It is not to be expected, nor even wished, that an institution like the Public Library, especially an institution which in little more than a half‐century of life has met with a success so far beyond the dreams of the men who brought it into being, should escape some adverse criticism from time to time. It is well that this should be so, and well that those who have the direction of these institutions should examine any such criticism which is honest and intelligent, meeting it where they fairly can, acknowledging it when it seems just, and profiting by it where it is possible so to do. The profoundest believer in the mission of the Public Library will not pretend that there is nothing which can be urged “on the other side,” or that the good which he avers the library has done and does is unalloyed with some counterbalancing evil, like every other human institution. There is nothing in this world which is wholly bright or wholly dark, and the best and purest institutions and movements are at their highest only greys.
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