WHAT is the correct attitude of the librarian in selecting fiction in the present moral bankruptcy of novelists? By a librarian, I mean a person in the direct employ of the public, elected presumably because of his knowledge of books and because the public requires his services as an exploiter of books in its interest. That person has to remember certain elementary facts; among them:—(1) that he is the servant of the public and is usually controlled by a committee or other authority set over him by his great employer; (2) that his personal preferences in literature must be subordinated, or at least restrained, by the general authority of those who have directed literature, although it may be unconsciously, for all time; (3) that for him to act as a censor of books, on his own initiative, is for him to assume an authority in ethics, and in everything else, which is in the nature of suicidal arrogance. On the other hand he needs (1) a pulse sensitive to the most fluid of things, human thought, which can recognize and register changes without losing sight of the eternal verities; (2) knowledge, if we can get it, that may assist this tremendous necessity.
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