- American and Japanese Reserve-book Systems
- No.8, p.157-181
College and university libraries in the United States commonly maintain reserve-book collections, consisting of books reserved for use by students to whom they have been assigned for reading in various courses. The idea of such collections was introduced to Japan and applied in a limited sense in 1928 when Tokyo Imperial University Library resumed functioning-after its destruction in the great earthquake of 1923.
Since the 1966--67 academic year, when the Ministry of Education began to allocate funds to certain libraries of nationally supported universities for the development of shiteitosho (reserve-book) collections, many articles describing such collections in specific libraries and discussing their merits and demerits have appeared in our professional journals.
In this paper, the writer first reviews the literature on the American reserve-book system, introducing the problems connected with it, and then reviews the literature on the shiteitosho system, an adaption of the American system. Detailed information on the shiteitosho in our schools shows that in almost all of them, despite the intent of the Ministry of Education that it be restricted to materials for “require” reading, it sets apart and reserves mainly books for “recommende” or “suggeste” reading.
In Japan, where most courses in colleges and universities are taught through lectures alone or on the basis of single textbooks, it probably is premature to spend large amounts to provide undergraduate collections with multiple copies of “suggeste” titles. The money could be used to much better advantage in building up basic materials relevant to the subjects being taught. The reserve-book system has meaning only in relation to teaching which needs it. For it to serve a useful function, there must be teaching in which reading outside the classroom is not merely suggested but required. Faculties must recognize that their teaching methods and needs should be the determining factors when they consider development of the shiteitosho system.
(School of Library and Information Science)