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Title: Report of the Chief Librarian - for the Year Ended 31 March 1958: Special Centennial Issue
Author: New Zealand. General Assembly Library, Wilson, J. O.
Language: English
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Parliamentary Library and the Online Distributed

                                                                H. 32

                               OF THE
                          CHIEF LIBRARIAN
                          GENERAL ASSEMBLY

                         FOR THE YEAR ENDED
                            31 MARCH 1958

                      (SPECIAL CENTENNIAL ISSUE)

         _Presented to the House of Representatives by Leave_

                            BY AUTHORITY:



Year's Work                                               3
Acquisitions                                              3
Copyright Deposit                                         4
Microfilming                                              4
Bindery                                                   4
Use of the Library                                        5
Reference Inquiries                                       5
International Exchange                                    5
Library Fund Account: Statement                           6


               LIBRARY SERVICE TO PARLIAMENT 1858-1958

Beginnings                                                7
1860-1870                                                 8
1870-1900                                                 9
Early Librarians                                         12
Twentieth Century                                        14
Copyright Deposit                                        15
Librarians                                               16
Fire and Fire Insurance                                  17
General                                                  18
  Circulation of Books                                   18
  Fiction                                                19
  Inter-library Loan                                     19
  Recess Privileges                                      19
  The National Library                                   20
  The Library as a Museum                                20
  Purchase of Books                                      20
Aims of the Library                                      22
Books and Men                                            23



I have the honour to report on the activities of the General Assembly
Library for the year 1957-58.

The year 1958 marks the end of the first century of the Library's
existence, I have thought it a good opportunity to tell briefly the
history of the Library during the period in an appendix to this report.

                           THE YEAR'S WORK

Staff changes have not been as great during the past year, though
Mr C. B. Newick resigned to go overseas and there were four other
resignations and appointments. Fortunately these did not greatly affect
the senior staff.

Routine work has mainly occupied the staff though stock was taken of
class 500 (science) and 600 (useful arts). A few books were missing but
losses are not serious.

During the year the new circulation counter was erected in the lobby
downstairs. Not only does it improve the appearance of the area, but
the change has enabled proper oversight to be given over those leaving
the Library. The new books are now placed in the room next to my office
and are immediately available to members.


Once again the Library has to record its thanks to the many individuals
and organisations for their kindness in presenting large numbers of
books and periodicals. All have received letters of thanks, but once
again we should like to express our thanks to those concerned for so
much material that might otherwise not reach the Library. This year one
donation was of such value and importance that it must be specially
mentioned. It was the gift of 350 books by the Carnegie Corporation of
New York. This collection has been specially selected to portray United
States life and to explain its origins. It has proved exceedingly
popular and has added many fine books on the United States to the
Library. The Library is grateful to the Corporation for its generosity
in presenting the collection.

During the year 8,375 books were catalogued and added to the
collections, compared with 7,650 during 1956-57. They were classed as
follows, the figures in parentheses being those for the previous year:
general works, 370 (420); newspapers, 238 (156); philosophy, 73 (67);
religion, 375 (414); sociology, 2,413 (2,275); parliamentary papers,
332 (423); philology, 56 (47); natural sciences, 393 (331); useful
arts, 1,023 (847); fine arts, 333 (312); literature, 440 (320); history
and travel, 1,099 (1,107); biography, 506 (421); fiction, 724 (510).
Total accessions now number 247,825.

A better guide to the stocks of the Library is the estimate prepared in
connection with the census of libraries being held this year. A quick
count of the books on 1 April 1958 gave a total of 240,450, plus 65,960
pamphlets and 18,860 maps. The figure for pamphlets is, I believe,
slightly exaggerated as many are little more than single sheets and
others now listed as several pamphlets will eventually be made into a
single bound volume.

                          COPYRIGHT DEPOSIT

Every attempt continues to be made to ensure that all material coming
within the terms of the Act is deposited and preserved. During the year
an inquiry was held into the Copyright Act and evidence was given on
deposit and on some minor changes of the law that are needed.

Copyright receipts were issued during 1957 for 961 items, that is for
books, pamphlets, and first issues of periodicals other than those
issued by Government Departments, an increase from 778 in 1956. In
addition 193 annual reports, 78 yearbooks and almanacs, 149 bulletins,
163 school magazines, and 260 local body balance sheets were received.
In view of the deposit of this latter material in the Library it is no
longer thought necessary for it to be laid on the table of the House.

Further details relating to publishing in New Zealand are given in the
following table:

              |G W |P |R  |S  |P P |P |S |U A|F A|G L|H T|B |M  |T
              |e o |h |e  |o  |a a |h |c |s r|i r|e i|i r|i |a  |o
              |n r |i |l  |c  |r p |i |i |e t|n t|n t|s a|o |p  |t
              |e k |l |i  |i  |l e |l |e |f s|e s|e e|t v|g |s  |a
              |r s |o |g  |o  |i r |o |n |u  |   |r r|o e|r |   |l
              |a   |s |i  |l  |a s |l |c |l  |   |a a|r l|a |   |
              |l   |o |o  |o  |m   |o |e |   |   |l t|y  |p |   |
              |    |p |n  |g  |e e |g |  |   |   |  u|   |h |   |
              |    |h |   |y  |n t |y |  |   |   |  r|a  |y |   |
              |    |y |   |   |t c |  |  |   |   |  e|n  |  |   |
              |    |  |   |   |a . |  |  |   |   |   |d  |  |   |
              |    |  |   |   |r   |  |  |   |   |   |   |  |   |
              |    |  |   |   |y   |  |  |   |   |   |   |  |   |
Commercial--  |    |  |   |   |    |  |  |   |   |   |   |  |   |
  Books       | 2  | 5| 28| 74|    | 1| 9| 71|21 |18 |43  10|   |  282
  Pamphlets   | 7  | 2|121| 95|    |  |15| 46|13 |15 |19 | 7|   |  340
  Maps        |    |  |   |   |    |  |  |   |   |   |   |  | 30|   30
              |    |  |   |   |    |  |  |   |   |   |   |  |   |
Government    |    |  |   |   |    |  |  |   |   |   |   |  |   |
publications--|    |  |   |   |    |  |  |   |   |   |   |  |   |
  Books       | 4  |  |   | 29|118 | 2|15|13 | 2 |   | 4 |  |   |  187
  Pamphlets   |    |  |   | 56|233 | 1|10|72 | 9 | 1 | 3 |  |   |  385
  Maps        |    |  |   |   |    |  |  |   |   |   |      |105|  105
Total         |13  | 7|149|254|351 | 4|49|202|45 |34 |69  17|135|1,329

During 1956, 272 books, 284 pamphlets, and 4 maps were issued by
commercial publishers, while 107 books, 312 pamphlets, and 120 maps
were issued by Government Departments. This gave a total of 1,099


The microfilming of newspapers continues. During the year 31,900 ft of
film were added to the New Zealand newspaper collection and 10,000 ft
to the other series.


As in the past the bindery has proved a valuable and economical section
of the Library. The campaign to enforce the deposit provisions of the
Copyright Act has shown in the bindery's work and during the year 4,662
books were bound before being placed on the shelves and 470 volumes
were rebound. Included in the latter were some volumes of newspapers,
for many originally bound in leather have needed repair. They are
rebound in canvas, a material which should wear much better than
today's leather does.

                         USE OF THE LIBRARY

Twenty-eight thousand two hundred and nine books were borrowed from
the Library in the year under review, compared with 27,462 in the
previous year. Of these 494 were sent to libraries other than those of
Government Departments through the New Zealand Library Association
interloan scheme. The Library in its turn borrowed 23 books from other
libraries under the same scheme.

In addition to members of Parliament, some thousand people have access
to the Library and enjoy borrowing privileges of one kind or another.

                           REFERENCE INQUIRIES

Once again there has been an increase in the reference questions to
which the Library staff has had to attend. One thousand seven hundred
and seventy-seven inquiries were made, an increase of 322 over the
previous year. Of these, 563 were answered in less than five minutes,
569 took between five and 15 minutes, and the remainder, 645, took over
15 minutes to answer. This statement of times does not record the fact
that many of the inquiries took much longer than 15 minutes. Indeed
some had several days spent on them by one or more members of the
reference staff. Such questions are not answered by merely marking a
passage in a book or two; they require the material to be abstracted
and rewritten ready for use by the member making the inquiry. This
service is becoming increasingly popular with members who cannot
themselves afford the time needed to do all the research involved.

Seventy-eight new research students registered for the first time
during the year, the largest number yet to have done so in any one
year. Some are university students working on theses; others are
engaged on research for publication. The use of the Library in this way
shows how valuable its resources are for many students.

                        INTERNATIONAL EXCHANGE

Twenty-four cases were received by the Library for its own use during
the year, while 5,823 packets were received from abroad, 3,685 being
posted, the remainder being forwarded by Internal Affairs messenger.


I should once again like to thank the Library Committee for its great
help and interest, and in particular to thank the former Speaker and
Chairman of the Committee, who has recently retired, for his invaluable
assistance in Library matters. We are also indebted to the overseas
agents of the New Zealand Government in many countries for their aid in
obtaining books. They have helped considerably in adding many valuable
books to the Library.

I am also grateful to the Assistant Chief Librarian, Mr Jess, and the
staff for their loyal and efficient service.

Attached is the statement of receipts and expenditure of the General
Assembly Library Fund Account, together with the Auditor-General's

                               I am, etc.,

                                   J. O. WILSON, Chief Librarian.




             _Receipts_                            _Payments_

Balance, Bank of New Zealand, £  s. d.|Purchase of books, etc.--   £  s. d.
  1 April 1957               293 13 1 |  United Kingdom         2,419 16 11
Annual grant               4,500  0 0 |  U.S.A. and Canada        960  0  2
Refunds, lost books            5  6 8 |  Australia                 64 11  5
Sales                         52  4 4 |  New Zealand            1,145  3  1
Private Bill fees            300  0 0 |  Other                     16  2 11
                                      |Bank charges and cheque
                                      |  book                       1 10  0
                                      |Balance at Bank of New
                                      |  Zealand, 31 March
                                      |  1958, £1,456 4s. 7d., less
                                      |  unpresented cheques,
                                      |  £912 5s.                 543 19  7
                          ----------- |                        ------------
                          £5,151  4 1 |                        £5,151  4  1
                          =========== |                        ============

                                   J. O. WILSON, Chief Librarian.

Examined and found correct--A. D. BURNS, Assistant Controller and


                            THE BEGINNINGS

Today there are few legislatures without a library of some kind.
Parliament works best when its members are well briefed and have access
to good sources of information. The shortest speech often requires the
verification of facts to be found in books, and the most economical and
satisfactory solution is a library. The General Assembly of New
Zealand, to give Parliament its more correct title, was not long in
deciding this. It met first in 1854 and again in 1855 without a
library. At the beginning of the session of 1856, however, the need
seems to have been evident for on 6 June Mr W. T. L. Travers from
Waimea moved in the House that a library should at once be formed, and
a Select Committee set up to consider the best means of establishing
one. Three weeks later the Legislative Council followed suit with a
similar motion, though here it is interesting to note that Dr
Richardson stated that the Councillors had been using the library of
the Attorney-General.

The Assembly shared its meeting place with the Auckland Provincial
Council, which had in 1853 formed its own library. It was decided that
it would be to the advantage of both legislatures to possess a joint
library, and on the motion of the chairman the Council was approached
to find if it had any objections. The Council did not have any, and in
addition offered to provide the librarian and an equal grant for books
as well as fittings if the Assembly would provide a room.

On 28 July 1856 the report was laid on the tables of the two Houses, a
list of books for purchase given to the Speakers, and a recommendation
made that the sum of £100 be placed on the estimates for books. The
money was voted, after which Parliament was adjourned, not to meet
again until 1858.

The Committee was once again set up, and the situation was such that
once again the terms of reference were to consider the best means of
establishing a library. The books ordered in 1856, principally on legal
and constitutional matters, were there branded "General Assembly" but
they were not a library; members had to rely largely on the Provincial
Council collection which comprised nine-tenths of the total books
available. In its report, the Committee suggested that £300 be devoted
to library purposes, and recommended a list of books to be purchased
even if they cost more than the £320 available--£20 had not been spent
in 1856.

The Committee was not happy about the joint Library, but as matters
stood thought it hardly desirable to end the arrangement. It was,
however, of the opinion that as soon as practicable the Library should
be placed on an independent footing.

To ensure that its recommendations were carried out, and to control and
report on the work of the Library, the Committee suggested that an
officer, the Librarian of the General Assembly, should be appointed.
This was done and the first Librarian was Major F. E. Campbell, the
Clerk of the House of Representatives.

Two other matters also were considered of sufficient moment to be
mentioned. One was the supply of newspapers that had been cancelled as
the Government had promised to supply files from Government offices.
The other was the acquisition of British Government publications, which
would be of great value to the Library. The Committee noted the
successful approach of the Canadian Parliamentary Librarian to the
British Government and proposed that either Mr J. E. Fitzgerald, who
was in England, or the Colonial Agent should be asked to see if the
Library could not be given such documents.

Once again two years elapsed before Parliament met again, and the
Librarian reported that there were now books, separated from the
Provincial Council Library, but in an adjoining room. The approaches to
the British Government had not been entirely fruitful, but there was
promise of success.


The Library now possessed books and a librarian and the next 10 years
were to be amongst the most adventurous of the Library's story.
However, they began quietly when in 1861 the Committee recommended the
appointment of a permanent messenger for the Library instead of a
sessional one.

Next year the session was held in Wellington in the Provincial Council
Chambers. A case of books was sent for use of members. Unfortunately it
was lost when the _White Swan_ carrying the Governor and Auckland
members was wrecked near Castlepoint. The published list gives 50
books, mainly reference works on constitutional and economic matters,
but the greater loss was that of the House, which was deprived of not
only its documentary records but also most of the early printed papers.
The Committee, nothing daunted, recommended that the books be replaced
and used the mishap to have the vote raised to £500 for the year.

The sessions of 1863 and 1864 were both held in Auckland. In the latter
year the Librarian was instructed to prepare cases so that the books
could be moved to Wellington along with the other Government records.

Parliament took over the old Provincial Council Chambers in Wellington
but they were enlarged to meet its requirements. The Library had a new
home built specially for it costing £1,800 which was, with extensions,
to provide an uneasy resting place for the next 35 years. In one paper
the new library was described as "a very lofty handsome building with
large painted windows". In another, "The Library is a fine room,
handsomely decorated and the walls are fitted with bookshelves." It was
of wood.

Details about the administration of the Library during the early years
are few, but it appears that the Committee was undoubtedly the
mainspring of the organisation. It contained men such as Carleton,
Fitzherbert, Travers, and Domett, to mention only the best known, who
were interested not only in the Library for its own sake but also in
the part it could play in parliamentary affairs and in providing
pleasure to members.

The Committee was responsible for book selection, carried out mainly
during the session. While control over the Library in the recess lay
with representatives of the House and Council, from the first H. F.
Carleton, Chairman of Committees of the House, and a classical scholar,
was responsible for seeing the books were obtained and that the funds
were expended.

Until 1861 the only assistance in the Library was provided by a
sessional messenger, but a full-time sub-librarian was provided from
1862. When Parliament moved to Wellington different arrangements were
necessary and in 1866 the Committee suggested that a permanent
librarian should be appointed. It was thought necessary to have
somebody for the custody of a collection increasing in value from year
to year. The House disagreed with this view, but perhaps with the hope
of making the way clear for such appointment Major Campbell had given
up his responsibility for the Library.

This left a gap which appears to have been filled by the Hon. Alfred
Domett. As in addition to being a Legislative Councillor, he was
Secretary for Crown Lands, Land Claims Commissioner, and Registrar-General
he cannot have been able to spend much time with the Library. For all
that, his influence was considerable and Gisborne, in his book _New
Zealand Rulers and Statesmen_, says "He was for many years the mainstay
of the General Assembly Library. He was, it may be said, the father of
that institution; and it is mainly owing to his love of literature, and
to his great ability in the organisation and classification of a
library that the success of the institution with comparatively small
means was so marked at the date of his departure from the Colony in

Just how long he was Librarian is not clear, but probably with the
library attendant and additional assistance during the session there
was sufficient staff to carry out all the work. It was not until 1875
that Ewen McColl, the attendant, became Sub-Librarian, though it is
possible he may have been in fact Librarian as early as 1871.


The last 30 years of the nineteenth century were spent by the Library
Committee in enlarging the Library and in trying to obtain an adequate
and suitable building to house it. The vote was raised to £300 in 1867
and £600 in 1874, while in addition the adoption of a new standing
order for Private Bills in 1870 gave the fees up to £25 for a Bill that
passed both Houses to the Library fund. Fines levied on members were
also devoted to the Library fund, though this has never been a
lucrative source. Among others, the fine of £75 imposed on Mr Lusk was
received in 1875, and a similar sum from the Hon. Mr Robinson, but the
historic fine of £500 inflicted on the manager of the Bank of New
Zealand in 1896 was never received.

Private Bill fees varied from nothing to £150, so that the income was
between £650 and £750. The money was not spent on books only, but
included expenditure on binding, periodicals, and on insurance. In the
eighties and early nineties insurance premiums on the collection housed
in a wooden building were £100 per annum and, though they were reduced,
even in the last years of the century, £40 had to be used for this

Even so the Library stock was increasing annually by some 1,400
volumes. In 1871 there were 8,330 volumes, in 1877, 14,580. Five years
later the figure had increased to 21,000, and to 30,000 in 1887,
reaching 52,000 in 1902. Most of the growth was due to purchase, but
the Library had many friends, especially among members, and they were
most generous. Their gifts filled gaps specially in New Zealand
material, while others gave books of value on subjects not of great
interest to Parliament. Among such donors were Carleton, Mantell, and
Sheehan, to mention only a few.

The Library had other friends who were no less helpful. New Zealand was
represented at the Philadelphia Centenary Exhibition in 1876 by Dr
Hector. He made arrangements with the Smithsonian Institution in
Washington for the General Assembly Library to receive United States
Government papers and for New Zealand in turn to supply New Zealand
official publications to the Institution. This was the Library's first
large exchange agreement and, while the material received under it has
often threatened to swamp it, very many valuable items have been added
from this source.

The overtures to the British Government first made in 1858 do not
finally seem to have succeeded until 1883. In this year Lord Derby in a
circular dispatch to all colonies offered to exchange British official
papers for those of the colonies to be sent to the British Museum. The
Library Committee jumped at the offer; it had since 1874 been buying
sets of parliamentary papers and immediately approached the Cabinet to
authorise that New Zealand publications should be sent. As a result the
Library possesses an extremely valuable and still growing collection of
British official papers.

The Library was in addition receiving New Zealand newspapers and
publications of all kinds and it had other exchange arrangements with
Canada and the Australian States. Until 1884, 81 newspapers were being
bound regularly out of 153 received, but in this year because of the
lack of space and the expense the number was reduced to 24. For all
this the Library was adding to its holdings of newspapers at a fairly
rapid rate.

The increase in the number of books necessitated an increase in storage
space. The first attempt was made in 1869 when a motion was brought
before both Houses asking that the Library building should be added to
in order to provide additional room. The matter was deferred until a
general enlargement of the buildings took place. This was done in the
recess of 1872-73, and the Library was given the old smoking room, but
only after a division when an attempt to have a proper building for the
Library had been defeated.

There was genuine concern on the part of the Committee for the safety
of the Library. In 1875 the building caught fire which was only put out
by the efforts of members. Two days later the Committee passed a motion
stating that the time had come when the erection of a proper Library
building could no longer be delayed. Sir George Grey was asked to move
the motion in the House. This was passed and a Royal Commission set up
to superintend the construction, £5,000 being voted in the Estimates
for the job, which it was thought would take two years and cost

Nothing was done before the session of 1876 and the Committee set to
work again. Several resolutions concerning the Library, its location,
and the calling of competitive designs were passed, but though the
Government proposed to put £7,000 on the estimates towards a Library,
it was not done. The resolutions seem to have confused rather than
helped the situation.

The session of 1877 began with no further progress. To the Joint
Committee's requests for information the Minister of Public Works
replied that no designs had been settled on and in any case competitive
designs would involve reconstruction of the whole block. More debate
ensued and finally the sum of £2,500 was placed on the Estimates and a
second Royal Commission set up to superintend the erection of the
building. The money was not voted, however, and the Commission did not

The Library now occupied three rooms, with a further office for the
Librarian, but the growth was continuous. Two more rooms were taken
over from the Legislative Council in 1881 and temporarily the Library
could shelve all its books.

No success had rewarded the Committee's desire for new buildings in the
seventies, but in 1882 it seemed that luck was in its way. £20,000 was
placed on the Estimates for the partial reconstruction of the buildings
which were to include a new Bellamy's as well as a new Library. Only
£10,000 was voted, however, and this was spent on Bellamy's. The new
building had a bad effect on the Library, cutting off the sun and
making it damp, though the Committee had a consolation prize, receiving
the old Bellamy's for book storage.

So the matter dragged on. In 1886, on the initiative of the Premier,
£5,000 was voted for a new building, plans were prepared as quickly as
possible and tenders called, but none was accepted before the end of
the financial year so the vote lapsed.

By now the Committee seems to have been almost reconciled to the fact
that there was little immediate chance of a Library being erected.
Frequent requests were however made for something to be done and the
slightest possibility of a surplus in the Consolidated Fund always
raised hopes. Assurances were frequent that Cabinet was worried about
the housing of the Library, and whenever possible an extra room was

In 1885 the Library was located in six rooms, some remote. More were
given later, though some were taken away. In 1892 the Librarian
reported that the building "simply cannot any longer accommodate the
books". But it was to be nearly 10 years before the new building was to
be ready for storing books.

The situation was indeed growing more and more desperate. Many books,
particularly old novels and duplicate periodicals, were given away to
hospitals and libraries, and files of newspapers were no longer
preserved, while much of the Library stock could only be located with
difficulty. In 1897 the Library was spread all over the building with
many of the rooms outside the control of the Librarian. Books were
stored in two Ministers' rooms, the ladies' tearoom, and two committee
rooms. A motion was brought up in 1896 to dispose of certain of the
lesser used books, but it was defeated and steps were taken to case the
books and house them elsewhere.

Economic conditions were somewhat better in 1897, and to the
Committee's joy, Cabinet showed signs of approving the construction and
plans were eventually sent to the Library Committee for approval.

The Government had selected Mr Thomas Turnbull as architect and he was
instructed to draw up plans not only for a Library but also for
committee rooms and an imposing entrance to the buildings generally. On
the last day of the session they were approved, but as the vote was for
only £7,000 the Library Committee drew a line across the plan and said
the committee rooms were not to be built.

Demolition of the old building was undertaken in February 1898 before
tenders closed. When they were opened, they were found to be so much in
excess of the estimate that all were rejected and it was decided to
carry out the work under the cooperative system. The lowest tender for
ordinary construction was £42,000 and for fireproof £45,300; the others
were considerably higher.

On 13 April 1898 the foundation stone was laid by the Premier, Mr
Seddon, and when the session began the walls were almost complete.
Because of the noise it was decided that the work would have to cease.
All may have been quiet there, but it was very much otherwise in the
House. On the second day the Leader of the Opposition gave notice of a
motion that the House regretted that His Excellency's advisers without
the necessary authority had greatly exceeded the specific appropriation
of £7,000, such action being a dangerous subversion of the House's
control over public expenditure. There was an acrid debate but the
Government survived.

As a result of the attack, however, the Premier decided to abandon the
idea of a three-storeyed building and to limit expenditure to £25,000.
The Library Committee initiated another debate in which members tried
to get the Government to reconsider its decision. It was unsuccessful
but during the debate some of those who had condemned the spending of
more than £7,000 advised the Government to keep to the original plans.

The architect was upset at the change and stated that the alterations
had destroyed the symmetry of the building so that it was no longer a
monument to his ability. As a result his name was removed from the
foundation stone, and today the building, which was said to be the
finest example of Victorian Gothic in the country, does not bear the
name of its designer.

The Library was completed in 1899, but took some time to dry out and it
was not until early 1901 that it was occupied. It is a fine building,
but has many defects from a library point of view. The main reading
room is probably one of the most beautiful rooms in the country, but
the high windows reduce considerably the book capacity as well as
allowing too much bright light on to the stock, and on to the readers.

                        THE EARLY LIBRARIANS

Ewen McColl, the first Librarian, died in 1881. It is hard at this time
to evaluate his work, indeed the Committee was very much in control and
he was its instrument. It is probable, for example, that the fine
collection of newspapers of the time was due as much to the initiative
of the Committee as to the Librarian.

He was succeeded by Angus MacGregor, a Scot, who had been associated,
it seems, with the Dunedin Athenaeum and appears to have been a man
with somewhat wider interests than his predecessor. During his time the
Library bound its large collection of pamphlets, many of which are now
of great value, and in addition absorbed the more worthwhile books from
the Wellington Provincial Library. He also began the accessioning and
shelf marking of the books. The Library was beginning to become an
organised collection.

Mr MacGregor resigned in July 1885 and spent his later years as a
teacher. He was succeeded by Mr James Collier, another Scot and a
graduate of St. Andrews and Edinburgh. He came to New Zealand in 1882
and had previously been an assistant to Herbert Spencer and was
compiler of the first and last volumes of the _Descriptive Sociology_.

He early realised that there was little likelihood of a new library
building, but his reports show that he grasped the essential aims of a
library, and particularly a legislative library. His reports deplored
the lack of copyright deposit in New Zealand, while he did much to make
the resources of the Library available to students.

One of his main tasks was to build up the collection relating to New
Zealand in the Library. This has always been essential material and in
his day the Library began to fill the gaps, a task which is not yet
completed. Collier's interest was great and he compiled the first New
Zealand bibliography, published by the Government Printer in 1889.

His health was not good and after sick leave in 1889 he resigned in
1890. A few years later he went to Australia and until his death in
1925 was engaged in writing, being the author of a life of Sir George
Grey and of _The Pastoral Age in Australia_.

The Library Committee advertised the vacancy and recommended the
appointment of the Hon. J. W. Fortescue, then Governor's Secretary. The
choice did not seem popular and there was some argument in the House
whether or not it was legal to appoint an officer when the salary had
not been voted. As a result the application was withdrawn. Though this
may have been a bad thing for the Library, it was a good one for other
reasons. Today Sir John Fortescue is known as the author of the
monumental _History of the British Army_ as well as other books, and
for having been the Royal Librarian at Windsor.

The Committee then appointed Mr H. L. James, B.A., Acting Librarian. Mr
James had joined the staff in 1889 and continued as a member until
1923. He was a born librarian, hampered by devotion to detail and the
desire to do the almost impossible. Generally whatever he did was sound
and has stood the test of time. For 10 years until January 1901 he was
in charge. Though two attempts were made to appoint him Librarian, and
one (in 1891) to appoint the Serjeant-at-Arms, Colonel De Quincey,
Librarian, it was not until 1900, when the new building was almost
completed, that the necessity for further staff made some additional
appointments necessary and a Chief Librarian was appointed.

Mr James' main monument is the _Library Catalogue_. The first catalogue
had been printed in 1862 in London, and it lists a good working
collection for Parliament. Other editions appeared in 1872, 1875, 1880,
and 1884, each having one or more supplements.

However useful they were from the members' point of view, they were not
the best examples of the cataloguer's art. In 1890 the Committee
authorised a new edition and the supervision was entrusted to Mr James,
the work of compilation being done by Mr B. E. Stocker, M.A. The
manuscript was completed in May 1894, but the cost of printing was so
great that the length of the entries had to be cut again and again. The
first volume was issued in 1895 and the second in 1897.

Unfortunately the catalogue does not give the Dewey Class number for
the books. This system was adopted in April 1898 and has provided a
more systematic arrangement of the books.

The staff, which consisted of a single full-time member in 1866, had in
1886 grown to three full-time assistants with two extra assistants
during the session. By 1899 the staff was five assistants and a
mailman. The latter was employed because for many years the Library
also served as post office. Stamps were sold, and an extra assistant
was employed for fetching and posting mails. The Library Committee
frequently suggested that the day had arrived for the Library staff to
be relieved of these duties but it was not until 1923 that the post
office moved to its present location. About 1910, however, a mailman
was provided by the post office, though he still worked under the
charge of the Chief Librarian.

As the day when the Library would move to its new home drew nearer the
question of staff became more important, particularly the question of
a Chief Librarian. It was thought impracticable to have Mr James
appointed, and during the session of 1899 the matter was seriously
considered. A subcommittee recommended that a Chief Librarian (at a
salary of £400) be selected in England and that certain other additions
be made. The question of an English appointment was vigorously debated
until finally in September 1900 selection in New Zealand was
recommended. The position was advertised in the _New Zealand Gazette_
and Mr Charles Wilson, former journalist, and M.H.R. for Wellington
Suburbs for two years, was appointed. Mr Wilson, who was a member of
the Library Committee, had not sought re-election in 1899.

As Mr Wilson did not take up his new duties until February 1901, the
task of making arrangements for moving into the new building fell to Mr
James. Though the building was completed in 1899, it was at first too
damp to hold books, and later the shelving was not ready for the stock.
Mr James, however, went steadily ahead with classification while a
barrage of correspondence aimed at hastening the day for entry into the
new home was maintained.

                        THE TWENTIETH CENTURY

When the Library entered its new quarters it possessed 52,000 volumes.
Ten years later it had grown to 80,000 and by 1921 to 102,000. This
growth of between two and three thousand volumes a year was reduced
somewhat in the twenties and in 1931 the stock was 123,000. Accessions
increased during the depression years and after, so that in 1941 they
totalled 159,000. Another increase occurred during the forties and an
average of 5,000 volumes was added annually, bringing the number of
volumes in the Library in 1951 to 200,000. It took over 60 years for
the first 100,000 volumes to be added, but only 31 for the second, and
early in the present financial year the quarter-million mark was
passed, so that the third hundred thousand should only take 15 years.

Again the growth was not without its problems. As early as 1908 the
problem of housing the stock was again causing worry, but for a few
years it was solved by better arrangement of the shelving. By 1915 the
situation was again difficult and approval was given for the removal of
the Valuation Department from the attic, the provision of stairs, and
the adapting of the area as a stack room. This provided welcome relief,
but only for a short while until in 1926 the attic space over the main
reading room was shelved and provided a makeshift storeroom for books.

The next expansion came in 1933 when the committee rooms adjacent to
the main reading room were taken over and portion of the walls removed
to give an open area. In 1938 the Library took over the remainder of
the attic and portion of the first floor vacated by the Health
Department. Though other alterations were made to increase shelving, no
further space was taken over until 1950 when a further committee room
was given to the Library. About the same time earthquake risk and
alteration to the building caused the removal of books from a portion
of the attic to the basement where further space had been made
available. Other rooms have more recently been provided to store the
books and periodicals in the Library and constant ingenuity is
necessary to see that the most economical use is made of the area

The reasons for the expansion of the Library can be found in the
increased interest in libraries generally, and in the increased vote
which resulted. The fund received £600 until 1920 when it was raised to
£800. It was reduced to £700 in 1922 and remained at that figure until
1929 when it was raised to £900, though it suffered the depression

These amounts were not sufficient to adequately finance the purchase of
books needed for the service the Library was expected to give, and in
1938 the grant was once again raised, this time to £1,250. Further
increases were made in 1947 (£2,000), 1949 (£2,250), 1952 (£3,000), and
1955 (£4,500).

In addition there has been considerable expansion in the exchange
arrangements, Government publishing having increased considerably in
the United Kingdom and the United States. Arrangements for the exchange
of official publications with Australia were made in 1952, while during
1957 the Canadian Government made the General Assembly Library a select
depository for its publications.

Another source of material for the Library has been by gift either of
individual books or of collections. They have been many and varied, and
it is safe to say that the Library would not possess the wide variety
of stock it does had it not been for the kindness and generosity of
many donors.

                          COPYRIGHT DEPOSIT

The Copyright Act has also provided the Library with an increasing
amount of material. Like so many other of the Library's activities,
this was foreshadowed in the days when James Collier was Librarian. In
his report for 1888, he suggested that the time was ripe for the
enacting of a Colonial Copyright Act. Whatever was done about this
there was one thing that ought to be done immediately and that was the
passing of a law making provision for the deposit of one copy of every
colonial publication in a central library, which library could only be
the Parliamentary Library.

A letter was written from the chairman of the Library Committee to the
Premier asking for instructions to be given to the Solicitor-General to
prepare a Copyright Act, but nothing was done. The matter was raised
again by the Acting Librarian in 1891 and 1894. In 1895 Mr W.
Hutchison, M.H.R. for Dunedin, introduced the Literary Copyright Act
requiring the deposit in the Library of two copies of works published
in New Zealand. Nothing came of the Bill, which was discharged, though
the Library Committee in welcoming it had, however, considered one copy

There the matter rested until 1903 when two vigorous supporters of the
Library, the Hon. R. McNab and the Hon. John Rigg, introduced the
General Assembly Library Bill requiring publishers to present two
copies of their books to the Library. The Bill passed without
difficulty and became law on 30 October 1903. Though there was some
argument whether the Act required the deposit of issues of periodicals,
the Act was generally welcomed, and increased the amount of New Zealand
material reaching the Library.

There has been little change in the provisions affecting deposit,
though the previous Act is no longer in force, and has been replaced by
section 52 of the Copyright Act 1913.

In the 55 years during which deposit has been required the Library has
taken its responsibility for preservation seriously and now possesses
thousands of volumes not only of books, but of newspapers, periodicals,
and pamphlets. In addition, every attempt has been made to obtain
material which for various reasons was not obtained at the time of
publication. While not by any means perfect, the New Zealand collection
of the Library is probably without equal.

                           THE LIBRARIANS

Mr Charles Wilson had a considerable interest in literature as such and
contributed a literary column to a Wellington weekly for many years.
Though he had an excellent knowledge of literature, library technique
generally in New Zealand was not at its best, and not all the work done
in the Library was of the highest standard.

He was responsible for further attempts to buy the more important New
Zealand books still missing from the Library and for housing them in
special cases where they were available for consultation but were not
permitted to leave the Library. From this has grown the special New
Zealand collection with its own rooms.

Mr Wilson introduced the present system of alternate weekly shifts for
the staff working nights. Previously the staff worked broken shifts
which meant that some often had "all nighters" without breaks and were
called on to make their appearance fairly early the following day. If
the House sits late, the present system relieves the night staff when
the House rises or at 8 a.m. and they are not required till 5.30 p.m.

Stocktaking was a major task of the staff. The Library did not possess
a shelf list and the system used was slow. It did, however, indicate
that constant vigilance was necessary--and still is--to prevent books
going astray.

Mr James continued as Assistant Librarian until 1923. His later years
were marked with frequent periods of illness which told on the standard
of his work.

Mr Wilson retired in March 1926 and his successor, Dr G. H. Scholefield,
O.B.E., commenced duties in May. He was even then the author of two
books on New Zealand and the Pacific and had been New Zealand Press
Association representative in London. For the next 22 years the Library
was under his care. Hampered by depression and war, the development of
the Library was not as rapid as it could have been.

The principal change in the Library during this time was probably in
the staff. Members of the staff, mostly in senior positions, had held
degrees, but generally they had not been recruited from university
graduates and had picked up such library technique as they could at
work. A university degree now became essential, and in addition,
outside studies of library science were favoured as being of value both
to the member of the staff and to the Library. Mr A. D. McIntosh, now
head of the Department of External Affairs, for example, was given
leave in 1932 after receiving a Carnegie grant to attend the Library
School at the University of Michigan.

Dr Scholefield was also responsible for the introduction of women to
the staff. Though a Mrs North had been employed as a clerk for six
months in 1900, the hours of duty had made the Library a man's world.
In 1926 Miss Q. B. Cowles, from the Turnbull Library, was the first of
the many young ladies who since then have been members of the staff.

The other change was in the reference service. The Library came to be
called on more and more for research and information. These calls came
not only from members of Parliament, but also from Government
Departments and from the public. The staff naturally had to be more
highly trained to carry out these tasks and had to spend more time to
answer the inquiries. After Mr McIntosh's return the reference staff
was reorganised and a collection of quick reference books made. In
addition, not only did the staff carry out research but it began to
summarise and rewrite the results of its research ready for immediate
use by honourable members.

Dr Scholefield, with his keen interest in biography, was instrumental
in obtaining for the Library many collections of personal papers of New
Zealand statesmen. Among these are the papers of Sir John Hall, William
Rolleston, and Sir Julius Vogel, not to mention the wonderful papers
written and collected by the Richmond and Atkinson families over nearly
50 years. These documents are already proving valuable to political and
historical scholars.

Dr Scholefield was also Controller of Dominion Archives and for some
years these were housed in the Library. During his period as Chief
Librarian, in addition to several editions of _Who's Who in New
Zealand_, Dr Scholefield published his monumental _Dictionary of New
Zealand Biography_ and two other works of biography.

On his retirement in October 1947 Dr Scholefield was succeeded by Mr W.
S. Wauchop, M.A., who had joined the staff in 1924 as Assistant Chief
Librarian. Freed from the restraints of war, and with a larger grant,
the Library expanded rapidly. The Library Committee, which had for some
years taken a less important rôle in the control of the Library, once
again came to the fore. It was instrumental in obtaining much needed
space and assisting generally in the progress which took place.

Mr Wauchop was also responsible for obtaining the microfilm camera
which is today reducing the bulk of New Zealand newspapers received in
the Library to manageable proportions for storage. Great steps forward
were also taken in the indexing of New Zealand newspapers and for the
first time in its history the Library had a complete index to all news
in two (later three) of the more important newspapers in the Dominion.
Mr Wauchop retired at the beginning of 1955.

                       FIRE AND FIRE INSURANCE

No history would be complete without some mention of the fire of the
early morning of 11 December 1907 which destroyed most of Parliament
Buildings. It began in the old portion formerly occupied by the Library
at about 2 a.m. and rapidly spread to the Legislative Council on one
side and the House of Representatives on the other. Both these portions
were of wood and burned fiercely.

Though the Library was in the brick portion, fire danger had still been
considered to be great so that earlier in the year the stackroom
windows overlooking the courtyard had been bricked up. In addition, the
entrance door was protected by a steel blind.

It appeared at first that the Library was in no danger and no attempt
was made to remove books. Eventually, about 4 a.m. the roof of the new
committee rooms and entrance was in danger of catching alight, and Mr
Wilson decided to clear the building. With the help of some of the
staff and the general public, some 15,000 volumes were taken either to
the Government Buildings or to houses in Hill Street. Though the rear
portion of brick with wooden floors and partitions caught fire about 5
a.m. and damage was done to the roof, the Library was seen to be in no
further danger and the clearance was stopped.

Some slight damage was done to these books, but insurance covered this,
and generally little damage was done to the Library itself. The removal
of the wooden portion has reduced the risk of fire considerably, and
although the rear portion still has wooden floors, little of value is
stored here. If any future outbreak occurred it is probable that more
damage would be done by water. To prevent this a large drain was
recently made in the basement to allow water to escape readily.

After the fire there was some discussion on the possibility of using
the reading room as the Chamber of the House of Representatives, but
Government House was finally chosen. The brick building was repaired
and a covered access way provided across Sydney Street from the Library
to the Chamber.

At the time of the fire the Library was insured for £4,000, a small
portion of its true value. This insurance was continued until 1928 when
the cover was raised to £10,000, still much below the cost of
replacement. In 1942, with the introduction of war damage insurance and
the consequent increase of premiums, it was decided that the Library
should, like other Government Departments, not be insured, the
Government carrying the risk itself.


_Circulation of Books_

The first library rules that can be discovered today are those for
1869. Though it is certain that borrowing was permitted before this,
members were permitted by these rules to borrow two books for a period
of a fortnight. Even so, the privilege of borrowing was restricted to
the session.

It is doubtful if the rules were strictly enforced for as early as 1873
Mr T. Kelly from New Plymouth moved that the Library Committee should
be instructed to allow members outside Wellington the right to take out
books and to keep them for two months. Though the motion was not
approved it appears that members residing in Wellington did have books
at their homes.

No great change was made in the wording of the rules, but it appears
that at the end of the session members were taking books away, and in
1886 Mr James Macandrew from Dunedin admitted doing so. In the recess
of 1885-86 Sir James G. Wilson (Bulls) had written to the Librarian
asking for books to be sent to his home. The request was refused but
following it the House passed a motion recommending the Joint Committee
to prepare regulations for lending books during the recess to members
living outside Wellington.

The Committee, however, did not favour the idea and reported that there
were so many difficulties in the way that they would not carry it out.
On the motion of the Premier, Sir Robert Stout, the House reluctantly
agreed with the report.

There the matter rested until the session of 1891 when it was raised in
a question addressed to a Minister. As a result the Committee brought
down a report saying that they had agreed to a scheme for circulating
up to six books at a time to members in the recess. Certain reference
and valuable books, newspapers, and periodicals were excluded, but most
other works could be borrowed. The Library would provide boxes or
baskets for the transmission of the books, and six dozen were obtained
for the following recess. During it 34 members borrowed 438 volumes,
not one being lost, though two were damaged.

Both House and Council agreed to the scheme, though certain members
were violently opposed to it. Since then it has provided members with
reading material during many recesses. Certainly, some books have been
lost, but probably there would be an even greater chance of losses if
the practice of recess borrowing had not been regularised. In any case,
books often disappear from the shelves in libraries with the best
oversight and supervision and are never seen again.


The provision of fiction in the Library has been criticised, but novels
have been purchased since the early seventies. The numbers purchased
have always been small, and have given well earned relaxation and
pleasure to legislators as well as building up what is the only
collection of the minor nineteenth century classics that exists in the
Dominion. These books are frequently in demand by students of
nineteenth century English literature.

_Inter-library Loan_

In keeping with the policy of allowing the widest possible use of the
Library, while at the same time retaining all books necessary for
Parliament, the Committee in 1909 drew up rules which would have
permitted university libraries to borrow. Little use, however, seems to
have been made of the privilege.

In 1936 the Committee gave approval for the participation of the
Library in the New Zealand Library Association scheme. Libraries
outside have not been slow to take advantage, and while considerable
restrictions exist on the books that can be lent, only one book is
borrowed by the General Assembly Library for every 20 or so lent.

_Recess Privileges_

Though the Library is primarily the Library of Parliament, it has
always been generous in allowing the use of its resources to students
and others. As early as 1875, while books could only be taken out by
members of Parliament, heads of Departments, and Judges, the Recess
Committee had discretion to allow the use of the Library for reference
and study.

The minutes and correspondence show that the demands were many and that
permission was frequently given. There was no general rule about
admission, and as a result individual application was necessary. Mr
Collier did his best to liberalise the privilege, but at the same time
he wanted the use limited to genuine students rather than to those who
wanted it for prestige and as a means of obtaining light reading.

A resolution of 1891 allowed the privilege to be granted on the
recommendation of a member of Parliament, head of a Government
Department, or local clergyman, but by the end of the century the right
was restricted to members of Parliament. The recess privilege did not
allow borrowers to take out current fiction though classic fiction
could be borrowed.

The rules have long permitted the use of the library for brief periods
by serious research workers. The position has now been placed on a
permanent basis, and students at the honours stage at the University or
undertaking serious research are allowed to use two special rooms in
the Library.

Here it might be well to mention the request that has recently been
made to allow the Library to keep open until 6 p.m. during the recess.
This has been done three times in the past, in 1892-93, in 1903-04, and
again in 1911, but the use was so small that the hours of 9 a.m. to 5
p.m. were quickly reverted to.

_The National Library_

Though the General Assembly Library is principally the Library of
Parliament, many of its functions are those of a national library and
this matter has been raised on many occasions. The earliest references
are those of James Collier in 1888, and his remarks are of interest,
"... the Library of the General Assembly [may] develop or, as is more
probable, bifurcate into a national library ..."

As the only large State library, it was natural that the General
Assembly Library should be regarded as the basis of a national library
and there were frequent references to this side of the Library's work
in the debates on copyright deposit in 1903 and 1913. About the same
time the Library Association meeting in Wellington carried a resolution
saying that the Library should be regarded as the nucleus of a national
reference library.

The matter was not forgotten but rather lay dormant until 1935 when the
Munn-Barr report on New Zealand libraries suggested the amalgamation of
the General Assembly and Turnbull Libraries, together with a country
lending department, to form a national library. This suggestion more or
less received the approval of the Government and plans were drawn up
for a new library building.

The war intervened, but since 1950 the question has become increasingly
prominent, and there have been two inquiries. While it is possible to
combine a purely legislative and national reference library, I have
doubts on the complete absorption of a parliamentary library by a
national library. In the United States, for example, the Library of
Congress gives both services, but Congress and its needs are supreme.
The library seemingly envisaged for New Zealand would have wider scope
and unless very carefully planned and managed, there could be conflict
between Parliament and the department controlling the library.

The Library also played its part in the establishment of the Country
and later the National Library Services. In 1935 Dr Scholefield
travelled overseas at the invitation of the Carnegie Corporation of New
York and on his return made a report on rural library services, which
turned further attention to this matter.

A group of New Zealand librarians interested the Carnegie Corporation
of New York in the proposal to organise a demonstration scheme in
Taranaki and asked Mr G. T. Alley to prepare plans. In 1937, however,
£3,000 was placed on the Estimates for the Country Library Service and
Mr Alley was appointed Director later in the year. For some time the
Service was also located in Parliament Buildings.

Twenty years earlier the Library had also assisted in the
reorganisation of the Turnbull Library as a State library. Mr J. C.
Andersen was for some time on the staff, resigning to become first
Librarian. In addition, both Mr Wilson and Dr Scholefield were in turn
Advisory Directors to the Turnbull Library until the post was abolished
in 1930.

_The Library as a Museum_

The Library has during its century collected many curios which should
really have been given to a museum. The Library Committee has had to
decide frequently whether historical relics could be displayed. In
1886, after the Taiaha of Wahanui presented to James Bryce had been
refused, the Committee laid down that nothing but books, manuscripts,
maps, etc., should be deposited without special permission.

However the Library possesses today many such relics. There are the
caskets containing the Freedoms of certain cities presented to Mr
Fraser, a similar collection of Mr Seddon's and of Sir Joseph Ward's,
the pen used by Mr Massey to sign the Treaty of Versailles, a kava
bowl, mats, etc., from Samoa, and many other items. The Library also
had for a time the Bishop Monrad etchings and the Chevalier pictures,
but these were handed over to the Turnbull Library and Academy of Fine
Arts respectively.

The display of such objects tends to attract to the Library visitors
not interested in the books, but whose conversation distracts more
serious readers.

_Purchase of Books_

Though today books are purchased in many countries most of the books
have always been obtained in England. The first books were bought from
Smith and Elder in London, but this was not continued. Instead, an
arrangement was entered into with a Mr Maberly of Auckland, partner in
a London firm of booksellers, to obtain and bind books uniformly.

In the following years the Library had several London agents, none of
whom were entirely satisfactory, while some were quite the reverse.
What the Library Committee wanted was a reliable buyer who could
provide books cheaply and in addition supply the more important books
as they were published without duplicating them in later orders.
Including the time taken for reviews to reach New Zealand, for them to
be read, the books to be ordered and dispatched to New Zealand, it
would be not far short of a year before a book published in England
reached the shelves of the Library.

After several changes of agent in quick time the Committee in 1883
asked the authority of Cabinet to use the Agent-General in London to
purchase books. This was given and book purchase was put on a happier
basis. This was particularly so in the first years when Sir Francis
Bell was Agent-General. Though the books were supplied by a bookseller
in Edinburgh, Sir Francis, as a former member of the Library Committee,
took a personal interest in the orders and anticipated the purchase of
many popular books.

The High Commissioner in London, successor to the Agent-General, has
continued to oversee the purchase of books for the Library either from
booksellers or from the publishers. He has been of invaluable
assistance to the Library in this task; and the assistance given in
this field is only paralleled by that of the other overseas agencies of
New Zealand, particularly those in the United States, Canada, and

A large and increasing number of books has also been purchased from
booksellers in New Zealand. Particularly in the case of novels, it is
of advantage to inspect the book before buying a copy.

For many years books purchased in England were rebound uniformly in
morocco. In 1886, in an attempt to reduce costs, the Committee decided
that works costing less than 10s. were to be sent out in the ordinary
cloth binding. The more expensive and important works still continued
to be rebound in leather, but as time went on this too was discontinued
and all books were dispatched in the publisher's binding.

                       THE AIMS OF THE LIBRARY

What does the General Assembly Library exist for and what does it
set out to do? Its primary function is to assist members to obtain
information needed for the performance of their parliamentary duties
and also to make available to them books, periodicals, etc., which may
better equip them as men of affairs.

From the first the Library set out to obtain books on matters and
topics likely to be the subject of legislation and on matters likely to
be of interest to members. As funds became available and the Library
grew it was also possible to purchase books for recreational reading,
but this has always been a lesser aim.

The necessity for obtaining books on matters likely to be subject to
legislation has directly led to the acquisition of books relating to
New Zealand. The principal subject of legislation before the New
Zealand Parliament is New Zealand, and in order to give the information
required it is essential to have as complete a collection as possible
on New Zealand.

The advent of the Liberal Government in 1891, and later of the Labour
Government, led to wide extension of the field of legislation and
consequently of the stock of the Library. Today the Library is strong
in official publications, in economics, politics, administration, law,
and statistics; there are good collections in history, biography, and
travel, and also an excellent reference collection.

The staff have always given members of Parliament every possible
service, but the scope has tended to grow. Last century members tended
to do more of their own research, and relied on the staff to locate
books rather than individual items of information. The desire for this
last service grew and attempts were made to provide it.

To do so, however, required considerable advances in staff and
technique. It involved the indexing of periodicals, often attempted by
the staff which was rarely in a position to do it well and to continue
it. Today much of this work is done either commercially or
cooperatively and, although the results are not available quickly, the
staff is freed for other work.

Today the Library is working towards the time when it can give a
reference and research service similar to that of the House of Commons
Library, or to imitate in a smaller way that of the Library of Congress
in Washington. Such a service requires intelligent, well trained staff
who are capable of locating and organising information into a form
where it can be readily understood and used.

The Library is doing an increasing amount of such work, but it has not
the staff to do all that is required of it. I am sure, however, that
before the story of the Library is much longer, it will be giving a
fuller service.

In this connection there is one aspect of the work that should not be
passed over--the indexing of newspapers. Newspapers have always been
important to the Library, giving as they do so much current history and
opinion. Only in recent years has it been possible to index certain
papers fully, and so provide quickly necessary references.

                            BOOKS AND MEN

Books are of little value without men to care for them and men to use
them, so that to be successful a library needs good books and good men.
The General Assembly Library has been fortunate in the men who have
controlled it and the men who have used it.

No librarian can ask for more than the support and interest of those
who control the library, or that the material and information he
provides is being put to good use. No user of a library can ask for
more than the real interest and help of the librarians in his research
and reading. Again the General Assembly Library has been lucky in the
interest shown by members of Parliament and by the staff who have
served in it.

Some names have been mentioned here; many more should have been.
Suffice it to say that as far as Parliament is concerned many members
have given generously of their time and energy to help make the Library
what it is today.

The same remarks can be applied to the staff. They are fortunate, for
their work gives a pleasure that much work does not, and so makes doing
it so much easier.

This support from members of Parliament and from the staff gives the
Library such reserves that it faces its second century with confidence.
Difficulties there may be, but they will not be so great as to prevent
even better library and information service being given to Parliament.

                            BY AUTHORITY:

_Price 1s._                                                95687--58 G

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Report of the Chief Librarian - for the Year Ended 31 March 1958: Special Centennial Issue" ***

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