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have been placed in a handsomely arranged room; while the Roman columns and the celebrated mile-stone of Hadrian's reign, marking the Roman occupation of Leicester by the Romans, with some handsome tesselated pavements, have been placed in a lantern-roofed
In the great zoological room, which is 80 ft. long, 40 ft. broad, and 25 ft. high, a striking feature has been introduced in the pictorial representation of the fauna, with a view to showing their habits and natural surroundings. So far the work has been carried out with complete success, under the superintendence of Mr. Montagu Brown, F.L.S., the curator.
LIVERPOOL. --The meetings of the Library Literary Society in connection with the Free Library are still continued, the third Session being so far as it has gone quite as successful as the two preceding, which were held under the presidency of Mr. Cowell, the Chief Librarian, Mr. Formby, the Sub-librarian, being the President for the present Session. The following is a list of the Papers read, apart from several interesting Debates and Discussions which have taken place
First Session, 16th Dec. 1881.—Inaugural Address, Mr. Cowell (President); Wm. Roscoe, Historian and Poet, Mr. J. A. Stephens ; A few Facts concerning Shakespeare, Mr. G. Reed ; Was Gutenberg the Inventor of Typography ? Mr. H. E. Curran ; a Sketch of the Life of Charles Dickens, Mr. W. Huntley.
Second Session. Thoughts and Reflections: a Retrospect and a Criticism upon the First Session of our Society, Mr. Cowell (President); Style versus Manner, Mr. W. May; Library Pests, Mr.J. H. Quinn; Classification and some of its Systems, Mr. W. May; On Fiction in Free Libraries, Mr. H. Burns; Municipal Corporations and the Free Libraries Acts, Mr. Formby; A Short Study of Carlyle, Mr. Stephens.
Third Session. — Inaugural Address, Mr. Formby (President); Books (a Paper), Mr. Formby (President); the Essayists' Period of English Literature and its Influence on the Literary Criticism of the last Quarter of a century, Mr. W. May; Notes on Branch Lending Libraries and News Rooms, Mr. W. Huntley.
LONDON : BATTERSEA.—The result of the poll on the question of adopting the Libraries Acts in Battersea must have been a great disappointment to the supporters of the movement, after a committee had carried on the campaign for several months, had held many public meetings (at which the feeling of the ratepayers appeared to be strongly in favour of the proposal), and distributed 10,000 copies of a scheme showing what could be done with a halfpenny rate. Less than 600 persons took the trouble to vote out of a population said to be 120,000. The numbers were for the Acts 253, against 333; majority against 80.
LONDON : BIRKBECK INSTITUTION.-Lord Carlingford presided on the occasion of the Sixtieth Anniversary and Distribution of Prizes at this Institution on Nov. 23. Hopes were expressed by the Chairman and other speakers that the new buildings would, before that
day next year, be free from incumbrance, and that a generous response would be made by the public to the appeal for the £6000. necessary for that purpose.
LONDON : GRAY'S INN.-In order to meet the increasing requirements of the Society of Gray's Inn in respect of library accommodation, the Benchers have decided upon extending their premises by the addition of a wing adjacent to their present East Library. The eastern frontage of the new building will abut on Gray's Inn Road, now in course of being widened, and the elevation designed for it will make the building an important addition to that improved thoroughfare. The plans have been prepared by Messrs. Isaacs and Florence, the Society's Architects, and harmonize in style with the older parts of the Inn, and the work will be commenced forthwith.
LONDON : WESTMINSTER.— The Rev. H. A. Cotton, minor Canon, has been appointed librarian of the Library of the Dean and Chapter of Westminster. Mr. Cotton is now occupied upon a report on the state of the Collection, with a view to its entire reorganization.
METROPOLITAN FREE LIBRARIES ASSOCIATION.—A meeting of the Metropolitan Free Libraries Association body was held at the rooms of the National Rifle Association, 12, Pall Mall East, on Thursday, December 6. Mr. E. J. Watherston was called to the Chair, and in the course of his address drew attention to the great advantages of public libraries, and to the progress the Association was able to point out in the suburbs and outskirts of the Metropolis. If the necessary funds were forthcoming the Association would be able to hold meetings at frequent intervals, in order to enlist the sympathy and support of the working classes in more central parts of London. The Association had been of great assistance on many occasions in supplying authentic information on the subject. Mr. R. Harrison in contrasting the position of London with that of Liverpool observed, that the poverty of the Metropolis in the matter of Public Libraries was a blot upon the enterprise and intelligence of its citizens.
The Honorary Secretary (Mr. H. R. Tedder) said that all their members would regret the loss sustained by the death of their late Vice-President, Mr. W. Spottiswoode. After the despatch of some formal business, Mr. Tedder read a Report on the present position of the Public Library movement. Including those Libraries established under private Acts of Parliament, about 113 towns in the United Kingdom had adopted the Public Libraries Acts. The first was opened thirty-one years ago, and in twenty years the Acts had been adopted by 45 places. As during the last ten years no less than 68 additional localities had adopted the Acts, this sign of accelerated progress was one to be rejoiced at. Every Provincial Town in England of more than 100,000 inhabitants, except Hull, had adopted the Acts. Apart from London, there were in England and Wales 63 towns of over 40,000 inhabitants apiece, with a population altogether amounting to 6,483,874. Forty-six of these towns had already adopted the Acts, and since they were the most populous of the great towns, over five millions of the urban population of
England and Wales enjoyed the benefits of Public Libraries, supported by themselves and managed by themselves. More than three-fourths of these Libraries were owned by the great industrial centres, and it was among them that might be seen the most extensive and most successful libraries in the country. The working and intelligent classes strongly supported the spread of Free Libraries, while as a natural consequence the idle classes of all ranks strove to hinder them. The Association watched, with much anxiety, the efforts now being made at Battersea. In other parts of the country there was ample cause for satisfaction.
The proceedings closed with a vote of thanks to the Chairman.
ST. HELENS.-On the 23rd November Mr. Formby, of the Liverpool Free Library, read a Paper on “Books” before the Literary Section of the Association for the Pursuit of Science, in their rooms, Salisbury Street.
Our honorary member, Count Ugo Balzani, who is at present living at Oxford, has brought out a translation of his very interesting English work on the Italian Chronicles published last year by the S. P. C. K. which contains so much bibliographical information on a peculiarly difficult branch of history. The Italian edition contains much new matter. The title is “Le cronache Italiane nel mediævo descritte da Ugo Balzani” (Milano: U. Hochli, 1884. sm. 8vo, pp. xi, 310.)
Señor Diaz y Perez is contributing to the Revista Contemporanea a series of Articles entitled “Las Bibliotecas en España," of which we hope to give our readers some account when the series is completed.
The August number of Symons's Monthly Meteorological Magazine contains a notice of Dr. Hellmann's Repertorium der deutschen Meteorologie (Leip., Engelmann: 1883). Dr. Hellmann's book, a large octavo of over five hundred pages is said to be not only a bibliography, but very much besides "a work without parallel or precedent in our branch of science.”
The January number of The Sugar Cane, a Monthly Magazine published at Manchester, is to contain the commencement of a “ Bibliography of Sugar.” The titles will be arranged in three divisions :1. Books printed prior to the Nineteenth century. II. Those printed during the first fifty years of this century.
III. Those printed subsequently.
LIBRARY CATALOGUES AND REPORTS. Aston Manor Public Library. Catalogue of the Books in the
Reference Department; compiled by Robert K. Dent, Librarian, Aston, 1883. 8vo, pp. iii, 99, half bound A very carefully prepared Catalogue on the dictionary plan. The abbrevia. tions used are printed at the foot of each page. The contents of collected Works, &c. are set out, as also the portraits in illustrated works. It is printed in double column and is in small type.
Canterbury. Report of the Museum Committee for the year ending
November, 1883 [dated 1 November, 1883] s. sh. folio.
The Committee report that 16,753 persons visited the Museum during the year, and that there has been great increase in the number of visitors to the Reading Rooms. The number of volumes issued to borrowers from this Library was 2,454 as against 1,200 in the previous year. Considerable additions have been made to the Museum and Library, and the Committee have printed a new classified Catalogue" in place of the one complained of.” The financial condition of the institution is satisfactory. Clitheroe Free Library. Fifth Annual Report, 1882-3. Presented
to the Town Council, 9th November, 1883. 4to, pp. 3.
The Committee report that the institution is steadily increasing in usefulness and popularity. The Library has been open 106 nights during the year, and the issues were 14,107. The volumes added to the Library numbered 188. The number of borrowers now on the books is 1,006. The total expenditure for the year was £79. 9s, 2d. Borough of Leamington Free Public Library Annual Report, 1882-3.
Presented to the Town Council, November, 1883. 4to, pp. 4.
The additions to the Library numbered 509, of which 198 vols. were presented, making the stock now in the Library 12,480 vols. The issues from the Lending Library were 43,421,-a decrease on the previous year of 2,069 ; the volumes used in the Reference Library numbering 1,704, a decrease of 902. The Committee estimate that the total number of persons visiting the Library "reaches the astounding total of 195,000 in the year.” The income was £544. 11s. 6d. of which the rate for the year produced £529. 18s. 10d. The Committee regret that they can spend so little upon books.
CORRESPONDENCE. In the St. James's Gazette of the 14th inst., there appears the following paragraph :
The Library Association must be rather hard up for subjects when it calls upon Mr. Borrajo to read a Paper on “ Porson as a Librarian.” The communication bears some analogy to the famous chapter on snakes in Iceland. Porson was indeed librarian of the London Institution from 1806 to 1808, but his notion of a librarian's duties seems to have been limited to the inscribing of sarcastic comments on the fly-leaves of a few volumes. Wide as was his reading, he does not seem to have " left any lasting impression of his work” in the library ; he neither added to its collection, catalogued its volumes, or even vouchsafed the favour of his personal presence very often. The managers told him that “they only knew him to be their librarian by seeing his name attached to the receipts for his salary"; and Porson concluded that the managers were “mercantile and mean beyond merchandise and meanness." Our standard of library work has changed since Porson's days. We used to seek a scholar and man of culture : now we look for a business-like clerk. The latter is necessary in his way ; but critics like Porson are worth a wilderness of clerks on occasion. What is really wanted in a great library is both the scholar and the clerk ; but this conjunction is at present “sadly to seek.”
Under the impression that even so very superior a journal as the St. James's Gazette might admit a correction on a point of fact, I directed the following letter to its Editor :
To the Editor of the " St. James's Gazette." SIR, - My attention has only just been called to a paragraph in your issue of Friday last, commenting upon a paper on “ Porson as a librarian," which I have had the honour of reading before the Library Association. I'desire to point
MONTHLY NOTES OF THE LIBRARY ASSOCIATION.
out that I alone am responsible for the subject and its treatment,-and it is obvious that the Library Association cannot judge of the merits of a paper offered to it before that paper has been read. Of the short-comings of my paper none is better aware than myself, but that the subject is so totally des. titute of interest for practical librarians as the writer of the paragraph seems to imply is, I think, negatived by the short but interesting discussion which followed the reading of the paper.
I must protest against the disingenuous manner in which I am, by implication, credited with the opinion that a business-like clerk makes a better librarian than a great scholar and critic like Porson. I doubt whether anyone could hold a theory so absurd and monstrous, and I most certainly propounded nothing of the kind. In conclusion I would add that the combination of scholarly tastes with business habits, is not so rare a gift as your contributor imagines.
Trusting to your sense of fairness to find space for this letter in your next issue,
I am, yours obediently,
EDWARD M. BORRAJO. Neither was this letter inserted, nor any notice taken of it. I regret that I should have so misjudged the St. James's Gazette, as to think there existed in its Editor's room a sense of either fairness, or ordinary courtesy. Under the peculiar circumstances of this case may I ask you to find room for this letter, in order that it may be seen that the mistakes which I sought to correct were made, not accidentally but intentionally ?
EDWARD M. BORRAJO. 22, Haverstock Hill, N.W.
DISFIGURING BOOKS. With reference to the comments on “Disfiguring Books” in the last “Monthly Notes," I should like to call your attention to the numerous pamphlets, &c. sent out to libraries and private individuals, which reach their destination in an irrecoverably damaged state, owing entirely to the bad method adopted by the senders in preparing them for the post. Many of the valuable presentations made from time to time to this Library have reached here in a partly spoiled condition from this cause. Why should any book, or any pamphlet which is ultimately to form part of a bound volume, be folded up just as it comes wet from the press, and be so tumbled and creased that it can never come smooth in any ordinary process of binding ? Could not some plan be devised for delivering publications in a flat state? My copy of “Monthly Notes," just received, is by no means an exceptional instance. In this Library there are two bound volumes of " Monthly Notes " containing scarcely one leaf which is not disfigured and deteriorated by a deep crease from top to bottom, caused by sending them doubled up, when damp, through the post.
I remain, yours faithfully, Library,
THOMAS W. NEWTON. Museum of Practical Geology, S.W.
Dec. 5, 1883.
LONDON : Printed and Sold for the Association by J. Davy & Sons,
Dryden Press, 137, Long Acre.