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THE PUBLIC LIBRARY.

—1- s —♦ CONPESBNCE. Delegates from the Canterbury College Board of Governors and from the Public Library Committee met in the rooms of the Philosophical Institute yesterday afternoon. There were present—Messrs Montgomery (in the chair), Bowen, Hulbert (Mayor of Christchurch), Vincent, Jones, Joynt, and Hon. E. C. J. Stevens. The Chairman explained that the Conference h&d been invited by the Board of Governors to consider matters connected with the Library, and generally to devise some means of satisfactorily carrying it on. Before proceeding with the business, he did not know whether it would be thought best that the matter should be considered in Committee, or in an open Board. A ehort discussion ensued, but as no resolution was proposed, and no one ex- : pressed a decided opinion that the meeting should "be in Committee, tre matter was allowed to drop. The Chjlxbman understood that a scheme had been proposed for the carrying on of the Library, which would be satisfactory to both parties. The Maxob said yes. The Sub-Com-mittee appointed by the Library Committee nad drawn up a rough sketch, which was thought to be favorable in the interests of the public. The first clause was—"That the balance to the debit of the Public Library account be: struck out, together with the charge for interest." That applied to the balance of .£825 odd, in the event of the Board consenting to any other body managing the institution, so that it would be clear. The second clause was— "That the Pablio Library be entitled to one-third of the endowments provided by the Canterbury Museum and Library Ordinance of 1870." It was wished to be established that the Library was equal in importance to the Museum and Technical School of Science. The third clause was— " That the Board of Governors' be requested, to hand over the control and management of the Public Library to a Board, to consist of twelve members, to be elected on the basis of population by the following todies, viz.. City, Borough and County Councils of Canterbury, to be incorporated by Act of Parliament. The bodies could either elect one of their own members cr an outsider. These three clauses were submitted for consideration. The Chaibman understood he could take the hut clause first, f «r the incorporation would require an Act of Parliament. The Matob knew that, but to obtain it he did not think would be a great difficulty. The Chaieman said it meant the division oE the reserves. The Mayor did not think that the incorporation of a Board would at present mean the division of the reserves. The Hon.E. C. J. Stkysvs asked if it was intended in the earlier stages to apply for an Act of Parliament for incorporation of the Board of Trustees. The Mayor considered that was a matter for discussion. His own idea was thaC it would be rather risky, if not dangerous, at the present time to phvca the reserves in the hands of Parliament. But the Board parting with the right of tfcte control of the i Public Library would not necessarily mean that half the receipts from these reserves were at once to be applied to the purposes, so long as there was a guarantee when it wa3safe that the Library would bo entitled to a third. The Hon. E. J. C. Stevens understood it was proposed to promote legislation to incorporate a board of trustees, and when a favorable opportunity arrived it should be asked to provide for the division of the reserves. The Chairman said the Board could not take the initiative in anything which might jeopardise the reserves. ~ The Matoe would like an opinion concerning the clauses which had been submitted. The Chaibman said the Board had considered, that the Museum, which was a large institution, required more money to -support it than it had at present. Mr Vincent argued that too much had been spent on the Museum, and that the Library was entitled to one-third of the endowments. "

The Chairman explained that the Board had to consider ail these institutions. There was an excellent reference library, and the circulating library should be kept ap by the subscribers. The Board had provided a reading room and attendants. Mr Bowen considered that this was the whole point. If the circulating library ■were free he could understand the claim, but as it was restricted to subscribers by subscribers it should be supported, and public money should not be spent upon it. He did not see how the resolutions could be taken by themselves. Mr Jotht pointed out what the deed provided for, and said that all that was asked was that the library should receive part of the endowments. The deed, he maintained, contemplated the state of things which existed, and it was only for the Board to say whether the library should be carried on under the rules and regulations made by those who established the j library. The Chaxbhas—We say the institution was n<>t endowed. Mr Jotht—-I thought the Beard had conceded that. . The Cs* trkant—STo, no. Mr JOTST thought they had better put on. their hats and go home. He was quite disappointed. Some of the members of

the Board were glad to see the position which he had taken up, and he had been glad to see that the Board had conceded to that point.

The Chaikmak eaid the delegates had been asked to come to discuss the manner in which the institution should be carried on. t^

Mr JonfT was.the more astonished that they were asked to attend to disease the question of waye and means, when it was not conceded that the library was the Public Library which was endowed under the Canterbury Library Ordinance of 1870. Their object was to see how the finances I could be arranged for the? maintenance of the Public Library, wbieh they held was entitled to a fair share in f: the endowments. He would take no further part* in the discussion, but as a private individual he should consider how the thing , could be put on such a basis, and stop any discussion of the matter hereafter. He said it with respect, that it was bringing them there for no possible object "of benefit to anybody, or the institution, if they were simply to discuss ways and means, and were then told the Library was not entitled to any sbaie in the endowment. They conceived that before any diecussion could take place the question of the Library being entitled to a share in the endowments was settled.

Tho Chatesiast eaid that the Board asked those gentlemen to come there and consider the whole matter. The Board had the control of two institutions as well as the Public Library, and if the Library was to be endowed, to which the Board he supposed would not object, then the maintenance of the other two institutions hid to be considered, and it seemed to him that they must go further, for if they took revenue away from ihe Museum they would need a Board for that, too. The Museum could -not be kept up on .£9OO a-year. The Boatd had accepted the Public Library by taking over management of it by the deed of 186S, but the Board did say that the Library was not the one contemplated bylaw at the time the Act was passed. The Board Had only undertaken to keep it. The Matob—Then you admit you are liable by law? The Chaibman—Yes. The Matob—Then that settles the question. The Hon. E. C. J. Steveks understood the Chairman to mean that there was nothing which attached this Cambridge terrace • Library to the endowment reserves for the School of Technical Science. The CBAmsrAif—The reserves are not attached to it; but the Board has power to use them. The Maiob, in answer to Mr Bowen, ! pointed out that the circulating library had received a large amount in donations, and Mr Jones also remarked that the booke were not exclusively used by subscribers. Mr Bowen said it required a large amount of expenditure to maintain it. When the Board undertook its maintenance they anticipated that it would be supported by the public to a greater extent than it was. A warm discussion took place as to the nurits of the Institution. The deputation maintained that the Library was equal in importance with the School of Technical Science -and the Museum, and that it was folly entitled to at least one-third of the revenue from the reserves. The members of the Board considered that the Museum wes a most popular institution, and an excellent educating medium. The Hon. E. C. J. Stevens also thought that the meeting was not called to discuss ways and means, - but to continue the discussion which took place at the meeting of the Board of Governors. Mr Joynt asked that the resolution should be read requesting their attendance. This wa3 done, and Mr Joynt contended that it did point to the discussion otways and means, and when told that the Board were not empowored to proceed with the ; question as one of ways and means, he expressed his opinion that the resolution was misleading, because it was a complete reply in the affirmative that the Public Library;was the Public Library entitled to endowment. Mr Bowen admitted that it was the Public Library under the deed, but they did not-say they must allocate one-third of the revenue. The law did not connect it wish the reserves which were originally made. • Mr Jotkt contended otherwise. I The Chaibstak said the Board had worked for the interest of the public, and they wished to know what could be done to make these institutions. more popular if possible. The Board had no wish to hold j the Public Library, or any other institu- I tion, except the College itself, if the i public thought they could manage it better themselves. < In a debate which followed, the Chaibmah pointed out that the institutions were j in debt, and also referred to the success which was attending tho School of Art. In answer to a question from Mr Joynt, whether the Board had anything to suggest, he said that the reserves were tied up, and could not be sold under £2 per acre, and before they could be made available, which was wanted to be done, an Act of Parliament would have to be passed. One was passed through the Liwer House lost session, but it was thrown out in the Upper House. A similar movement would [no doubt be made this year, as he underi stood the Board made no objection to it. Had the movement been successful, £1000 a year could have been devoted to the Library. The Matob said there was an opinion that a third of these reserves could be devoted to the library, and that the Museum had grown to a larger extent than the amount it was entitled to justified it in doing. The time had come for the Board to state how they intended to devote the funds. He asked that the clauses should be placed before the Board. , I Mr Joynt said Parliament could be asked next session to change the management of the Public Library, and place it under the control of a representative body. | The Chaibman said the Board had no objectien, but they would not take the initiative. The question was a larger one than the deputation appeared to see. It meant a consideration not only of how the Library should be maintained, but how the Museum, and Technical School of Science should be kept up if funds were taken from them. The clauses which had been submitted should be placed before and discussed by the Board. After some further discussion the meeting terminated, on the understanding that the Board would consider the suggestions.

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Bibliographic details

THE PUBLIC LIBRARY., Press, Volume XL, Issue 5823, 13 May 1884

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1,979

THE PUBLIC LIBRARY. Press, Volume XL, Issue 5823, 13 May 1884

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