  3. What is your opinion of the effect of "series" such as The Curly-Tops or The Bobbsey Twins on the reading of boys and girls?
  4. If a boy or girl of eleven years asks for "an adventure story", what book would you suggest (i) as a sea adventure; (ii) as a historical adventure? How would you introduce one of these two types to a boy or girl?
  5. Choose a subject such as "school stories", "mystery stories", or "Western stories", and show how desirable books may be substituted for undesirable books of this kind.
  6. How much importance would you give to variety as a factor in children's reading? Discuss from the standpoint of introducing a subject such as poetry or epic heroes, etc., to children who read only fiction.
  7. What would you say to a parent or teacher who asked you why you did not have copies of Pollyanna, The Man from Glengarry, Little Lord Fauntleroy, etc., on the children's room shelves? Choose one book of this type to write about.