IN an address delivered recently before the members of the Library Assistants' Association, Mr. R. T. L. Parr, a Local Government Auditor, revived the suggestion that Public Libraries should be merged in the Education Authority. At first sight the suggestion seems reasonable. Public Libraries are a part and an important part, of the educational machinery of the country; a fact that the public are slow to acknowledge, if one can judge from the meagreness of the funds placed at the disposal of library authorities. Past efforts to increase generally the limited library rate of one penny in the pound have failed signally, while the unlimited general education rate has been rising steadily, without any great protests being made by rate‐payers. Why not, then, adopt Mr. Parr's suggestion, and drop all efforts to promote the new Libraries Bill, and instead favour an Education Bill, in which the necessary reforms for public libraries could be inserted? If this could be done without public libraries being placed under the control of the Board of Education, well and good, but, if not, it is advisable to pause and consider. For many years librarians have been endeavouring to organize their profession, and there is a great danger in the individuality of librarianship being swallowed up in general education. The work of the librarian is quite distinct from that of the teacher, and unless the librarian preserves his individuality he is lost. If public libraries are ever placed under the control of the Government, librarians would be well advised to see that they are specially administered on a professional basis, and not run by educationalists to whom the technique of librarianship is a thing unknown. An example of an attempt to combine librarianship with education is dealt with in the succeeding note. Apart from the idea of placing public libraries under the control of the Board of Education, a state of affairs that we do not recommend, librarians would do well to adopt Mr. Parr's hints, and talk more of the educational value of libraries, for it is in this direction that most influence can be brought to bear upon public thought.
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