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The Library World Volume 36 Issue 11

New Library World

ISSN: 0307-4803

Article publication date: 1 May 1934



THE most important personal news of the month is the appointment of Mr. J. D. Cowley M.A., the County Librarian of Lancashire, as Director of the University of London School of Librarianship. This had been expected for some considerable time, but we were unable to comment until it had been confirmed in the middle of May by the Senate of the University. Mr. Cowley will bring to the office the culture which we know him to possess, experience in the library of a learned society, and the much wider public experience which he has gained in Lancashire. A quiet enthusiast, with a sympathetic and friendly manner, his achievements in librarianship have already been such as to make our hopes for his future most sanguine. We all like him, which is one of the best foundations for his success. The Library Association Record has expressed the general hope that he will be able to make such arrangements in the School that its students may be more acceptable than they have been hitherto in public libraries. One of the methods by which this can be accomplished is extremely simple in statement, although it may be somewhat difficult of realisation. The larger libraries should be induced to recruit their assistants in the ordinary manner, to retain them on the staff for two years with ample opportunities for gaining practical experience in more than merely mechanical operations, and should then send the best of them for two years to the School of Librarianship. During their absence the libraries would of course recruit other assistants to supply their place, who in turn, if satisfactory, should be sent to the School of Librarian‐ship, and those who have been at the School should return in their places. There would, of course, have to be two vacancies to start from, but in a large system that is a very small matter. In the way suggested the libraries would be acquiring staffs which were practically trained in the first place and would understand everything that was being taught at the School, and who, in addition, would have university training and the status which undoubtedly belongs to that. If it could only be made clear to the assistant librarians of the present day that university school pupils would not displace them, we think one of the objections to the School would have passed. At present, of course, the objection is deeper; it is the chief librarian who seems to avoid the school diplomate. On the other hand, there is the suggestion that anyone who has passed through the School is ipso facto a librarian and should have a high position; that, of course, is not so. Ultimately he may have, but school training is only preliminary to library experience, and more is required before a librarian can have a responsible post in a library of any consequence. We hope the point we have raised will have the consideration which we believe it deserves.


(1934), "The Library World Volume 36 Issue 11", New Library World, Vol. 36 No. 11, pp. 272-296.




Copyright © 1934, MCB UP Limited

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