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Dáil Éireann debate -
Tuesday, 25 Jan 1927

Vol. 18 No. 1


On the Report Stage we had reached amendment 8, which we discussed. Amendments 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12 were under discussion. They deal with practically the same subject. A new amendment, 11a, appears on the Paper. I think the practical question is whether 11a meets the point; if it does the other amendments will not go on.

There were two points made on the amendment. One was to have Trinity College, in regard to books published in Ireland, and the National Library and the British Museum put on a level with the University Colleges of the National University. I wanted to have these English, Scotch and Welsh Libraries deleted and that the libraries of the colleges of the National University be substituted. As far as I can see, Deputy Thrift's amendment meets the point. I have no interest in having English libraries excluded from receiving copies of books published in Ireland. I am prepared to agree with Deputy Thrift in that. The other point, I think, could be met in one of two ways, either by putting the University Colleges on the same footing as Trinity College is in under the Bill as it stands, that is to say, that they would get a copy of every book published in Ireland without having to make a request for it, or else it should be met by putting Trinity College in the position of having to make a request for books. That is the only point that remains to be discussed.

I do not want to go over the grounds we went over in December. I have no objection to the suggestion that the three University Colleges should be added to sub-section (1), but I would press, in the interest of a complete collection of Irish books, that we should not have the necessity for a request for books imposed upon the Trinity College Library. I do not want to argue the point at full length. I would be quite satisfied to accept the suggestion if some words on the lines proposed could be added to sub-section (1) of Section 2.

I agree with Deputy Thrift. I do not want to raise any difficulty. I only want to see that the libraries of all the Colleges are put on a level. It is immaterial in what way they are put on a level. Deputy Thrift's new amendment, as on the Order Paper, would create a certain amount of difficulty for the authorities of the National University of Ireland. The National University has nothing whatever to do with the libraries of the three Colleges. The most practical thing would be, instead of putting down the authorities of the National University of Ireland, to leave out the line "The authorities in control of the National University of Ireland," and put, instead, "the libraries of the University Colleges in Dublin, Cork and Galway."

I accept that point, but I did not like to put down something which would interfere with the control of the University. Has the Minister any objection to our coming to this arrangement?

This is a matter entirely for the House. I think it is quite right that the Universities should be put on the same level. Whether Trinity College, Dublin, was removed from sub-section (1) and put into the other sub-section, or the three University College libraries are put into sub-section (1) is material as between the two Universities. I think it is material, too, so far as the publishers are concerned. On the one hand it means delivery of every book published, and on the other hand it means delivery on demand. In the one case responsibility is placed on the publishers to supply to the places mentioned a copy of everything published. That responsibility is a continuing one, and the publisher may be brought to book years after; whereas, in the case of supplying a book on demand, there would be other laws coming into force.

There is a difference so far as the liability of the publisher is concerned. There is also a smaller difference. I understand that where the publisher has to deliver a copy of everything published—what is called an automatic delivery—the practice has been that it should be a copy of the book bound with the best binding in which the book is produced. When it is delivered on demand there may be a secondary binding, a cheaper type of binding, in which the book may be transferred. Taking it from the publisher's point of view, it is an important question whether the obligation placed on the publisher is to deliver every book published or merely to supply on demand. If it is an obligation to supply every book published, that will mean the book will have to be in the best form published. That will be an additional obligation on the publisher.

Deputy Thrift's amendment is, of course, effective. His amendment sets out: "Three copies of the book for the authorities in control of the National University of Ireland for the libraries of the three constituent colleges." Up to date the deliveries of these books have been given to Universities, not to University Colleges, and we might keep that up by having the amendment framed in this way: "Three copies of the book for or in accordance with the direction of the authorities having the control of the National University of Ireland for the use of their respective libraries and the three constituent colleges."

I can give that amendment in a particular form if it is thought desirable. That will then get over the difficulty as between Trinity College, Dublin, and its position in relation to the National University of Ireland and the position of the three constituent colleges. I would like to know is it any addition to what is proposed in sub-section (2)?

I am anxious that the Dáil should understand, from the point of view of the publishers, what is the new demand. Apparently it is now a copy to the British Museum, the National Library of Ireland, a copy to Trinity College, Dublin, and a copy to each of the three colleges of the National University of Ireland—all these automatically—and then on demand a copy to each of the four foreign Universities. The publisher's liability will then be ten copies. Previously the publisher was faced with the obligation of supplying six copies. It may seem good or ill to the House that they should be asked to do that, but I think the position should be known.

While I appreciate the desire to put the National University on a level with Trinity College, as colleges or as universities, I think it is necessary to take into account the fact that it is a library we are talking about rather than a college. It seems to me that to make the sending of three copies of every book published in the Saorstát to the National University obligatory upon the publishers because it is also obligatory to continue the practice of the past in respect to Trinity College, is unnecessary, because I do not think that each of the colleges is likely, in its present situation, at any rate, to house all the books published. They may be in a position and may be willing to do so, but if there is going to be any obligation on the publishers in this matter, I think we ought to ensure that there will be an obligation upon the libraries to house the books, to have them always for reference.

I would not at all object to the library if there is a library anything like, or even moving in the direction of the proportions of the Trinity College library attached to the National University, so as to put them on a level; but whether each of the colleges could be put upon that level in that obligatory sense I am very doubtful. I think the proposition that on demand— which presupposes a desire to have the books, or a specific book—each of the libraries should have one is reasonable, and, I think, therefore, it is in sub-section (2) that the obligation should be imposed upon the publishers in respect to three copies for the disposal of the National University. I do not think there is a sufficient case made for imposing upon the publishers the obligation to send three copies to the National University libraries because one has necessarily to be sent to the Trinity College library. I think the proposition to send three copies on demand is a fair one, but I think a stronger case would need to be made if it is intended to put this obligation in sub-section (1).

I ask Deputy Prof. Tierney not to press his point. I think it is necessary to say a little more on this subject. Deputy Johnson has put his finger on the vital point. We are not making any comparison between the two universities. If you do you can only insist on one copy for the National University as compared with one copy for Trinity College. If Deputy Tierney presses his point that there should be three colleges brought into sub-section (1), it means that. There are really two vital points. We are not going to cut out the universities from getting their copies on demand. There is another vital point. We want to get a complete collection in what is, as a matter of fact, the big university library at present.

The point I had in mind before, and that I did not refer to, is that it is comparatively simple to make demand for books in England, Scotland and Wales, because there is a complete published list available of all books published within those boundaries; but it is not possible to make a demand for the books published within the limits of the Free State because there is no such authorised list issued of the books published, and the only possible way to find out about published books is when they are advertised. There is a great difficulty in getting a knowledge of the books that are being published within the limits of the Free State. It is a very important thing that the big library should have as full a collection as possible, so that years afterwards the books may be available.

Would it not be possible for some arrangement to be come to between the Minister for Industry and Commerce, Deputy Thrift, Deputy Alton, Deputy Tierney and Deputy Johnson on this matter, and let the Minister, who has skilled assistance at his disposal, get the agreement arrived at drafted? We do not seem to be getting any further in the matter in the House. Let them agree on something and let the Minister bring it forward. Even if we come to an agreement now we have not got it drafted. It is not contained either in the original amendment or in the new amendment or in amendment 11 (a), or in any combination of them. Perhaps it could be done to-morrow or some day next week?

I do not think there is going to be any agreement got between those mentioned. It is a matter that we ought to leave to a vote here and have it settled one way or another. I do not think the drafting point will cause any difficulty. If the vote of the House is that sub-section (2) is to be left as it is, and that sub-section (1) is to be amended by putting in the three colleges of the National University, I believe I can supply a draft that will stand criticism on that matter, but I do think that the matter is quite simple. Are we going to give the books to the foreign libraries? There appears to be general agreement on that. We are prepared to sacrifice the publisher or the author.

To give him a free advertisement.

Or the advertisement that he tries to get nowadays, by giving multitudinous copies for review purposes. The real sacrifice appears to be on the part of the publishers, but they are sufficiently good business men to face the new situation the statute will create and to make their new arrangements with the author, so that the author will be the man who is to make sacrifices. We appear to agree that copies should be given on demand as they were before to Oxford, Cambridge, Scotland and Wales. The other point is, are the three colleges of the National University also to get copies of books published in Ireland? Incidental to that are the two other difficulties. Are they to get these books on demand or should they get them as a publisher's liability to supply them as soon as published? If we say that they are to be on demand it means that we insert an amendment in sub-section (2). If it means we are in agreement about the other matter, we can insert an amendment in sub-section (1), and there is little difficulty about that. I do not know exactly what order the amendments should be in, but it seems to me that there is only one decision required, and that is, should the three colleges of the National University be added, and, if added, are they to be added in sub-section (1) or sub-section (2) of Section 179? In order to clarify the matter, I will move this amendment—the insertion of these words: "Three copies of the book for or in accordance with the direction of the authority having control of the National University of Ireland for the use of the respective libraries of the three constituent colleges of that university." and that these words be inserted in sub-section (1). The appropriate place will be after "Dublin" in line 62.

That involves the withdrawal of amendment No. 8.

Amendment No. 8, by leave, withdrawn.

May I say a word on the point raised by Deputy Johnson and Deputy Thrift as to whether this amendment should come in sub-section (1) or (2)? Deputy Johnson pointed out that we are not comparing the four colleges in this particular case, but libraries. Trinity College Library is much bigger than any of the constituent college libraries, but he forgot one important point. One of the libraries of the three colleges is in Cork, and Cork is a very important place. From the point of view of the Corkman, whatever may be the difference in the size of the libraries, the library of University College, Cork, is considerably more important than the library of Trinity College, Dublin. The same thing applies to Galway. It is important, therefore, that these libraries get copies of these books. I do not say the case is at all similar in the case of University College, Dublin, but there is no reason why exception should be made in the case of that college.

There are books and books.

The number that will be concerned will be very small for a long time.

"How I won the war."

The number will be small and the difficulty about housing will not arise for a long time to come, and when it does come it can be met. I urge, therefore, that the amendment should be in sub-section (1) and not sub-section (2), and I do so principally because these libraries are at a distance.

Amendment 8, to delete certain words from the sub-section (1) of Section 179 having been withdrawn, the Minister has moved this amendment:—

"In Section 179 (1), line 60, to delete the word "and," and after the word "Dublin," in line 62, to insert the words: "Three copies of the book for, or in accordance with, the direction of the authorities having control of the National University of Ireland for the use of the respective libraries of the three constituent colleges of that university."

Amendment put and agreed to.
Amendments 9, 10, 11, 11a, 12 not moved.

There will have to be consequential amendments in connection with sub-sections (3) and (4), because (3) and (4) make the distinction I spoke of previously in regard to the type of binding, and the sort of copy that is to be given. Sub-section (3) as it stands would mean that a copy of the whole book, with maps, illustrations, finished and coloured in the same manner as the best copy of the book, should be delivered to the National Library, Trinity College Library, and to the Trustees of the British Museum.

The amendment I move is that sub-section (3) be amended to read as follows:—

"The copy delivered to the trustees of the British Museum shall be a copy of the whole book, with all maps and illustrations belonging thereto, finished and coloured in the same manner as the best copies of the book are published and shall be bound, sewed or stitched together and on the best paper on which the book is printed."

The effect of that is to make it that the Trustees of the British Museum are bound to receive a copy of the book which shall be coloured and finished in the same manner as the best copies of that book are published. That is only keeping up to our obligation towards the British Museum in return for which we get a copy of every book published in England.

I agree to that.

Before passing from this I would like to get a little light. The Minister has told us that the libraries in Ireland—I take it he means Trinity College Library—receives a copy of every book published in Great Britain. Does the definition of a book which appears here apply equally to the books published in Great Britain? For instance, are we to take it that a copy of every pamphlet and sheet of letterpress that is published in Great Britain is sent on to Trinity College Library?

Yes, on demand.

The proposition here is that every pamphlet and sheet of letterpress published in Ireland shall be sent to the constituent colleges, and we are assured that they are going to be housed. I wonder are they going to be read and indexed. There are people who have a very considerable collection of pamphlets and sheets of letterpress, but there are so many pamphlets and sheets of letterpress printed that I am very doubtful whether we should make that a definition of what is a book. Just imagine all the flimsy literature that has been published for electioneering purposes within the last few years for revolutionary propaganda. If that ever comes again, as some Ministers would expect judging by their propaganda, "in view of the forces of anarchy still at work"—Ministers appear to expect that there will be revolutionary propaganda continuing and continuous—and yet we are to expect that these pamphlets and sheets of letterpress are to be sent to those libraries. I think that some change in the definition is called for.

I think that the Deputy has forgotten the second part of Section one, which allows regulations to be made excepting certain types of publications.

Will the Minister guarantee that such regulations will be made?

Some of these might be valuable publications.

Amendment put and agreed to.
Question—"That the Bill, as amended, be received for Final consideration"—put and agreed to.
Ordered: That the Fifth Stage be taken on the first day that the House meets next week.