THE parliamentary White Paper issued on May 2nd by the Minister of Local Government has not yet been debated by the House. It may have repercussions on public library control, although specific proposals on most of the matters involved, including this, have Still to be made. Our readers will know that its purport is to intensify the local side of local government; that is, to take certain powers that are exclusively the business of county councils and to place them in the hands of the non‐county borough, urban district, and other councils. Public libraries are to be considered by a committee to be appointed; they are probably unique in that they are a nationally universal service, or almost that, which has no specified Ministerial department concerned in their direction except in a few matters. A number of questions are therefore left in the air ; for example, the future of the county library system would differ considerably from the present set‐up if every local authority became independent in library matters. Complete independence would mean a locally‐raised and controlled rate, not one raised locally to the amount prescribed for county purposes by the county. Such independence is probably not expected as it would seem that the county is to exercise supervision; and those who are supervised can rarely be free agents, if ever. The Committee, if and when formed, might have many matters to debate, such as the desirability of an adequate local Standard of service which conformed to a reasonable national level, in book provision, the training and payment of librarians—the latter in scandalous need of settlement as advertisements of posts every week demonstrate—and in satisfactory accommodation. With these matters the whole national service should be considered ; the relations of the regional systems and their solvency and their workings with the National Central Library and, when founded, the National Science and Technology Library. Moreover, the interrelations of public libraries with the libraries of Schools, Colleges of all kinds, including Technical Colleges and the accessibility and liaison of all state libraries and others receiving public money with the whole system should be surveyed. Thus it might seem that a unique opportunity for great advance may be offered. On the other hand, unless those who know have access to and are heard by the prospective committee, many things that bitter experience shows to be evil may be done and what is almost as bad, many things may be left undone which ought to be done. We are sure the Library Association will be vigilant.
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