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Much hampered by the heavy costs of carriage, it was found that the towns did not avail themselves of the travelling boxes "owing to the fact that there were good libraries in many places,” and it is quite understandable that the progress would be “ slow and difficult " where there were efficient libraries. At places where “ books are scarce" the boxes were welcomed with delight—but in going through the published accounts I have only found one place with a library of any size that welcomed the boxes with “much appreciation and where “fifty" people came to see them in spite of the fact that the town library had 2,000 volumes on its shelves, and had spent no less than £40 in new books that year !
Had these book boxes been handed over for the use of thinly populated centres alone, they would possibly have had an unqualified success, and they have at any rate proved that there is a need in this country for book boxes among the scantily peopled places.
What suggestions are to be made for the future?
I have already pleaded that the libraries of this country should be placed on a wider basis—and that the towns should help the less populated places—and I would go further and suggest that the Government of this country should exercise some sort of control over the money which it provides for library purposes. Money on the pound for pound principle should not be spent in accumulating waste heaps of books soon to be forgotten in every little village or town—but it should be wisely expended upon the building up in a district of one good library from which all the smaller centres can draw. American and English experience has proved this, and if for one moment one proposed to extend to the primary educational system of this country the lax methods of our present library system how great were the outcry. The people who pay the piper are notoriously supposed to call the tune—except in matters educational, and if the Government is to pay library grants on the pound for pound principle, it should see to it that all the money is not spent upon the lightest of literature.
Fiction is the thing that most of the people who subscribe to a library read most largely, but should a preponderating amount of library revenues be spent in this ? J. K. Jerome recently said that much so-called reading is no more an intellectual process than is smoking a cigar, and while I would not condemn a certain amount of recreative reading, I would plead that if the public library is to be what Carlyle called it, "a people's university," we must relegate recreative reading to much the same place as is given to recreation at a university. Recreation is not lost sight of in any well conducted university, and while I would not lose sight of the ephemeral books of the hour in a library, they should not be made our main work-lest we bring upon the libraries of this colony the fate of the libraries of New Zealand, who largely lost their grants in aid because the Government refused to find money to circulate fiction !
The salvation of the public library is to my mind to be found in the National Home Reading Union-and it is encouraging to
find the close relationship which is growing up at Home between the Public Libraries and this Union. Almost invariavıy where the suggested courses and readings have been adopted, there has been an increased interest in the non-fictional contents of libraries, and “a general levelling-up and encouraging advance would almost certainly follow if the members of the Union in a district would take an earnest and practical interest in the management and improvement of libraries.”
In South Africa the work of this Union has been much helped by the Guild of Loyal Women, and I know of no nobler work for a band of ladies than the taking under their charge of the improvement of our libraries, and the extension of their work In small villages and in places where people otherwise would not have the energy to establish reading circles or clubs, through the efforts of the Guild branches of the Union have been formed and good work is being done-in Namaqualand there is a circle, while in Griqualand East a band of young farmers meet regularly under the leadership of a farm teacher to read. In the Orange River Colony, with the kind assistance of the S.A. Constabulary, it has been found possible to stimplate interest in books and reading in remote districts”; at Libode and at Umtata good work is being done—and the people in the scantily populated districts are being awakened to the use of books and the value of the Union.
And now in conclusion of what is a discursive paper—may I once more point to the case of the schools, and ask if the example of their passing from the voluntary to the compulsory may not afford us a solution of the library problem. In the schools of the future we are told that the state will provide compulsory elementary education for every child free of charge—out that ail higher education shall be still voluntary. Can we not mould our libraries in the same plan, use our state aid for the establishment and upkeep of libraries easily accessible to all, whether in town or country, consisting of the great works of the world, and can we nou leave to a super-added voluntary system the provision of that lighter and more recreative reading that is after all more of a luxury than a necessity ?
I have tried to plead the case of the educated man in the hinterland to a share in the benefits of a possibly improved library system, and I would ask you to remember that if he does not get this share you will only reproduce in this country the problems of the older lands--where the first result of a compulsory education that came into being without the provision of any attractions for the educated man in the country was to attract the people from the country to congest in the cities, and where every effort is now concentrated in the cry “ Back to the Land.”
Even in this comparatively new country the travellers have over and over again observed how through the lack of educational facilities the children of educated parents have fallen into the blackest and worst of ignorance—and I would suggest that having caught your child and accustomed him to the use of books during his school years, it were the height of folly not to keep him so accustomed. Give him the chance never to leave his education behind, and how much of influence for good may the libraries of this country be?
I have dwelt but little on the practical side of the questionof how money is to be found for the extension of library privileges and facilities to the scanty populations—but your educational authorities have shewn how elementary educational facilities are to be extended and I doubt not that once the library is recognised as one of the true educational factors of a community, that the state will see its way clear to do its duty.
57—SOME CAUSES AND RESULTS OF THE RECENT
ADVANCE IN PSYCHOLOGY.
By W. WYBERGH.
[PAPER NOT PRINTED.) ]
TURAL CO-OPERATION IN RELATION TO THE
* [ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.)
By J. R. K. BARKER, A.INST. OF BANKERS.
Introductory. The demand for an Agricultural or Land Bank for the Transvaal.
Agricultural Co-operation the corollary of Agricultural Banks. The central and essential features of the system broadly based on mutual co-operation and virile self-help.
Agricultural Banks Generally. The Agricultural Bank of Egypt.
People's Banks and Co-operative effort. In Germany, Italy, other European countries, India and the Far East, England and Wales, Scotland and Ireland.
Agricultural Co-operation in Cape Colony. Agricultural Co-operative Expert and the practical results achieved.
Cape Government Lombard or Loan Bank. Distressful state of the Cape about 1792. Dissatisfaction, agitation, and unrest universal. Colonists in a state of rebellion. Commissioners Mederburgh and Frykenius visit South Africa in June, 1792. The objects of their mission and the powers conferred upon them. Their prolonged and patient investigation. Their supreme remedy, and its intended two-fold nature. Unbounded belief, in former times, in potency and efficacy of inconvertible paper money.
Lombard or Loan Bank founded in 1793. Inconvertible paper notes, or “cartoon money,'issued to amount of £135,473. Objects, nature of business, and management of the Lombard or Loan Bank. Financial and currency expedients of the Dutch East India Co. Achievements of “high finance" in former days. The Cape taken by the British in 1795. The British promptly assure the face value of the greatly depreciated "cartoon money. The monopoly in trade abolished, and other salutary changes made. 2,000,000 rixdollar notes in circulation in 1803, and in good credit. The Batavian Republic, in 1803, cancel the security, created by the British, of “ cartoon money,
which soon heavily depreciates in value. The Cape, in 1806, becomes a British Colony, and 2,300,000 rix-dollar notes found to be current and very much depreciated in value. The Earl of Caledon establishes circuit courts and abolishes the slave trade, etc.
Government Discount Bank, a Subsidiary State Bank, created in 1808. Capital of Bank 100,000 rix-dollars of inconvertible paper money.
Objects, nature of business, and management of the Discount Bank. Lord Charles Somerset regulates the affairs of the Discount Bank. Further issues of inconvertible paper money.