Page images

I wish to state that under the act, a rooming or boarding house is defined as one in which living quarters are rented by the householder to more than four persons.

When that act was written it was more than two, and then it was extended to four.

The examining division maintains a premise-card file covering the rental of housing accommodations in this city. It can be conservatively stated that there are 55,000 such cards in this file. It is impossible, however, to estimate the number of units involyed as one card may cover only the rental of a private dwelling, whereas another card may cover an apartment house containing as many as 300 or more housing units. These premise-cards are kept current at all times.

The public relations division handles telephone complaints and interviews persons calling at this office in relation to violation of rent ceilings and minimum service standards as provided for by the said act.

This is always a very busy division of this office. In addition to other duties, the deputy administrator devotes a great deal of his time to this division and there is a legal assistant to handle problems of a purely legal nature, many of which arise daily.

The following is a break-down of the number of persons interviewed in the public-relations division during the operation of this office:

For the year 1942, 23,677; for the year 1943, 22,700; for the year 1914, 15,457; for the year 1945, 10,674; for the year 1946, 9,949; or a total of 82,002. Between January 2, 1947, and March 14, 1947, 1,666 persons were interviewed. During the years 1942, 1943, and 1944, the number of persons visiting the office was so great that the administrator often assisted the public relations division in addition to his other duties. In those centers we had so many people calling up there and coming up there and they were crowded in the halls that the office was not big enough to accommodate them.

Telephone inquiries and complaints handled by this division are as follows:

For the year 1942, 25,633; for 1943, 28,040; for 1944, 24,893 ; for 1945, 25,024; for 1946, 18,388; or a total of 121.978. Between January 2, 1947, and March 14, 1947, 3,404 telephone inquiries and complaints were handled.

In reference to eviction notices filed with this office under the provisions of the said act, there were for the year 1942, 968; for 1943, 1,300; for 1944, 2,531; for 1945, 2,422; for 1946, 3,092; or a total of 10,313.

Between January 2, and March 14, 1947, 429 eviction notices were received. In part, the large number of eviction notices received for the year 1946 cover the return from the armed services of residents of the District of Columbia who, during the war, had rented or sublet their housing accommodations.

As of March 14, 1947, there were pending before the Administrator 80 petitions to review the action of the examiners in cases handled under section 4 of the Rent Act.

I think, Senator, that might be described as the highlights of the report.

Senator Cain. I think from your office, Mr. Cogswell, that it is about all we need. It is a very interesting document historically.

Mr. CoGSWELL. Thank you, sir.

Senator Caix. For people who like to look at it from hindsight a good many years from now and wonder what sort of a world it was in which people lived during the years in the 1940's.

We understand and take for granted that you operate a temporary agency? Mr. COGSWELL. Yes, sir.

Senator Cain. We hope that the time soon comes when your agency will be folded up in its entirety.

Mr. CoSWELL. Yes, sir.
Senator Caix. I thank you very much for coming, Mr. Cogswell.
Do you have any questions, Mr. Jackson?
Mr. COGSWELL. Thank you very much.

Senator Caix. We shall now hear, if she is present, from Miss Clara W. Herbert, Librarian of the Public Library of the District of Columbia.

We are delighted to have you with us, and if you would merely provide the reporter with your official title, we will be privileged to hear what you have in mind to say.

(Statement later received for the record from Administration of Rent Control for the District of Columbia.)

Office of Administrator of Rent Control for the District of Columbia

[blocks in formation]

1942: The Office of Administrator of Rent Control began operations January 2. 1942. Due to the fact that it operated only part of the fiscal year and that considerable delay was experienced in filling new positions the office operated on a budget of $27,970 for the period January 2, 1942, to June 30, 1942.

1943: Increase due to fact that 1943 was the first full year of operation and 11 additional positions were requested.

1944: Increase due to request for $1,500 additional for “Other obligations" and approximately $11,1700 for 3 additional positions, payment of overtime and bonus under Public Law 49, Seventy-eighth Congress, and legislative changes in salary ranges due to Public Law 694, Seventy-ninth Congress,

1945: Increase due to cost of within-grade promotions.
1916: Decrease due adjustment in request for “Other obligations."

1947: Increase due to request for funds to meet cost of salary increases provided by Public Law 390, Seventy-ninth Congress, and within-grade promotions.

19948 : Funds for only 6 months of operation are requested for the fiscal year 1948, because the law under which this office operates expires December 31, 1947. Increases over 1947 included in this amount due to request for 1 additional position and payment of within-grade promotions.



Miss HERBERT. It is Clara W. Herbert, Librarian of the Public Library, District of Columbia.

Senator Cux. All right.

Miss HIERRERT. I do not know, Senator, whether you would care to have this summary.

Senator Caix. Are you going to talk to it?

Miss HERBERT. Yes; I think I will have to talk to it, if I may.

Senator Cain. Well, Mr. Jackson and I would like to have these figures before us as we listen to your presentation.

Miss HERBERT. May I call your attention to the organic act, which created the library in 1896, and was amended in 1926. Under that act the library was established as a supplement of the public educational system of the District of Columbia. The whole consideration of the service should be predicated upon the fact that the library is an educational institution. Primarily we help the children in the schools and the young people; also, we are the main public agency for postclassroom instruction. That was very forward-looking legislation because at that time libraries were looked at quite generally as distribution points of good literature, which would satisfy people's reading interests; they were not looked at primarily as educational institutions.

Now what we are trying to do under that mandate of Congress is to study the individual needs of the community so that we can fit our service accordingly. Of course, one of our functions is to supply good books, but that is only one. The library must be so organized that it can bring print in all its forms to bear upon the needs of the people of the District so that they may be helped to live more complete and adequate lives culturally, vocationally, and technically. We have excellent collections on business, industrial, and technical subjects; on national and international problems; and on the very important subject of everyday living.

We operate through a central library and 13 neighborhood branches, and then we have an extension service which sends collections of books to schools, colleges, hospitals, camps, orphanages, penal institutions, and other agencies.

Senator Cain. You have a total of 14 physical units, the main library and 13 branches?

Miss HERRERT. Yes; we have a central library and 13 branches, and we also have 1 floor and the storage attic floor of our new main library building at 499 Pennsylvania Avenue. The remainder of the building is occupied by a State Department agency.

Now, during this period of 1937 to 1947, our personal services increased from $352,020 to $756,290, an increase of 114 percent. Part of that was

Senator Cain. We carry a figure here of $656,000 in the year 1947. Miss HERBERT. Yes, but an additional $99,512 must be added for the 1947 pay

act by a deficiency appropriation, making the total for services for 1947, $756,290.

Senator Cain. I beg your pardon, just in order that I may be correct as to your figures, the 1947 personal service total ought to be corrected to $756,000 as opposed to $656,000, and I daresay most of the difference in allocation between 1916 and 1947 is accounted for by the public law pay bill.

Miss HERBERT. Yes, sir, but the cost of the pay bill is carried in a supplemental appropriation and is recorded as such in this table rather than in the regular appropriation.

Senator CAIN. Yes.

Miss HERBERT. Total operating expenses increased 102 percent. Capital outlay for the 10-year period totaled $1,563,000.

The Organic Act-referring to that again-said that the library shall consist of a central library and such number of branch libraries


so located and so supported as to furnish books and other printed matter and informational service convenient to the homes and offices of all residents of the District.

During this 10-year period we have established two large branches, and one small branch in a rented store building in the Anacostia area. There also have been capital improvements in the way of buying of sites.

Senator Cain. For future building development.

Miss HERBERT. For future building development, yes. Appropriations were granted for seven additional branch sites, $155,000; for plans and specifications for six buildings, $50,000; and the first unit of the new main library was authorized at a total cost of $1,178,000, including the plans and specifications.

On this map the red stars indicate our present agencies, and the blue stars the sites now owned where we shall be able, as soon as we have the money for construction, to erect new branches.

I might say, Senator, that we are the lowest of all the large cities in the number of branches. But that is not altogether an unmixed blessing. When other cities were building their branch systems, they had the benefit of the grants from Mr. Carnegie. We were not allowed to take advantage of those grants, although we do have four buildings, the present central library and three branches, which were built either under grant from Mr. Carnegie or the Carnegie Corp.; the rest of them have been built with public funds. Our philosophy is that we would rather have fewer and larger branches where we can give a better reference and advisory service than to have a great many little distribution points, which situation is plaguing a good many libraries in other cities. You may be interested to know that Baltimore which has 28 branches against our 13, I believe is now seeking $3,000,000 from the State legislature to reorganize their branch system.

Since these original grants of the Carnegie Corp. or of Mr. Carnegie, the automobile has come in. Originally libraries were placed close together so that children could get to them easily.

Senator Cain. Do you feel it is a national trend?
Miss HERBERT. Yes.

Senator Cain. To work toward the centralization of library units rather than in a sense a decentralization?

Miss HERBERT. Yes. You see, in those days they were considered so much more a place of distribution. The number of persons who had any private transportation was very limited. Libraries are expected to serve all classes of persons.

Senator Cain. If they were generally acceptable, I would like to know, the library programs as currently pursued by you and your associates,

Miss HERBERT. Yes; and that is the principle behind our program. However, with the growth of Washington, we are getting more and more pressure from citizens' associations and parent-teacher associations.

Senator Cain. To develop neighborhood small-library units.

Miss HERBERT. Yes. For instance, take Anacostia. We have at the present time a small rented building across the river. It is all of this area up here which is very heavily built up now. If you


[ocr errors]

chance to go over there you would be surprised to see the concentration of buildings in that area, and there are going to be long distances for the people to go even when we get our Anacostia branch built for which we already have the plans. So that beside that—I do not know how much you want to go into this, and I do not want to take your time unnecessarily, but there are certain elements in placement of branches; it is not only the population, but it is also the separation by transportation channels and natural barriers which come into the picture. In other words, people will not cross such barriers. You take Wisconsin Avenue and Connecticut Avenue. People living west of Wisconsin will not come to Connecticut Avenue; and people living on the east side of Connecticut will not go to Wisconsin, so that those factors come in as well.

But as far as we can work it out, we have tried to think in terms of branches large enough to give a really good educational service, predicated on the idea that it is possible for people to go a little longer distance now.

Senator Cain. How far into the future have you projected your building program, if you had your own dreams come true?

Miss HERBERT. We have a postwar program which was adopted by the Board of Library Trustees, that covered the whole situation in the District, and looked toward 32 branches ultimately.

Senator Cain. Your Board of Trustees consists, I presume, of lay persons from within the community? Miss HERBERT. Yes. Senator Cain. By what means are they selected ?

Miss HERBERT. They are appointed by the Commissioners. There are nine members under the law.

Senator Cain. Both men and women?
Miss HERBERT. Both men and women.
Senator Cain. Serving terms of what length ?

Miss HERBERT. Six years on a rotating plan. In the meantime, General Young's 6-year program has been developed into which our program is being fitted, and that will take care of immediate needs.

The major problem that we have to face now is to get possession of the entire new main building on Pennsylvania Avenue, so that we may open up a public service there.

Senator Cain. I do not think I quite follow; you desire to get possession?

Mis HERBERT. Yes. The building was under construction when the war began, and it was completed on the understanding that it could be occupied by the Federal Government during the war period.

Three floors are still being rented by the Office of Inter-American Affairs of the State Department.

Senator Cain. The rest of the department is being used for your purposes?

Miss HERBERT. Yes, but not for public service as yet. Only for administration, and our processing departments-acquisitions, cataloging and binding.

Senator Cain. But you would like to acquire in its entirety its service facility?

Miss HERBERT. Yes; and then get the second unit built. It is being built in four units, and the second unit is included in General Young's plan. We can open up some of our public services as soon

« PreviousContinue »