LONDON'S libraries are recovering from the upheaval of the war, but they are suffering from a longer period of disorganisation than the majority of libraries, for their upheaval began months before September, 1939, when library staffs were drawn upon for such extraneous duties as issuing gas masks instead of, or in addition to, books. They are taking a long time to settle down to normal. This is due to a number of factors among which are the continued occupation of buildings for non‐library purposes. For example, the reference library and lecture hall at the Mile End Library, Stepney, are at this time of writing not yet released, and Stoke Newington's large and attractive reference library (with the books in situ) was the local food office until a short time ago; in some buildings repairs have still to be carried out (one reference library is still roofed with tarpaulins), and there is a shortage of qualified senior and experienced junior staff; catalogues are incomplete due to arrears of work; and readers' demands are increasing. Last year in the metropolitan area nearly twenty million books were issued to adults and three and a quarter million to children. The figures for 1937–38 were sixteen and a half million and just over three and a quarter million respectively. The population of metropolitan London which decreased from just over four million in 1939 to two and a half million in 1945 is mounting up again, and although it has increased rapidly in past months, it is now just under three million.
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