IT is evident from the numerous press cuttings which are reaching us, that we are once more afflicted with one of those periodical visitations of antagonism to Public Libraries, which occasionally assume epidemic form as the result of a succession of library opening ceremonies, or a rush of Carnegie gifts. Let a new library building be opened, or an old one celebrate its jubilee, or let Lord Avebury regale us with his statistics of crimediminution and Public Libraries, and immediately we have the same old, neverending flood of articles, papers and speeches to prove that Public Libraries are not what their original promoters intended, and that they simply exist for the purpose of circulating American Penny Bloods. We have had this same chorus, with variations, at regular intervals during the past twenty years, and it is amazing to find oldestablished newspapers, and gentlemen of wide reading and knowledge, treating the theme as a novelty. One of the latest gladiators to enter the arena against Public Libraries, is Mr. J. Churton Collins, who contributes a forcible and able article, on Free Libraries, their Functions and Opportunities, to the Nineteenth Century for June, 1903. Were we not assured by its benevolent tone that Mr. Collins seeks only the betterment of Public Libraries, we should be very much disposed to resent some of the conclusions at which he has arrived, by accepting erroneous and misleading information. As a matter of fact, we heartily endorse most of Mr. Collins' ideas, though on very different grounds, and feel delighted to find in him an able exponent of what we have striven for five years to establish, namely, that Public Libraries will never be improved till they are better financed and better staffed.
New Library World – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jul 1, 1903
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