IN his Books: their place in a democracy, which ought in course of time to become a kind of bible to all those concerned with the production and distribution of books and which should give any young librarian a clearer conception of his job than a dozen formal textbooks, Charles L. Duffus usefully defines public libraries under two heads: the first, a mechanism for buying and circulating books; the second, a means of bringing individuals into touch with the good things which good books contain. To‐day, when a variety of causes has brought about a demand upon library resources which is at once the delight and despair of administrators, libraries are in the paradoxical condition that the more success they achieve as mechanisms for mass‐circulation, the less chance have they of performing their real task of getting the “right book to the right reader.” The proper relationship between these two functions of a library has been turned topsy‐turvy by overwhelming public pressure, and organizations whose main duty it is to establish a contact between live book and inevitable reader are in danger of becoming institutions for the mere dissemination of bundles of paper and print.
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