IT is rare nowadays to discover in the annual or other reports of libraries any reference to current losses of books. There are many sides to this, as to every problem. Formerly it was held that a loss of one volume in an issue of a thousand was a reasonable loss; this our readers know. We do not recall a pronouncement based upon a count of stock and circulation recently. As our pages, and those of other library journals, have shown, the check and control of losses is a really costly business. Nevertheless, as long as we can remember, it has been impressed on librarians that we are custodians of a certain form of public property which we are expected to keep for as long in safety as that property retains its value. It can also be asserted that the discovery of whereabouts in the accounts of a bank a single shilling is missing may occupy hours of staff‐time; it is probably necessary to make it, and this was done a few years ago, and maybe is done now. To pose this problem nowadays, when there is so much else to be done, may be a little tactless. In the present conditions of public regard, or want of it, for the property of others, especially communal property, our eagerness to serve our people without let or hindrance, and the consequent removal of all barriers, wickets and entrance checks even in very busy libraries of large size—are we sure that we are absolved from all responsibility for the care of books?
MCB UP Ltd
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