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PART 11.] PUBLIC LIBRARIES 645

The net books question was brought up for discussion
only, nothing whatever being done in regard to it. In
the early part of the year a largely attended and important
Conference was held in London, when the whole question
was gone into very thoroughly. Mr. H. W. Keay, Presi-
dent of the Associated Booksellers, was present, and laid
his side of the question before the meeting ably and, so
far as his statements went, fairly. But when it is remem-
bered that at the GlasTOW Conference it was affirmed that
the publishers then admitted the justice of the demands
of the public libraries, or at all events of the larger libraries,
and that the only opponents were the London booksellers,
it is obvious that the arguments of Mr. Keay could not
have been very convincing to himself or to the majority
of those he represented ; certainly they did not convince
the London Conference. A large committee was appointed
at that Conference to deal with the question, and at the
Glasgow meeting it was imderstood that a big co-opera-
tive book-buying scheme would be set in motion, either
as a part of the existing Library Association or as a new
society. As all details were denied the meeting for a very
obvious reason, it would be a mistake to deal with the
pros and cons of the question here. Not only might
the scheme be damaged, but, while nothing official has
been announced, any change may be made either in the
outline of the scheme or its essentials. The Association,
when it is formed, must be allowed every chance of
succeeding.

The ' Class List of Best Books ' was again published at the
L.A. Conference. This second issue, dealing with the books
of 1006-1^07, differs in many ways from the first or 1905-
iQOo edition. The annotations are fewer and are not
dlv/diys exactly suitable, and the to some extent empiric
interpolation of headings is capable of improvement. The
book contains a subject index, but its value, particularly
to those who are not trained in classification methods,
would be greatly increased by the addition of an author
index. Nevertheless, this volume is a distinct advance on
the previous one, and will recommend itself to others than
librarians — chiefly, it is believed, to the bookselling trade.
Probably from this cause the volume will be more success-



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646 THE LITERARY YEAR-BOOK [part n.

ful from a commercial point of view than the previous
one ; and it is hoped ultimately to issue either complete
volumes or a series of parts more frequently than once a
year.

The Library Association Year-Book, somewhat belated,
but nevertheless welcome, was published just before the
Conference. The plan of this is somewhat similar to that
of former issues. The most noteworthy feature is the
examination portion, to be noted in * H!ow to become a
Librarian.'

Another recent publication, although not official, is
distinctly important. This is the second edition of the
Manual of Library Economy, by James Duff Brown. The
first edition was written largely for the use and information
of library committees and councils, and library authorities
in general. This new edition has been entirely revised and
in part rewritten, to make it of practical use to the student
of library science. It might have been improved by a
greater attention to detail, but even as it stands it is in-
dispensable to anyone entering the profession or engaged
in it.

This year has been more remarkable even than 1906 in
the notice given to public library matters by other than
the strictlv professional periodicals and other publications.
The Locai Government Officer, the Councils* Journal, and
others, give constant notice to professional happenings,
and a very large number of periodicals of all kinds occa-
sionally devote considerable space to the subject. The
two volumes of History in Fiction, by E. A. Baker (the
Librarian of Woolwich), and the Manual of Practical
Bibliography and the SmaU Library, by J. Duff Brown |

(Librarian of Islington Public Libraries), are not only |

invaluable to students of the profession, but they are of
the utmost use to schools and literary students in general.
The publication of books such as these does not only show
that the number of libraries, and those interested in them,
is increasing, but also that those connected with them are
taking greater interest, and are realising that Th%^ipor-
tance and value of the movement are increasing. An9lK[
way in which the library movement is making itself felt,
or, at all events, is being appreciated, is in its local officiai



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icial



PART n.] PUBLIC LIBRARIES 647

capacity. The Library &>mniittee is no longer regarded
as the dumping-ground for councillors who are not desired
on any other. Committees are more frequently given
executive powers. Library minutes receive due recogni-
tion ; and the library in some cases is taking precedence
of the baths and wash-houses ! In other words, many
councillors are now sufl&ciently educated to realise that
they are ignorant.

It seems possible, if not probable, that before the
pubUcation of the next Literary Year-Book something
definite will have been done in regard to the improvement
of paper for books.* The fight for sound leather was
brought to a successful issue, and there is little doubt
that the same result will attend the demand for sound
paper ; but the conditions are so very different that it is at
least as certain that the struggle will be infinitely longer,
and perhaps more bitter. In many cases there is what
the publisher often considers an insuperable difficulty to
contend with in the proper presentment of the half-tone
block and other modem illustrations. There is no doubt
that some of the evils are due to the insertion of highly
calendered paper for plates, but the great objection to a
very large number of books is to the paper itself. This
state of things is more remarkable when it is remembered
that this country is generally considered to occupy the
premier place in the paper manufacture of the world. The
truth appears to be that the papermakers are not only
able and willing, but even anxious, to make good paper,
and that a certain number of publishers who ' are too
assiduous in the interests of economy ' insist upon an
article which is low in price, but cannot be described as
* cheap,' unless qualified as ' nasty ' too. Possibly the
Association, directly or indirectly, may see its way to
getting a number of copies of editions of some of the books
certain to appeal to public and other libraries printed on
a special paper, or, at all events, a paper suitable for the
permanent use Ubrarians require from books of permanent
value. At the time of writing it is proposed that the

♦ Since writing, the Book Production Committee of the Library
Association has been reappointed, and outside members of the
Association co-opted.



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648 THE LITERARY YEAR-BOOK [part n.

Society of Arts and the Library Association, both of
which are engaged on the sound paper question, should
unite their committee for the purpose of attaining this
end. It is impossible to say whether this will or will not
be done, but there can be no doubt whatever that the
cause would be immeasurably benefited by the union.
Mr. W. R. Sindall, the well-known paper expert, gave a

Seat deal of assistance to the sound paper movement by
3 lecture on ' Paper * at the Conference. Mr. Sindall
has already shown his interest in the subject, and has
taken an active part in the crusade ; but every book-
lover mtist desire to see the more general use of the
better-class material.

For some considerable time proposals have been made
for a closer union between the National Home-Reading
Union and public libraries, but during the past year some
steps have been taken to give effect to one of the most
important of these. It was a tactical error to limit the
conferences held at the instance of the National Home-
Reading Union to consider the question to selected
librarians, few in number, and chiefly from the Metropolis.
It gives an air, if not of secrecy, at all events of xmfaimess,
to a scheme which no one doubts is of the highest inte^ty.
The natural result, however, is that many provmcial
members of the Library Association look askance at the
proposal, and it may be with reason, because the librarian
of the large London library quicldy forgets his earlier
experiences in the smaller provincial institution, and is
unable to appreciate the difficulties which still exist in the
way of supporting proposals such as that of the Readers'
Review, When the committee responsible for the Readers*
Review have experience to guide them, the scheme will
be put on a more favourable basis for pubUc libraries,
and the Review may be made more suitable for its purpose.
When these changes are effected, the success of the scheme
will be assured. On its present foundation a measure of
success will attend this one of the many suggestions which
have been made for the assistance of the National Home-
Reading Union for a period, and it may even continue
sufficiently to make it worth while to go on with it, but
this will not make the proposal an equitable one. It



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PAKT II.] PUBLIC LIBRARIES 649

will be only a mistaken way of spending the library



income.''

One of the brightest sections of the Conference was the
report of the Education Committee of the Association.
This will be dealt with fully in ' How to become a
Librarian/ but attention may be drawn here to the
enormous advantages which will accrue to the profession
from the assistance of the Universities and colleges.

The new Public Libraries Bill, one of the most valuable
clauses of which provides for the exemption of public
libraries from the jwiyment of local rates, has been blocked
repeatedly, but it will be introduced again into the House.
And it is understood that other steps will be taken to
obtain rdief from this oppression if the Bill should fail.

Wanting some central authority or Governmental
department, pubUc libraries in some cases are entering
into co-operation among themselves. In the early part of
the year a few libraries combined to form an exhibition
of the materials and processes of book-production* This
exhibition travelled from one library to another, and a
number of libraries not in the combination have since
obtained it, so that the exhibition has been in existence
for at least twice the time originally intended. This
exhibition will be followed by one of the modem processes
of illustration, in which it is believed the number of
hbraries co-operating will be considerably larger. Another
feature of this co-operative movement is the endeavour
being made to form a circle of libraries, combining for
the interchange of books. The outline of the plan, which
in itself is by no means new, provides for catalogues of
the various hbraries being kept at each of the institutions
of the combination, and any book not in the one library
may be obtained from one of the others at the borrower's
expense. This scheme, however, is still in its initial
stage, and it is too early to say anything definite about
it. But it is interesting in this connexion to record that
the suggestion has been made to form an association, with
a membership confined to public library authorities, for

♦ I have every reason to believe that an alternative scheme I
have since outlined will be adopted by the committee of the Readers*
Raview.



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650 THE LITERARY YEAR-BOOK [part n.

the purpose of promoting and discussing <xM>perative
schemes of a similar nature to those outlined.

In addition to this suggested association of public
library authorities, two other library associations have
been suggested, and steps taken to put the suggestions
into |»:actice. The first of these new societies is an
Association of Scottish Librarians — not, it must be
explained, of hbrarians in Scotland only. It is under-
stood that the policy of this Association will not be a
militant one, but will be directed to social rather than
strictly professional ends. The Institute of Librarians, as
the other new association is tentatively named, wiU be
quite different. The Hon. Solicitor of the Library Asso-
ciation explained at the Glasgow G>nference that the
Library Association could do nothing for the public
Ubrarian as a librarian, apart from the general advancement
of the movement as a whole. WhUe there will be no
antagonism to the existing Association (rather, it is under-
stood, the desire will be to assist that body), the whole
endeavour of the Institute will be to improve the eti-
quette of the profession, and to raise the professional
status of the librarian. In other words, its object will
be to imdertake the work which the Association, on the
authority of its Hon. SoUcitor, is imable to do, owing to
the legal limitations of its charter. At the time of writing
(October), the constitution of the Institute has not been
settled, but it is understood that the scheme is well in
hand, and may be published before the end of the year.
The committee to which the work of drawing up a
scheme was delegated is a representative one, composed
of the following members ol the Library Association :
Messrs. Baker, Brown, Burgoyne, Duckworth, McKnight,
Peddie, Philip, Shaw, and Sparke.

The consideration of the work of the Library Associa-
tion wotild naturally follow at this point, but before
dealing with that it will be as well to touch upon three
matters of interest — viz., the obliteration of betting news,
Sunday opening, and the planning of new libraries. The
feeling of those familiar with advanced theories of library
planning still appears to be in favour of the * open hall '
plan. There is no doubt that this has many important



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PART II.] PUBLIC LIBRARIES 651

advantages over the usual method, but until these advan-
tages are more generally known it is hopeless to look for
any alteration of the orthodoxy of library planning. It
is impossible to say how long it will be before it is recog-
nised as essential to appoint an expert librarian, together
with the architect, to assess plans submitted for new
buildings in cases where a permanent officer has not been
appointed. A number of the improvements in modem
business methods, including card-indexing, the loose leaf
ledger, and office classification, are due to public hbraries ;
but it is anomalous that these libraries should be still
suffering under the tyranny of some of the most unbusi-
nesslike methods imaginable. Library planning, unfortu-
nately, seems to be a bone of contention between the
indicator and the open-access parties. It was thought
that this controversy had died out, or, at all events, was
safely packed away — certainly there is nothing new to be
said on either side — but this question of planning has be^i
seized upon as a pretext for reopening the whole case.

Curiously enough, both Sunday opening and the oblitera-
tion of betting news have received something of a set-back.
This may show the * swing of the pendulum,' but it is due,
no doubt, to the greater advance of the library movement
and the better understanding of the aims of public libraries.
The active compaign against the somewhat imaginary
betting evil, as it existed in public libraries, was bound to
have the effect witnessed diiring the year. Whatever the
cause may be, several hbraries in which the practice of
' blacking out ' was in vogue have discontinued it, and
others have emphatically refused to adopt it.

Sunday opening is a reUc of the days when the public
hbrary was supposed to be an antidote to the public-house
and the music-hall. But as music-halls do not open at all
on Sunday in this country and pubUc-houses are closed
for more than half the day, it is difficult to see the force
of the argument. PubUc libraries are establishing them-
selves more firmly as educational institutions, and tiie need
for Sunday opening is becoming less and less, both on this
account and because of the increase of education. The
result is that the number of libraries opening on Sunday —
never very large — ^has been reduced during the year.



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652 THE LITERARY YEAR-BOOK [part ii.

The amount of work undertaken by the Association
increases year by year. It is unfortunate that in some
instances this should be the cause of delay ; but it is a
matter for congratulation that the Association, so far from
stagnating, is going ahead. The disaffection of some
sections of the branches is more serious, perhaps, than is
generally considered in the London area. It may not be
that the grievances are either substantial or important in
themselves, and some of them may be quixotic and even
ridiculous ; on the other hand, there are some quite the
opposite, and they are all very real to the provincial
members who hold them. It is not suggested for a
moment that the branches should be given control of the
Association, or that everything asked for should be given
merely because the demand carries with it a threat — ^a
wholesale surrender would be disastrous ; but greater tact
might be exercised and more consideration shown. In
some of the London members the idea is taking root that
too much is being done for the provincial member. Without
recommending the adoption of the scheme outlined by
Mr. Pollard in The Library — there is, indeed, a great deal
to be urged on the other side — his article may be shown
in many ways as a type of gentle tactics.

The Library Assistants' Association is a vigorous one.
It also is doing good work at the present time, and the
programme for the year is fuU of promise. It would be
easy to suggest improvements both in this and the Library
Association, but very frequently there are circumstances
which prevent the adoption of otherwise admirable plans.
Probably at no period of its existence has the Library
Assistants' Association been more successful in its
colonizing efforts.

It is alwa3rs pleasant to announce the place of the next
annual meeting at the close of a Conference. Unfortu-
nately, this could not be done at Glasgow. The matter is
not yet settled, but the three suggestions are given in the
order of their probability, which coincides with the order
of their popularity : Antwerp, Brighton,* and London.

* Since writing the above Brighton has been decided upon for the
1908 Conference.



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HOW TO BECOME A LIBRARIAN

The recent rapid increase in the number of public libraries,
and the slow but inevitable rise in the value of appoint-
ments — a rise which, considering the high' educational
standard required in the trained and competent librarian
and the stringent demands of the work, is only com-
mencing — ^make it necessary to define the essential quali-
fications of a librarian ; in other words, to explain how to
become a Ubrarian. In the past the only important
' qualification ' appeared to be a relationship to members
of the local Hbrary authority. There are not wanting signs
that in the future some radical changes will take place in
the education, the qualifications, and the appointment of
librarians and the personnel of the library staff. The
appointment of Ubrarians will follow the lines of other
professions, and the remuneration will be in accordance
with the requirements. The same may be said with
regard to the positions of assistants. This is not the place
to deal with that aspect of the subject, however, and it is
mentioned here only as in some measure an intimation
that the profession is still advancing. The information
given in the following pages is the facts as they stand at
the present time.

It is not possible to give an average of the salaries of
librarians or assistants. A reference to the 'List of
Libraries ' will show that there are a great many institu-
tions which must be entirely omitted from the calculations
of the man who intends taking up the profession as his
work in life. Omitting these, the salaries of public,
borough, or municipal ubrarians may be said to range
from £ioo to £700 a year. It is seldom, however, that a
librarian gets a post worth more than £150 per anniun
before the age of thirty. There is even a greater diversity
than this in the salaries paid to assistants. Amongst the
best institutions the commencing salary at the age of
sixteen is from £25 to £35 a year, rising to a maximum of

653



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654 THE LITERARY YEAR-BOOK [part ii.

£250. The early practice of taking quite young boys,
below the age of fifteen, is quite rightly falling out of use,
as the educational standard is necessarily rising. The
salaries of giri and women asssitants do not vary to the
extent noticed in the case of male assistants. Tliis may
be because they are fewer in number, but doubtless it is
also because there is less prospect of their ever attaining
chief positions. An advertisement taken from a recent
number of fhe Athenceum — the recognized medium for
advertisements of this description — ^may be accepted as
t5^ical of the better-class library employing female
assistants :

METROPOLITAN BOROUGH OF ISLINGTON.
PUBLIC LIBRARIES DEPARTMENT.

The Public Libraries Committee are about to appoint
two senior assistants (female), at commencing salaries of
£52 per annum, increasing by annual increments of £6 los.
to £78 per annum, and invite applications for the appoint-
ments. Candidates must have had at least three years'
experience in library work, or possess certificates of the
Library Association.

Forms of application can be obtained from the Chi^
Librarian, Central Library, Holloway Road, N.

AppUcations, endorsed ' Senior Library Assistant^' must
be forwarded so as to reach the undersigned, together with
copies of not more than three recent testimonials, not
later than Saturday, October 26, 1907.

, Town Clerk.

In considering questions of salary, the importance of
locality must not be overlooked: obviously the London
standard cannot be appUed to a provincial town.

The terminology of Ubrary appointments is, unfortu-
nately, very vague ; the junior in one library may be equal
to the senior in another. In some hbraries the librarian
in charge of a branch ranks higher than the sub-librarian
at the central ; in others the reverse is the rule. The term
' deputy librarian ' — ^vague, because it is yet undefined —
is gradually finding favour. The term ' inspector of
libraries ' is found only in libraries with numerous branches.



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PART 11.] PUBLIC LIBRARIES 655

Sometimes the holder of the post is responsible to the
librarian alone ; at others he is under the direction of the
sub-librarian.

Whatever the practice may become, it is essential that
the would-be librarian of the present must have at least
three years' service behind him. This may be gained in
the capacity of an ordinary assistant, or as a pupil in one of
the yet few libraries where pupils are received. In both
cases salaries are paid, although in the latter they may not
be quite so large as in the former — ^at all events, during the
first year or two. The chief difference lies in the fact that
the assistant is articled for, usually, three, four, or five
years, according to his age, and the advantages are that
more time is given for study for the necessary examina-
tions (the Association's certificates are, of course, essential
for the pupil assistant), and assistance in this study is
given by the hbrarian. It is not yet a sine qtui non that
assistants should pass these professional examinations,
but it is gradually becoming more necessary that they
should do so.

Before detailing the syllabus of these examinations and
the scheme of education most useful, it would be as well
to give some information relating to other than public
libraries. The salaries paid in collegiate. University, and
other proprietary libraries do not differ very much from
those already mentioned. The minimum of the institu-
tions which * count ' is probably nearly ;f 200 a year, and
in a few cases — such as that of the British Museum, where
the principal librarian's salary is jfiiSOO — ^the maximum
approaches ;£i,ooo a year. At present matriculation or a
degree are of more value than the Library Association's
certificates or diplomas for these posts, but it is more than
likely that this will not remain the case. As a matter of
fact, a number of important non-municipal posts have



Online LibraryFrederick George AfflaloThe Literary year book → online text (page 66 of 83)