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ST. DAVID'S DAY CELEBRATION…

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\OPENING OF BARRY PUBLIC LIBRARY.

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OPENING OF BARRY PUBLIC LIBRARY. THE GENEROUS GIFT OF MR. ANDREW CARNEGIE. INTERESTING FUNCTION BY THE EARL OF PLYMOUTH. HIS LORDSHIP ON THE USE AND PURPOSE OF READING. In the presence of a large and representative gathering, comprising members of the public bodies, clergy and ministers, representatives of the friendly and trade societies, public institutions, and the general public of the town, including a numerous attendance of ladies, the new Public Library, situated on an eligible and central site at the junction of Holton-road and Tynewydd-road, Barry Docks, which has been erected through the generosity of Mr Andrew Carnegie, who contri- buted P,8,000 for the purpose, was formally opened for public use last Thursday afternoon, the inaugural ceremony being performed by the Right Hon. the Earl of Plymouth, the Lord Lieutenant of Glamorganshire, who was supported by Major general H. H. Lee, R.B., J.P., Mr J. Lowdon, J.P., Mr D. W. Roberts (chairman of the Public Library Com- mittee), Mr J. A. Manaton, J.P. (chairman of the District Council, who presided at the opening proceedings), Rev T. Pandy John (chairman of the Education Committee), Mr W. Hallett, J. P. (chairman of the Penarth District Council), Mr Sam Thomas (chairman of Penarth Library Com- mittee), Mr J. C. Meggitt, J.P., Dr P. J. O'Donnell, Mr W. Paterson, Mr S. R. Jones, Dr W. Lloyd Edwards, Mr R. T. Evans (members of the Library Committee), &e. Owing to the unpropitious weather which prevailed, the interesting function was shorn of the intended outdoor proceedings, but the noble Earl was presented with a handsome designed and chased gold key, bearing a suitable inscription, by the architects of the building, Messrs Hutchinson and Payne, A.A.R.I.B.A., London. A meeting was held in the central reading hall, which was filled to overflowing. On entering the building, Councillor Manaton, as Chairman of the District Council, introduced Mr T. B. Tordoff, the clerk of the Council, and Mr J. Roch, the librarian, to the Earl of Plymouth, who then made an inspection of the building. The Chairman (Councillor J. A. Manaton), in welcoming the Earl of Plymouth, said this was the first public building, with the exception of the schools, erected in the town, and the people of Barry were greatly indebted to Mr Andrew Carnegie, through whose generosity such a hand- some structure had been provided. Mr Manaton explained that this was part of a fine set of municipal buildings which it was intended to put up on the same site. He was glad that Barry had been honoured by the presence of Lord Plymouth that day, not only in his capacity as lord- lieutenant of the county, but also as chairman of the Barry Railway Company and past-president of the Public Libraries' Association. (Cheers.) T h 0. 'P,irl 4- 1 t, 11 11 —on*watfress the gathering, was accorded an enthusiastic reception. His Lordship expressed his cordial thanks for the kind words which the Chairman had just uttered regarding himself, and also to the District Council and Library Committee for the honour they had done him in asking him to take part in the opening of this handsome public library, which was worthy of the town, worthy of its generous donor, and worthy of the noble purposes to which it would be applied. (Cheers). It was quite true, and not unnaturally, that they had given him credit, for the deepest interest in the welfare of Barry. He had watched its growth since it was a mere cluster of cottages, and upon the marvellous growth of the town he must con- gratulate those in authority, and commend their energy in obtaining for Barry such splendid public buildings, which were necessary for the welfare and culture of the inhabitants. A resolu- tion of thanks would be passed that afternoon to Mr Carnegie, and he desired to associate himself with that vote by saying how much they were all indebted to Mr Carnegie for the munificent gifts he had made in all parts of the country towards the erection of public libraries. (Cheers.) Some- times they heard criticisms of the money spent upon these institutions. He did not mean that any criticism had been passed upon the gentleman who with such liberality gave of his money for this purpose, but rather criticism as to the use to which these libraries were put. Sometimes fault was found for raising the full library rate to maintain the building, but his lordship felt confident that although the best use which could be made of such an institutipn as this depended ultimately upon the desire of the inhabitants for opportunities which such a free library as that at Barry gave to them of reading widely and prosecuting their studies in different directions, and making such use as they could of these facilities, it would be poor policy if no provision were made for these wants until there was such a public clamour for it that much valuable time'and opportunity had been wasted waiting for this loud and general expression of desire on the part of the public. They would an agree that they should proceed with more courage, and be pioneers of what was going to be for the use and benefit of the people. He would, therefore, venture to congratulate the chairman and members of the Barry Council for taking ad vantage of Mr Carnegie's generosity in providig this important institution for the town. As to the question of reading and its uses, his Lordship would say that it seemed to him a waste of time to go into statistics as to the class of books which were taken out of the library, forming, for instance, the 60,000 odd volumes which had been read at the Barry library last year. The class of book read was not really the point. What was necessary, in the first place, was to cultivate a taste for reading. Let whoever would of the young people of the district, of either sex, take up the volume which best attracted their interest and attention, even though it be of the lightest character. The committee and the librarian would see that the works in the library were not of such a nature as to do harm to the reader. (Cheers.) In this way a taste for reading would be cultivated, and the reader would be encouraged to seek for further information in those subjects which he most required for instruct- ing himself, and thus they would attain to the great object of encouraging youth to take a legiti- mate interest and pride in these libraries. His Lordship expressed a hope that the library would also be used for the study of history, more especially British history. He could conceive no more useful study than that of the history of one's own country, without a know- ledge of which no one was capable of satisfactorily discharging the duties of citizenship, by the selection of those to whom were entrusted the control of the destinies of our great country. It would, therefore, be better for the future of Great Britain and its dependencies if this section of literature were more generally cultivated. (Cheers.) Having declared the building open, Lord Plymouth concluded his address by thanliing the architects for the beautiful key which they had presented to him as a souvenir of this occasion. Mr W. Paterson, at whose suggestion Mr Carnegie was originally approached by the Library Com- mittee, with a view to obtaining a grant for the erection of the present building, proposed a resolu- tion conveying the hearty thanks of the towns- people of Barry to Mr Carnegie for his genercm gift of A8,000 for the erection of the Public Library. Mr Paterson congratulated Lord Plymouth upon his recent elevation to the dignity of an earldom, and having remarked upon the phenomenal growth of Barry, said it was fitting that Barry should be the first place in Wales to approach Mr Carnegie for a grant for the erection of a town library. (Cheers.) Mr J. Lowdon, J.P., in seconding, said he hoped and believed that the new library building would be an enormons benefit to the town. The working classes, he said, had a great deal of power placed in their hands, and consequently a great deal of responsibility. It was important, therefore, that they should have every facility to obtain a complete knowledge on the great questions of the day, so that they might use their power and their votes in the best possible way for the general welfare of the community, The Library Committee had been at great pains to make the best selection possible of books, and to raise the tone of reading of the townspeople; and he was pleased to state that their efforts had been attended with a great deal of success, (cheers.) Public libraries had sprung up rapidly in Japan and China during the past few years, and Great Britain should at least keep pace with the enterprise and progress of oriental countries. The resolution was carried with acclamation. I BARRY PUBLIC LIBRARY. Mr D. W. Roberts, who was described by the Chairman as the bulwark of the Library Com- mittee. having been chairman ever since its establishment, then proposed a vote of thanks to Lord Plymouth, who, he said, had always taken the deepest interest in elevating, refining, ennobling, and encouraging the taste of the people. He congratulated his Lordship upon his recent appointment as president of Cardiff University College, and referred to the deep interest taken by the public in educational matters at Barry. The public libraries he described as the working man's freehold, and it was gratifying that at Barry the industrial community fully availed themselves of the advantages afforded by this institution. (Cheers.) Rev T. Pandy John seconded, and spoke of the close affinity between the acquirement of know- ledge and the efficient discharge of skilled and unskilled labour. 1 The Chairman, supporting the vote, expressed regret that the Countess of Plymouth was unable to be present that day. In reply to a hearty vote, Lord Plymouth reiterated the pleasure he felt at being present to take part in the opening of this new library. Dr P. J. O'Donnell, proposing a vote of thanks I to the Chairman, said the town of Barry was only ENTRANCE HALL AND STAIRCASE. in the third year of its existence as a local self- government when, in 1891, it was decided toadopt the Public Libraries' Act, and a ballot of the ratepayers resulted in 393 votes being cast in favour of the Act, and 87 against, the total number of ratepayers at that time being only about 500. Mr S. R. Jones seconded, and Mr Manaton, in reply, paid a tribute to the architects, builders, and clerk of works for the efficient manner in which the building had been carried out. Mr Manaton also made an appeal to the public for gifts of good books for the library. Nearly the whole of the penny rate available was necessary for the maintenance of the library and three branch reading-rooms, and there would be only about B25 a year left for the purchase of books. This concluded the proceedings, and having partaken of tea at the invitation of the District Council and Library Committee, the visitors were conducted over the new buildings, which were also opened for inspection by the public in the evening, when several hundreds took advantage of the opportunity. There was an unprecedented rush for books at the new library on Saturday, over 650 books being issued from the Lending Department. DESCRIPTION OF THE NEW LIBRARY. The Library forms part of a group of municipal buildings which, when completed, will include Municipal Offices and Town Hall, and is placed in prominent position in Polton-road, the principal thoroughfare of Barry. It is well set back from the road, leaving a wide open space in front, which it is intended to lay out as a garden. The design for the whole of the buildings was chosen in open competition, but the library portion of the scheme has been carried out first. This building alone does not give a true idea of the effect of the scheme as a whole, which will form an imposing facade to Holton-road when the remainder of the municipal buildings are erected. The Library is a spaciously planned building, with a wide open entrance hall and fine staircase. From the hall, the lending and reference libraries and the news rooms are approached, and a large room conveniently situated at the side is to be used as a museum and collec- tion of Japanese curios, lent by Miss E. P. Hughes, M.A., is to be placed here. The Lending Library, with top and side lights, is arranged with stacks to give accommodation for 30,000 volumes. The space for borrowers is directly off the hall, with a counter 30 feet in length for indicators and for book service, and so arranged with entrance and exit doors ao;, to allow of a free circulation without inconvenience to the borrowers. The position of this room, and the arrangement of it, gives the librarian and atten- dants complete supervision of the reference library and the news room, which are adjacent and communicating. The Reference Library is pro- vided with accommodation for 4,500 volumes and seating for 16 readers, and is amply lighted from the top and fide. The News Room is situated to the right of the hall, and contains an area of about 1,375 square feet, with accommodation for 60 readers, in addition to news paper stands for 52 persons, and a portion of this room will be reserved for magazines. Adjacent to the news room is the newspaper filing room. A wide stair- case is provided to the first floor, where there is a large Committee Room, which for the present is to be used as a Council Chamber by the Urban District Council, with a large waiting room adjacent. A Reading Room for Ladies is situated in the front at the head of the stair, and separate lavatory accommodation has been provided. The caretaker's apartments are on the second floor, with a separate entrance on the left hand side of the building, and private stair and lift communicating with ail the floors. In the basement, which is well lighted, is the repairing room, staff room, and lavatories, heating chamber, and coal cellars. The buildings were designed and erected under the supervision of the architects Messrs C. E. Hutchinson and E. Harding Payne, A.A.R.I.B.A., of London. Mr Watkin Williams, of Cardiff, was the builder and Mr G, Sanders, clerk of the works. The heating apparatus has been erected by Messrs John Williams and Company, of Cardiff. The Acme Wood Block Flooring and Paving Company, of London, have supplied and fixed the wood block flooring and the mosaic and terrazzo flooring has been supplied and laid by Messrs Diespecker and Company, of London. Messrs Brawn and Com- pany, of Birmingham, have supplied the whole of the door furniture and the North of Ehgland Furnishing Company made and fixed the oak bookshelves, tables, and furniture from the designs of the architects. The chairs for the Council Chamber, supplied by Mr P. E. Gane, the Art Furnisher, Queen-street, Cardiff, are of a very commodious pattern, made of solid oak fumed, with under framing to give them additional strength. The backs have an insertion of hide, and altogether the chair is thoroughly up-to-date, and although only a small price it is a thoroughly good article. The arm chair for the chairman is made in carved oak, and upholstered in crimson velvet, which gives it a distinct appearance from the rest. The chairs are particulary suitable for the place they occupy, and their design and quality are a credit to the well-known house of Mr P. E. Gane.

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