THE Woolwich Borough Council have made the retirement of Dr. Baker from the post of Borough Librarian the opportunity of adopting the reactionary policy of dividing the Woolwich library system into three independent parts. They do not propose to fill Dr. Baker's post, and have made three members of the staff librarians‐in‐charge of the Woolwich, Eltham, and Plumstead libraries. Within recent years West Ham and Lewisham have adopted a similar policy; while an opposite course has been taken by Southwark and Westminster. It is obvious that an already limited income will be even more inadequate when it is administered in three separate parts. A small temporary advantage may accrue to certain localities of the borough, but the library service of the borough as a whole is bound to suffer. There is plenty of evidence that the greatest library service can be given to a district when the libraries form one organic whole. So much for the present; now for the future. Woolwich is growing rapidly in some localities, and when the inevitable library extension is required, what is going to happen ? Each of the older districts is going to be mulcted of a part of its already far from adequate share in order to finance still another separate administration. Instead of the Borough library service under one administration becoming increasingly efficient with the growth of the district, it is going to remain a series of small and comparatively ineffective units. Then there is another aspect of the question which touches us even more closely professionally. If library systems are going to be divided in this way, men and women are not going to be found willing to go through the long and special training necessary for an administrative librarian, because the position of “librarian‐in‐charge” is no return for such training. In this way, if this policy is going to spread, a much more serious blow still will be struck at the library efficiency of the country.
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