I HAVE spent nearly all my life in libraries, and for far the larger part of it as the head of the library, small or large as the case might be. And at the end of my career as an active librarian I have realised more than ever before the overwhelming importance of the rank and file—the people who serve the books, the people who know the readers and whom the readers know. Chief librarians, from the point of view we are considering, are really of quite tertiary importance. I won't say they haven't their justification. A county librarian, for example, must keep her (or his) committee in good humour, must screw money from the council, must cultivate the best possible relations with the director, and without being more disagreeable than is necessary, see that a little army of helpers keep their records of issues with the requisite accuracy. These duties, with the selecting and buying of books, and the cataloguing of them, and so forth, provide, on the whole—let's be fair—a sufficient reason for his or her existence.
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