The Library World Volume 52 Issue 7
Article publication date: 1 February 1950
OUR centenary year has been heralded by no great publicity; the nation, as a reviewer of Brown's Manual in the Times Literary Supplement suggests, has no great awareness of the services of libraries or their considerable progress of late years. Some signs there have been. A leaderette in the Daily Telegraph gave a fair, slightly‐sketched picture of what is being done and, a few Sundays earlier, Alison Settle wrote an account of the Christmas work that was being done in a near‐London library in a manner most desirable but which seemed to show that she had only just become aware of activities which children's librarians had been pursuing, Christmas tree and all, for at least twenty years. While we appreciate this well‐deserved tribute and echo it, we are concerned here more with ways that may be adopted to make such services more widely and articulately recognized by our people. Every opportunity will be taken, we are sure, by the Library Association Council to bring such recognition about. There does not, however, seem to be any general programme for local individual library effort, although this must have been discussed by the L.A. Perhaps something may emerge from the self‐examination which Mr. L. R. McColvin suggested at Eastbourne. That would result in more efficiency, the best form of publicity. Best things, however, are slow to be recognized, and as it is at the local library that our reputation is made or lost, we suggest that each library should have its own exhibition, made from local materials, with the title, or intention in the title, “One Hundred Years of Public Libraries!” It should show what it was like in Bookton or in Bibliopolis one hundred years ago—the paucity of opportunity, the few newspapers and periodicals, the book famine; with such old pictures, newcuttings and broadsides as it may possess, it should show how in that town efforts were made to bring in the light. H. A. L. Fisher's “A city without books is a city without light” may be quoted freely. Then, by Stages it could show what developed; leading up to what is now: the well‐lighted, comfortable and active libraries with manifold inner‐ and extra‐mural work for people of all ages, the adequate bookstock and the eager library Staffs infused with Dr. Savage's “incandescent enthusiasm ” for public service. Let the Story be told in all the local newspapers of the labours of Edward Edwardes, the often tragi‐comedy of the town's ballots on the adoption of the acts, the frustrations of poverty and how they were overcome. Let just claims be made for what is now. Surely every librarian could do something of this, even in the smallest towns and even in those where the local authority has not realized its library duties very fully—perhaps most in these. Praise the local pioneers, pour encourager les autres. Have we not the patronage of the Sovereign, the presidency of the Duke to answer any cavil?
(1950), "The Library World Volume 52 Issue 7", New Library World, Vol. 52 No. 7, pp. 145-160. https://doi.org/10.1108/eb009333
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