Ship’s Libraries, Their Need and Usefulness.

p. 5 describing what first can be done for the physical and spiritual welfare of the sailor, the author goes on to ask what more can be done for his welfare: Obviously the only way left to reach him is by the printed truth,—The Bible, the tract, the good book. Just here then comes in the ship’s library with its indispensable offices,–the last important advance made in the line of religious work among seamen,–the ‘missing link,’ I think we may call it, in the chain of evangelical agencies for their benefit.

p. 6, gives a testimonial from the Sailors’ Magazine on the good done by a ship’s library: “Library No. 4,674. With much pleasure I return this library from bark Western Sea. The books have been read and highly appreciated by all. It is my opinion that there is no better way of reaching the spiritual wants of the sailor, than through the system of Loan Libraries.

p. 7-8: Consider farther, in order to appreciate the splendid field which an interesting book has at sea, the monotony of ship life during a long voyage, as described from more than one voice from the forecastle;—into which comes no mail, no daily newspaper, no fresh face, or voice to enliven, as on shore….

Think now what boon a ship’s library, with its three dozen interesting books must be, dropped into the dreary sameness of such a life;—life the breeze which came at last to break the enchanted calm with its hideous scenery, in “The Ancient Mariner.” [The picture given of a sailor bored by a dime novel but fascinated by the religious propaganda of the Bible Societies seems unrealistic if not ludicrous., but Pierson does go on to recommend books for recreation and amusement, as well as “civilizing, softening, humanizing books”.]

p. 12, in recommending Books of heroism: Let him read, now, such a book as “Kane’s Arctic Explorations,” and mark the deliberate self-devotion to a great purpose; or better still, Gilmore’s thrilling account of the exploits of the “Storm Warriors of the Goodwin Sands,” or “Livingstone’s Travels,” or the “Life of Bishop Pattison,” or of “Richard Williams,” of the heroic but ill-fated Patagonian Mission, and see there the love of the Master appearing as the moving principle throughout,—and he gets a new idea.