WHILE so many things are happening and are expected to happen in the war field, the attention that libraries receive is to be watched carefully. One could hope, so far as their finances are concerned, that they might be treated as last year but otherwise forgotten. This is most unlikely, and the reports that reach us show that we are facing the most critical days since 1919. There is, however, this difference; during the last war, the penny‐rate limit seemed to exclude all recovery from the drastic cuts then made. Hereafter such recovery can be as rapid as the value of our work persuades our authorities to make it—that is, if and when they have the means. The crisis for many of the towns which have been “coventrated” or otherwise heavily attacked must be severe. The destruction of shopping streets must mean a substantial loss of rateable value for the time being. At the same time all rate‐supported services must continue, and these continue to increase in cost. For some towns it may be difficult to sustain some public services at all.
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