One of the features of the last few years' work of the Library Association has been the formation of district associations in various parts of the country. Everyone who desires to see the profession advance must welcome the formation of these bodies, which must help enormously in awakening and keeping alive enthusiasm amongst the librarians and committeemen in the parts over which their operations extend. All cannot come up to the meetings in London, many cannot attend the annual foregathering, but the district association is a means of bringing them into touch with their fellows, and, through them, with the library movement at large. The lot of the remote labourer is indeed a hard one. Friction is a very necessary condition of healthy life one mind must rub against other minds, or stagnation almost invariably results. Not to have someone engaged in the same work, trying to overcome the same difficulties, meeting the same failures and successes, with whom to discuss your latest notionthough it be but to have it damned or his latest notion to which you may mete out the same treatmentthis is hard. Under such circumstances one's horizon is apt to narrow, and one's work to take on the aspect of something to be done for one's daily bread, merely, and therefore to be ill done. One is in danger of becoming one of that type of librarian who is content simply to run his library, to hold on, just that and nothing more. Only the exceptionally strong type can remain unaffected by isolation, and keep the fire of enthusiasm burning even in solitude. Not of course that there is any such thing as real isolation, where the printed page may penetrateand where does it not This is why an Association Journal, circulating amongst all its members, is an essential of real corporate life. The treasurer's subscription demand note is not sufficing as a society's bond of union. But a magazine is at best a poor substitute for the magnetism of personal contact. Hence we hope that districtsand there are several yet in these islandswithout a branch association will speedily set to work and form one. Wherever there are the proverbial two or three librarians within an area not unmanageably wide, and not coming within the operations of an existing centrethere is need for, and justification of, a district association. Such outliers of the parent society will strengthen, not weaken it. But they must work harmoniously with, and in due subordination to, the parent body, their orbits must move wholly within its constitution, and not form intersecting circles, or the results may be disastrous all round.
New Library World – Emerald Publishing
Published: Aug 1, 1901
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