That course would, in fact, be more in line with the purpose I have in moving the amendment. Amendment 11 reads:—
In page 68, lines 22-24, to delete from and including the words "the Bodleian Library," line 22, to the word "Wales," line 24, and substitute therefor the words "the Library of Trinity College, Dublin, the Library of University College, Dublin, the Library of University College, Cork, and the Library of University College, Galway."
Looking at this matter, not as a University representative, or as a person necessarily interested in this particular University College, but from the point of view of the country as a whole, and as the ordinary representative of a country constituency, it struck me that it would be a peculiar thing if a Bill like this were allowed to go through containing a provision giving privileges to a number of libraries in England, Scotland and Wales, which may not at the moment, be very valuable, but which might, in the course of ten or twenty years, become valuable—as the original privilege has become very valuable in the course of time—if a Bill were allowed to go through giving these privileges to foreign Universities and making no provision whatever, and no reference whatever, to the three quite poor and badly-provided-for University Colleges that we have in this country. It would be a very peculiar kind of provision and a very peculiar act for the Dáil to perform. I started out with the notion of trying to have that question debated on its merits, not to try to do anything in the matter of the privileges which Trinity College already possesses, because it has nothing to do with it, but to confine the matter to those books produced in Ireland and to try and secure that the interests of the three University Colleges mentioned in the amendment would not be lost sight of. It then occurred to me that if that amendment were to be passed it would be very desirable, as the Minister has said, that Trinity College should take its place along with the other University institutions in the country in regard to this privilege, instead of being put in a special position alongside the National Library and the British Museum which have that privilege—at least the National Library, it may be supposed, has that privilege largely for purpose of registration and seeing that a proper collection of the books published in the country is kept somewhere. It is not necessary to provide for that in more institutions than one, and for that reason I thought it would be more logical and more satisfactory from the point of view of the other colleges, and look better in general, if Trinity College were put in the same position as the other three University Colleges. However, that is more a formal point, as I have said. The question would arise whether it would be a matter of more expense to Trinity College if it were accepted and carried out.
What I want to insist upon in moving Amendment No. 11 is that it would be a great pity, and most peculiar, to say the least of it, if we made elaborate provision for supplying Irish books free to four foreign colleges, and made no provision at all for providing books produced in Ireland to our own colleges here. This privilege in relation to Irish books may not at the moment, as there are not perhaps many books being produced in Ireland, be of great value, but if, within the course of the next ten or fifteen years, there is an improvement in the Irish publishing trade, and a big number of the ordinary text-books used in schools and colleges begin to be produced in Ireland, a privilege of this kind would be of the greatest possible value to our university colleges. It would be of value in a way in which such a privilege is really not of value to Oxford or Cambridge University. The point was made, I believe, that by the inclusion of Oxford, Cambridge, Edinburgh and Wales in this section you would be doing something for the advantage of Irish authors. I should like to point out, in the first place, that this section as it stands provides that Irish books be supplied to university libraries only on the demand of those libraries themselves, so that the authors will have very little to say in the providing of this advantage to them. It is really intended, and it was intended originally, to be of advantage to the universities, and it is only of definite advantage to the universities, as far as I can see. As regards the university colleges of Dublin, Cork and Galway, this amendment which I have proposed would be of most value in the case of ordinary text-books which would be produced for the use of school and college students.
I should like to point out that at present University College, Dublin—and I am sure the same is the case with the other university colleges—suffers a certain disability in that regard which is not met by the existence in Dublin of libraries such as that of Trinity and the National Library. Undergraduates in universities are not easily permitted to study in other university libraries. It is not an easy thing for an undergraduate of University College, Dublin, to become a reader at Trinity College. That is not at all unnatural or peculiar. It is not easy for him at present to become a reader in the National Library. There are certain difficulties in the way, and if he does become a reader there, and goes in to study some text-book which may perhaps be somewhat out of the way, or may be quite an ordinary text-book for his purpose, it may not be very easily procured. He may find that the National Library does not keep it, because it has to a certain extent ceased to keep minor text-books. He might then simply have to fall back on his own college library, and I suggest that it would be a very valuable privilege to that college library to get a supply of such text-books as are produced in Ireland. These three libraries at present are not well provided for. I can speak best, of course, of the library at University College, Dublin, which is not well provided for at the moment in the way of building and in the way of funds, and, in general, any little benefit it could get from the operation of such an amendment as I have suggested would be most welcome. I say that in face of the statement that the housing of such books as might be procured under this would be a difficulty. I do not see where the difficulty would come in. This leaves it optional for the college library to ask only for the books it wants, and there is no necessity for it to undertake the housing of a large quantity of books. It can pick and choose and make up its own mind as to the books which it requires, according to the exigencies of the space at its disposal.
I think that point does not arise very much even in the case of University College, Dublin, which, perhaps, is the worst provided for of all in the way of space. In the case of Cork, I think the arguments for my amendment are even stronger than for University College, Dublin. The library of University College, Cork, is the only one of its kind that exists in the second biggest town in the Saorstát. For that reason it should be provided for in a Bill of this kind on much the same lines that the National Library is provided for. Certainly in a Bill like this it should be provided for in preference to the libraries of Oxford, Cambridge, Edinburgh or Wales. The library of University College, Cork, has certainly a bigger claim on this State for a privilege such as this is than those external libraries to which a privilege of this kind can never be nearly as valuable as it would be to a library like University College, Cork. The case for both the University Colleges of Cork and Galway is really stronger than the case for Dublin. Even in the case of Dublin there are certain classes of books for the use of which the ordinary student, both undergraduate and post-graduate, must fall back on the library of his own college. We have something like 1,200 or 1,300 students in University College, Dublin, at the present time. A considerable proportion of these could not by any possible stretch of the imagination be regarded as finding it easy to be admitted either to Trinity College Library or the National Library. It would not be physically possible for them to become readers in one or other of these two libraries. For that reason I think that we have every right to ask, on behalf of University College, Dublin, and of the University Colleges of Cork and Galway, that instead of going out of our way gratuitously to make provision for the supply of Irish books to colleges in England, Scotland and Wales the State should first think of its own University Colleges with their poorly equipped libraries for which it is primarily responsible.