AN older librarian, we think, looking at the Annual Report of the Library Association, which is the principal publication of June, must almost rub his eyes in bewilderment at the recent progress made. In the outer world of libraries, that part which the public sees, there are symptoms, and actual signs, of development new branch libraries, such as those at Sheffield, at Croydon, and at Dartford, are portents of a sortpleasant substitutes, and most effective ones, for the larger, orthodox in size at least branches such as Yardley Wood, Crossgates, Firth Park and Leith. Greater development must be a problem for a few years to come, as every librarian must acknowledge. It is in the development of librarianship and bibliology that this record of the L.A. is so significant. The bare fact that the Centenary Year sees the L.A. with a membership rapidly approaching ten thousand and an income of 36,000 seems almost incredible. Even more so is the fact, not quite so pleasing, that by 347 this income proved insufficient but, on reflection, that, too, is a sign of activity. The Association has almost ceased what was once thought to be its main preoccupation its own organization, or, as one of our writers called it, the moving about of its domestic furniture. It is now deeply concerned with international librarianship, an attitude which in no small measure it owes to Mr. H. M. Cashmore and to Mr. Welsford's flair as host at Chaucer House its gradual adjustment of its benefits, including the education ones, so that they appeal to other than public librarians, as they formerly did, and to such an extent that over one thousand special and university librarians are grouped in it the immense, for it is that, educational and examination scheme, which from the accounts appears to cost the administration about 1,900 more than the candidates' fees provide its extending publishing business, now costing in all 12,150 a year, but bringing in returns more valuable than the substantial sales would suggest, and the quite remarkable library, information, and research work. The Association has become a large business, influencing the life of every librarian and energizing most of the work now done in libraries. The Report has a general acknowledgment paragraph recording the debt owed to the chairmen of committees. It is a modest tribute to a group of men who give great labours to our interests. To be the chairman of a Library Association Committee today is to be a leader and harddriven worker. We owe them much. And this does not reduce our admiration for the manner in which the official staff of the Association do their work.
New Library World – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jul 1, 1950
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