DAMAGE to libraries has assumed dimensions which make it unlikely that any private beneficence alone will be able to effect restoration. Nor is it probable that we have reached anything like the end of the destruction. Libraries are in the nature of things in great centres of population which are main targets of the enemy and they suffer accordingly. There is every hope that after the war the most determined effort will be made to repair every form of loss, and the libraries must be kept well to the fore by those who have charge of them; but the effort, in which we certainly hope such benevolent institutions as the Carnegie and similar trusts will assist, must be a universal one. It will also be considered a state obligation, we hope, based partly upon the State Insurance Scheme. In connexion with this, some librarians have had difficulty in persuading their authorities to insure books for anything like the money it would cost to replace them; it is curious that public men appear to think that books cost little or nothing! A reflection of this from the other side was the remark of a District Valuer on a claim for damage which certainly could not replace the lost books, that it was “excessive.” Cover should certainly be adequate.
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