OUR new volume opens in a grave moment in national history and it remains almost a marvel that libraries are Still not only able to persist, but even to expand their book‐work. Is it because of the truth in some admirable words of Charles Rupert Sanderson, in the Toronto Public Libraries Annual Report for 1941: “Whoever believes in democracy must believe in public libraries”? He goes on to say: “Unless any formal education period is to amount to little more than writing on the sand, it must be continued by a lifelong use of books—engendered in childhood, fostered in youth, and built into an adult habit.” Amongst the young people the need for books was never greater, and the difficulty of getting new books for them was never more marked. It is a time when older books should come into their own again. Another feature has been the desire for small collections of “lending books” in munition works, training centres, canteens, clubs and the innumerable other meeting places of men and women. The problem of the day is “time and again time.” There is none of it for travelling, even to libraries, although in the said centres men and women have often to Stand by for hours when they could, and would, read. Librarians have used the opportunity and may be called upon for more of these “dispersal” activities. Otherwise, with all our problems, of which as the writer on Letters on Our Affairs suggests, the greatest is books, although the staff problem is acute, our work flourishes so far as book‐use is concerned. Librarians have faith that a culture so based on books will outlast present cataclysms. People who can read can endure and people who endure can fight, both directly and indirectly, and keep on doing it.
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