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LIBRARY NOTES AND NEWS.
HIS heading will cover all matters of library interest
not otherwise specialised under departments, such as descriptions, statistics, foundations, donations, improvements, personal notes, and library facts of all sorts.
The home and foreign journals will be carefully gleaned with the object of rendering the information as complete as possible; but what we wish particularly to emphasise here is, that if the Record is to serve its purpose each librarian must recognise his individual responsibility-in other words, must also feel that the journal is his own, and must do his part in its editing, by regularly contributing information respecting his own library, as well as other local items likely to be of interest to our readers that might otherwise escape attention.
The briefest record of facts and dates is all that is required; but as accuracy is the most essential feature of these paragraphs, it is of the highest importance that each and every one should be vouched for by local knowledge.
BOOTLE.-The Free Lectures in connection with the Public
The introduction of an electric arc lamp in lieu of the oxy-
Reading lists on the subjects of the lectures are published and circulated gratis.
A course of Museum addresses to school teachers was commenced on 5th December in the Museum. About forty teachers from the public and private schools attended. The object of these addresses is to link the School and the Public Museum more closely together.
BOSTON.-The Free Library Committee has decided to purchase a plot of land in West Street on which to erect a library and reading-room.
CARDIFF.-The Corporation of Cardiff has voted a full rate of 1}d. in the £ for the support of the public libraries during the current municipal year. The bill giving power to levy an additional £d. rate
the Guildhall Museum. Subsequently, however, a petition asking for a reconsideration of the matter was received from a number of the learned societies. The request has achieved the desired object, and the library committee are now printing a report in which they suggest the expending of £400 upon the catalogue. So far as it goes, this is good; but, on the other hand, it is open to question whether the scheme proposed is the best that can be devised. The catalogue is to be sold for is., but its cost will be no less than 6s. 7d. per copy:City Press.
LONDON: LONDON LIBRARY.-A red-letter day in the history of a remarkable institution was that which witnessed the inaugural proceedings in connection with the new and capacious premises of the London Library (Monday, 5th December;. It may be of interest to recall some of the salient features in the history of an institution which from force of circumstances has come to be almost in the nature of a national one. By whom the idea of founding the library was first conceived is a matter of controversy, but Carlyle was undoubtedly the leading spirit in the movement if he did not actually plan it. The testy old philosopher had had a rather bad time at the British Museum, and, feeling aggrieved at his treatment, determined to ensure that in future he and his literary co-workers should be to a large extent independent of the Bloomsbury institution.
The idea took hold at once, and at a preliminary meeting called in June, 1840, with Lord Elliot in the chair, it was decided to establish a library for the avowed purpose of enabling students to have the books they needed at home. . A strong committee, which included Carlyle, Gladstone, Bulwer-Lytton, Monckton-Milnes and Lord Clarendon was appointed to carry out the details.
On the 3rd of May, 1841, the library, which has become famous as the “ London Library," was opened in Pall Mall with 3000 volumes on its shelves ; four years later it removed to 12 St. James' Square, and has now been rebuilt on the same site to provide room not only for the 190,000 volumes which it at present possesses, but for the probable additions of the next half-century.
The issues during the first year amounted to something like 14,000. The subsequent development was very rapid, for the membership which in the first year was but 300, grew in 1845 to nearly 700, and the number of books correspondingly increased. In 1852 there were nearly 860 members, and close upon 60,000 books. A decade later the members' roll embraced 1000 names, and the shelves accommodated 87,000 books. To-day there are more than 2000 members, and the catalogue deals with 190,000 volumes.
Says one of our contemporaries : “Its books may not always be pleasant to look at; they have suffered from frequent journeys, from the wear and tear inseparable even from honest use, sometimes also from the unfair usage of slovenly borrowers, and from the pencil marks of scribblers who imitate the bad habit of Coleridge without the justifica. tion of his genius. But the percentage of losses has always been insignificant, and the two facts that the library now possesses 190,000 volumes, and that on an average some 15,000 of them, or one in twelve, are being read, prove at once the care with which it has been built up and the extent to which it is used."
The London Library has no dislike for light literature; but from the book of the hour—the book of which Mr. Mudie buys some 2000 copies—it holds serenely aloof till the hour is nearly spent. Its books are bought to be kept, not to be sold again second-hand, and it cannot afford to buy and keep fifty or a hundred copies of the last popular
Valtern Gazette points a moral from the energy and public spirit of the Colwall people, and deplores the want of a good public library in Malvern, which should more adequately meet the demands of residents and visitors than the existing subscription libraries succeed in doing. It is pointed out that the Priory Mansion and grounds would be a desirable property for the town to acquire for public purposes, and that the Mansion is admirably adapted for a School of Art and Free Library.
MANCHESTER: Closing of an Old Manchester Library - The Royal Exchange Library-the oldest of the subscription librarieswhich for more than a hundred years has played a usetul part in Manchester, will cease its operations and close its doors on the rist of February next. It will be a source of genuine regret to many people that, owing to the change of conditions of city life, it has been obliged to close its doors. It is the intention of the governing body to dispose of the coilection of books, which is an extensive one, comprising many valuable historical and topographical works, by public auction or otherwise.
OXFORD: Oxford Union.- Mr. Raymund Asquith of Balliol has been elected to the office of librarian without opposition.
SOUTHAMPTON.-It has been decided to discontinue the fee of twopence which has been claimed for the annual renewal of borrowers' cards since the year 1892.
WALSALL: Proposed Subscription Library.—The suggestion which was made to the Free Library and Art Gallery Committee by Mr. G. Gill that it would be expedient for a subscription library to be started for Walsall, so that the books purchased by means of the annually subscribed sums, after circulation among the subscribers, could ultimately become the property of the Free Library and Art Gallery Committee, and thus go to increase the volumes in the reference and lending libraries, has been very promptly assented to and acted upon.
* The scheme, which promises to be a very great success, has been explained by the librarian Mr. Alf. Morgan, in a letter to the local journal, which we reprint as likely to be of interest to some of his professional brethren.
About one-half the annual subscription in ordinary subscription libraries goes in rent, salaries, gas and other expenses; but by arrangement with the Free Library and Art Gallery Committee the cost of management would be reduced to a nominal sum, and practically the whole of the income be at the disposal of the committee of subscribers. Members would, therefore, be able to obtain the choice of nearly twice as many books as they would in other provincial subscription libraries. The plan has been tried in Coventry, West Bromwich, Wednesbury and other towns, and found to work satisfactorily.
“It is suggested that the subscription should be one guinea per annum, and if a sufficiently large number of subscribers can be secured to justify the Free Library and Art Gallery Committee taking up the project, I think the Committee would allow a portion of the reference library to be used for the suggested subscription library.
" The books would be kept separate from those in the other libraries for the first twelve months after their purchase, at the expiration of which time they would become the property of the Corporation, it being understood that in consideration thereof the expenses attending their circulation and safe keeping would be defrayed from the library rate.
“ After current use, the books, though transferred from the subscrip: tion department to that of the lending or reference departments, would still be accessible to the subscribers.