THE Librarian faces one of the turning times in library history. The flow of progress has not yet begun, the shortages and consequent imperious demands for food, housing and clothing stand in the way of the beginning, except on paper. How long the interregnum will last none can say. The authorities, which are a reflection in some ways of the Parliamentary party in power, are well‐disposed towards libraries; the official handbook of the Labour Party proves that; but the clamour of the needs we have mentioned deafens everybody to library needs—except in certain instances. For example, the rebuilding and enlarging of the staff at Holborn is an encouraging sign. Of more potential significance is the working out of the so‐called National Charter. It has involved many towns in the task of creating an establishment for each public department. Thus, in one library system we hear that each branch or department may claim a librarian and a deputy both on the A.P.T. scale, but all the assistants are either general or clerical. Some assistants we hear have applied to be of clerical grade as the maximum salary is greater than in the general. This we suggest is putting cash before status because it is accepted as an axiom that a clerk has only clerical qualifications and potentialities, while a general assistant may aspire, when there is a vacancy and if he have certificates, to the professional status. The grading in the particular library mentioned has rather a petrifying effect in that no assistant can get into the professional grade unless his librarian or deputy departs. Possibly this sort of thing may alter, but the fact remains for good or ill—it is not all ill by any means—that no library is able to attract men from another except to a definitely higher post.
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