- The Early Development of Reference Work in Japanese Libraries, 1868--1920
- No.8, p.17-49
Reference work in Japanese libraries has often been called “a postwar product” And we have not cared much of prewar development of reference work, although some librarians have studied with the development of reference work after 1920's. If we carefully investigate the literature on library services in the late 19th century, we find that reference work or personal assistance was discussed earnestly in those days. Examining various definitions of reference work, we also find that both postwar and prewar reference work were brought from U.S.A., who is the pioneer of reference work.
In this paper, the writer traces the development of reference work in Japanese libraries during 1868--1920. This periods is an embryonic period of prewar reference work. He makes it clear how reference work was introduced into Japan, and how the necessity and importance of reference work has been stressed in Japanese libraries. The reason why he deals with the development of reference work up to 1920, is because since then, reference, work seemed to spread throughout Japan.
People who brought personal assistance in Japan for the first time were students returned from U.S.A. in the late 19th century. Since October 1907, Toshokan Zasshi (The Library Journal) has contributed in the development of reference work.
In the Teikoku Toshokan (Imperial Library), they tried to put reference work into practice in the late 19th century. Reference work of the Library has been advanced without a hitch since then but it was not performed by the full-time officers. In those days, the（Tokyo Metropolitan) Hibiya, Library and the Kyoto Prefectural Library adopted new and remarkable service methods. And, the Kobe City Library and the Okayama Prefectural Library were also ready to promote further advancement for reference work.
（Machida City Library）