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Article
Publication date: 1 August 1942

L.R.

WE have much pleasure in publishing comments on the Report prepared by Mr. L. R. McColvin, Hon. Secretary of the Library Association, on the library position in Britain…

Abstract

WE have much pleasure in publishing comments on the Report prepared by Mr. L. R. McColvin, Hon. Secretary of the Library Association, on the library position in Britain. We think our readers will agree that the contributors to the symposium are sufficiently objective in outlook to have given us a fair evaluation of the survey. In the past, criticism of such reports has been largely destructive; but it is exceedingly easy to criticise a work of the kind. On the other hand, only the first‐class thinker has the constructive mind, and it is constructive thinking that is required and that has been most lacking in assessing earlier reports. It is to be hoped that Mr. McColvin's survey and his recommendations will be considered in the light of the future, and that the liberal outlook which should be inherent in librarianship will assert itself.

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Library Review, vol. 8 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0024-2535

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Article
Publication date: 1 January 1969

THE greatly increased interest in historical studies since the second world war has been, I hope, a welcome challenge to librarians, but it has been very difficult to meet…

Abstract

THE greatly increased interest in historical studies since the second world war has been, I hope, a welcome challenge to librarians, but it has been very difficult to meet it. That the librarians of our new universities should have had little research material to offer was only to be expected. Unfortunately, research scholars have discovered that our older libraries were also deficient, that source materials had either not been purchased, in the years when they were readily available, or had been acquired only to be discarded at a later date. Recently, therefore, both old libraries and new have found themselves in competition for a small and dwindling supply of out‐of‐print publications.

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New Library World, vol. 70 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0307-4803

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Article
Publication date: 1 August 1938

THIS is the month when librarians and library workers everywhere, their holidays over, turn to their winter plans. There are, however, some interesting events to take…

Abstract

THIS is the month when librarians and library workers everywhere, their holidays over, turn to their winter plans. There are, however, some interesting events to take place before the darker and more active months come. The first is the meeting at Oxford on September 21st and subsequent days of the Federation International de Documentation. This will be followed by and merge into the ASLIB Conference, and there is in prospect an attendance of over three hundred. Our readers know that this organization produces and advocates the International Decimal Classification. It is not primarily a “library” society but rather one of abstractors and indexers of material, but it is closely akin, and we hope that English librarianship will be well represented. Then there is a quite important joint‐conference at Lincoln of the Northern Branches of the Library Association on September 30th— October 3rd, which we see is to be opened by the President of the Library Association. Finally the London and Home Counties Branch are to confer at Folkestone from October 14th to 16th, and here, the programme includes Messrs. Jast, Savage, McColvin, Wilks, Carter, and the President will also attend. There are other meetings, and if the question is asked: do not librarians have too many meetings ? we suppose the answer to be that the Association is now so large that local conferences become desirable. One suggestion, that has frequently been made, we repeat. The Library Association should delegate a certain definite problem to each of its branches, asking for a report. These reports should form the basis of the Annual Conference. It is worthy of more consideration.

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New Library World, vol. 41 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0307-4803

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Article
Publication date: 1 June 1949

IF no completely novel contribution to librarianship came out of the Eastbourne Conference, it could be justified as having to some extent integrated libraries and…

Abstract

IF no completely novel contribution to librarianship came out of the Eastbourne Conference, it could be justified as having to some extent integrated libraries and literature; for, in the choice of a scholar to address it in Dr. R. W. Moore on the underlying connexion of books and therefore libraries with life; and of our own ex‐President, Dr. Esdaile, to recreate the poetry of the first years of the century, no mistake was made. The technical and administrative matters always seem Ezekiel's valley of dry bones in such a setting, but there were really good papers, practical ones like the very controversial contribution of Mr. Corbett, the excellent hospital library paper by Miss Southerden and Mr. Lamb's experienced treatment of Commercial and Technical Libraries. Most members there, too, were old enough to appreciate the chronicle of 1919–49 offered by Mr. Stewart, and all received stimulation from Mr. L. R. McColvin's forecast of our future. There were too many papers for any one librarian to absorb, but the Library Association serves many interests today. Some impressions have been given in other pages from the writer of Letters on Our Affairs.

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New Library World, vol. 51 no. 11
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0307-4803

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Article
Publication date: 1 February 1983

K.C. HARRISON

Although this profile will attempt to look at various of the activities of this many‐sided man, our first concern will be with his years at Westminster. McColvin was…

Abstract

Although this profile will attempt to look at various of the activities of this many‐sided man, our first concern will be with his years at Westminster. McColvin was appointed city librarian there in 1938 when he was 42 years of age. For this signally important position he had been well‐grounded. His early years in librarianship had been spent at Croydon under the much respected W. C. Berwick Sayers. After that, his public library experience had been considerably widened by his being successively deputy librarian of Wigan, chief librarian of Ipswich, and chief librarian of Hampstead.

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Library Review, vol. 32 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0024-2535

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Article
Publication date: 1 July 1961

The recent advertisement for the post of City Librarian of Westminster announces, in effect, the retirement of Mr. L. R. McColvin, who has held the position since before…

Abstract

The recent advertisement for the post of City Librarian of Westminster announces, in effect, the retirement of Mr. L. R. McColvin, who has held the position since before the last war. Friends everywhere will regret that his retirement has had to be announced at a time when he has still not fully recovered from the serious illness which struck him last December. His retirement was of course due in any case at the end of this year, and it will be everyone's hope that by then he will be fully recovered and able to continue his valuable contributions to library affairs in the role of elder statesman.

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New Library World, vol. 63 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0307-4803

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Article
Publication date: 1 June 1934

ONE or two questions raised by the writer of “Letters on our Affairs” this month are of some urgency. The first, the physical condition of books, is one that is long…

Abstract

ONE or two questions raised by the writer of “Letters on our Affairs” this month are of some urgency. The first, the physical condition of books, is one that is long over‐due for full discussion with a view to complete revision of our method. The increased book fund of post‐war years, and the unexpected success of the twopenny library, have brought us to the point when we should concentrate upon beautiful and clean editions of good books, and encourage the public to use them. “Euripides” is quite right in his contention that there is too much dependence upon the outcasts of the circulating library for replenishing the stocks of public lending libraries. We say this gravely and advisedly. Many librarians depend almost entirely upon the off‐scourings of commercial libraries for their fiction. The result, of course, is contempt of that stock from all readers who are not without knowledge of books. It is the business of the public library now to scrap all books that are stained, unpleasant to the sight, in bad print, and otherwise unattractive. Of old, it was necessary for us to work hard, and by careful conservation of sometimes quite dirty books, in order to get enough books to serve our readers. To‐day this is no longer the case, except in quite backward areas. The average well‐supported public library—and there are many now in that category—should aim at a reduction of stock to proportions which are really useful, which are good and which are ultimately attractive if not beautiful. The time has arrived when a dirty book, or a poorly printed book, or a book which has no artistic appeal, should be regarded as a reproach to the library preserving it.

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New Library World, vol. 37 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0307-4803

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Article
Publication date: 1 February 1950

OUR centenary year has been heralded by no great publicity; the nation, as a reviewer of Brown's Manual in the Times Literary Supplement suggests, has no great awareness…

Abstract

OUR centenary year has been heralded by no great publicity; the nation, as a reviewer of Brown's Manual in the Times Literary Supplement suggests, has no great awareness of the services of libraries or their considerable progress of late years. Some signs there have been. A leaderette in the Daily Telegraph gave a fair, slightly‐sketched picture of what is being done and, a few Sundays earlier, Alison Settle wrote an account of the Christmas work that was being done in a near‐London library in a manner most desirable but which seemed to show that she had only just become aware of activities which children's librarians had been pursuing, Christmas tree and all, for at least twenty years. While we appreciate this well‐deserved tribute and echo it, we are concerned here more with ways that may be adopted to make such services more widely and articulately recognized by our people. Every opportunity will be taken, we are sure, by the Library Association Council to bring such recognition about. There does not, however, seem to be any general programme for local individual library effort, although this must have been discussed by the L.A. Perhaps something may emerge from the self‐examination which Mr. L. R. McColvin suggested at Eastbourne. That would result in more efficiency, the best form of publicity. Best things, however, are slow to be recognized, and as it is at the local library that our reputation is made or lost, we suggest that each library should have its own exhibition, made from local materials, with the title, or intention in the title, “One Hundred Years of Public Libraries!” It should show what it was like in Bookton or in Bibliopolis one hundred years ago—the paucity of opportunity, the few newspapers and periodicals, the book famine; with such old pictures, newcuttings and broadsides as it may possess, it should show how in that town efforts were made to bring in the light. H. A. L. Fisher's “A city without books is a city without light” may be quoted freely. Then, by Stages it could show what developed; leading up to what is now: the well‐lighted, comfortable and active libraries with manifold inner‐ and extra‐mural work for people of all ages, the adequate bookstock and the eager library Staffs infused with Dr. Savage's “incandescent enthusiasm ” for public service. Let the Story be told in all the local newspapers of the labours of Edward Edwardes, the often tragi‐comedy of the town's ballots on the adoption of the acts, the frustrations of poverty and how they were overcome. Let just claims be made for what is now. Surely every librarian could do something of this, even in the smallest towns and even in those where the local authority has not realized its library duties very fully—perhaps most in these. Praise the local pioneers, pour encourager les autres. Have we not the patronage of the Sovereign, the presidency of the Duke to answer any cavil?

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New Library World, vol. 52 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0307-4803

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Article
Publication date: 1 October 1949

THE Library Association has begun the Centenary of the Public Libraries Acts' celebrations with an attractive booklet which, we suppose, is now in the hands of many, if…

Abstract

THE Library Association has begun the Centenary of the Public Libraries Acts' celebrations with an attractive booklet which, we suppose, is now in the hands of many, if not most, of our readers. We are to have, we understand, an official, documented history which should be worthy of the occasion; that may come later. The booklet, however, A Century of Public Library Service, should be made available in every library. To be effective it should go into every household—a manifest impossibility on any means at the command of the Library Association, since the booklet itself puts the registered borrowers alone at twelve millions, and if there are five people to a household, nearly two and a half million copies would be required. If it goes to every service point that will involve 23,000. These figures illustrate the difficulties of our publicity. The machine is too vast for all its parts to be reached. We suppose it will go to every librarian and every member of a library committee—about 6,000 copies—and that may be a good plan, although that would be sending it to those who are, we hope, converted. As for the book itself, it follows the lines of the paper read by Mr. L. R. McColvin at Eastbourne last year; it tells our history; shows by graph and figure the vast increase in supply to meet demand; deals successively with the various parts of the service; and surveys the future. Its value is as an assessment of book stock, staff and relative success and failure and the relation of these to the resources, financial and otherwise, of libraries. In 1949 we are spending £1,650,000 on books, if our calculation at 2s. 9d. per borrower is correct. This, for the whole population—say 45 millions—is not lavish. These and many other useful points are indicated. The work is for domestic consumption, to serve as a basis for self‐examination. On the physical side it is attractive, is printed on plate paper, which brings out brightly the twenty‐five illustrations and a graph, which show pleasant samples of libraries and readers. As a curious point we find no sign in any of the pictures that there are men librarians in public libraries.

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New Library World, vol. 52 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0307-4803

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Article
Publication date: 1 September 1942

RUMOUR occupies so much of the human stage that the Editor of any library journal hesitates to do more than hope that the librarians he serves will be continuing their…

Abstract

RUMOUR occupies so much of the human stage that the Editor of any library journal hesitates to do more than hope that the librarians he serves will be continuing their work uninterrupted by attack at the time his words reach them. This atmosphere is probably a part of the reason that actuates our correspondent Glaucon, whose Letter on Our Affairs this month is unusually virile in its attack upon those who would plan an after‐war world at a time when it is yet undecided whether or no there will be a world to plan. He represents a school of thought, if that name is not rather pedantic for these excellent critics, who believe that there should be no change while conflict continues and that to plan ahead of that is futile, because, as he argues, the men who will operate that world have not been called into consultation and cannot be at present. The experience of the past shows, too, that all such planning has been completely wasted effort; the coming generation would do what it thinks fit without reference to it. Finally he seems to think that when fighting ceases the men and women who survive will be so eager to get back to what they now believe to be their comfortable former state that that desire will overrule any schemes whatsoever.

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New Library World, vol. 45 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0307-4803

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