New Library World

ISSN: 0307-4803

Publication date: 1 July 1984


FOR some time, many public librarians have become very sensitive to issues of library provision for multi‐cultural minorities. Many library authorities have recognised that they had a clear duty to meet multi‐cultural needs. Library services in foreign languages are not new for British public librarians and small collections of material in the main European languages were often seen. On a national scale, a central collection in Polish was also formed to meet the particular needs of people who had settled here during and after World War Two. Since the 1960s with people coming from the Indian sub‐continent, demands for Asian books began to appear, and some efforts were made to satisfy these demands. The year 1974 has a significant importance in the history of multi‐cultural library services. From that time the words ‘ethnic minorities’ were mainly directed towards Asian Communities, though the ethnic minorities were invariably called Indians, Pakistanis or Asians, Afro‐Caribbeans, Coloured, Blacks and sometimes even Disadvantaged. The term ‘ethnic minorities’ was rejected by Gundara, J and Warwick, R saying that the terms ethnic minorities and multi‐cultural are by no means interchangeable. The term ‘ethnic’ pertains only to ethnicity, whereas the word multi‐cultural focuses on cultures, surpassing the crude and often meaningless ethnic distinctions. (Gundara and Warwick, 1981, 67.)


Rait, S., Cronin, B. and Marshall, M. (1984), "Comment", New Library World, Vol. 85 No. 7, pp. 113-118.

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Copyright © 1984, MCB UP Limited

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