In the Wednesday evening meetings and in the testimonies published in our periodicals, frequent mention is made of the reading-rooms which are open to the public in all the cities and towns where branch churches are located, and in many others where as yet the progress of the Christian Science movement has only justified the formation of a small society. In many of these testimonies the statement is made that, through what seemed almost a chance occurrence, the person's attention was directed to the reading-room, and his first impression of Christian Science was formed there. Reference is also frequently made to the restful character of these rooms and to the atmosphere of hopefulness and good cheer which pervades them, as well as to the spirit of kindly courtesy shown by those in charge. Above all else, gratitude is expressed for the opportunity thus afforded to learn the truth about Christian Science through reading Science and Health and our Leader's other writings, together with the authorized periodicals.

All this goes to show the importance of first impressions, and such being the case, how necessary it is that every reading-room should be made as attractive as circumstances will permit, that it should be open punctually and at convenient hours, be well located, well managed, and in charge of a competent person, one qualified to answer intelligently the questions of beginners, to minister to those in distress if necessary, and to extend a courteous welcome to all. Christian Science not only teaches kindness, gentleness, mercy, justice, wisdom, and all other Christly qualities, but it also demands that these qualities be demonstrated in the daily life of all its professed followers, and probably in no other place is a display of these "attributes of God" (Science and Health, p. 465) more required than in the conduct of the reading-rooms. It is here alone that many are brought into contact with the institutional work of the Christian Science movement, and it is largely through the impressions they receive in this way that they are attracted to or repelled from further investigation of its teachings.

All that is needed for any intelligent person to form a favorable opinion of Christian Science is for him to give it unprejudiced study, and to investigate impartially its claims. In many instances the librarian of the reading-room can do much through tact and courtesy toward disarming prejudice, and directing attention to the most helpful of our Leader's works. In stipulating the qualifications for the office of librarian in the reading-rooms maintained by The Mother Church (Manual, Art. XXI, Sect. 2), Mrs. Eddy emphasizes the need for consecrated effort and whole-hearted devotion on the part of those who undertake this work, and that there is the same call for fitness for the office in this as in any other department of the church's activities.

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February 8, 1913

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