During the past month or so numerous entertainments have been held in the country districts, the object of these assemblages being to raise funds for the formation of new or the support of existing libraries. The gods help those who help themselves, and it is with no small degree of pleasure that we see the settlers doing their best to help themselves in the matter of supporting their own libraries. Books are ever-present teachers, and the man who has no access to books, or cares not to use them if he has, is poor indeed. We shall be glad when we see a good library established in every school district of the County, and we rejoice to see that so many of these districts are aiming at possessing libraries of their own. There is always a bright hope of success for any undertaking or movement when the mass of the people go in for it with spirit. Whether such movement be aided by the powers that be or not, if the people are in it enthusiastically it must go on. It is one of the New Zealand colonist’s weaknesses to look to Government for everything he wants, and depend as little as possible upon his own exertions. This dependent feeling militates against that manly, self-reliance that is always the mother of enterprise, and if it is encouraged it will in the end emasculate the people’s spirit, and innoculate them with the stuff that milksops are made of. The hard times of to-dav are likely, however, to be a good preventative to the spread of this weakness, and in the matter of the libraries it is perhaps better for all of them—more especially the Ashburton one—that the Committee on the library question appointed by the County Council has not seen its way to recommend the granting of public money for their aid or support. Private efforts must now more than ever be depended on, and the hard fact becoming impressed on readers’ minds that they themselves must support the literary institutions they belong to, we expect to see the latent pluck and perseverance that lie in the deeper cockles of John Bull’s heart stirred up to activity and business. We expect to see each little country library vieing with its neighbor in aiming at excellence, and the book-shelves adding to their rows a steady and quarterly increase. But it must be done by the people themselves. Government aid is now hopeless, and the county purse-strings are tightly drawn, so that we must look for building up the libraries where Byron told the Greeks to look for courage:— Ti ust not for freedom to the Franks, They have a King who buys and sells, In native swords and native ranks The only hope of courage dwells.
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THE LIBRARIES., Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 136, 7 August 1880
THE LIBRARIES. Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 136, 7 August 1880
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