THE year 1954 opened more brightly, in some respects, than most previous years. Salaries are better than they used to be, staffs are larger, and hours are shorter. But there is even less room for complacency or even bare satisfaction than there was forty years ago. Then, however poor was the pay and however long the hours, there was every indication that librarianship was gradually becoming recognized as a profession which in time would rank with the great professions. Principles and objectives were clear and were never lost sight of, but librarians and assistants of that day realized that the great professions were dependant, not only on principles but upon absolute mastery of technique; that no lawyer could survive who merely talked grandiloquently about the principles and objectives of his calling; that the medical man endured—and in many instances enjoyed—a severe and lengthy training in technique and practice, and that even when he became a specialist his prime need and principal qualification was absolute mastery and up to date knowledge of technique and practice in his field of specialisation. In the light of that fad a detailed study of library technique became accepted as essential, and a mass of practical and technical literature was studied and mastered by more than one generation. For examination purposes, perhaps more than for any other reason, the present generation of assistants continues that study, but there has been a change of weight. Today we hear frequently that technique is relatively unimportant and that principles and objectives are the vital essentials.
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