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Cymru Fu.



The Re-arrangement OF THE…


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—— ,1..t't:r- 11 ..II w nwiwy *W[ 1"'H¡ and NOW iI. BY PH1L11' SIDNEY." Docs Aberystwyth read I An emphatic YES most, assuredly n:u>t ne tli< reply so far as such a question can be answere b\ the facts and tlgnreslurnisileJ by the tree Lend- ing Library. Some may be inclined to doubt, this, but the fact remains nevertheless, tin; there is. and has been for several years pas' a SMI Incom- pact body of men and women, youths an i maiden. using the library. Like all other institutions, it has ifs imsy its slack seasons. In the season, for iusiance. ii will be found that most residents are far too much en- gaged in looking after the needs of their numerous visitors to borrow books with that regularity and frequency which characterize the winter and spring months of their lives. The long vacation, from early July to late (September takes away all students from cur College and County School, and but few of them then seek the benefits of the Library. Their places are taken by the steady inrush of visitors, many of whom are almost as well known to the librarian as are the borrowing townsfolk. Summer after summer they appear, and seek the library as tbey would an old friend. At the present time of the year, the Library pre- sents a most animated scene every Saturday even- in-as the readers, with an eye to Sunday, come to exchange their books. Until lately, I had no idea of the extent of business done between the hours of six and nine on this night. Personal experience, however, has impressed this aspect of the work upon me, and brings me to recognise the truth of what an experienced librarian told me some while since, viz.—" That it is well if some one in authority can be present at such a time to assist, readers in their choice of books, when asked, and generally to act as a literary finger-post." From the very nature of the case the librarian's time is bound to be fully occupied with the more manual work of her department, and she cannot possibly answer all the questions asked of her. Here are some of the many I have already heard Please, mother wants another nice book like this, and have you a larger print ? Can I have a book with a pretty ending ? Which is Mrs Humphrey trood's best book .7 "Will you lend us a story with a mystery ? A book for Sunday, please? Can my sister have another like this ? [Hands back Jane Eyre."] The Imt new book please? When can I have Wales"? Who wrote" George Eliot" 1 (A fact). Surely, in view of these and numerous other questions, a literary guide and finger post can find any amount of occupation in a lending library.— Holding as I do to the doctrine that no man occupying any public position whatever, on any committee or body, can honourably retain his po i, as a sleeping partner, I am only too anxious to render such help as I can in this department, tho' I confess to some difficulty in satisfying the borrower as to Mrs Humphrey Wood's best book," much less as to who wrote" George Eliot"! The variety of subjects which interest readers is also a phase of much interest to any who care to study the question. Here may be a student care- fully turning up the indexes of a line of the Nine- teenth Century, or the Fortnightly Review in search of any articles on Co-operation," in view of a coming debate at the popular Lit. and Deb." Here is an intelligent railway official in uniform, at the close of his day's work, intently looking up works on Fish and Fishing," and able to give no small smount of practical experience on flies, bait, Welsh trout, and running waters. An artisan is quietly browsing at the theo- logical shelves—yes, reader, theology and not fiction-lie looks for some work by Liddon or Dale, which may help him to solve a point in which he is interested. A boy seeks help over the mechanical and text books, and gladly welcomes a word of direction in his search. Yes, reader, a lending library in going order is one of the places where much of human nature may be profitablypearned, and where fellow citizens may get to know more of one another, see each others better side, and commune on those treasures in common which none can take away-books. This little scheme of a personal guide in the Library, who shall as a rule be found there a cer- tain hour, partakes somewhat of the nature of the information desk," now so frequently seen in many of the American libraries. Of course, the class chiefly benefitted is young people, youths, and maidens, who are far from slow to avail them- selves of its help, as well as persons new to the Library, and unacquainted with the necessary in- formation. The feelings and perplexities of the reader with regard to certain customs, books, &c., find voice, and a sympathetic hearing, many mis- understandings are corrected, mistakes rectified, and the reasons of certain methods of procedure made clear. Here is what one of the American librarians says of the methods pursued by the lady in charge of the information desk :— In January a number of boys and girls have begun taking books for the first time. I have taken these young people one by one, and taught them how to consult the printed lists and the catalogue, I have assisted them in making out their first lists of a dozen number or more, re- presenting a variety of Authors; through this list of twelve books by different Authors they have the ground work for selection of fifty or sixty more books." In making out these lists with the boys, I omit the Henty &c. books, as they all know these Authors, and aim to enlarge their circle and to call attention to writers of whom they know nothing. The boys and girls usually pay strict attention and so begin the use of the Library in- telligently, I think the public is appreciative of the fact that there is some one in the room whose time is entirely at their service." Aberystwyth Library, for the last four Saturday nights, from seven to eight, has had such a helper in the room, whose services have already been -o sought out more than once by the very class of readers most needing help and guidance. This plan will be continued for another month at least, at the end of which time such experiences gained will be available for future use. More I will write of in my concluding article next week. (To be continued).