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The Library Association of the
Contents :-Official Notices-December Monthly Meeting : Paper by Mr. E.
C. Thomas, " The Future of Monthly Notes.”—January Monthly Meeting-
The next MONTHLY MEETING of the Association will be held at the London Institution, on Friday, January 4th, at 8 P.M.
DECEMBER MONTHLY MEETING. The Third Monthly Meeting of the Seventh Year of the Association was held on Friday, December 7th, at 8 P.M. at the London Institution, Mr. W. H. OVERALL in the Chair.
The Minutes of the last Meeting having been read and confirmed, the following gentlemen being engaged in library administration were announced as having become Members of the Association :Mr. EDWARD C. LINGS, Librarian, Leicester Free Library (who rejoins); Mr. D. GORMAN, Librarian, Free Library, Chesterfield ; Mr. T. BAILEY, Librarian, Free Library, Smethwick. It was also announced that the FREE PUBLIC LIBRARY, NOTTINGHAM, had become a subscriber.
The following gentlemen who had been duly proposed and seconded at the previous Meeting, were elected Members of the Association :-Mr. JAMES COWAN; Mr H. C. RICHARDS ; Sir A. C. STEPNEY, Bart., and Mr. W. PRICE WALL.
Mr. John HALLAM, Chairman, and Mr. JAMES BAIN, Librarian, of the Public Library, Toronto, were then, on the motion of the Secretary and Mr. H. R. Tedder, unanimously elected Honorary Members of the Association.
The following gentlemen were proposed and seconded for election at the next Meeting :Mr. R. S. Faber, 14, Westbourne Terrace Road, W., proposed by the Treasurer, seconded by the Secretary; Mr. John Moore, Chairman of the Local Board, Northwich, proposed by Mr. Cotgreave, seconded by the Secretary.
The Chairman then called upon the Secretary to read his Paper entitled, “THE FUTURE OF MONTHLY NOTES."
THE FUTURE OF MONTHLY NOTES. It is already known to those of our members who were present at the Liverpool Meeting, or who followed its proceedings as reported in the MONTHLY NOTES, that with the end of the present year an important change is to be made in the mode of publishing the “ Transactions and Proceedings" of our Annual Meeting and in the form of our present Journal.
The change about to be made, even as regards our Transactions, will be almost wholly a change of form; and has been proposed with the view partly of securing greater promptitude of publication, and partly of reducing the cost of their publication. We are all proud of the series of handsome volumes of which the London and Cambridge Transactions are destined to occupy the last, and we are greatly indebted to the friendly offices of Mr. B. F. Stevens, without which it is certain that they could never have been published. The expense attending the publication of our various proceedings in two different forms is a matter that has for some time engaged our attention, and the decision of the Annual Meeting at Liverpool that they should henceforward be printed in one form only—but with separate pagination for each series-was not arrived at therefore without due consideration.
One effect of the change will be to give increased importance to what have hitherto been called the “Monthly Notes," and in view of this circumstance the Council have decided to issue them in future under the name of the Library Chronicle.'
The “Future of the Monthly Notes” therefore means the “Future of the Library Chronicle," and my object this evening is in the first place to lay before you such suggestions as are the result of my two years' experience in editing the “Monthly Notes,” and secondly to invite the suggestions of those who are present this evening, or may read the present Paper when it is printed.
The most convenient way of doing what I propose will perhaps be to explain briefly what have been the principles upon which the “Notes” have been edited since they have been intrusted to my charge.
In the first place it has of course always been the duty of the Editor to give an account of all our official proceedings, and to print the Papers read at our Monthly Meetings.
In the second place a considerable number of Articles have been printed during the last two years over and above the Papers read at Monthly Meetings. It will be remembered that at the beginning of the year 1882 the “Notes” were enlarged from eight pages to a normal sixteen pages monthly. This enlargement of course enabled us to find room for more Papers than could be read and discussed at Monthly Meetings, as well as for some Articles not altogether suitable for discussion, such, for example, as the late Prof. Jevons's “Selected list of Books in Political Economy."
Comparing the “ Notes” with themselves, and the year 1882 (as the last completed year) with the year 1881, it will be found that in
the year 1881 seven Papers read at Monthly Meetings were printed, and in the year 1882 siæ Papers and ten additional Articles, making total of sixteen Papers, were printed.
In the third place, a most obvious duty to be performed by the “ Notes
was to supply prompt and authentic information as to the work done by the Libraries represented in the Association and others. This has been supplied in the form of Notes and News on all matters of Library interest, and also in the form of abstracts of the Reports issued by the various Library authorities.
In this respect I venture to think a considerable advance has been made, as may be roughly but sufficiently demonstrated by figures. In the year 1881 the number of paragraphs published under the heading of “Library Notes” was 45, including five Abstracts of Library Reports. In the year 1882 the number of Library Reports noticed had increased from 5 to 71, in addition to 196 paragraphs of Notes and News on library matters, thus making a total of 267 paragraphs.
Under the same heading with Reports there appeared in the year 1882 notices of 29 Library Catalogues, as compared with 4 Catalogues noticed in 1881.
Comparing ourselves now for a moment not with ourselves but with other publications professing to devote particular attention to library matters, I think it will be admitted not only that there is room for a special organ for the purpose of providing such information, but also that the “Monthly Notes,” considering the means at our disposal, have been fairly successful in supplying this information.
To extend the calculation over a whole year would be too tedious a plan in this case, and I have only troubled myself to examine the numbers of the Academy and Athenæum, and the Bibliographer, for the period corresponding with our number for last October. I find that of the 30 Notes, in addition to Notices of 3 Catalogues and 9 Reports, which appeared in the “Notes," only 2 had been represented by anything in the Academy and Athenæum together, while in the Bibliographer, which as you are aware has a special column headed “Libraries," only 2 were represented, though it is true there were 7 paragraphs of library news, 5 of which however were late and corresponded to paragraphs in previous numbers of Monthly Notes.
Now it is not for me of course to speak too confidently as to the interest and value of these miscellaneous paragraphs, although as I am indebted for them or for the information they contain to many of our members, it would not be so improper for me to do so as it might at first appear. However, I will speak only of the quantity of matter thus brought together, and submit that it is enough to demonstrate the need for an organ exclusively, or almost exclusively devoted to the collection and publication of library news and the discussion of library matters.
I come now to speak of a subject which has always caused me much anxiety and regret in connexion with our work as an Association. This is the subject of Bibliography. This was included by our original Constitution amongst the main objects which the Association was intended to promote. And it can hardly be denied that the claim of the librarian to rank as a man of letters and a minister of culture must rest not upon his skill in the stowing away of books, or even in the mere cataloguing of them, still less in the facility with which he deals with the issue of them upon a large scale, but upon his knowledge of books and his acquaintance with something more than the labels and numbers upon their backs. The multiplication of books is now proceeding so rapidly, that it must every day become more and more impossible for private students or collectors to cope with it. It is of vital importance for the needs of students and men of letters that there should be a set of men to whom they can look for information on the history of the various books and branches of study with which they are concerned. And such men it must be obvious can only be found in connexion with large collections of literature. The days of amateurishness in bibliography are, or ought to be, over. No one indeed can be expected to cover the whole field in any considerable department of literature or science. But it is still more true that no one unless he has not merely access to a large collection but can also fall back upon its custodian for assistance, can expect to cover satisfactorily even a small portion of it. It should surely be the aim of the librarian to cover as much of it as he can. Knowing that these views of the intimate connexion between librarianship and bibliography are held by our leading librarians, I have naturally attempted to pay as much attention to bibliography as was compatible with the limits placed upon our space. In the year 1882 notices were given of all bibliographical publications of importance, and I am the more entitled to speak freely of the great value and interest of those notices, first, because of the flattering way in which they have been spoken of by others, and secondly, because that department was practically under the management of Mr. Tedder. Unfortunately the space at our disposal was found to be insufficient for the adequate treatment of bibliography, as well as purely library matters, and during the present year I have been obliged with great reluctance to drop these notices.
If I have thus dwelt so long upon the past, it is because this general exposition of the aims and manner in which the “Notes" have been edited sufficiently indicates, I think, the direction in which we should seek to develope the “Monthly Notes" in the coming year.
May I now point out briefly in what way the members may help the future Editor of the “Library Chronicle” in his efforts to make it a credit to the Association, and a fit exponent of the work and aims of our members ?
1. In the first place I may urge upon them the great assistance which all librarians can render to the Editor by sending copies of their Reports and Catalogues, or other library publications.
2. It is hardly less important that our members should send early
intelligence of any library events or movements of interest, and copies of local newspapers containing library news.
3. Though these minor contributions will give interest and even value to the “Chronicle," it must be apparent that more extensive communications in the shape of articles will be required to lend it weight; and I should like to urge upon even the busiest of our working members that if he were to write--say one article a yearit would be no very heavy tax upon himself, and a great assistance to the Journal.
4. If the “Chronicle” is to be financially successful, by which I mean that it is not to be too heavy a burden upon the funds arising from members' subscriptions, it will be important to increase our circulation. This may easily be done if our members will see that their libraries subscribe for a copy in addition to the copy which the librarian may receive as a member, and if they also ndeavour to secure fresh members or subscribers.
5. Another means of assisting the financial success of the Journal may be found if our members will endeavour to secure the insertion of advertisements on our wrapper, which will obviously be an excellent channel for advertising library appointments, books wanted and other advertisements, which are now sent to some general organ.
I have, as I think it will be admitted, proposed nothing that is not | racticable and easily within our reach, if the future editor receives from the members of the Association the co-operation he is entitled to expect. On his behalf, as well as on my own, I invite those who are present and those who will see these words in type, to communicate any suggestions which may occur to them as likely to increase the interest or add to the usefulness of their own organ,
The Library Chronicle.
POSTSCRIPT. As the arrangements for the publication of the LIBRARY CHRONICLE are not yet completed, and as the first number is not likely to appear before the 1st of February, an account of the January Monthly Meeting is appended to the present number of the NOTES.
JANUARY MONTHLY MEETING. The Fourth Monthly Meeting of the Seventh Year of the Association was held at the London Institution on Friday, January 4th, 1884, at 8 P.M., Mr. F. T. Barrett, Librarian, of the Mitchell Library, Glasgow, in the Chair.
The Minutes of the last Meeting having been read and confirmed, the following gentlemen being engaged in library administration, were announced as having joined the Association Mr. Frederick Braby, President of F. Braby & Co.'s Library, Ida Wharf, Deptford, S.E.; Mr. James D. Brown, Senior Assistant, Mitchell Library,