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The Rushden Echo and Argus, 31st May, 1935, transcribed by Gill Hollis
New Methods at Rushden Library
Modern Facilities for Borrowers

Read it With Flowers!

Even The “Bradshaw” is Up-To-Date

  These are almost hey-days at the Rushden Public Library.  Borrowing has become methodically easy, and reading is on the way to being luxurious.

  It must have been Fate that guided an “Echo and Argus” representative on a special visit to the Library on Thursday morning.  How else can we explain the coincidence that as he walked in, a lorry-load of worn-out books rumbled out?  Hundreds and hundreds of veteran volumes went their way to the scrap heap – a funeral which was described as “the event of a life-time.”

  Those familiar with the Library in its more easy-going days will know full well that the dispatch of a lorry-load of books, however decrepit, could not have happened without the influence of some new force.  That force is the new librarian, Miss Marion Perkins, whose well-directed zeal has already caused a revolution among the once-dingy bookshelves of Newton-road.

  The system, if not the whole of the material, is becoming thoroughly modern.

Regional Service

  Asked to explain some of the innovations, Miss Perkins gave pride of place to the introduction of the East Midland Regional Scheme.  The Library Committee has just decided to pay a first annual subscription of £3 to this scheme.  The bureau has its head-quarters at Leicester and a Rushden borrower is entitled to obtain through the bureau any book he requires.  It will be found for him either at Leicester or one of the other libraries in link with the scheme, and all it cost him is the price of the postage.

  If the East Midlands Bureau does not possess the book it will secure the volume from the Central Library or from abroad if necessary!  Sport is not touched by the bureau, but technical books of any other kind can be obtained.  Whether the subject be soap, shoes, motor cars or general engineering, the borrower can rest content that his needs will be met.

  Already a lot of Rushden people have made good use of the scheme and been grateful for its introduction.

  Non-fiction tickets are another innovation.  In addition to his ordinary ticket, any borrower can have one or two non-fiction tickets, so that when he is in studious mood he need not sacrifice his reading of novels.

Tick Off The Titles

  A particularly helpful scheme by which the librarian can select for a borrower is being prepared.  The Library has just received 557 new books, and a classified list of these is in the hands of the printers.

  Miss Perkins is recommending people to keep a record of what they read by ticking off the titles on the list.  If the borrower has to send a messenger, the list will guide the librarian as to the reader’s taste, and she will do her best to make a good selection.  These catalogues will be obtainable for twopence.

  Very shortly a card index will be in operation, with a card to represent each book, so that the librarian will know exactly what is on the shelves.  Borrowers, too will be able to consult the index.

  Bespeaking books is an idea that Miss Perkins has introduced with great success.  Any borrower wishing to bespeak a book pays a penny and his name goes on the waiting list for that book strictly in order.  As soon as his turn arrives he receives a post card informing him that the book is ready.  Two days’ notice is the rule, and if the book is not claimed within the time the book either goes back to the shelves or on to another borrower.

  This bespeaking scheme is very popular.  In May alone 37 postcards were used, and it is worthy of note that non-fiction as well as fiction was in demand.  There has been quite a queue of names for a certain book on art.

Protecting The Books

  Both on the shelves themselves and in the reading rooms many a new touch is apparent to the visitor.  The high and rather useless top ranges of shelves are covered over with friezes, and the friezes are ornamented with dust jackets taken from the newer books.  The dust jackets actually serve a useful purpose, for books of the authorship indicated can be found on one shelf or another directly below the jacket.  Books are arranged alphabetically according to the authors, and small slips on the shelves show where various authors are placed.

  Some thought has also been given to the preservation of the books.  Each new volume is fitted with a celophane cover, and at Chapter 1 the borrower will find a printed slip politely requesting careful treatment.

  Just one more matter of technique is the gradual introduction of the Dewey decimal system, which enables books to be found at a glance according to their classification.

  There are flowers in the reference room, the ladies’ room, and goodness knows where else – flowers from the gardens of the Rushden Urban District Council.  The “Bradshaw” is up-to-date, and omnibus time-tables now keep it company, with various travel pamphlets and holiday guides to complete the array.  Even the Council Year-book is on the premises.

Many New Borrowers

  All these improvements and facilities are bearing fruit.  More use is made of the rooms – especially the ladies’ room – and borrowers call more frequently.  New borrowers lately enrolled are numbered by the hundred.

  It is altogether in keeping with the outlook of the Library that the lending hours should have been extended.  From 11 to 12 on Thursday mornings is a new time, and on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday evenings the opening time has been advanced from 6 o’clock to 5 o’clock.

  Miss Perkins calculated that 1,000 volumes were in circulation.  She confided that travel books are especially popular, and that one or two easy science books are being used by the small boys.

  Mr. H. E. Bates, the Rushden-born author, is greatly in favour with many Rushden borrowers, and his recent book, “The Poacher” is in frequent demand.  Other than this, the most popular works at the moment include “The Story of San Michaele” (Axel Munthe), “Three Englishmen” (Frankau), “The Stars Look Down” (Cronin), “English Journey” (J. B. Priestley) and “Oliver Cromwell” (John Buchan).

Extract from a Council Meeting July 1935.

73 New Members

  The Librarian’s report for the quarter ended June was included in the Library Committee minutes, which were adopted on the proposition of Mr. Spencer.

  The report stated that the average daily book issues were as follows: Adult fiction, April 94, May 86, June 90; non-fiction, April 14, May 10, June 11; juvenile fiction, April 26, May 19, June 16.

  During the quarter 73 new members were enrolled, and 42 borrowers renewed their tickets.

  Catalogues containing a classified list of the books purchased during the last financial year had recently been published, and were on sale at the Library at a purchase price of 2d. each.

  The Book Selection Committee reported that at a meeting held on June 4, 194 new books had been selected at a cost of £26 13s. 2d.  The instructions of the Committee were sought as to the amount which should be placed at the disposal of the Selection Committee for (a) rebinding, and (b) the purchase of remainders of Boots Book-lovers Library.  It was resolved that amounts of £20 and £40 be allocated to the respective purposes.

  The Librarian sought the Committee’s instructions as to whether the Committee intended to take advantage of the pre-publication offer of “Seven Pillars of Wisdom” at a cost of 30s.

  It was resolved that the Librarian be authorised to purchase this book.

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