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tion in past years. It has been compiled but hastily and is therefore rough and incomplete. But it at least gives a fair idea of what would be the value of the classed catalogue recommended. I do not propose now to discuss this analysis in detail, as I think it speaks for itself, but there are one or two suggestions concerning possible subjects for future consideration which occur to me, and which I give for what they are worth.



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Under the heading of Library Administration we yet require a paper on the theory of the Selection and Arrangement of Bibliographies in large libraries.

The future of Newspapers is also a subject which must seriously engage our attention in the future. It would repay investigation to consider whether the libraries generally could not devise a plan by which each library would undertake to collect and arrange newspaper cuttings on a particular subject.

You will notice that under the sub-heading of Lectures (and Lecture Halls ?) there are only four entries. On this subject there is yet much unsaid.

I do not know that we have ever had a paper on past Fires in Libraries—and how they were caused. There is much to be said in favour of obtaining a special Parliamentary Return on the circumstances of our libraries in regard to this permanent danger.

On the subject of the Higher Literature in our libraries, it might be possible with a little co-operation to obtain a very interesting and instructive paper relative to the value of the Free Public Library to scholars and scientists.

Professor Cowell, one of the most distinguished Orientalists of the day, on being recently presented with the first gold medal of the Asiatic Society, attributed his successful career (“the bent of my life,” was his expression) to a copy of Sir William Jones' Latin treatise on Arabic and Persian Poetry found in the Public Library at Ipswich, and which he used to read in the early hours of the morning while yet at the Grammar School at Ipswich in 1841.


Turning to the heading of Library Movement, although this Association is nominally that of the United Kingdom, yet we must not forget our citizens on the sea. We want a paper on Libraries in the Navy and Libraries in the Mercantile Marine. This reminds us that we have never had a paper on Regimental Libraries in the Army.

On the important subject of Village Libraries we have had some half a dozen papers, but have yet much to learn as to the administration of Village Libraries throughout the country.

We would like to know more about the Library Work of the Church of England and more concerning the progress of Mr. Stead's Travelling Libraries.

But this subject of Village Libraries leads to the more important one of Cottage Libraries. It is to be hoped that in the near future we shall hear of definite and successful efforts to induce the labouring classes to take pride in forming libraries of their own. In these days of cheap literature there is no excuse for the poverty of literature found in the average cottage.


On the interesting topic of Local Literature, I notice that we have already had some dozen papers. We would, however, like to know more as to progress in the work of County Bibliographies, and we would wish to know more of the measures taken or not taken at the present moment for Preserving and Registering Parish Documents.

The County Council of Leicester issued a Register on the subject which is not only useful but interesting—especially in regard to the places where the parish documents are kept, which range from a "fire-proof safe in the church” down to "a tobacco box in the rector's study”!


On the great subject of Bibliography, there is a large array of important questions which have yet to be taken in hand.

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There was a time when a paper on the theory of Bibliography was listened to with kind impatience as a sort of penance and set-off to the indulgences of a picnic. But a change has taken place, and many who formerly construed the term Bibliography in a restricted sense are now ready to admit that we have much to learn from the study of Bibliography as a Science. So much so is this the case, that it will generally be agreed that the day has arrived when we are prepared to expect and even to look forward to an Annual Report on the Progress of Bibliography as a Science.

In connection with the Science of Bibliography, the great subject of International Bibliography remains as yet almost untouched, except for the efforts of the Royal Society on behalf of the Pure Sciences, and the efforts of the International Institute of Bibliography on behalf of the system of Decimal Classification.

And yet this is after all the task which transcends all
others in importance, and one which we should keep ever
before ourselves, viz., the assimilation of National Systems
of Cataloguing, Classifying and Indexing Literature, so that
the artificial barriers of nationality which oppose themselves
to the progress of knowledge shall be done away with.

I would refer now to another important branch of
Bibliography—that of Indexes of Matters.

When the British Museum Commission was taking evi-
dence in 1849, they put the following question to a witness
who had evidently betrayed his peculiarities: Do you object
to rules in any compilation of catalogues ?” “Yes, very much," was.
the reply. Now, I do not suppose that these views will gain
much support to-day, but although the question of Subject
Indexes has engaged the attention of not a few librarians in
the past, so far as I am aware no member of our Association
has seriously examined the subject with a view to elucidating
the principles and rules to be followed. In connection with
Archæology, the work of Mr. G. L. Gomme alone suggests
more than one paper which would be profitable concerning
Subject Indexes to particular classes of literature.

Then there is yet a great deal of ground to cover concerning the Indexing of the Contents of Books.

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We need a paper descriptive of the Best Existing Indexes, in regard to the contents both of individual books or classes of books (e.g., the indexes to the classical theological writers), with critical notes as to the principles of construction, type and type arrangement.

A very instructive paper might also be written upon Indexes still Required in the case of Separate or Collected Works of Eminent Writers, and we require a paper on Periodicals Indexed, and on Periodicals which Require Indexing.


In the subject analysis referred to you will note that we have had some valuable papers on library work in the Colonies. But, since the institution of the Library Association, there has been, as we all know—especially in recent years-a remarkable movement in favour of Imperial Federation. And if we do our duty, this lays upon us the obligation of trying to confederate library work throughout our Empire. And this can only be done by requiring and obtaining regular information on the subject.

In vol. iv. of the Canadian Magazine, published in 1895, we find the following remarks relative to literary culture in Newfoundland :The Government makes an education grant, and there are very few,

if any, of the last two generations who are unable to read. But in St. John's there is no free library, and, with the exception of American paper-covered editions of modern novels, books are very dear and often difficult to get. In the outports—that is to say, all the settlements round the coasts—books are not obtainable. English papers very seldom find their way to these remote places, and when they do are of no great interest to people who have never been out of Newfoundland.

Now this, if it still continues, shows a deplorable state of civilisation in a Colony of this degree, and makes us wonder whether there are not others of our Colonies in a similar or worse condition, and is a strong argument in favour of an Imperial League of Librarians for the British Empire.

Reverting to the theory of publication in connection with the Colonies, it is the duty of the body of librarians in this

country to apply themselves seriously to the subject of a Uniform System in the Publication of Official Documents and Statistical Papers throughout our Empire. It only requires a little study on the part of some of our members, and an occasional paper on the subject, and we must eventually succeed in achieving this desired end.


Although the information partly exists elsewhere, I do not think that we have ever had a paper descriptive of the aims and work accomplished of the various Literary and Publishing Societies. Indeed, this is a subject which would require many papers.

Under the heading of Biography, there yet remains much to record of the opinions of librarians and bibliographers such as Sir Anthony Panizzi and Edward Edwardes.

On the subject of Bookselling, it is possible that an instructive paper might be derived from an investigation of the principles which lead authors or publishers to restrict the editions of certain works to a number so small as to prohibit a work from reaching any but a very limited circle of readers.


These are some of the subjects which suggest themselves as worthy of special attention in the future, and having enumerated them, it may not be out of place to briefly allude to the manner in which we may address ourselves to them.

In the first place, a certain number of our papers will be of a controversial nature, and, if we are to make progress, this must be so in the library world as in all other departments of life.

There is, however, one golden rule which it is well to remember, viz., that we should try to eliminate the personal element as much as possible, and couch our language in such a way that people do not mistake our criticisms on a system for personal attacks on the individual.

In regard to general methods of writing papers, there are

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