IDEAL methods of Library service; this, in simple translation is the purpose before the Library Association Conference at Manchester this year. The first thing that strikes any observer is the great variety of current library work. There was a day, so recent that fairly young men can remember it, when a Library Association Conference could focus its attention upon such matters as public library charging systems, open access versus the indicator, the annotated versus the title‐a‐line catalogue, the imposition of fines and penalties; in short, on those details of working which are now settled in the main and do not admit of general discussion. All of them, too, it will be observed, are problems of the public library. When those of other libraries came into view in those days they were seen only on the horizon. It was believed that there was no nexus of interest in libraries other than the municipal variety. Each of the others was a law unto itself, and its problems concerned no one else. The provision of books for villages, it is true, was always before the public librarian; he knew the problem. In this journal James Duff Brown wrote frequently concerning it; before the Library Assistants' Association, Mr. Harry Farr, then Deputy Librarian of Cardiff, wrote an admirable plea for its development. Wyndham Hulme once addressed an annual dinner suggesting it as the problem for the younger librarians. Carnegie money made the scheme possible. But contemporaneously with the development of the Rural Library system, which now calls itself the County Library system as an earnest of its ultimate intentions, there has been a coming together of the librarians of research and similar libraries. We have a section for them in the Library Association.
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