We published last month a letter from Mr. E. A. Savage, who is acting as Secretary to the new Library Association Committee on Technical Libraries, which gave us great gratification, since it showed us that the inactivity of the Association is being broken in a useful direction. To the Committee in question is referred the subject of how to strengthen technical libraries in industrial centres, but now we understand that the reference has been widened, with wisdom we think, to include scientific libraries. How it will proceed is not yet apparent, but several things suggest themselves. First, the Committee will collect information as to what resources exist, and to what extent they are accessible to, and used by, the public, with, we hope, the means that are taken to advertise them. Secondly, it is to be hoped that the Committee will invite cooperation in discussing and propagating means of improving such collections. Thirdly, it is devoutly to be expected that the Association, fortified by the researches of the Committee, will approach the various Government commissions and committees now considering technical and other education, with a plea to be heard upon these things. Mr. Savage told us that a questionnaire to elicit information was being prepared, and invited suggestions, and we hope that his letter has received the attention it merited. Delay is the one thing to be guarded against, as it is all too probable that while we are gathering information, the Government bodies referred to may have concluded their investigations and have made their reports, which in that case it is almost certain will contain few if any references to public libraries. We hope, therefore, that the circular of questions has been drawn up. At the time of writing there are no signs of its appearance, which is not a satisfactory matter, seeing that the Committee was appointed more than two months ago. If the Committee is to occupy a whole year in reaching its conclusions the value of the work will be negligibledays rather than weeks or months are important at present. Then, we appeal to librarians to furnish information directly it is requested dilatoriness in such a case would be unpardonable, and all who have had to do with circularising the profession know how prone librarians are to the postponement of answers. It is desirable that information should be definite not only the extent of collections, as shown by statistics of volumes, but also their quality should be elicited. The usual lists of libraries, yearbooks and similar works, mention the various special collections owned by the libraries listed but the special collections of music, art, &c, which figure there are often too limited to deserve such mention except with qualifications.
New Library World – Emerald Publishing
Published: Dec 1, 1916
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