THE effective little conference of the London and Home Counties Branch of the Library Association at Brighton gave clear proof of the value of and desire for such gatherings. This experience, we are confident, will be understood by our Council and a national conference should be possible in 1946. At Brighton, amongst many good things, from the public lecture by Charles Morgan to the excellent symposium by the Service members, there was the important statement by Mr. Goldsack, Chairman of the National Book League and a well‐known publisher, on the state of British stocks of books. A census made by publishers and booksellers had revealed that some 50,000 basic books, which are required continuously by libraries, schools and the general reading world, are out‐of‐print. It may be recalled that forty years ago James Duff Brown asserted “of real, living works of literary and human interest, there are perhaps not more than 20,000 in the English language,” and if more than twice that number of books are unavailable the condition would seem to be parlous. Of course the quotation we have made is not acceptable today nor is the statement unqualified in the Berwick Sayers' editions of Brown's Manual, but Mr. Goldsack's figures give us furiously to think. We are bound to keep in every town and county a representative collection of books of every age and we do know that there is the insistent demand for current books; for some readers, indeed, this means current fiction; lacking that we are labelled as “useless” by the most vocal part of the community of readers.
MCB UP Ltd
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