PUBLIC libraries at the present time do not want readers: queues are almost as much in evidence there as at the counters which provide food of a more material nature. And in both kinds of institutions there is a pronounced shortage of the material needed, worse in the matter of books than in bodily food, for while Lord Woolton and his medical advisers acclaim that our meals, however skimpy and monotonous some of us may consider them, are more scientifically “balanced” than ever before, nobody can pretend that the same claim can be made for the nutriment supplied by the publisher for the reader. Porthos when he dined with the King, and delighted His Majesty by concentrating on the solid dishes, explaining his neglect of the fancies and trimmings by remarking that the latter took up too much valuable space which could be occupied to better purpose, would find the implementing of his excellent maxim impossible under the regime of King Woolton. At a butcher's the other day, I saw in the window a notice: “Our sausages are full of goodness.” Goodness perhaps, meat, no. Yet a fair allowance of meat is not out of place in a sausage “as is a sausage.” But the sausages purveyed by the libraries just now are certainly not full of goodness; most of them, in fact, are tripe, masquerading as sausages.
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