I WANT to discuss the problems and difficulties facing us now in County Durham as they appear to one who, though only a newcomer is, perhaps on that account, an enthusiast. I will begin with our Superior Library Service Scheme under which we have established six branches this year. In the first place the word “superior” is not desirable— it was used from some psychological motive I believe, as the aim of the county library should be to give as good a service in its smallest branch as in its largest. These six branches have been founded with the aid of differential rating and I can say without hesitation that differential rating is undesirable in every way. Its use is supported by the vague theory that the area where apparently greater expenditure is entailed should bear the burden of that additional expenditure. I say apparently, because I think sight has been lost of the fact that the book supply facilities given to the smallest branch are often in excess of its rate return and that differential rating more nearly resembles laying the burden on the goose that lays the golden eggs. I think that if I outline our schemes my reasons for objecting to it will become obvious.
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