ANOTHER Conference has passed, this year in circumstances of national gravity which made every thoughtful library worker anxious. In such times the word “economy,” the most familiar of misused words, becomes almost a shriek even upon the lips of honest thinkers, and is not confined to those persons—the great majority of its users—who think the word means “making the other fellow do without something.” It was therefore timely of the President of the Library Association to assert that for every retrenchment upon material things even a little more should be spent upon the things of the mind and the spirit. Libraries and kindred institutions provide a refuge for men in times of industrial want and unemployment, a fact which is alleged to be one of the reasons why library circulations have increased greatly of late years. This is probably one of the factors which has made the improved administration, better rooms and more liberal services of libraries so fruitful; but, in addition, one of the results of the War was to make private libraries almost impossible in the small houses built to accommodate its heroes, and at the same time to increase intellectual curiosity.
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