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MEETING OF MEMBERS OF THE ASHBURTON LIBRARY.

There was a large attendance of members of the Ashburton Library at. the meeting held on Thursday for the purpose of receiving the report and balance-sheet, and electing office bearers and Committee for the ensuing year. Dr. Trevor was voted to the chair, and, in opening the proceedings, referred to the purposes for which the meeting was called, and hoped that the result of it would be to infuse new life into the concern. It was just six years since the first meeting was held to inaugurate the institution, and of those present that evening, he believed only Messrs. Poyntz, Ward, Bullock, and himself were at the first meeting. The promoters had put their shoulders to the wheel, and sometimes had put their hands in their pockets to make the Library asuccess, andalong with aid which had been received from Government, they had got along remarkably well. The institution had received but little support during the recent and yet prevailing depresssion, and the committee had not done all they might have done during the last twelve months. Yet the prospect was a hopeful one ; there was a balance at the Bank, the nucleus existed of a good Library, they held some valuable property, including a good piano, and what with the large population and a grant which was expected from the County Council, he thought there was a bright future before them. The Chairman concluded his remarks by bearing testimony to the interest which the Secretary, Mr. Ward, had taken in the Library, and the work which he had gratuitously undertaken in its behalf. The minutes of the last meeting having been read and confirmed, the report of the committee was reed as follows : The Committee of the Ashburton Public Library and Reading-room have to report that, from a variety of causes, which will not now be enumerated, there has not been a general meeting of the subscribers held since 30th March, 1878. Since that time great changes have taken place, both as regards the building and the financial condition and prospects of the Library. With respect to the building ; At the last general meeting of the subscribers it was represented that as the Town and Templar Halls were erected, or in the course of erection, and as the large revenue which had hitherto been derived from leasing the Library Hall would necessarily and inevitably cease, it would be desirable for the newly-elected Committee to take this fact into their early consideration, and make such provisions as to them appeared necessary to make the Library building as convenient as possible, and use it only for the purposes for which it was originally founded. In accordance with this suggestion, on the 4th July, 1878, after much anxious deliberation, the Committee decided to alter the building to its present form and capacity viz., a smoking-room, reading and coffee room, and a small dwelling at the back for the care-taker to live in and take care of the premises, and look after the requirements especially of lady subscribers. The changes thus made, the Committee regret to state, have not met with the encouragement and support from the general public which they, whether rightly or wrongly, felt themselves justified in anticipating. With regard to the finances, the Committee have to report that there has been a great decrease in the income of the institution. This has arisen from two or three causes—first, from die loss of revenue from rents received from the source previously mentioned; and, secondly, from the general commercial depression which has so long prevailed in the town and neighborhood, and which, there is no doubt, has crippled the resources of the subscribers to a very considerable extent. But there is yet another cause which has exercised an influence adverse to the financial prosperity of the institution—viz., a wide-spread report that the public had a right to the {privileges of the Library free of charge. The Committee would have considered such a report beneath their notice had it not been for the influence produced upon some who have made use of the advantages offered without contributing towards its maintenance. In concluding this report, the Committee earnestly hope that their successors will succeed in initiating such pleasures as will make the institution what it ought to be —viz., a moral and intellectual benefit to the increasing population of this town and neighborhood. With regard to the balance-sheet, Mr. Ward asked the indulgence of members, as, through unforseen circumstances, he had been unable to get it completed in time for that meeting. However, there was a credit balance at the Bank of LlO Is. 9d., but there were accounts owing to the amount of Ll 4 odd, which, when paid, would leave them a little overdrawn ;

and hence the Chairman’s statement of there being a credit balance was incorrect Mr. Purnell could not see what use the meeting was, seeing there was no balancesheet, and there was no means of ascertaining whether the accounts were correct or incorrect. It was a state of affairs which would be very unsatisfactory to the incoming committee, who would take office without any funds whatever. There was no excuse at all for the unsatisfactory state of affairs, as there had been repeated requests for a long time for a meeting to be held. He thought the committee were guilty of very culpable neglect. He had been a subscriber to the Library for the last fifteen months, and he knew that there had been no new books added during that time. He would move that the report be referred to a committee for consideration, to report to the next .general meeting. . , , , Mr. St. HUP wished to know whether Mr. Purnell had paid his subscription. The Secretary stated that Mr. Purnell was really not a member of the institution, his subscription having fallen in arrear.

Mr. Purnell resented this statement, and said that up to the present time he had always paid his subscription, and was quite willing to pay for' the ensuing quarter when called upon by the Secretary, whose duty it was to collect subscriptions.

At this period of the meeting, the Chairman remarked that as no one present was entitled to vote who was in arrears, and as there was evidently some defaulters’ present who were quite ready to pay up, he would adjourn the proceedings for ten minutes to allow of this being done. At this announcement there was a perfect rush to the Secretary’s table, and for a few moments that gentleman was diligently employed in receiving. subscriptions. On the motion of Mr. Gundry, seconded by Mr. Shury, the report as read was adopted. Mr. Gundiy thought the brief statement of accounts given by Mr. Ward was perfectly satisfactory, but as the complete balance-sheet was not in readiness for that meeting, he would propose that the same be referred to the incoming Committee for their consideration. This was seconded by Mr. Boyle, and carried. Mr. Bullock proposed—“ That Mr. Ward be requested to act as President of the Library for the ensuing year.” The speaker referred in complimentary terms to the very active part Mr. Ward had taken in the affairs of the institution to make it successful. Mr. Bullock hoped that in the future the Library would be conducted in the same satisfactory manner as it-had been during the first three years of its existence. He regretted very much that Dr. Trevor had notified his intention of not taking office again, but as he would not consent to be re-elected he had much pleasure in proposing Mr. Ward as the future President of the Library.

Mr. St. Hill paid a high tribute to the activity displayed by Mr. Ward in the interests of the concern, especially in its infancy, when, through the forethought of that gentleman, a sum of L4O had been obtained from the late Provincial Government just prior to the abolition of the provinces. '

Mr. Ward was unanimously elected President, and suitably responded to the honor conferred on him.

Dr. Trevor said, with regard to the office of Secretary, that it was a most important position to hold, inasmuch as a great deal of the efficiency and success of the institution depended on that officer. Mr. Shury proposed, and Mr. Zouch seconded the nomination of Mr. Jacobson to fill the office of Secretary. Mr. Roberts proposed, and Mr. Gundry seconded, Mr. Young as Secretary. Mr. Ward drew the attention of the meeting to the fact that there was a gentleman present, who was one of the oldest members of the Library, and who had been its first Secretary. He referred to Mr. Foyntz, and had much pleasure in nominating him for the position. This motion having been seconded, and Mr. Young retiring from the contest, a ballot was taken, which resulted in the election of Mr. Jacobson.

On the motion of Mr. Bullock, seconded by Mr. Harrell, Mr. Roberts was elected Treasurer, Mr. Young being unanimously elected Librarian, on the motion of Mr. Shury, seconded by Mr. Gundry. There were twelve candidates brought to the front, from whom five members of Committee were to be chosen. A ballot resulted in the following gentlemen being elected :—Kev. Mr. Hands, Messrs Guinness, Gundry, Shury, and St. George Douglas. Considerable interest was manifested over this election, especially when the Chairman announced a tie between Mr. St. Hill and Mr. St. George Douglas. Both gentlemen were anxious to retire in favor of each other, but the meeting would not consent to this, one gentleman facetiously remarking that it was too interesting an event to miss a contest between two “ Saints.” The result, as will be seen, eventuated in the return of Mr. Douglas. Messrs. Boyle and Zouch were elected auditors.

Dr. Ross gave notice of motion that ai the next meeting he would move thai rule 10 be altered, so as to read “ 10 members of Committee ” in place of 5.

Votes of thanks to the retiring Secretary and Treasurer, and to the Chairman concluded the meeting, which was looked upon as being very successful, both in the numerous attendance and the interest taken in the proceedings.

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MEETING OF MEMBERS OF THE ASHBURTON LIBRARY. Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 100, 15 May 1880

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