ePub 版


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.


UNITED KINGDOM. BOOTLE.-The Free Lectures in connection with the Public Library, now running for the twelfth season, are better attended than

The introduction of an electric arc lamp in lieu of the oxyhydrogen lime-light is in contemplation.

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 Idd. in the £ for the support of the public libraries during the current municipal year. The bill giving power to levy an additional £d. rate



received the royal assent in July last, so that the Cardiff authorities have lost no time in giving the libraries the full benefit of the increased rate, which will produce a little over £6000 per annum. It is intended to proceed at once with a complete system of branch libraries.

CHATHAM.-It has been decided to erect a Free Public Library, Museum and Reading-Room, at a cost not exceeding £2250, at the rear of the Technical Institute facing the New Road.

DUNDEE.-The Reference Department of the Free Library has again been provided, through the instrumentality of Sir John Leng, M.P., with a gift from Her Majesty's Stationery Office of the most recently issued Parliamentary Returns, Reports of Select Committees, and other Blue Books. Through the kindness of Sir John Leng, this department of the library has always been kept up to date in this important matter.

LEYTON.—The Leyton District Council has again refused, by thirteen votes to nine, to open the local free library on Sundays.

LIVERPOOL: New Library for the South-end.-Application has been made to the Local Government Board by the Liverpool Corporation for consent to the appropriation of the sum of £17,500 out of the proceeds of the sale of corporate property in defraying the costs of the provision of a public library for the South-end of Liverpool. To meet the urgent demand for library accommodation at the South-end of the city, the Corporation has purchased a freehold property at the corner of Windsor Street for £1240, including costs. A tender for the building had been accepted provisionally for £15,777, and about £500 would be left for contingencies. It is proposed to pay the sum of £17,500 out of the capital personal estate of the Corporation, and to debit the Library Committee with a rental by way of interest upon the amount at 34 per cent. At present there is a lending library in Parliament Street, the building belonging to the Corporation, but the necessity of a new library has been forced upon the committee by the want of reading-room accommodation, which could not be provided at the existing library. It has also become necessary to remove the present library more to the eastward, where the population now resides. In their present inconvenient premises they have 5000 readers. The new library would provide ample reading-room accommodation for men, boys and women. The demand for increased accommodation has become urgent, and it is very gratifying to the local authorities to find that the libraries and reading-rooms they have erected have been so very widely appreciated by the people. The proposed building will stand upon about 1350 square yards of land.

LONDON: BATTERSEA : Library for Children.-Final arrangements have now been made for the provision of public libraries for Battersea children. Each child of school age will be able to attend the reading-rooms on school days, from 12'30 to 1'30 P.M. and from 5 to 9 P.M. on week days, on Sundays from 3 to 9 P.m., and on all other days from 10 a.m. to 9 P.M. Borrowers' tickets will be issued to children without respect to age upon the guarantee of a teacher or ratepayer, which tickets are to be available for one year from date of issue. Arrangements have also been made for children to be drafted from the children's reading-rooms to the general reading-rooms from time to time as may be found desirable.

LONDON: GUILDHALL.- Just eleven months ago it was decided to proceed no further with the compilation of a catalogue for

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 insti-
tution 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 un-
doubtedly 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. 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


[ocr errors]


novel, and any smaller number would only create desires without supply. ing them : it wisely buys none at all until the first demand has subsided and the book is obtainable at a cheaper price.

The new building, which was declared open by Mr. Leslie Stephen as president, contains two handsome rooms, some fifty feet long; that on the ground floor fitted with counters for the taking out and returning of books, while above it is the reading-room and reference library which might well be used in the evening for the meetings of learned societies. The two bookstores, one over the reading room, the other in a separate building at the back, follow the plan first introduced by Panizzi at the British Museum, and since copied in many American and Continental libraries. All the fittings are of iron, offering great security against fire, and allowing a certain amount of light to penetrate through the gratings which serve as floors. Electric lamps, placed a few feet apart, can be switched on at pleasure, each by its own tap, and the only fault to be found—a fault inevitable where space is of such value—is that the books on the lower shelves of each storey can hardly be examined without some back-breaking: Liberty to consult the books on the shelves has always been one of the most valuable privileges of members of the library, and this is now enhanced by the much closer classification adopted. This rearrangement reflects the greatest credit on the librarian, Mr. Hagberg Wright, and his staff, who may also well be proud of the fact that the library has only been closed for three weeks during the rebuilding. After more than half a century of useful existence the London Library will take a fresh lease of even more vigorous life, and we hope it may long continue as a striking example of the spirit of self-help, which enables Englishmen of all classes to obtain by friendly combination the advantages which in other countries have to be sought from the State.

LONDON: ST. SAVIOUR, SOUTHWARK.-A series of lectures was successfully inaugurated in the reading-room of the Public Library on the 15th of November last, when Sir Walter Besant delivered a most interesting address on “ The History and Antiquities of the Borough” to a large and appreciative audience, which included Mr. Canston, M.P., the Bishop of Southwark, Lady Barbara Yeatman, and Lady Rotburgh. A list of some of the books and pamphlets contained in the library, and bearing upon the subject of the lecture, had been specially prepared and printed, and was distributed amongst the audience. The librarian (Mr. H. D. Roberts) is giving fortnightly addresses to the frequenters of the Boys' Room, who number upwards of 400. The first, dealing with “Our Food, and how we get it," was given on the 25th of November, and the second, on “Coal, and all about it," on the gth of December. Both addresses, which were illustrated by lantern slides, were much appreciated.

MALVERN and COLWALL. – The Public Libraries Acts having been adopted in the little Herefordshire village of Colwall, the members of the Ballard family have expressed their intention of undertaking the erection of a suitable building to contain the usual departments of a public library; and for the selection of books a Representative Committee has been formed. The inception of the movement for the establishment of a library was due to Mr. F. Ballard, to whom the idea occurred as the result of a conversation with Sir Edmund Verney, in whose village of Middle Claydon (Bucks) the public library has played such an important educational part. Mr. Ballard's proposal was warmly taken up by the Parish Council and the inhabitants in public meeting. This generous gift is one of a long series of benefits conferred by the Ballard family on the place of their residence. The editor of the

[ocr errors]

Malvern 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 libraries-which for more than a hundred years has played a useful part in Manchester, will cease its operations and close its doors on the ist 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 collection 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.

« 上一頁繼續 »