It is one thing to discuss the clauses of a prospective Bill but to get that Bill through Parliament is a vastly different affair. It was at the Buxton L. A. Conference, in 1896, that the matter was considered, and now, after four years' working and waiting, we have advanced just so far as to have got through the House of Lords a Bill intituled an Act to amend the Acts relating to Public Libraries, Museums, and Gymnasiums, and to regulate the liability of managers of Libraries to proceedings for libel. At the present moment this Bill is awaiting an opportunity of coming before the Commons. With this position it must be perfectly familiar, for it was only on account of Lord Avebury's despair at finding no opening for it in the House of Commons that the Association induced Lord Windsor to pilot it through the House of Lords. If the present Parliament lives long enough there is just a chance of the measure being entered upon the statute book but, with forecasts of an early dissolution confronting us, and with Mr. Balfour's recent announcement of the Government appropriation of private members days this session, the prospect is not particularly encouraging. If these slender hopes are not realised, the Bill will be none the forwarder for passing the Upper House whilst, if it should be so fortunate as to pass the Commons without further amendment, it would at once pass into law. Lord Balcarres has been good enough to take charge of the Bill in the House of Commons, and as it is well backed, and has been pruned down by the Standing Committee, and has really nothing of a contentious nature in its provisions, we may reasonably hope that if it once gets a start in the House it will reach a successful finish.
New Library World – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jul 1, 1900