The passing of the Public Libraries (Scotland) Act, 1955, is an important event, comprising as it does the first step forward in library legislation in the United Kingdom for more than thirty years. True, it is a modest measure which in the main does little more than bring Scotland into line with England and Wales and Northern Ireland in the extent of the statutory library powers of local authorities, and still leaves unsolved several problems for the future. Its first clause removes the statutory rate limitation on expenditure and on borrowing powers of Scottish library authorities, thus bringing to a belated end the eras of penny and threepenny rates. This was a move urgently required, especially in the smaller burghs, though it should be realised that probably more than half the population of Scotland had already been freed from the crippling effect of rate restriction through the passing of local acts, and that no statutory restriction has ever operated on library expenditure in the county libraries of Scotland. The effect of the repeal of the 3d. rate limit will, therefore, be much less marked in the country as a whole than might at first be supposed.
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