Our article in last month's Library World has elicited some expressions of opinion from various sources, which we print as a contribution towards a general discussion of this important question. It, will be observed that several writers have not quite grasped the exact scope of our proposal, which was not an argument in favour of an increase of the Library Rate by Act of Parliament, but a plea for leaving the amount of the Rate entirely in the hands of the local authorities. This is a very different thing from asking Parliament to raise the amount of Rate all round from one penny to two pence or more per £. If local authorities can be trusted to levy the huge sums required under the various Sanitary, Police and Poor Laws, surely they can be trusted to ascertain the comparatively small needs of a Public Library, and make a Rate in accordance with local requirements. It is impossible to imagine that in any case this power would be abused. As a rule, rating bodies are extremely scrupulous and fearful about raising rates, and this fear and public spirit could be trusted to keep in cheek any tendency towards extravagance. Besides, it must be obvious to every observer that the needs of Public Libraries are not such as to call for lavish expenditure. At the same time, why should a town desirous of extending and improving its library system be debarred from doing so, because of an Act passed nearly fifty years ago, when educational legislation was only in an experimental stage? The more discussion and argument we can have on this subject, the quicker are we likely to arrive at a definite basis of agreement, and we therefore print the following opinions as an introduction to a general discussion.
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