Letters to the editor

Letters to the editor LOGOS 230 LOGOS 11/4 © WHURR PUBLISHERS 2000 Public library funding From Maurice Line, formerly Director General in The British Library Richard Hoggart’s review of Reading the Situation raises several important questions. While I agree with his views (as I have done ever since his The Uses of Literacy aroused my admiration), I am not sure he does his cause any good by stating some of them as fact. The findings of the survey reviewed may be open to question, but Hoggart’s are based on no survey at all. In any case, the allocation of public library bookfunds is far from simple, even if one allows for the (often powerful) influence of com- mittees. Should the public’s money be spent on things most of them do not want very much? Who is to make the policy decision – a local or a national body, librarians or the public themselves? If public libraries did not stock any “rubbish”, their circulation figures would drop, and the librarians would then have to justify the apparent decline in their “cost-effectiveness”. In practice, of course, most librarians compromise, stocking both “good” and “bad” liter- ature. Some may have got the balance wrong; indeed, the balance may have shifted over the last fifty years, in either direction. I remember as a voracious teenage reader – a scholarship boy from a working class family, like Hoggart, bent on self- improvement (whatever happened to that, as opposed to improving one’s market value?) – get- ting through a great deal of rubbish as well as clas- sics; there was no shortage of the former in my local public library. But – and this suggests one way of discriminating between the “good” and the “bad” – none of the “bad” stayed with me, not even the authors’ names; whereas most of the “good” made a lasting impression on me. As for the role of the Library and Infor- mation Commission, this body ceased to exist some months ago. The body that has replaced it, called “Re:source” [sic], has responsibility for archives and museums as well as libraries, which are poorly represented on it. We shall be lucky if it shows any interest in a debate such as Hoggart advocates. Slovenia – some corrections From Dr Martin Znidersic, Editorial Director, Slovenska Knjiga, Ljubljana The section on Slovenia in “Re-inventing pub- lishing in the war-torn Balkans” by Nenad Popovic and Rüdiger Wischenbart requires a few corrections. The authors are right in drawing attention to the reach of Slovene culture into Austria, but the same applies to neighbouring regions in Italy. Slovene expatriate writers in these countries not only publish in Slovenia, but are published in Austria and Italy in German and Ital- ian. For the record, I should also draw atten- tion to some factual inaccuracies. The leading bookshop in Ljubljana is called Konzorcij, not “Kozor”, and is on the Slovenska cesta, not the Titova cesta. Cankarjeva zalozba is a publisher, not a printer. Mladinska knjiga, the printer, and the publisher of the same name, are two separate com- panies. The name of the writer Feri Lainscek was misspelled. Letters to the editor ^ ^ ^ LOGOS 11(4) crc 9/1/01 2:45 pm Page 230 http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Logos Brill

Letters to the editor

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Publisher
BRILL
Copyright
© 2000 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
ISSN
0957-9656
eISSN
1878-4712
D.O.I.
10.2959/logo.2000.11.4.230
Publisher site
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Abstract

LOGOS 230 LOGOS 11/4 © WHURR PUBLISHERS 2000 Public library funding From Maurice Line, formerly Director General in The British Library Richard Hoggart’s review of Reading the Situation raises several important questions. While I agree with his views (as I have done ever since his The Uses of Literacy aroused my admiration), I am not sure he does his cause any good by stating some of them as fact. The findings of the survey reviewed may be open to question, but Hoggart’s are based on no survey at all. In any case, the allocation of public library bookfunds is far from simple, even if one allows for the (often powerful) influence of com- mittees. Should the public’s money be spent on things most of them do not want very much? Who is to make the policy decision – a local or a national body, librarians or the public themselves? If public libraries did not stock any “rubbish”, their circulation figures would drop, and the librarians would then have to justify the apparent decline in their “cost-effectiveness”. In practice, of course, most librarians compromise, stocking both “good” and “bad” liter- ature. Some may have got the balance wrong; indeed, the balance may have shifted over the last fifty years, in either direction. I remember as a voracious teenage reader – a scholarship boy from a working class family, like Hoggart, bent on self- improvement (whatever happened to that, as opposed to improving one’s market value?) – get- ting through a great deal of rubbish as well as clas- sics; there was no shortage of the former in my local public library. But – and this suggests one way of discriminating between the “good” and the “bad” – none of the “bad” stayed with me, not even the authors’ names; whereas most of the “good” made a lasting impression on me. As for the role of the Library and Infor- mation Commission, this body ceased to exist some months ago. The body that has replaced it, called “Re:source” [sic], has responsibility for archives and museums as well as libraries, which are poorly represented on it. We shall be lucky if it shows any interest in a debate such as Hoggart advocates. Slovenia – some corrections From Dr Martin Znidersic, Editorial Director, Slovenska Knjiga, Ljubljana The section on Slovenia in “Re-inventing pub- lishing in the war-torn Balkans” by Nenad Popovic and Rüdiger Wischenbart requires a few corrections. The authors are right in drawing attention to the reach of Slovene culture into Austria, but the same applies to neighbouring regions in Italy. Slovene expatriate writers in these countries not only publish in Slovenia, but are published in Austria and Italy in German and Ital- ian. For the record, I should also draw atten- tion to some factual inaccuracies. The leading bookshop in Ljubljana is called Konzorcij, not “Kozor”, and is on the Slovenska cesta, not the Titova cesta. Cankarjeva zalozba is a publisher, not a printer. Mladinska knjiga, the printer, and the publisher of the same name, are two separate com- panies. The name of the writer Feri Lainscek was misspelled. Letters to the editor ^ ^ ^ LOGOS 11(4) crc 9/1/01 2:45 pm Page 230

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LogosBrill

Published: Jan 1, 2000

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