WE all scan the advertisements for librarians in The Times Literary Supplement and other journals every week, and we might be forgiven for inferring from them that there is a dearth of those who, by a curious inversion, are asked for as “A.L.A's or F.L.A's.” In contradiction, it would appear that about 1,500 youngsters are trying to enter the profession by way of the Entrance Examination every year. Youngsters beginning life, especially girls, do usually prefer or are constrained by their parents, the cost of living, and the scarcity of lodgings, to start in their home towns and still to live at home.. Higher in the scale the whole position is tangled in various ways. Many of the entrants fall by the way; commercial pay exceeds municipal and other library pay; more find the work uncongenial, as library work certainly is except to those who are book‐lovers, have a strong social sense, and, in the best cases, a flair for publicity and business administration. Others marry and leave, although some stay on with the ring on the third finger of their left hand. Thus, when maturity is reached, only a relatively few, even amongst the mature, have become chartered librarians and, fewer still, Fellows—as is natural seeing that the fellowship is a much more severe test nowadays and only much love and industry can achieve it. This position is even worse in some other branches of the municipal service; our salaries do not draw the best of the young folk permanently and many a Treasurer's office, to take one branch only, is complaining of want of good recruits. Those of our good ones who do remain do so because of the work and not the pay. Authority has always known this, from the day when Gladstone opined that working in the British Museum was so delightful that it was incredible that the workers wanted any pay at all. Chief librarians today have been most unfairly neglected by the salary negotiating bodies who have dealt generously with several other kinds of chief officers in the local services.
MCB UP Ltd
Copyright © 1951, MCB UP Limited