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Manchester Libraries

Nature volume 158, page 784 (30 November 1946) | Download Citation



AMONG points of interest in the annual report of the City of, Manohester Libraries Committee for the year ended March 31, 1946, is the announcement of the impending reinstatement of the separate Technical Department in the Central Library in the room at present occupied by the Henry Watson Music Library, which will be moved to the second floor. Of the total 6,430,499 volumes issued during the year, 5,102,372 were from the home-reading adult and 819,533 from the junior libraries, and 508,594 from the reference libraries, which so far as issues are concerned have regained the ground lost during the War. Although 102,530 fewer volumes were issued than in the previous year, the average daily issue of 21,419 volumes was slightly higher. Grave concern is being caused by the continued heavy use of the already over-worked stock of the lending libraries, and the scarcity of copies of books in demand is so great that the libraries are compelled to circulate many thousands of copies which are, by pre-war standards, too shabby and dirty to justify a place on the shelves. In the reference sectfon, where the absence of trained staff has been severely felt, the demand for library copies of prescribed books by university, college and school students is all the greater, because so many of them are out of print and unobtainable in any other way. It is embarrassing both to staff and students when some twenty students are anxious to use one copy of a set book. Again, while the total of 71,266 books added to the Libraries during the year, at an approximate cost of £20,700, is the smallest for many years, the average cost of each volume was almost three times the average before the War, The estimate for books has been increased to £30,000 for the current year, but of the 64,908 volumes withdrawn only 7,082 were replaced by new copies, due to the existing shortage of books. A feature of the year has been the increased use of the Commercial Library for all kinds of inquiries, and the value of the Information Bureau is well illustrated by examples quoted in the report.

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