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LIBRARY AMALGAMATION

  
Leinster Leader 10/12/1938 
 
 
LIBRARY AMALGAMATION
NAAS PASTOR’S STRONG REPRESENTATIONS
READING FACILITIES FOR YOUNG
 
          Very Rev. Father Doyle, P.P. strongly urged the Naas Urban Council at their meeting on Tuesday night to amalgamate the Naas Library with the County Library.
He referred to the great facilities which the County Library offered to the reading public in comparison with the local one, and added if the Council decided upon amalgamation 3,000 books would be immediately placed at their disposal.
There would be no displacement of the local Librarian, whose services would still be controlled by the Naas Library Committee, so that there was nothing really to prevent the Council from amalgamating with the County service.
Mr. J. A. Cunningham said he had always advocated what Father Doyle had spoken of, because he thought it a shame to have the Naas people deprived of a library. What passed under that name in the town at present was a complete misnomer. It was an utter waste of money.
Mr. Murphy said they were all grateful to Father Doyle for putting the matter so lucidly before them.
Father Doyle said that from the Catholic point of view there was nothing more essential than having an abundant supply of Catholic literature, which would be a feature of the amalgamated branch. He paid a tribute to Mr. John Connolly, the County Librarian for the marvellous manner in which he had organised and operated the entire scheme. It reflected great credit on him.
It was decided to put the matter formally on the agenda for the next meeting and invite Father Doyle to attend.
TRIBUTE TO CO. LIBRARIAN
Father Doyle said he was there on behalf of the Library Committee to make a recommendation that the Naas Library should be amalgamated with the County Library. He was aware that this had been before the Council at least several times and he thought there had been a considerable amount of mis-apprehension on those occasions as to the relationships pervading between the Naas Library and the County Library, and also the conditions under which the transfer would take place and would ultimately work.
With regard to the local Librarian, this was a point which naturally would exercise the consideration of the Council. The local Librarian would be absolutely under the control of the Naas Committee, which meant under the Council’s control. His appointment, terms of appointment and salary would be absolutely under the control of the existing sub-committee. The County Committee had stated that in a dated and signed document-so from that point of view there need be no change of any kind.
RELIGIOUS SECTION
As to the advantages to be derived from amalgamation Father Doyle emphasised that they were putting at the service of the people of Naas a library at present containing 24,000 books. Over 115,000 exchanges took place in the County Kildare last year. He had seen the library at Newbridge himself and it came to him as an exceedingly great surprise to see how magnificently stocked it was in all departments. Every possible department of literature was catered for there, and one thing he would like to underline above all was that the religious section was magnificent. All the best and most modern books were stocked, some of them very expensive, and it was to the credit of the County Kildare public that the fullest use was being made of those books. He had need of a Catholic Library in the town and a group of people feeling that need were contemplating starting it at their own expence. If this amalgamation with the County Library materialised the need for a purely Catholic Library would not arise. He had no hesitation in saying that it would be worth amalgamating alone for the sake of the splendid religious section.
As regards the other documents there was a particularly strong section of Irish history, Topography and Archaeology. Some of these volumes ran almost into three figures. Again, he would like to stress that the County Library had a tremendous use in providing students studying for public examinations with books beyond their means to obtain. It would even provide books for professional men. He had heard one case of a doctor who wanted a very rare publication dealing with some obscure disease. It was not to be had from the National Library; the medical library could not supply it, but the County Library, through the Central Library, were able to get this on loan. That was a revelation of the tremendous value of this County Service. Every class of the community stood to benefit and every class could be served. Moreover they had made a special offer to schools by which it would be possible for children attending primary, secondary and vocational schools to have a special section provided for their own exclusive use. Children, in this way, could obtain books they would find considerable difficulty in purchasing themselves. Any reader, in fact, on application, could get practically any book he asked for. Again, in the report submitted at the last monthly meeting it was stated that 80 persons from Naas town had gone to Newbridge last month for books. They could realise the expense of going to Newbridge to borrow these books, and realise the advantages of having the same service at their own doors. What was the County Library prepared to do at the moment? The administration of things would be left to their own sub-committee at Naas, and they undertook to put in at once a minimum of 3,000 books, leaving them with their old section. Moreover that stock of books would be increased and changed at will. As regards the expense of dealing with such an enormous number of books-there would be a need for extra shelving, etc.-but at the present time there was some money standing to the credit of the Library Committee which would meet that. Another very important point was that all the books going through the Co. Library were censored and that didn’t apply to any other Library at present operating here in Naas.
WRONG IMPRESSION
Some people were under the impression that every book coming into the country was censored. That was wrong. In the first place, any book or paper-even the rottenest production-could come in; and the way the censorship applied was this-a reader finding something objectionable would report to the Censorship authorities, but in doing so, he was obliged to supply, at his own expense, three copies of the book, and then they would take it up. All books passing through the County Library would be censored before distribution, under the voluntary scheme of the various County Libraries, working in co-operation with Rev. S. Brown, S.J., of the Central Catholic Library. These were some of the advantages to be derived from amalgamation, and the only objection he had heard was the question of finances. Mr. Boyle told them their contribution to the County Scheme would be a penny in the £, on the gross valuation of Naas. This penny on the restricted valuation would more than meet the salary of the Librarian. Of course, in Naas, the public pay for the borrowing of a book whereas the County scheme was free. He was not an advocate of increasing public expense. He realised as keenly as anybody the enormous strain of public expenditure on both local bodies and central administration. He really believed the country had reached breaking point in the matter of public expenditure. But in this case they were not spending money on a luxury, but on a very important public service from the point of view of the cultural, educational and recreational welfare of the people, and he should stress the service which the scheme would give to religion, to schools, to the poor, and also to their public and professional men. They were wasting money by keeping on their present library, because the people had ceased to use it. In saying it was a waster of money he wanted to make it clear that it was not a waste of money in regard to the salary paid to the local Librarian, which was shamefully small.
MARVELLOUS ORGANISATION
Father Doyle, concluding, said he had been in the County Library and interviewed the County Librarian, whom he found a most obliging, courteous and highly efficient official. His work was a credit to him, and marked him out as outstanding. The place was marvellously stocked with all classes of literature. The classification of the books was wonderful. He had found a most marvellous card index. In brief, he was amazed at the efficiency and advancement which he saw on every side of him and he only regretted that Naas was not enjoying to the full the splendid reading facilities which were at their disposal for the mere asking.
 
Chairman -We will put it on the agenda for the next meeting.
Mr. Cunningham -I certainly agree with every word Father Doyle has spoken. I have always advocated amalgamation. It is a waste of money carrying on the present library here.
Mr. Doyle -An objection I have to it, is that well-off people will be deriving another free service off the rates. I don’t mind serving free food to necessitous children, but it is another day’s work to be serving free fiction to professional gentlemen.
Father Doyle -These people pay through the rates, and as regards the reference to food-perhaps, it is equally, if not more important to provide food for the mind, guaranteed chemically pure, as the mental food would be in this case.
Mr. Lacy -We can do nothing to-night about it. It must go on the agenda for the next meeting.
Mrs. Higgins -I hope none of us will stand in the light.
Mr. Cunningham -We are grateful to Father Doyle. The present Library is not a library at all. We are only throwing away money. Our common sense should have told us that long ago.
Mr. Murphy -When I tried to press forward amalgamation before, there were certain members (not Mr. Cunningham) against it, who appear to have changed their minds to-night. I hope the amalgamation will take place at once.
Mr. O’Donoghue -As Father Doyle points out, we forfeit none of our powers.
Father Doyle -When the matter was raised here before I don’t think that aspect was clearly apprehended.
Mr. Cunningham -It is a shame to have Naas so backward in regard to reading facilities. We seem to be backward all round.
Chairman -We will discuss it at the next meeting.
Mr. Doyle -You should have a hole and corner meeting between this and then (laughter).
It was decided, as stated, to out the matter on the agenda for the next fortnightly meeting, and to request Father Doyle to attend.
 
 
 

The Leinster Leader of 1938 reports that Father Doyle P.P. strongly urged  Naas Urban Council to amalgamate the Naas Library with the County Library.Our thanks to Roy O'Brien.


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