LINEN HALL LIBRARY: ANNUAL MEETING OF THE MEMBERS, PILFERING OF VOLUMES
Belfast News-Letter, Tuesday 24th June 1924
The annual meeting of the members of the Belfast Library and Society for Promoting Knowledge was held yesterday in the Linen Hall Library, Rev. Canon Murphy, D.D., presiding in the absence of Professor J. A. Lindsay, M.D., president.
The report of the governors stated that it had been decided to allocated part of the space in the premises in Fountain Street for library purposes, as the need for extension had been long felt.
The Librarian’s report showed that the number of books issued in the lending library was 313,069, an increase of 479 the previous year.
The Chairman, moving the adoption of the annual report and statement of accounts, said he could congratulate them on continued prosperity not only in membership but in finance as well. One encouraging feature of the annual report was that there were two lines in which there had been an addition in the number of books issued – theology and classics – those were in addition to fiction. He knew there were a great number of people who despised fiction, but fiction, like everything else, in its own way had its uses. They could not keep the human mind at rest, and the only way they could procure any rest for it was to switch it on to different lines. Some people found that different line in poetry, but the great majority found it in fiction. He did not despise it, because some of the greatest thinkers had been voracious readers of fiction. He was sure that the prosperity of the library owed very much to the kindness and ability of Mr. Burgoyne and his willing staff. (Applause.)
Mr. A. H. Muir seconded.
Mr. A. E. Brett thought that while the society were receiving rents for the downstairs portion of the premises, there were a large number of members who would like that part of the library opened if it were possible. It was also felt by some that a smoke-room might be provided, and in regard to the issues of books the governors might consider some other scheme. The loss of books must be very great and while they had excellent staff, he felt that they were over-taxed, and some scheme should be adopted whereby there would not be so much put on the ladies in the office.
Miss Hamilton said she had been asked to mention at that meeting that a great many books were taken out by people who did not subscribe, and it was evident that the library was being used by non-subscribers. She had been told that when fifty copies of a novel were bought, in three months only twenty were left.
The Chairman said that matter would have to be dealt with, and the suggestion put forward would be considered by the governors. He would suggest that a small committee of ladies and gentlemen should be associated with the governors to devise a means to prevent those depredations.
Mr. Wm. Mayes said it was an objectionable practice for people to lend books to others who were not subscribers.
The reports were adopted.
On the motion of Miss Hamilton, seconded by Mr. T. Edens Osborne, the following retiring directors were re-elected – Mr. F. A. Heron, Mr. H. H. Jones, Rev. H. J. Rossington, Major Robt Workman, and Mr. R. M. Young.
Mr. Joseph McBride proposed, and Mr. J. O. Campbell seconded, the election of the office bearers as follows – President, Professor J. A. Lindsay, M.A., M.D.; vice-president, Mr. William Swanston, F.G.S.; hon. secretary, Rev. H. J. Rossington, M.A., B.D.; hon. treasurer, Mr. William Mayes, F.C.A.
The resolution was passed, and the meeting concluded.