To the Editor.
Sir,— On a review of what has appeared in your paper, from last April, to date, concerning the Ashburton Library, something like a correct estimate of its state and condition may be found. With the light thrown upon it by the aid of the press the following items are seen :- 1. For more than two years, say since March 1878, the institution has not be eh a success. 2. From some unexplained cause, a subscribers’ annual meeting was not held in 1879, and whether the officers and Committee elected in 1878 could hold office for two years is uncertain.
3. For reasons then satisfactory to the subscribers, the building was in July, 1878, so altered as to be available only for Library purposes, yet in May, 1880, the Chairman regretted the public did not appreciate what had been done.
: 4. Though not open for other than Library purposes after July 1878, the building has been used by outside bodies, such as the Episcopalian vestry and the Gas Company; and though the public are tsked to believe that on the strength of a bye-law, a rent of 10s. 6d. has always been paid for the use of the building, there is no proof that this has been done. 5. The alteration of the building could not have been, undertaken, without some expense, and rents could not have been received without creating receipts; yet no statement of accounts was forthcoming last May, at the subscribers’ meeting, nor any reason assigned for the absence of it. 6. The Committee of 1878 evidently held office up to May, 1880, and acknowledged they were partly to blame for the bad state of affairs, but left the public to say in what respect.
7. The same Committee were eager to stop persons from voting at the last meeting, unless it was clear their subscriptions had been paid up, though it was by no means certain that all on the Committee had paid their own.
8. The tardiness of the Committee in responding to the wishes of the subscribers in reference to calling a public meeting caused a suspicion that there was something to conceal, and the absence of the balance-sheet, also the way they , sat on persons who had not paid up their subscriptions deepened that suspicion. 9. Nothing was said at the public meeting last held in reference to the state of the piano belonging to the library, whether anyone had free access to it, or whether it was earning money for the institution.
The present Committee have no blame attached to them, and they will have ac- 1 corded to them the warmest thanks of the subscribers if they 7 can show a financial statement for the last two or three years, publish the rules and bylaws, take stock of the property, and generally satisfy the public mind, either that the Library is not to be used for any outside purpose, or, if it is, that the rent is duly' paid. An influx of subscribers will then most likely follow.'—l am, &c., . One Present at the Entertainment.
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