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The Library World Volume 13 Issue 2

New Library World

ISSN: 0307-4803

Article publication date: 1 August 1910



THE commercial world, as a rule, is not the most enthusiastic supporter of Public Libraries, the attitude of the average English business man towards them being one of tolerant contempt, based largely upon the conviction that there is no money in them. He is also misled as to their value for business purposes by the occasional outbursts of irresponsible journalists, who go daft on the fiction question, with no more authority behind their statements than the figures of a single lending department plus the Fleet Street imagination and the professional desire to turn out a sensational paragraph which will go the round of the newspapers. Largely for these reasons, and partly because no great endeavour is made to educate the business man in the commercial value of a good library, he is permitted to become indifferent to the value of institutions whose methods he adopts for his own business purposes without being aware of the fact. Yet, it is true, that practically all modern business methods of accounts, card indexing, vertical filing and general adjustability of office systems are derived from the actual practice of Public Libraries. This was shown most strikingly at the Business exhibitions held at Olympia, in London, and just recently at the “Premier Congrès International du Bureau Moderne,” held at Paris from June 23rd to 30th. At all these exhibitions librarians beheld their own methods of cataloguing, indexing and filing being exploited by stationers, furniture dealers and library furnishers as their own original inventions. Not a word as to the librarian pioneers who had made all this adjustability and expansion possible by their experiments and patient search after scientific flexibility of method. However, it is part of the nature of things that the ideas of the mere hermit‐librarian should be exploited by the shrewd man of business, and librarians should rejoice that, at last, an universal service has been rendered to the world of commerce, which, though not generally recognized, must be accepted as a benefit which a body of mere officials have unconsciously created for their commercial brethren.


(1910), "The Library World Volume 13 Issue 2", New Library World, Vol. 13 No. 2, pp. 32-64.




Copyright © 1910, MCB UP Limited

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