Most librarians in libraries of several years standing must have been confronted with the difficulty of obtaining copies of certain books which have been allowed to go out of print by their publishers. The number of such books is rapidly increasing, and among them are works which have taken a recognised place in English literature, as well as many others which have obtained a permanent value by being enshrined in the catalogues of hundreds of public and other libraries. In course of time many of these books are worn out, and it becomes necessary to replace them with new copies. It is then the discovery is made that fresh copies cannot be obtained, and the librarian is filled with dismay on receiving a long list of books from his bookseller marked with the ominous sign OP. Time after time this experience is repeated, till the librarian begins to wonder if any of his catalogue entries of certain authors will stand good. A temporary relief is sometimes obtained by advertising for secondhand copies, but even these are becoming more difficult to procure, and in the case of novelists like G. P. R. James, James Grant, and Harrison Ainsworth, only three volume editions are reported. It is, therefore, quite evident that the time has arrived for some combined effort to be made by the librarians of the country, if their shelves are to be kept in agreement with their catalogues.
New Library World – Emerald Publishing
Published: Dec 1, 1900