January 5, 2009
The Times Newspaper and books in libraries
There are a number of reasons why this blog has strong links with The Times Newspaper
Here is one of the reasons why-- well done to them
Posted by Perkins at January 5, 2009 12:22 PM
When reading Mr Hawtree's cheap slur on Oxfordshire Libraries I can't help but think that "Old Wives' Tales" is an appropriate description of his message.
Oxfordshire Libraries has 9 copies of this particular title, including 5 of the 2007 Penguin Classics edition, 2 of which are in the Central Library (assuming that it was the Central Library visited of all our libraries in Oxford). Mr Hawtree's friend needs to realise that the strange thing about public libraries is that people do actually borrow books which explains why sometimes a title may not be on the shelf. A spot check today revealed 3 novels by Arnold Bennett on the shelves of the Central Library, including a copy of the title in question.
Oxfordshire Libraries takes great pride in its stock and continues to place books and reading at the forefront of what it is about. Because of this emphasis and the consequent protection of the book fund in times of 'efficiency savings', usage and book issues have been increasing over the past few years. Consequently, I take great exception to comments such as Mr Hawtree's, based as they are on second-hand tittle-tattle and lack of research.
In this same context, 'Martyn' may also be interested to know that Oxfordshire Libraries, with half the population and budget of Essex, currently has 4 subscriptions to the TLS, 3 to the London Review of Books, and 3 to the Literary Review.
Posted by: Rex at January 7, 2009 7:46 PM
Mea culpa. I am heartened that the Oxford libraries are putting stock at their centre. It was surprise that this authority, of all of them, should lack Bennett that made me think it worth drawing that attention to the matter.
It is certainly interesting that an author sometimes thought unfashionable should be in such evident demand, and I hope that other authorities will take heed. There are so many authors for whom there is a public taste but are not to be found in the place that one would expect to find them - a public library. What's more, it is good to see that Oxford has multiple copies in certain libraries. Too often libraries say that a book "is out", as if that is reason enough for its not being on the shelf. When in fact that absence should give pause for considering whether a second copy (or more) should be bought.
That is cheering news. As for the TLS, London Review of Books and Literary Review, perhaps there should be copies of each in every Oxfordshire library at a time when the daily press is so rashly cutting down book-review space. In these times, it is surely books about which people wish to read rather than, say, cars or restaurants.
Posted by: Christopher Hawtree at January 7, 2009 10:02 PM
This blog positively encourages the use of strong and forthright language; and of the use of Latin. It is 500 years since Henry 8 became King and readers if Thomas More's Utopia or the works of Erasmus will recognise the value of bluntness. It was only the increasing widespread use of printing that shocked people into more moderate use of words in their written text. Civil servants in the past few decades have learned to write whole tracts that say nothing at all. Rex, you are welcome in name and nature! Good to hear from you.
Posted by: perkins at January 8, 2009 9:50 AM