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exception of those in New York and a few other cities, libraries are not progressive in their educational work for foreigners.
The State education department has traveling libraries for foreigners in a few languages, and these are freely borrowed by local libraries. Our efforts generally in educating the immigrant should be to increase the public institutions for him and to urge him to use them. The one subject can gradually be accomplished by publicity and demonstration of facts, and others by publicity again through the foreign language press, by cooperation of national societies, and in similar ways.
II.—By E. H. Lewinski-cobwin,
This country, as well as this city, faces a very serious social problem created by the nature of the recent heavy immigration, which is composed mainly of Slavs and Italians, two races who in their mores, their folkways, their habits of mind and life, conceptions of right and wrong, traditions, and physic reactions are very different from the people into whose midst they have come. They may be, and they are, possessed of great gifts and latent possibilities that will prove at some future day a great asset to this country, but for the time being they present a serious problem, a problem of adjustment.
There exist very disquieting signs that our body politic has not yet struck the best solution of this problem. One illustration out of a great number may suffice. I quote from Prof. Chaddock's paper published in the Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences, March, 1911, page 73:
The number of male prisoners per 1,000,000 of the population of voting age In 1890 was as follows: Native white of native parents, 3,395; native white of foreign parents, 5,886; foreign whites, 3,270. In this analysis, age for age, the foreign born show a lower rate than the native born. Besides, the table shows criminality among the native born of foreign parents twice as high as either of the other groups.
There exists a lack of adjustment and a disrupting social influence, in that children of foreign parentage brought up in this country grow out of harmony with their parents. They become different, and not being educated enough, they become ashamed of their parents' ways, and lose all respect for them. Proper family ties become loosened and often altogether disrupted. This lack of family spirit, of family pride, added to the lack of adjustment, is responsible for the lapses in the second generation, as partially illustrated in the above statistics. Many of us realize this, and it leads us to put emphasis on the importance of the education of the immigrant adult. He must be given every opportunity possible to educate his mind and to find himself—an opportunity which was denied to him in his native land. You can not expect to do it through the medium of the English language; you can not expect that an unschooled man or a woman working hard all day in shop, factory, mill, or railway will grasp the English language to such an extent as to enjoy reading and thinking in this language. They will never do it. They must be educated, if at all, through the medium of their native tongue. Hence the need of libraries, educational and recreational centers, where all that is worth while may be given to them in a way that they may understand and enjoy.
III.—By Mrs. Adelaide Bowles Maltby,
The New York Library has 41 branches, and all that are located in districts where foreigners live have collections of books in languages native to the residents. In this way we try to show our friendship to those adults who do not read English and may never do so. This makes it possible to impart American ideas and ideals and aids the parents to keep in touch with their children, who rapidly take on new ways and manners. Our books are selected from the best authors in their own languages, and there are translations from our best authors. Of course we include civics, American histories, naturalization pamphlets, and other books intended to teach our laws, customs, and traditions.
We go even further. We have assistants of the nationalities represented whose especial duty it is to seek the acquaintance of their countrymen and to make known to them the library privileges. The papers printed in foreign languages are always glad to publish items which will help their patrons, and we use their columns freely. Foreigners become Americans under such conditions much more naturally and rapidly than they would without books in their own tongues. The desire to learn English is early evident. We find it difficult, indeed, to supply enough books of the sort which teach the language, hold the reader's interest, and present right ideals, all at the same time.
IV.—By Rosamond Kimball.
The fortnight which the foreigners spend aboard ship on their way to America affords an opportunity to reach these people at a time when they have nothing to do but listen and learn. It is, perhaps, the only time in their lives when they have leisure, and when they are peculiarly alive to the best thoughts and ideals that we can give
n them, as their minds turn toward the new field in the New World. There should be a social worker in the steerage of every ship that is bringing immigrants, to start these new Americans on the road toward good citizenship and to warn them against the dangers that await them.
This plan of placing social workers in the steerage has been put to the test. A Yale student, himself a Pole, made a trip in the steerage of a large steamer bringing passengers from the southeastern parts of Europe. He held classes in English every day. This opened the way to other things, and it was not long before these people began to flock to him for help and enlightenment. He gave talks on American government and citizenship. To illustrate other aspects of his work, I will quote from his report:
Geography is a very fascinating study to these people and is eagerly sought after. The map was in constant use, all being eager to know about the location of their future homes.
Among the things that I have done are taking the sick to the doctor, changing money, addressing letters, correcting misspelled addresses, and advising them about conditions in America, pointing out their destinations on the map and estimating fares, and in general acting as their advisor and protector. Once I had to admonish two young girls for indiscreet behavior, with good results.
In reflecting upon my work I am able to draw some conclusions. The worker should be an officer, and could at the same time fulfill the role of a muchneeded interpreter. He should have a small library of books and pamphlets in various languages. He should act as the guardian of these people against abuse from deck hands, etc., who treat them as dumb beasts. The main value of the teaching is that many become eager to study and attend night school later, and also become aware of greater opportunities in America. The Young Men's Christian Association could gain many members for its ranks by a distribution of pamphlets.
There should be also stereopticon lectures and the proper supervision of recreation; card playing is now a favorite pastime, owing to the lack of any forms of amusement. A social worker could provide for concerts in which the foreigners would themselves take part. In short, he could change the whole moral tone of the steerage, which is now very low. And lastly, the most important service that such a worker could perform would be not only to protect the women en route, but to warn them against the dangers to which they are exposed in America. When steerage social work is established, no foreign woman will leave the steerage without a full knowledge of the pitfalls that she must avoid, and none need fall victim to the white-slave traffic through ignorance.
From the steerage these future Americans scatter to all parts of our country, and the ideals that they carry with them will surely bear fruit. Is it not of the utmost importance that the steerage should be transformed into a time of inspection for the foreigner? The Government is about to provide for placing officials in the steerage to see to it that the laws regulating the physical welfare of the immigrants are enforced. It should be provided by law that these officials be trained social workers appointed by civil-service examination, so that they may be capable of performing the larger function of caring not only for their physical, but their mental and moral environment as well.
V. EVENING SCHOOLS FOR FOREIGNERS.
THE NECESSITY FOR EVENING SCHOOLS.
The pupil who comes to us is a whole man or a whole woman, and if we consider the learning side only we fail to get the entire personality of the student, I have often thought of an evening school that would be a sort of glorified public social settlement; a place where the immigrants might come, not only to learn, but to follow their own social instincts; a place where men and women might have the gymnasium and the ballroom, the library, the club, and every form of activity that would make the school the center of their whole life, so far as that could be possible. It is true that, in a city as large as ours, it becomes necessary to divide these activities; but I do not think we should forget the unity which should be back of them.
In New York there are a great many private or civic public agencies that are doing splendid work in aiding the immigrant. There are societies, religious and secular, especially dedicated to the welfare of particular nationalities. There are social settlements, branch libraries, and finally our own public activities. It seems incomprehensible why so many agencies engaged in the solution of a common problem should remain separated. It is true that not a little has been accomplished, and that we have had the opportunity of meeting the representatives of these various organizations. We have tried to contribute our quota of effort, and we have received considerable help from them; nevertheless, I do not think that we have done enough to justify us in self-congratulation; we should rather stop to analyze our own condition, so as to find what we have failed to do, to discover what possibilities we have not yet realized. I hope that every principal and teacher, therefore, will make it his business to learn what his neighborhood has to offer for the immigrant. The museums, the hospital clinics, the free employment agencies, all these might be added to the others I have mentioned. We wish to make the immigrants understand, at least, that if we can not as public workers give them all we should like to give we can, at least, be sources of information and direct them.
I can not forbear expressing my appreciation of the help which I have received from many of the cooperative agencies, particularly the North American Civic League for Immigrants. Our first business is to teach English, the colloquial English that will enable a man to go on in life; to get a job, to keep it, and then to get a better one; to find his way about the streets; to overcome that feeling of strange. ness which is necessarily a handicap to every new arrival. No other phase of instruction must be allowed to interfere with this primary one. We have learned that immigrants are not all alike, and what should be taught to one may be quite unsuitable for another. The graduate of a German gymnasium should not receive the same sort of instruction that we give a man who is fresh from the plow.
It is generally true that we must not be too anxious to consider details, too insistent on requiring a proper enunciation, too ready to correct every grammatical error; nevertheless, there is a type of students who receive such instruction gladly and profit by it readily. The teaching of English is our primary problem, but we must remember, too, that language can not be taught unless it conveys ideas.
The foreigner has a large stock of ideas and experiences, and it is from these that we must work. An immigrant, for instance, who has been the victim of unfortunate social conditions will readily learn to contrast them with those in his new home. Supplementing this, he should learn something of the city in which he lives, and this brings up the subject of civic instruction. Probably as many educational sins have been committed in teaching civics as in any other branch of elementary work. An immigrant should not be fed upon such dry bones as the term of a Senator or the powers of a Federal justice. Civics, as he knows it, means the letter carrier, the post office, the policeman, the regulations of the city that touch him closely, such as those of the tenement-house department or of the board of health. In teaching civics, therefore, we must remember that we should deal with something with which he is in a degree familiar and that our instruction should be made useful. Moreover, instruction in civics should be filled with a fine spirit of patriotism. Such instruction should not be merely a matter of cheering for the flag or of boasting of our material wealth, but of something much more real than that.
Some immigrants, when they first land, know little of their rights, and it is appropriate that they should be enlightened; but they should hear, too, something of their duties. Although the immigrant comes here to improve his material conditions, it is most important that he understand that he should become a contributor to the social welfare.
Finally, it is not amiss to include in our instruction that sort of practical guidance which will save the immigrant from unfortunate