Hitherto we have been able to record the fact that, in spite of the War, the circulation from libraries has remained practically stationary. The library reports for 1915–16, which are now flowing into the editorial office, show that this position has not been maintained so far as superficial figures are concerned. A number show a decrease in circulation ranging from about five to ten per cent. of the entire issue. At the same time the number of borrowers has declined in an even greater proportion. Both facts are due to the operation of the Military Service Act, and a consideration of the relative figures is distinctly not a matter for discouragement, but the exact contrary; because it will be found, that the large depletion of borrowers' registers has not been accompanied by a proportionate depletion of the issues; in short, the borrowers who remain are actually reading much more than they did before the war. Our contention that readers turn to libraries for help and refreshment in these critical days can now be proven by actual figures. The time is an opportune one for determining the character of the books read by the men of our new armies as compared with those read by people who remain in civilian life. In one library that we have checked carefully the curious fact emerged that the issue of most books in the class Sociology ceased at the end of 1915. Fiction, we know, has been in slightly greater demand everywhere— for the reason just given. It would be an interesting, and not useless, work, if all libraries would take a census of this kind, so that we could see exactly by whom books are borrowed. General classified statistics scarcely meet the case; the examination of the issues of individual books gives more illuminating results.
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