STAFF problems in libraries are likely to become very severe within the next few months. That “best seller” among publications, the official schedule of reserved occupations, permits no reservation of librarians over the age of 35 after the middle of July, 1941. The effect of this will be that many libraries will be left almost entirely without male staffs. A number of libraries come to mind immediately where the chief librarian himself is under 35, and it is very unlikely that he will have assistants older than himself. It is true that we have never seen an emergency so severe, and perhaps there is nothing that can be done about it. It has been suggested in one quarter that librarians of neighbouring districts should undertake the supervision of any library which is to be deprived of its chief. We are quite sure that such work would gladly be undertaken in spite of the difficulties which the older librarians will experience and are already experiencing seeing that many of them are involved in Food or Civil Defence services. Each librarian must consider very carefully how his system may be preserved and be made to function during his absence: it will require much ingenuity not to lose ground. On the other hand, the use of libraries by the public, even in blitzed areas, is still so great that they are obviously an integral part of the life of our people.
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