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J.D.A. Barnicot M.A., B.S. (Director, Books Department, The British Council)

Journal of Documentation

ISSN: 0022-0418

Article publication date: 1 March 1951



In his Presidential Address to the Library Association Conference at Eastbourne, in May 1949, Sir Ronald Adam, Chairman of the British Council, included a comprehensive description of the Council's library work in various parts of the world. This address, which also covered the other related activities, such as book‐exhibitions, book‐reviews, presentations of periodicals, and bibliographical publications, was printed in full in the Library Association Record of June 1949 and also in the Library Association's Papers and summaries of discussions at the Eastbourne conference. A reasonably up‐to‐date survey of the Council's libraries overseas is thus available in print, and the present article is accordingly more in the nature of footnotes to Sir Ronald's text than a repetition of the facts given by him. A conspectus of the system of Council libraries as of the end of 1950 is provided as an appendix to this article. Since the Eastbourne Conference there have, of course, been some developments, not all of them, unhappily, forward. There have been new libraries in India, Pakistan, Ceylon, and Indonesia. There has been a decrease in the work in West Africa, due to the transfer, as planned, of the library at Accra to an independent board. There has been a decrease in Europe, owing to the withdrawal, unplanned, of Council libraries, with the rest of the Council's activities, from Hungary, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia. There have been one or two smaller libraries closed in other parts of the world, due entirely to cuts in the Council's budget. The year 1951/2 will almost certainly witness further, perhaps major, cessations of library work in several areas; and the general tempo of development is likely to be severely curtailed almost everywhere, simply because of sheer lack of financial means to carry on. In view of the peculiar financial relations which ultimately determine the library development of the Council, as they determine its every other activity, it may be helpful to place the Council's libraries in the setting of the Council's general structure.


Barnicot, J.D.A. (1951), "THE LIBRARIES OF THE BRITISH COUNCIL", Journal of Documentation, Vol. 7 No. 3, pp. 147-169.




Copyright © 1951, MCB UP Limited

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