Sunday, 21 June 2015

Luton Library and the War

Opening of Luton Free Library, 1910 [Z1306/75/10/23/33]

Monday 21st June 1915: Mr T. E. Maw has made his annual report to the Public Libraries Committee of Luton Town Council in which he describes the effect the war is having on the library service. Unsurprisingly the number of books borrowed for home reading has reduced, while the soldiers billeted in Luton have made good use of the library. Many have expressed their appreciation of the Committee’s generosity in allowing them the same borrowing rights as local residents. The Committee’s faith has been rewarded as although the soldiers often had to leave at short notice on two books have not been returned. In 1910 a review of the library stock was carried out, since when 1550 books have been withdrawn from circulation and 3242 volumes have been rebound. Now that the books are in a much improved condition many local residents who had been deterred by the number of dirty and dilapidated books have taken out borrowers’ tickets. Since 1912 the number of tickets issued has risen from 3,810 to 6,761. To encourage more country members to use the library their subscription is to be reduced to 2s 6d per half-year. 85,245 volumes have been issued in the past year, of which 72,801 were fiction, and the reference room was used by 9,793 people (not including soldiers).

Source: Luton News 18th June 1915

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