TO those who have been accustomed to think of Newcastle only as the home of coal and “The Keel Row,” its general aspect will be found disappointingly clean and brisk. Although there is a lively air of business about the place, yet its crowds of pretty and well‐dressed women, its fine shops, and imposing institutions, all contribute towards removing the wholly‐erroneous impression which most strangers cherish, that Newcastle is the home of dirt and smoke and general unloveliness. Indeed, we know of only one other town of similar size, which has been visited by the L. A. which can be compared to it for the energetic bustle of its streets, keenness of its air, and good looks of its women, and that is Aberdeen, where, if possible, the energy is more energetic, and the air even more keen. We shall not compare the ladies! Leaving the Tyne to trace its unlovely course to the sea, and dealing only with that part of the town which, for one busy week, formed the camp of all kinds of librarians, it maybe stated that the institutions of Newcastle which possess interest for librarians are many and varied. The Lit. and Phil. is one of the principal centres of literary and social activity, and its library, lecture rooms, social departments, and other features make it one of the most influential institutions in the town. Its appearance is impressive, and its well‐ordered and well‐classified shelves appeal to every librarian who has the slightest progressive instinct. It has historic memories over a century old, and in many ways attracts readers and supporters in a manner which no municipal library can as yet pretend to emulate. Perhaps the secret lies in the amount of selectness which such an institution can afford its members, and the feeling that one can mix with other subscribers without any fear of accidentally consorting with a slum‐dweller or ambitious pitman ! With all its merits, and they: are many, the Lit. and Phil. has not yet learned the supreme secret of making a conversazione attractive and bright. But this slight criticism applies to other Newcastle institutions visited by the L. A. No doubt the failures arose from a misunderstanding on the part of the local committee, in assuming too confidently that Librarians could amuse themselves. They cannot. They are the dullest dogs on earth, unless someone takes them in hand and amuses them. But this is all by the way, and may seem a little ungracious, though it is only meant as a guide for the future.
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