EVERY method employed by librar ns to bring books to the notice of readers may be justified It is thus desirable to devote an occasional issue of THE LIBRARY WORLD to this attractive subject. Our writers take differing views, but there is always a single aim in their work: to bring right book and reader into acquaintance. We might have to meet the challenge, which indeed one of our writers implies, that such book display may deflect the Library from its original, rightful purpose. Until these terms are defined such a challenge is a begging of the question. Often we have mentioned the question, For what public is the public library working? Was it intended to serve as an auxiliary, and then an extension, of the official education system? It has always indeed been more and less than that. Our founders were able to argue that libraries would withdraw men from beer and ill‐company, but from the first they probably failed to do that, and made their appeal to the intelligent elements in the community. As they developed and public education waxed, there grew up an enormous literature, available in early years in small quantity, the aim of which was entertainment only, and there survived—there survives still—a notion which was based on an earlier conception of books, that to read was somehow educative and virtuous, whatever was read. Librarians hold this notion in some measure to‐day, although the recent success of twopenny libraries which are mainly devoted to the entertainment type of literature must have made them revise the view somewhat.
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