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Seanad Éireann debate -
Wednesday, 10 Dec 1947

Vol. 34 No. 16

Public Libraries Bill, 1947—Second Stage.

Question proposed: "That the Bill be now read a Second Time."

I have very great pleasure in bringing before the Seanad this Bill, which received very high recommendation and practically unanimous praise in the Dáil. It is very rarely that a measure comes before members of the Seanad which has received practically no criticism and particularly when it is a Bill involving a certain number of novelties. The Bill has its origin in two sources—first, the pressing need to improve the library services in the country which vary both in quality and degree throughout the country and, secondly, the necessity to make some permanent arrangement for the future administration of the Central Library for Students.

I might give a short history of library legislation in this country in order to enable the House to understand the nature of this measure. The Public Libraries Act, 1855, enabled urban authorities to levy 1d. in the £ for library services. The 1920 Public Libraries Act raised the maximum rate to 3d. The 1925 Act transferred the rural district councils administration of library services to the county councils and enabled county councils, where desirable, to absorb the library administration being carried out by an urban or borough council. At the present time, there are library administrations for all county councils—in some cases, a joint library administration for two county councils. There are also libraries attached to the boroughs and Dún Laoghaire, Bray and Clonmel administrations have their own library services.

For some considerable time, the principal difficulty attaching to an improvement of the library services has been the rate limitation, but, in the Local Government Act, 1946, all rate limitation was removed and local authorities or library authorities may now spend all the money they desire upon the library service. As a result of this, it has been possible, I am glad to say, to increase the salaries of librarians very considerably—in some cases, by as much as 100 per cent. It has also been possible to devise new scales of salaries attaching to the position of librarian and these have been adopted, I think, in practically all counties. Concomitantly with this step, it will be possible in the future to make the qualifications somewhat more advanced for persons seeking positions as librarians in order that they will be better able to carry out this very arduous task, a task which requires a considerable amount of knowledge, not to speak of personality.

To give members of the House some idea of the progress of the library service, I should like to give some figures showing what has been accomplished in an area where the librarian has been particularly successful and where he has had the co-operation of the local authority and where no difficulties have beset him. In one particular local authority area, 75,000 books were issued in the year. Of these, 15,000 were non-fiction—roughly 20 per cent. —and of these 15,000 non-fiction books 10,000 related to travel, biography or history, showing the great interest of the public in these subjects. These 10,000 books also included books relating to social and economic problems. Of the 5,700 books given out to children, a little less than 10 per cent. were non-fiction, mostly books of general knowledge interesting to children.

The variation as between fiction and non-fiction in this area was somewhat extraordinary. It was from 10 per cent. to 38 per cent., according to the locality. In quite a number of counties, we find the best reading done in remote country districts, amongst small farmers, and the lightest reading done in the towns. That may be of interest to members of the Seanad. In general throughout the country the proportion of non-fiction to fiction varies from 15 per cent. to 20 per cent. Although fiction has itself no value from the standpoint of adult education, I do not think that percentage is in any way too low. I think it shows that the libraries are serving a useful purpose. The number of active borrowers per cent. of the population, taking it large and wide over the country, varies from 7 per cent. to 15 per cent., and that, obviously, is capable of expansion.

In Dublin, the percentage of non-fiction is the highest. It is one-third of the books issued by the Dublin libraries, and, what is still more interesting, one-fifth of all the books issued to children in Dublin are non-fiction, showing that children take great advantage of the juvenile service provided by the Dublin libraries to acquire general knowledge in a form suitable for them.

There are about 2,600 book centres in the country. The rates vary from 1d. to 3d. in the £ and the total cost of the library services in a recent year is estimated at £90,000. About half of that amount goes to salaries and it is always the object of every library authority to increase the percentage of the cost of books as a percentage of the total cost, and one could almost judge the activity of a library authority by the high percentage of the cost represented by books and issues of books.

Many advances have been made by librarians during the past 15 years. Librarians very specially qualified for their work, with zest and enthusiasm; have carried out a great deal of what is known as library extension work and I should like to give a few examples of the kind of work done by pioneers who have received co-operation from their local authorities, who have had the money and also the personality to carry out what I would describe as work of special importance and value. A number of authorities have travelling vans, a service which is of very great importance in remote rural areas.

A number of librarians have collected books on the history of the locality where they work; have arranged for lectures to be given on important monuments and places of interest and the local history of the environs. Some librarians have actually founded societies for studying antiquities in the area. Other librarians have collected volumes of photographs of all the notable places in the district for use at exhibitions of various kinds. Some librarians have started lending gramophone records as well as books and have met with some success in spite of what one could imagine would be the high rate of breakages. In fact, the records have been looked after very well and that feature of library work has proved successful. Some librarians have acquired pictures and have assisted in the promotion of an art museum attached to the library or to the local town hall. A good number of librarians have maintained very close contact with the local dramatic societies and have helped local dramatic societies to choose plays and have got them copies of the plays from which to work. Other librarians have maintained very close touch with all agricultural associations and I regard that as perhaps one of the most important activities of any librarian. Where young farmers' clubs have been formed, librarians have often given lectures on books interesting for farmers to read, books written not only by theorists but by practical farmers on modern methods of farming. The same thing applies to the Irish Country-women's Association, where contact is being maintained by the librarian.

Some librarians have prepared lists of books designed to interest fiction readers in non-fiction and have succeeded in increasing the percentage of non-fiction readers by preparing a list of books interesting to those who up to a certain time had been interested only in novels. Other librarians have request lists much like a private library service in which people send in their requests and the books are reserved for them in rotation.

I mention those things to show the progress that has been made. At the same time we are acutely aware of the need for the extension of the library service. In many areas the books are badly housed, in utterly inadequate buildings. In a number of areas no juvenile reading service exists and we regard that as very important indeed. Not to have books freely available for children living in remote areas, in long winter evenings, would seem to leave a great gap in our juvenile educational service. The school teacher in many areas is only too willing to distribute the children's books and to regard the school as a library centre or is very willing to give out these books in rotation if they are brought to him. At the same time we feel that it is necessary to improve the library service because it forms what might be described as the only universal adult education available in this country.

The world is becoming so complex, as all members of the House know, that it is impossible for anyone to complete his education even up to the time he leaves the university at the age of 25. He is only just becoming sufficiently experienced in life to take an interest in the world around him. Life has become so complex and our existence so intimately associated with that of other countries that we can no longer afford to adopt an isolationist attitude towards general education. Whatever happens to a Chinese small farmer in the remote mountains of China may sooner or later affect the history of this country and its destiny. At the same time members of the House, I feel quite sure, will agree with me that the development of national culture depends here, as it depends in other countries, on the absorption of good culture from other countries and its re-expression in Irish form. That has always been the case with all cultures that have developed and the more librarians can assist by having the maximum amount of books likely to interest people in these subjects, the better.

I am not saying this to decry in any way the value of fiction. Fiction has a great educational value of its own but nevertheless novels and books on general subjects go hand in hand together. Librarians have faced great difficulties, difficulties in acquiring books during the war, difficulties of binding books that become damaged— and the damage done to library books, I am sorry to say, is terrific throughout the country. Local authorities themselves have had many more pressing problems to consider and, if the library service has been considered by many people the Cinderella of all local services, it is perhaps rather natural because the development of a library service depends on training of a very particular kind and local authorities have been fully occupied in dealing with housing, sewage, water, road and other problems. So it is quite natural that we should have adjourned until now the proper consideration of this problem. In general, the degree of reading has greatly increased in the country. I think about 50 per cent. more books are issued now from local libraries than were issued, say, some ten or 15 years ago, but there can be still more improvement.

Some time about 1944 the Library Association of Ireland, which includes representatives of local authority libraries as well as other institutions, prepared a memorandum for the Minister for Local Government. Many of the proposals in this Bill are based on that memorandum.

I should now like to refer to the position of the Central Library for Students. The Central Library for Students was started in 1923 with funds from the Carnegie Trust. The Carnegie Trust has since then been contributing the entire expense of that body, which is about £3,000 a year. The Carnegie Trust principle is to start something new, to inaugurate some new institution for cultural advancement and to hand it over when the work has been begun well and when it is possible for some authority to take over the financial responsibility for whatever institution they start. We owe a debt of gratitude to the Carnegie Trust for the interest they have taken in local authority libraries, most of which, as members know, have passed over to the administration of local authorities. The Central Library lends books of specialist character, lends expensive books, acts as a reserve bank in respect of local authority libraries and for this purpose it can borrow books from the National Library, from two libraries in England and Scotland and from university libraries. The lending goes two ways. The Central Library lends books to students in the universities, lends books to the National Library, if desired, and so you have a two-way movement of books, of great advantage to students and of great advantage to people in remote country areas who seek special books. In fact, it is possible for a student of botany living in the extreme western part of the country, miles from anywhere, to borrow a most complicated technical book on botany, of which there may be only one copy in the whole country, through the Central Library for Students.

The Carnegie Trust have recently expressed the desire to hand over the Central Library to a suitable body and to make a gift of the equipment, the books and the stock to some new body, and they propose decreasing gradually their contributions over a period of five years until at the end of five years their contribution would be completely ended. This Bill, therefore, proposes to establish a permanent body which will act as a central co-ordinating and advisory body for local library services and which will also manage the Central Library for Students.

It will be seen from Section 5 of the Bill that the constitution of the proposed council is based both on what may be described as the academic element and the local element. We wish this new council to represent fully the interests of local authorities and, therefore, there are representatives of the General Council of County Councils, representatives of the Association of Municipal Authorities of Ireland, and a representative of the Library Association who must, however, be an officer or a member of a local authority. He must either be a county councillor or an urban councillor or a librarian or assistant librarian of a local authority. On the other hand, there are representatives from the universities and from the National Library of Ireland. They will be asked to nominate persons who will be appointed by the Minister and we hope they will nominate people who will have a good practical interest in books and who know what young people like to read and, particularly, how to encourage the youth of the country to read books of every kind.

The Government thought well to establish this body on a statutory basis and not to administer the Central Library or to engage in any functions devolving upon it through a Government Department, and to give the maximum freedom possible, under the circumstances, to this new council. I am very glad to say that the universities, the National Library and the other bodies have expressed their willingness to co-operate. It will be noted that the approved association mentioned in Section 5 will in fact be the Library Association of Ireland.

The financing of this council is dealt with in Sections 16 and 17 of the Bill. The council will incur two kinds of expenditure. The first kind will relate to the normal running of the council and the payment of the staff and the management of the Central Library for Students. It is contemplated that in future this expenditure will be about £5,000 a year. The Minister for Finance has agreed to provide £2,500, or half the cost of the administration, whichever is the less. It is proposed that that moiety of the cost would be made by assessments on local authorities, assessments which for the first five years will be negligible and which at any time will not be very great, and they will be levied in proportion to the valuation of the area concerned. There is a precedent for this in the establishment of the Local Appointments Commission and combined purchasing section of the Department of Local Government, whose expenditure is defrayed in the same way, by an assessment upon the local authorities. As I have indicated, the Carnegie Trust will make interim grants towards the cost of running the council in its initial stages and their contributions will diminish.

One of the most important functions of the Act will be to make a survey of the existing library services. We anticipate that the library council will appoint a number of surveyors—one, two or three, according to their wish and desire in the matter—and these surveyors will, we hope, go abroad first of all to countries where there are conditions similar to ours and get acquainted with all the new ideas they can about the running of a library service. Then they will come back and go through the country inspecting the library services and will make, as it were, a "blue-print for progress" for each local authority. They will report to the library council, which will report to the Minister stating the position of the library service and the way in which it might be improved.

It is not mandatory in any way on the local authority to adopt their report. The report will be purely of a stimulative kind, designed to interest the local authority in the question of libraries and general education in their area. If the local authority desires to adopt the report or any part of it, they can do so and it will be open to them, if they desire, to make a contribution towards the cost. It is possible already for local authorities to borrow money for the improvement of buildings. It will be equally possible for them in the future to receive grants from the Minister for Finance towards the cost of improving this service. I want particularly to mention the fact that it is not mandatory upon them, because the whole point about this Bill is that it should stimulate library activity and that the work of the council is advisory in character as far as local services are concerned and nobody is obliged to adopt any particular report.

One of the difficulties we have experienced in all improvements to local administration is that practically everything costs a great deal of money. Luckily, however, in this Bill there cannot be very much question of the cost to the ratepayers, since a very great improvement could be effected in the next ten years by a very small increase in rate contributions.

I want now to deal with particular sections of the Bill. Section 2 establishes the council, the functions of which are to run the Central Library. Section 3 sets out the functions of the Central Library. I have already dealt with Section 4, which is linked to Section 16 and enables the council to receive grants for the improvement of the local library service. Sub-section (3) of Section 4 is intended to enable the council to continue its fruitful co-operation with the Hospitals' Trust library. It is not intended that it should absorb the Hospitals' Trust library, but there has been a good deal of useful exchange of ideas between the two bodies.

I have already mentioned Section 5. It will be noticed that if a person ceases to be a member of a local authority he will cease to be a member of this council and a new person must be nominated from the body concerned. We provide for a representative from the corporation of a county borough, because there are few urban authorities which have a library service, and it was thought important to have the borough interests represented. The purpose of Section 8 is to deem the council to be a local authority for the purposes set out in the Schedule, namely, the payment of remuneration, removal of officers and servants, their superannuation, travelling and subsistence, the auditing of accounts, local inquiries, removal of members and insurance. The enactments set out in the Schedule are the various legal provisions relating to these matters so far as they would be applicable to a body of this sort. The effect of this is to put the council on all fours with the local authority. It makes it very easy for the Minister for Local Government of the day to deal with all matters of staff, appointments and conditions that are likely to arise.

Section 9 enables the council to make by-laws for the conduct of the Central Library. Section 10 transfers the staff now employed by the Carnegie Trust in the Central Library to the central authority and safeguards the rights of two pensionable officers. It will be noted from sub-section (3) that the Carnegie Trust have agreed to contribute portion of the pensionable officers' pensions, just as if the Trust had been the local authority. I have no comment to make on Sections 11 to 15, except to point out that Section 12, relating to insurance, does not conflict with No. 7 of the Schedule, which also relates to insurance. I have already referred to Sections 16 and 17. Of the remaining sections, only Section 19 calls for comment. This repeals Section 89 of the Local Government Act, 1941, which enabled local authorities to contribute to the funds of the Central Library for Students. In fact, no local authority did contribute, and now that the Central Library is being transferred to this new body, this provision becomes obsolete.

In the course of the discussion in the Dáil, a number of points of interest were raised. I should say here that we anticipate that the Central Library Council will have a moral obligation to assist the language movement as much as possible. It will be possible for the members of the Central Library Council to consult societies interested in the Irish language, particularly those concerned in interesting young children in the language and everything possible will be done in that way, I am sure, by the Central Library Council.

I wish to indicate once more that the powers of the Central Library Council are purely advisory. I hope the Bill will receive favourable consideration from members of this House in the same way as it did in the Dáil and I hope Senators will agree with me that it provides, perhaps an inadequate but nevertheless a satisfactory, way of expanding opportunities for adult education in this country, an aspect of education which up to now has received too little consideration from us all.

Listening to the Parliamentary Secretary's wholly admirable speech on this Bill, it struck me that there is no correct appreciation very often in the country of how many topics there are upon which the two Houses of the Oireachtas do good work without any partisan or political discussion at all. The Parliamentary Secretary is to be congratulated upon his treatment of the case, to which he has evidently given thought and on which he has very sound views. Those of us interested in libraries will welcome the Bill, in particular because it gives an opportunity of recognising the type of service that librarians and assistant librarians and assistants in libraries give.

There was a foolish idea for quite a long time, and indeed even to some extent there is at the present moment, that a library assistant was a kind of messenger who found a book and handed it out to the borrower. These ideas die hard and unfortunately a great many library assistants even to-day are paid on that basis, whereas in fact, as the Parliamentary Secretary indicated, the librarian and his assistants need considerable general education to begin with and specialised education for their posts in the library. One might say that a good librarian, like a good teacher, needs to be very interested in his work and to have a vocation rather than a job. We are indeed fortunate in that a great many of our librarians and of their staffs have that vocation. It is very satisfactory that an opportunity has been afforded recently, and will continue, to give them the kind of salary to which their work entitles them. If I understood the Parliamentary Secretary aright, that is to say, if our whole library service costs us only £90,000, I think we may say that it surely must be the best spent £90,000 in either central or local expenditure.

The provisions with regard to the Central Library of which the Parliamentary Secretary spoke will, I hope, not do anything to impair the immense work which that Central Library has been doing since its establishment for students, both for students who are actually attending a university or other course and for adults who desire to continue serious reading. The library has been of immense benefit and has been splendidly and very helpfully run by its present head. I am sure that nothing will happen under this Bill which will impair that greát value. Perhaps it should be known that the library accommodation in this City of Dublin for students is extraordinarily bad. I do not know if there is any capital city which has less actual physical accommodation for students by way of libraries than this city has. There are 3,000 students, for example, in University College, Dublin, with absolutely miserable library accommodation. The National Library, which is, of course, splendidly run and is very helpful to everybody, is so small that no accommodation can be found in it for undergraduates, so there is considerable scope for improvement in our library service.

The Parliamentary Secretary dealt with the type of book which is read and said that the non-fiction varies from between 15 per cent. to 20 per cent. Of course, it is difficult in classifying books to decide which is fiction and which is non-fiction. A good deal of biography is fiction. Mr. MacManus's book about the Taoiseach is largely fiction and there is a good deal of the written history of recent events in this country which should most certainly be classified as fiction and which ought to be so labelled before being put into the hands of young people. But perhaps I would be asking the Parliamentary Secretary to accomplish miracles if I asked him to do that.

I do not want to impede the progress of this Bill. I entirely agree that education itself does not conclude when one leaves school or the university and that our facilities for adult education have been miserably poor. The libraries are a place where that adult education could be continued, but I wonder whether this particular service should not be under the Department of Education rather than the Department of Local Government. I do not wish to make any personal comparisons between the Minister for Education and the Minister for Local Government, or between the Parliamentary Secretary and anyone else. Obviously, he himself has a very enlightened outlook on the whole matter. It seems to me, however, that this library service would dovetail more suitably into vocational education and the lecture services, and that the Department of Education would be more likely to have a staff, or be able to recruit a staff, to deal with this type of work than the Department of Local Government. If I am told that the matter of local rates arises, I think the answer is that that also arises with regard to vocational schools.

Those schools are run by committees and have representation from local bodies, there is a Government contribution and also a contribution from the local rates; but the responsibility of providing the teachers and setting out their qualifications rests, not with the Minister for Local Government but with the Minister for Education. These library services under the Department of Education would be able to combine with vocational schools not only in urban but in rural areas. The lecture services of which the Parliamentary Secretary spoke and which are such a desirable adjunct to a library service, would also get assistance, as I think he mentioned himself, from many of the teachers, not only national and secondary but also vocational teachers.

As a matter of fact, I remember that in 1922, as Minister for Education, one of the first notes that I received was from the Minister for Agriculture who, on the fourth day of his office said he had made the discovery that the following branches were under the Department of Agriculture—the National Library, the College of Science, the School of Art and various other bodies. I think he said, in his characteristic fashion, that anything I would sign with regard to these matters he would himself counter-sign for legal purposes. Subsequently, all those functions were transferred to the Department of Education—the National Library, the School of Art and so on. It might be a better arrangement to have all the library services looked after by the Department of Education rather than by the Department of Local Government although I agree entirely that the approach of the Parliamentary Secretary is very sympathetic. With these words of praise added to what has already been said in the other House I would like to conclude. It is particularly gratifying that an attempt will be made to increase the number of books available, to increase the facilities in the Central Library and to raise the qualifications and increase the remuneration of librarians and their staffs in keeping with the great value they are to the community.

The importance of this Bill is so well recognised and its provisions so clearly presented by the Parliamentary Secretary both in this House and the other House that I do not think it necessary for me to say much about it as a university member except that I am very glad at its appearance and to read its contents. There are, however, a couple of things I would like to know a little more about. The first is about the question of switching over from the Carnegie Trust. We receive from this trust the Central Library as a gift. It is a very valuable gift. While we are warned in the proverb not to "look a gift horse in the mouth" I would like assurances that the gift horse will be properly housed and fed. I presume that the £5,000 provided is for running costs but it is a really low figure. As the Parliamentary Secretary pointed out the expenses of maintaining a library are rising, the price of books is increasing and the output of books especially technical books, as I know to my misfortune, is increasing. I think it will be necessary also to establish a micro-film department because so many works nowadays are contained in micro-film form and it will be necessary I think, to establish such a department for lending where necessary and it will have to be maintained. For those reasons I should have thought that the sum of £5,000 per year is a low estimate of the cost. Senator Hayes already pointed out the difficulties many of us experienced as students of getting accommodation in the libraries long ago. I understand that our National Library is taking wings and moving across town. I do not know whether there is a project for enlarging the Central Library when it is taken over by the State but it would be necessary to provide accommodation for students working with reference books on the premises as distinct from working at home. There is another point I am puzzled about. The Parliamentary Secretary stated, and I quote him:

"We have been assured that when this Bill is passed and they cease finally to contribute to the Central Library (they, meaning the Carnegie Trust) that will not mean a diminution in the income to this country from that source."

That is very important. The Carnegie Trust has done excellent work in maintaining this library and I hope that when we take it over their resources will be switched to something else. While they are going to step down their support of the library through the years I hope that this stepping down will mean a stepping up in other directions. It is a very well-intentioned trust and I hope it does not mean the curtailing of their interest in this country. There is another point, a technical one. I think that in the constitution of this council consideration should be given to a member representing the Royal Irish Academy. It might be desirable for the reason that it is a very important and fine library and it is particularly interested in the provision of text books for students. Lastly, a word of correction. In connection with Section 5, page 3, line 30, the reference to "the Board of the University of Dublin" should be to "the Board of Trinity College", which is the governing body of the university. I wish the venture every success and I hope it will provide me with some of the books that I have been unable to get owing to the freezing of dollars.

Ar an gcéad dul síos ba mhaith liom a rá chomh mór agus tá áthas orm go bhfuil an Bille seo Ós ar gcómhair sa deireadh. Ba mhaith liom a rá, freisin, chomh mór agus a thaitnigh óráid an Rúnaí Phárlaiminte liom tráthnóna agus an Bille seo á chur ós ar gcomhair aige. Ba bhreá an cuntas a thug sé dúinn ar scéim agus ar chuspóirí na Leabharlanna Poiblí sa tír agus ar an méid atá déanta ag na leabharlanna sin.

Sé an rud is mó a thaitníonn liom an réiteach atá déanta sa mBille le Árd-Chomhairle a cheapadh le dul i mbun an Central Sudents' Library agus le comhairle agus treóir a thabhairt do lucht na leabharianna poiblí ar fud na tíre maidir le eagrú agus feabhsú a gcuid seirbhísí.

Bhí baint agam féin, ar feadh blianta, le Coiste Leabharlann Poiblí. Is cuimhin liom gurbh é ceann de na rudaí is mó a theastaigh uaim an uair sin Coiste Ceannais éigin a bheith ann a thiúradh comhairle dúinn ar nithe a bhain íenár gcuid oibre. Admhaím gurb é an rud is mó a bhí ar intinn agam an uair sin go gceapfaí plean éigin leis na leabhra féin a cheannódh muid a thogadh. Dá mhéid dar smaoiníos ar an gceist sin, theip glan orm aon tseift a cheapadh d'fheilfeadh do na cuspóirí a bhí ar intinn agam. Chítear dom go réitíonn alt a 5 den Bhille seo an deacracht sin.

Ní hionann sin agus a rá go bhfuil mé sásta amach is amach le alt a 5. Níl fhios agam an gá an oiread sin teachtaí a bheith air ó na hOllscoltacha ná níl fhios agam ach an oiread an gá an oiread teachtaí a bheith air thar ceann an General Council of County Councils. Ba mhaith liom go mbeadh teachtaí ar an gCoiste thar ceann na múinteoirí náisiúnta, thar ceann na múinteoirí gairme beatha agus thar ceann na múinteoirí meán-oideachais.

Ag an am céanna, tá mé sásta go bhfuil an cheist sin ar fad scrúdaithe ag an Rúnaí Párlaiminte agus go bhfuil cúis mhaith aige an Ard-Chomhairle a bheith ar an mbealach atá molta aige in alt a 5.

Ní mheasaim gur pointe an-tábhachtach é gur ceart scéim na leabharlannaíochta poiblí a bheith go díreach faoin Roinn Oideachais. Is dóigh liomsa gur cuma é. Is cuimhin liom nuair a bhí mé im bhall de Choiste Leabharlann, bhí scéim againn le boscaí leabhra a chur timpeall go dtí na scoltacha. Na múinteoirí féin a mhol an saghas leabhar a bhí uatha agus is iad a thug na leabhra amach agus a bhailigh isteach arís iad. Do réir mar thuigum, is rí-fhurasta comhoibriú a chur ar bun idir an leabharlanna agus na brainsí éagsúla oideachais faoin scéim agus faoin rialú atá ann. Brathann chuile shórt ar an leabharlannaí féin agus ar an dúil atá ag lucht an oideachais in obair na leabharlann.

Is maith, creidim, atá an moladh tuillte ag na leabharlannaithe contae a thug an Rúnaí Párlaiminte doibh as ucht na hoibre atá déanta acu ar mhaithe le oideachas i gcoitinne. Thugas faoi deara, i gContae an Chláir go raibh trucail ghluaiste feistithe amach ag an leabharlannaí; bailiúchán deas leabhra ann, pictiúirí spéisiúla ar crochadh ann agus taispeántas de nithe a bhain le saoithiúlacht agus gnéithe na gceantar éagsúla. In a lán den obair seo thaispeáin na leabharlannaithe go raibh "initiative" acu agus thaispeáineadar nach ar an gclog ná ar an airgead a bhíodar a smaoineadh.

Déarfainn féin nach gá dóibh an oiread sin a dhéanamh feasta i gcás oideachais daoine fásta. Is iomaí deis atá anois ann le obair den tsaghas sin a chur chun cinn. Déanann na Coisti Gairm-Oideachais agus na Coistí Talmhaíochta a lán di; is iomaí sin cumann atá ann atá sásta léachtaí a sholáthar i gcomhair oideachais daoine fásta.

Sé an rud ba mhaith liom, agus ba mhaith liom go n-iarrfadh an Rúnaí Párlaiminte féin orthu é, go gclaífeadh na leabharlannaithe le seifteanna a cheapadh d'fhreastalódh go speisialta ar na daoine óga. Ní hé amháin go gcuirfidís na leabhra ar fáil ach is dóigh liom go bhféadfaidís a lán a dhéanamh le léachta agus siamsaí taitneamhacha a sholáthar agus cuidiú a thabhairt do mhúinteoirí agus lucht na Gaeilge i slite eile.

Mar fhocal scoir, ba bhaith liom a admháil go poiblí chomh mór agus támaid fá chomaoin ag lucht an Carnegie Trust as ucht a bhfuil déanta acu i gcúis na leabharlannaíochta poiblí agus ar mbuíochas a ghlacadh leo as ucht an Central Students' Library a bhronnadh ar an náisiún. Ag an am céanna, ní beadh sé mí-thráthamhail in aon tslí, ar mbuíochas a ghlacadh le oifigigh an Central Library faoin obair agus an tseirbhís mhór atá gafa acu chucu le blianta i gcúis mac léinn na tíre. Mar shean-mhac léinn a fuair go leor cabhrach uathu sna blianta atá caite ba mhaith liom an buíochas sin a chur in iúl dóibh.

Is maith an Bille é seo agus guidhimid go léir an rath ar an mBille a bhfuil súil ag an Rúnaí Párlaiminte agus againn go léir leis.

Since both of the preceding speakers happen to be university professors, perhaps it may be well if I as an ordinary business man, add a few words of support for this excellent Bill. It was delightful to see the unanimity with which it was received in the Dáil. It is apparent from the speeches which we have already heard, that its reception in this House is not going to be any less cordial. I feel, with Senator Hayes, that the expenditure which will fall on the State as a result of the putting into operation of this Bill will produce better value per pound than any other moneys which the nation spends. In regard to the expenditure of money under this Bill, I think we may look upon it as a sort of insurance for inculcating a sense of responsibility, and a desire for serious reading, amongst our citizens. Serious reading is certainly a factor that will contribute very largely to the creation of a sense of responsibility amongst our citizens. From that point of view alone, I think that the Government would be justified in incurring far more expenditure than is envisaged. It would be a pity, I think, now that the control of the libraries is going to be vested in the hands of Irish authorities if there was to be any unreasonable curtailment of expenditure on this service.

I agree with previous speakers that our libraries ought, first of all, to be properly housed. They should also be properly staffed, and staffs should be properly paid. If these three considerations are taken care of, then I feel that the expenditure on library education will be fruitful of great good for the nation. I feel that it is not out of place to say that the Parliamentary Secretary has made a really excellent case for the Second Reading of this Bill and for its final passage through this House.

I would like to support the remarks made by Senator Hayes regarding the desirability of having work of this nature under an educational authority rather than under the Department of Local Government. I have had a considerable amount of experience of the working of the Libraries Act locally, and an opportunity of noting several defects, defects that could easily, in my opinion, be corrected. I see here a list of eight bodies which are to have the power of nominating a member of the new council. There is a very important body, a body of national dimensions, known as the Irish Vocational Education Association which has been in existence for about 40 years, and I note that, while municipal authorities and the various university colleges are all given the right to nominate, this particular body, to which I have referred and which in my opinion, is more representative than any of the bodies set out in the Bill, is not mentioned at all. I would suggest to the Parliamentary Secretary that that is a weakness in this measure that ought to be corrected. When he is replying, I should like to hear him say what is his view regarding that particular matter.

With regard to the local libraries' committees, a similar principle should, in my opinion, apply. The county vocational education committee or the city vocational education committee, as the case may be, should really have the right to nominate some representative on the local library committee. The county committee of agriculture should have a similar right. These are extremely important bodies. They administer very considerable sums of money. They are in direct touch with vast numbers of people who, in turn, are specially interested in education.

The Parliamentary Secretary referred to the young farmers' clubs which are springing up all over the country. I think I am fairly correct in stating that the inspiration for the formation of these clubs has come from the county committees of agriculture and the county vocational education committees. Now, to my own knowledge, I know at least six of these clubs which have been formed in South Tipperary as the result of the work of the employees of the county vocational education committee. These clubs require text books and help and therefore co-operation is, I suggest, very desirable as between the clubs and the county libraries committee.

We sometimes visualise wonderful things happening if provision is made for the representation of representative bodies. A very important thing in that regard is the type of person who is nominated by these bodies. As far as my observation goes, a sort of professional type of public representative is coming very much into the picture of late, and it does not seem to matter whether these representatives have any special knowledge or not, but they are dumped on to the county library committee or on to various other committees. That is a weakness in all these measures. Theoretically, they are all perfect, but in their actual working there is, in my opinion, that great weakness, because no attention is given to the particular qualifications possessed by the persons representing these bodies. I do not know how that matter can be dealt with. I raise the issue now as one which, in my opinion, is of fundamental importance.

Senator Fearon referred to the desirability of having films and so on provided. That involves film units. Within the past couple of weeks the committee, of which I happen to be an employee, has been told by the central authority that their funds are not sufficient to allow them to purchase film units, and so this modern development in educational practice is not available for vast numbers of people. I have been connected with adult education for a considerable time. We have given, and have arranged for, illustrated lectures on history and various technical subjects. In fact, we do a considerable amount of work in the matter of adult education. It is a pity, then, in my opinion, that finance is not sufficient to enable the committee, which has been more or less a pioneer in this work, to purchase one of these film units. If the new body which is envisaged under this Bill—the Central Council—can do anything in that matter, it should certainly lead to a great advance. If there was co-operation of that kind between the local and the central authority a considerable amount of overlapping could be avoided as well as economy in the expenditure of money. The appliances that would suit one body could be circulated to other bodies.

There is one other matter that I would like to mention. I am glad that some other Senators have already drawn attention to it. I refer to the salaries that are paid to librarians. I was appalled to discover some time ago, from a conversation that I had with one of our most active county librarians, that his total remuneration, including cost-of-living bonus, was only £300 per year. He is a married man, and as I say, I was appalled when he told me that. My own clerk is paid considerably more than that, and he is not a married man. I believe that recently some attention has been given to this matter. I have not the actual figures before me but, if the salaries of librarians have not been substantially improved, I suggest that this Bill affords an opportunity of doing something for them. I believe that when the salaries for librarians were originally fixed the opinion seemed to be held that these positions would be filled by ladies, and because of that the salaries were considered good enough. But, as things have turned out, many men have been appointed as librarians, so that while their salaries were barely sufficient to enable them to live as single men they are not at all adequate for a married man. I am sure that all members of the House will agree that, with the present cost of living, a married man cannot live on a total remuneration of £300 a year.

I would like to join with other Senators in congratulating the Parliamentary Secretary on this Bill which, I consider, is a very admirable one. Before concluding, I would like to urge the desirability of having some form of co-operation between the various local educational bodies. If they want to give any encouragement, say, to art work, to organising an art gallery, it is found that they cannot devote any portion of their funds to that purpose. They cannot buy a picture or do anything like that. Any expenditure of that nature must be defrayed out of the rates, or out of moneys levied under the Libraries Act. Therefore, the position is that while the primary factor or mover in local education is the local vocational education committee, they find that they have to apply to what is in a sense a subsidiary body, a comparatively minor body as far as finance is concerned, for the necessary contribution in that direction. That all tends to emphasise the need there is for co-operation between the various local educational bodies as well as for representation for the standing council for technical education on the central body that is to be set up under this Bill. I suggest, also, that while the county committees of agriculture are not linked up through the central body at present they do occasionally arrange general meetings for special purposes. I think they should be given the opportunity of nominating one representative on the council. It would be in the interests of the country generally if that were done.

It is a relief to find that, once in a while, when a Bill comes before this House it does not arouse the anger of the Opposition. I gladly join with those in this House and in the other House who have been so loud in their praise of the Parliamentary Secretary for having introduced this Bill. I would go a bit further and say that he deserves to be congratulated not only on having introduced the Bill but for the work, enthusiasm and interest which, obviously, he has put into this measure. We gathered all that from his opening statement. Senator O'Reilly apparently finds fault with the system by which library committees are formed. If I understood him correctly, he seemed to think that some method other than the existing method, should be devised when forming these committees, and that the wrong people were being sent forward by the local authorities as representatives on the library committees. I am quite sure that the local authorities seriously consider who are the right people to put forward, and, if any other system were devised and embodied in the Bill, I am quite sure that one of the first people to object would be Senator O'Reilly. I suppose we will always have people who will say: "They are all out of step but our Johnny" and once in a while we may find people who would be regarded as unsuitable, but generally I think the people put on these committees by local authorities are selected on the best lines, in so far as it is possible to do so.

I am very glad to join with those who support the Bill which I believe is a step in the right direction and which supplies a long-felt need. Particularly at present, when prices of books have gone considerably higher than they used to be, it is desirable that libraries should be provided, in so far as it is possible to provide them, not alone in cities and provincial towns but in villages as well. As I say, books of any consequence have become very expensive, and, in conjunction with a scheme of this kind, there should be a system of propaganda not only for the younger people but for the people of more mature years, designed to induce them to treat books as they deserve to be treated—not to turn down corners of pages or poke them out of their positions in the shelves in a way which will injure them. Without ramming it down anybody's throat, some sort of polite propaganda should be devised and circulated to induce people to treat books as books deserve to be treated.

I am glad also that we seem to be in general agreement with regard to the salaries of librarians. The librarian in any community is a very important person who will have much more to do, as I think the Parliamentary Secretary pointed out, than merely to take a book off the shelf when asked for it. His advice will be sought, and, I am sure, appreciated, by hundreds, if not thousands, of people in the year, and a man in that position should not be treated in an ungenerous manner in the matter of his salary.

It was interesting to hear the Parliamentary Secretary's references to the proportion of non-fiction and fiction books read by the public. He pointed out that the demand for non-fiction was, roughly, 15 per cent. to 20 per cent. Senator Hayes came to the rescue and said it was very difficult to decide what was and what was not fiction. By way of argument, he mentioned——

By way of illustration.

Nobody will suggest that Senator Hayes could be accused of putting forward an argument when he had no argument against the Bill. By way of illustration—I stand corrected—he referred to The Life of de Valera, by MacManus, and, with his typical sarcasm, said: “I suppose we shall have to regard that as fiction.” The reason Senator Hayes would regard that as fiction is that, in his opinion, that book is biased in favour of de Valera. Opinions would differ on that point, but, on the other hand, if we were to discuss The Evolution of Sinn Fein, by P.S. O'Hegarty, Senator Hayes would regard that as history of the most important kind.

How does the Senator know? The Senator should not quote me because I have made no declaration on that book. I read that book before Senator Quirke read it.

I said that I supposed the Senator would regard that book as history of a most important kind. The reason the Senator would regard it as history of a most important kind is that it is coloured right from the first page to the last by a personal hatred of de Valera. I hope the librarians of the future will not be poisoned by the bitterness of the past——

Hear, hear!

——that they will not be like many of the people who now say "hear, hear", badly in need of a dose of political penicillin.

This Bill deals with libraries and the Senator is going rather wide of that subject.

I hope that they will look more to the future of the education of the people and give the people an unbiased opinion as to the books which they would regard as of interest to a local community. It is interesting also to learn that the provision of books of local interest will be encouraged in these libraries. I believe it is a great thing to encourage the reading of local history, to encourage the reading in any town of the history of that town, because the history of any town of any importance in the country is largely the history of the country itself. A lot of good will be done by the provision of such reading material for the younger people and I am glad to join with those in this House and the other House who have welcomed this Bill.

Tá sé suíte go bhfuil gach duine sa Tigh seo i bhfábhar an Bhille. Molaim mar ghnó é. Níor inseadh dúinn, ámh, cad é an fáth gur anois seachas aon uair eile atá an gnó seo le déanamh. Níor inseadh ce acu bé an Rialtas nó lucht na Leabharlainne a chuir tús leis an eadar-ghnó. Ach níl ansin ach mionrud, dar ndóigh.

Ach ba mhaith go dtuigfimís rud nó dhó i dtaobh an ghnótha atá ann—gur ag glacadh brontais leabharlainne é le bheith feasta faoi chúram an Stáit. A luaithe bheidh an Bille seo ina dhlí, ní hé an leabharlanne céanna a bheidh ann a thuille. Beidh eagras curtha ar bun go mbeidh tionchur agus údarás aige ná raibh riamh ag Leabharlainn Charnégie. Beidh cur isteach ag Comhairle na Leabharlainne nua i slite díreach agus neamh-dhíreach, ar sheirbhísí poiblí leabharlann, agus ar pholasaí na seirbhísí sin. Faoi Alt a 16 beidh cuid mhaith smachta ag an gComhairle nua ar choistí agus ar fhorás seirbhísí leabharlann na nUdarás Áitiúla. An Central Carnegie Library a bhí go dtí seo ann, seirbhís deontach dob ea é chun fónamh d'éinne arbh áil leis feidhm a bhaint as. Beidh sin fós ann, ach bíodh a fhios againn go mbeidh, leis, ann eagras a mbeidh údarás poiblí aige agus cuid nach beag d'uachtaránacht ar pholasaí. Tá rud nua á chruthú againn leis an mBille seo.

Beidh an t-eagras nua seo á chothú le hairgead poiblí—mar is cóir—cuid de ó Chiste an Stáit agus an leath eile ó airgead rátaí. An dara leath sin is airgead é a bhí le caitheamh cheana ar mhaithe lena seirbhísí féin ag coistí na leabharlann faoin rialtas áitiúil. Leis an mBille seo, táimid-ne á cheangal ar na coistí sin ráta cothuithe an eagrais nua a bhualadh i rátaí na gcontaethe— nó leath den chostas. Ní bheidh dul uaidh sin acu. Deir an tAlt:—"they shall refund". Tuigimís go bhfuil sin sa Bhille.

Tá nithe nach miste a thabhairt faoi ndeara le linn scrúdú a dhéanamh ar an mBille seo. Níl seirbhís na leabhar ar aon chothrom ó chontae go contae. Ní hé an ráta céanna a bhuailid ná ní hí an tseirbhís chéanna a thugaid dá gcuid pobal. In áiteanna tá an tseirbhís sásúil go leor agus i gcontaethe eile ní mó ná maith é an freastal leabhar atá iontu. In áiteanna tá daoine beóga ag stiúradh an ghnótha agus fuadar éifeachtúil faoin obair. Tá foirgnimh maithe go flúirseach chun gnó leabharlainne acu i gcuid de na contaethe agus carraí iompair i gcuid eile ag scaipeadh na leabhar i ngach cuid den chontae mar a bhfuil an córas sin acu. Tá fós ann beagán contaethe nár chuir aon dícheall fós i ngnó an fhreastail leabhar ar na daoine. Níl an tseirbhís ar aon-chothrom ar fuaid na tíre. Tá súil agam go mbeidh tionchur an eagrais nua seo ag gríosadh agus ag soláthar feabhsuithe sna háiteanna atá faillítheach nó neamhéifeachtach. Beidh caoi chuige sin aige faoi Alt a 16, do réir mar thuigimse a théarmaí údaráis. Is iad dream sin na faillí a mbeidh gearán acu airgead rátaí a gcontae féin a chaitheamh ar an Leabharlainn Láir. Ná tuigtar óm chaint go bhfuil aon trua agam-sa dhóibh sin.

Is rud tábhachtach é atá i nAlt a 16 maidir le forás na seirbhísí leabharlann ar fuaid na tíre—ceist na ndeontas a bheas le tabhairt do choistí áitiúla leabharlann. Is tríd an gComhairle seo na Leabharlainne Láir a thiocfaidh airgeadaí agus deontaisí Stáit chun feabhas a chur ar sheirbhísí leabhar faoi na húdarásaí áitiúil. Is áirithe go mbeidh comhaontadh agus moladh na comhairle i gceist dá bhrí sin, maidir le ceadú deontas agus le ceadú scéimeanna foráis agus seirbhíse. Níl ró-locht agam air sin ach ní miste é bheith ar ár n-umhail againn go bhfuilimíd á ordú sin. Ní dóigh liom go ndearnadh puinn taighde ar an ngné sin den ghnó anseo ná sa Tigh eile. An bhfuil baol ann go bhfuil tuar neamhréitigh agus trioblóide ar ball i bhforála an Ailt sin?

Tá roinnt rudaí eile dob'fhiú nó ba ghá a dhéanamh chun go mbeadh sórt éigin stiúradh ceannais ann chun cothromú a dhéanamh ar an seirbhís leabhar ar fuaid na tíre. Tá an tseirbhís sin neamh-chothrom ó chontae go contae. Níor mhiste dá mbeadh slí éigin nó riail éigin ann a chuirfeadh ar na contaethe bheith, i gcoitinne, chomh maith le chéile agus, ar a laghad, chomh maith agus ab fhéidir a bheith, do réir a ngustal agus a n-acfainne. I gcuid díobh sin tá foirgnimh mhaithe i gcóir leabhar. Do thóg muintir Charnegie cuid mhór acu. Is beag ceann acu ná fuil halla poiblí ann agus is beag ceann acu sin go bhfuil feidhm éifeachtúil á bhaint as ag an bpobal. Is eol dom gur tuigeadh, an chéad uair nuair a tógadh na hallaí sin, go dtiocfadh an lá, agus an nós, nuair a bheadh léachtaí agus teagasc don phobal i gcúrsaí litríochta, agus ealaíon agus cultúra, agus intleachta, á dtabhairt iontu, agus níor mhiste dá mbeadh sé in aigne an Rúnaí Phárlaiminte go bhféadfaí feidhm a bhaint as na hallaí sin, d'obair den tsaghas sin. Tá formhór na hallaí sin folamh díomhaoin. An bhféadfaidh an Leabharlann Láir feidhm a bhaint ar mhaithe le cultúr an phobail as na hallaí oiriúnacha sin?

Tagann sé im aignese gur ait an rud é gur ón Roinn Rialtais Aitiúil atá an sórt seo seirbhíse á riaradh. Is dócha gurb é cúis atá leis sin ná go raibh na rátaí poiblí i gceist agus go gcaithfí saghas éigin bainte nó ceangail a bheith idir an Roinn sin—an chumhacht a riarann na rátaí—agus an tseirbhís féin. Ach measaimse gur seirbhís í seo ba chóra a bheith faoin Roinn Oideachais nó dá mbeadh sé ann, faoi Aire Cultúra Pobail. Is ag á leithéid sin ba chóir seirbhís den tsaghas seo a bheith, agus ba bhonn tosaigh ag Aireacht Chultúra gléas na leabharlann chun obair den tsaghas seo. Ach, in iongnais Aireacht Cultúra measaim gur chóir go mbeadh seirbhís leabharlann agus leabhar faoi chúram na Roinne Oideachais. Is dúchasaí dó sin é pé scéal é.

Tagradh do cheist tuarastail na leabharlannaithe agus táim ar aon aigne leis na Seanadóirí adúirt gur baol ná fuil tuarastal do réir a bhfiúntais ná do réir a dtábhachta á thabhairt do chuid mhaith de ná daoine sin. Ní rud é sin a bhaineann leis an mBille seo ach ní miste liom focal á mholadh sin agus á thathant sin a chur i gcluais an Rúnaí Phárlaiminte.

Maidir leis na coinníollacha atá ann i dtaobh ainmniú na Comhairle, nílim sásta go bhfuil na huimhreacha san mBille mar ba cheart. Beidh duine ó gach ceann de na Coláistí na hOllscoile Náisiúnta agus beirt ó Choláiste Bhaile Atha Cliath—Coláiste na Tríonóide—duine ó Chomhairle na Leabharlainne Náisiúnta, triúr ó na Comhairlí Contae agus beirt ó na Cathracha. Canathaobh gur ag dreama speisialta mar iad a bheadh an Chomhairle uile? Níl éinne ann ó na léitheoirí ná ó na scríbhneoirí, nó ó na daoine a bhfuil dlúth-bhaint acu le soláthar leabhar agus na gnóthaí a tháirgeann leabhair. Is trua ná féadfaí slí éigin a bheith ann go mbeadh a dtuairim sin le fáil ag an gComhairle nuair a bheadh seirbhís don phobal á chruthú agus á chur ar fáil. I bhfo-alt (4) d'alt 5, tá sé ráite aon duine bheas ainmnithe ag ComhChomhairle na gComhairlí Contae go geaithfidh an duine sin bheith ina bhall de Chomhairle Chontae.

Ní leor a bheith ina bhall de Choiste Leabharlann. Agus an rud céanna faoi bhaill de Chomhairle Bhaile na gCathrach. Is é adeir an séú cuid den alt seo ná:—"the person nominated by an approved association shall be a member or officer of a local authority". Tá seachaint ann arís, ar ndóigh, ar aon duine d'fhéadfadh labhairt ar son, abair, léitheoirí, nó ar son scríbhneoirí, ná ar son foilsitheoirí féin. Níl éinne ann go bhféadfaí a rá go raibh údarás aige ón ngnáth-phobal a bheidh ag dul isteach a tógaint leabhar agus a bheidh ag braith ar an tseirbhís sin atá chómh tábhachtach sin anois dá ngnath-saol.

Pointí iad sin a thagann in aigne dhuine a léann an Bille seo ach is é mo thuairimse go bhfuil fáilte roimis an Bille féin. Is rud le moladh é ach ba mhaith liom go dtuigfimis go soiléir nach é an Carnegie Central Library a bheas ann a thuilleadh, ach eagras a mbeidh leabharlanna agus cumhacht agus tionchur aige ar sheirbhís leabhar ar fuaid na tíre go léir.

At any other time it would probably be desirable for the House to spend a good deal of time in debating a Bill on which there is substantial agreement but on which there are many interesting points that could be made. Having looked at the agenda and realising that if we spend the same amount of time on all the Bills we will not possibly have them finished by Christmas, I propose to content myself with expressing approval of the Bill and my appreciation of the way in which it was introduced by the Parliamentary Secretary. I cannot resist the temptation—it occurs so seldom— of expressing my agreement with the speech made by Senator Quirke, particularly when he is in favour of nice, polite propaganda. I think it is the most excellent kind of propaganda and, just at the moment, to have it advocated from that quarter deserves a little publicity. But, when he suggested that he was in favour of penicillin injections, presumably to his political opponents, I assume he has never had one. He would not wish them to his worst political enemy.

I am in general agreement with the object aimed at in the Bill. Two things will matter for the success of the object aimed at here— finance and the committee. I want to ask the Parliamentary Secretary why it is that there should be at least five representatives of the universities and no representative whatever of the people who require the libraries more than any other section of the community. It has been mentioned here already that the cost of books is prohibitive and has made it impossible for the children of the working class people to purchase books. Consequently, they have to rely on the libraries. Why has the national teachers' organisation not been given representation on this management committee? I think it is class legislation. There are five representatives of the universities on a committee of 12 and there is no one who would be directly representing the masses of the people, the working class. Is it too late to suggest an amendment to give representation to these people on the committee?

Naturally the national school teachers are more in touch with the masses of the people than are the representatives of the universities, and have a more intimate knowledge of their requirements. There is no doubt whatever as to whether it is working-class people or the people who can afford a university education who are in the greater need of the library service.

I suggest that this matter requires attention. It is out of all proportion to have the universities represented by five persons on a committee of 12 and no representation whatever of the national school teachers, or the people dealing with national schools. I would like to know what the Parliamentary Secretary thinks about that. He has already said that he has given a lot of attention and consideration to this Bill. If so, how does it come that he overlooked this very important section of the community?

In regard to the salaries and other matters already discussed here, I am in general agreement, but I do think that this is a glaring mistake in the setting up of the committee and I think the Parliamentary Secretary should give further attention to that aspect of it.

I feel that when we do get unanimity in the House on a measure, Senator Quirke should not accept it in such a very sour and grudging spirit. He really did not approach the matter in a friendly, open-hearted way. I do not say we would expect, but we would like him to do so. I was very much interested in one aspect of the Parliamentary Secretary's speech, that is, where he suggested that this was an attempt to make the library an educational centre—the germ, rather, of a local educational centre. I mean education in its widest sense, not merely from the point of view of lending books, but in the spirit of the C.E.M.A.R.—the Council for the Encouragement of Music and the Arts—that all local cultural activities should centre around the Library Committee, so that if, say, some voluntary body wanted to show pictures in a local town or village, they would have the co-operation of the local librarian. The only thing to be careful about in pursuing that idea is that the regulations governing libraries should be as elastic as possible. They should not become merely a centre for the borrowing of books but should be a centre for intellectual encouragement and in due course of time one might even hope for an increase in the number of those seeking adult education. To my mind the salvation of democracy lies in adult education. I do not like the term "classes" as Senator Foran uses it, since I regard myself as a worker. I am classed, I hope, as a worker, and the term "working class" has a significance which I think we should try to get away from. We should all be co-operating. Some of us are more fortunately situated than others, but in these days nearly everybody is a worker in some form or another. I hope that in any regulations the Minister makes he will allow the utmost elasticity in the library work and will not tie them up too much in a Civil Service or rigid way. I welcome this Bill very much indeed and hope it may gradually grow into the library becoming a centre of cultural interest in country districts.

With the hope expressed by Senator Sir John Keane in his concluding remarks I heartily join. There are great possibilities in the development of the library service and we feel that it is in safe hands. For my own part, I am very glad that the Parliamentary Secretary is in charge of the scheme. He has got so much praise that a note of criticism or warning may not seem ungrateful. A great part of the success of the scheme will depend on the personnel of the central council, An Comhairle Leabharlanna. The first thing that struck me when I read the various sections was that it was very strange to find that there was no mention of the national teachers. Their advice on such a council would be most useful, in fact, it is absolutely necessary that they should be on it. The pattern of the council in the Minister's mind seems to have been five representatives of the universities and six of the local authorities, one of whom would be interested in books to the extent that he would be a member of an association for the advancement of public libraries in the State. However, the only thing we have to rely on as an assurance that those on the council will know something about libraries and the technique of libraries is the mention that one of the nominees is to be that of the Council of Trustees of the National Library of Ireland. People who have given earnest of their interest in libraries and who will realise the responsibilities of this council should be insisted upon. When the Minister is making his appointments, he should insist on people who know something about libraries being nominated. As the section reads, it looks as if he would have to appoint one on the nomination of the governing body of University College, Dublin, etc., and that, therefore, they would have the choice.

We know a good deal about governing bodies of universities and I do not know that they would be the very best people to select representatives who would have a good knowledge of library technique or, what is more, that they would have high aims for the council in the direction of libraries in this country, to make this scheme what the Minister and the Parliamentary Secretary have in mind, to make this movement one to spread adult education and right centres of culture. That is one of the things I am in doubt about, that is, the constitution of the council. The Minister must keep in mind that, if the Bill is to be a success and if the aims are to be accomplished, it largely depends on the personnel of the council.

Another thing I am rather worried about is the finances. The central council does not seem to be very adequately financed and if they are to pay for the surveyors I think it will cost more than this £2,500 in Government contribution plus the balance to come from the Carnegie Trust Fund. These are things which made me pause, but in respect of everything else I join with those who have praised the Parliamentary Secretary for the spirit in which he has entered on the task imposed on him and I hope that what he has in mind may conduce to the glory of Ireland.

I would like to thank the members of the House for the friendly way they have received the Bill and I am very glad that there appears to be no fundamental objection to its provisions. We have had a good many observations by different Senators on the constitution of the council and I must be frank and say that, in examining this matter, both the Minister and myself had great difficulty. We ourselves thought of at least 25 different bodies which should be represented on the academic side of the council and if we chose even half of those and then equalised the local authority element with those 12, we would have too large a council. We also had to consider the two functions of the council.

First, it has to administer the Central Library, which requires considerable academic knowledge and close contact with university life, since the books that are sent to students all over Ireland are of a highly complex technical nature. Then we had to consider the other aspect of the work of the council, namely, that of improving local authority libraries. We considered all the aspects of the case.

Regarding the suggestion that representatives of vocational teachers should be placed upon the council, we considered the question of teachers and, in fact, I think every group that has been mentioned here as one which should have the right to nominate to the council. We came to the conclusion that the best thing we could do would be to constitute the council in the manner indicated in the Bill and hope that universities will have a high sense of their responsibility—which I think they will—in nominating their representatives. I hope that those interested in library work in universities will read the debate in this House today and will appreciate the feelings of members here that the persons appointed should understand library work and should also have had constant contact with ordinary people in the country. For example, it would be possible for the university to nominate a teacher, one of the teachers on the governing body of the university. We hope that universities will nominate people who are interested in labraries. No matter what combination we could create of representatives of different groups, we always ended up with the one indicated in the Bill as being the best under the circumstances.

With regard to Senator Hayes' observations, he suggested that the Department of Education might be more suitable as the Department in charge of the Central Library Council. The Minister and I felt that we should interest local authorities to the maximum in library work and we did not wish to disturb the current interchange of ideas as between the Department over which the Minister has control, the General Council of County Councils or any of the other people concerned with library work. We felt that library activities are only in the initial stages and, as Senator Sir John Keane said, would grow to be much more important, and we wished local authorities to have the fullest possible connection with them for that purpose.

Senator Fearon spoke of the rising cost, especially of specialists' books. It is possible for the Central Library Council under the Bill to increase the annual expenditure, and it would be possible for them, after due consideration, to add to the present library stocks or to have regard to the increased cost of books when they make their annual appropriation therefor. The chairman of the Library Council is appointed by the Minister after consultation with the Minister for Education. In that way the Minister for Education will take an interest in the Library Council. The council will have power to buy or lease property, to extend buildings, can purchase new buildings, or build new ones under the Bill.

The Carnegie Trust took the initiative in asking us to take over the Central Library for Students, in accordance with their general tradition, and they are anxious to devote their funds for that purpose in this country. As a matter of fact I helped in an indirect way to interest them in Young Farmers' Clubs, and I think they are about to make, or have already given a contribution for the central organisation of the Young Farmers' Clubs.

The House will be interested to know that when members of the Carnegie Trust were over here looking for ways and means of improving amateur musical societies, a difficulty they found was that these amateur musical societies in Ireland were not organised as a whole. They wished to show their interest in education and in culture, by trying to find some way by which they could give money to amateur societies to assist them to develop, if there was in existence a body sufficiently responsible financially. Members of the Carnegie Trust are most interested to maintain the total level of their contribution to Irish culture and to the development of Irish life, and the fact that they are ceasing gradually control of the Central Library in no way diminishes their interest in the country.

Senator Ó Buachalla spoke of the vital necessity of supplying children with books. I agree with him. We hope that the Central Library Council will have an ideal plan for children's libraries in every county, so that even before the surveyors have done their work and reported to the council, some local authorities who wish to have children's libraries will be able to get really good advice as to the best way of providing them, how such books could be obtained, the books that children like reading, and whether it would be possible for such authorities to have children's reading rooms in any of their towns.

Senator P.J. O'Reilly referred to the low salaries of the librarians. As I indicated, these will be increased very largely in certain areas. The present scale is from £450 to £550 yearly. One of the things the Central Library Council can do, if they consider it desirable, is to recommend alterations in the qualifications of librarians, and also in their salaries. They can make these recommendations to the Minister for Local Government.

Senator Ó Siochfhradha referred to the contribution of local authorities to the Central Library Council. These contributions will be very small for the first five years, as the Carnegie Trust contributions pay in the initial stages. At the end of five years, unless the Central Library is expanded by agreement with the local authorities represented on it, and they choose to increase their contributions largely, they will be from £20 to £70 in local county council areas, and about £400 in the case of the Dublin libraries. Such contributions will not worry the rate committees on local authorities I imagine. I wish to make it quite clear in reply to Senator Ó Siochfhradha that members of the Central Library Council will have considerable moral influence over local authorities but the council has no mandatory powers. There are one or two local authorities whose library services are very primitive indeed. There is no question, that when the surveyors go in a friendly way to a library committee their interest will be to prepare a blue print and when that is sent to the local authority I feel that they will have no need to be ashamed of their position. As I indicated these authorities had many other pressing matters to attend to. This is a highly technical question and they can adopt or amend plans as they wish, according to the amount of money they can extract from the Minister for Finance and the amount they can get from local rates.

Senator Foran referred to the position of the teachers and of having them represented on the council. Senator Sir John Keane also suggested that the librarians should work under a very flexible system. Under the present Act of Parliament libraries are able to undertake library extension work. Speaking purely personally I would like to see that done without recourse to the Government. I am not nearly satisfied with the limited scope that they have. I frankly feel that if our citizens are to make a stand in the world in which we live, village universities are absolutely necessary in the country within the next 20 to 30 years. With village universities these libraries will have great work to perform and will be able to do extension work. I speak purely personally in that regard. I feel that to be one of the most important features of education in this country, whenever we can find the money and other means.

Senator Mrs. Concannon expressed a hope that the right people would be nominated on the library council. I quite agree. I think a matter of great importance would be the character of the surveyors. They would have to be men of high educational qualifications and, above all, people who have the right touch, people who understand the work of local authorities, know all about the working of libraries, people who are sympathetic and able to make suggestions in a way which would make them acceptable. It would make all the difference in the world between slamming a blue print on the table of a local authority, with suggestions for trebling the library rate, and for all sorts of library extension work, and doing so in a way which would create enthusiasm. Surveyors with considerable personality will be needed. I wish to thank the members of the Seanad for the sympathetic way in which they received this measure.

I wonder if the Parliamentary Secretary would elaborate the position and the authority of the new council with regard to grants towards local schemes of improvement. It seems to me that they should be the authority to recommend that such grants should be made.

So far as Section 16 is concerned, the Minister for Finance envisages in the future the desirability of making a contribution to local authorities when they adopt a scheme recommended by the Library Council. When the Minister for Finance grants the council these moneys it will be the duty of the councils to see that they are properly spent by the local authorities, and to report back to the Minister for Finance that such was the case. It is very difficult for me to say anything about the effect of Section 16 until we know the extent of the problem. It would be quite impossible for me or a future Minister for Finance to say what attitude will be adopted.

He will have to study the report of the Library Council, and have regard to the increased rate that would take place if no contribution were made by the Minister for Finance. He will have to say how he could support the council from the Central Fund. The council would have to send the money to local authorities which the surveyors would have to ensure was properly spent. My own belief is that if county councils desire to build libraries, or to extend libraries, they will have to borrow money for that purpose. It would not involve such a large annual charge on the Central Fund.

Who will pay the surveyors?

They will be paid by the Central Library Council. One of the gifts of the Carnegie Trust to this country, as well as capital equipment, is the defraying of expenses of surveyors, including their travelling expenses for two years. That is an additional gift. Otherwise they pay the full contribution to the Central Library next year, 20 per cent less in succeeding years, and for two years afterwards they make gifts of the sum required to pay the surveyors, which is an additional gift given by them for library work.

The Parliamentary Secretary referred to vocational teachers.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

The Senator cannot make a second speech on this stage.

I think there has been a misunderstanding. Has the Parliamentary Secretary accepted my representation? I was referring to the composition of vocational bodies and not teachers.

I misunderstood what the Senator said. I now see what he meant.

Question put and agreed to.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

When will the next stage be taken?

I think it would be wrong to do so. We are a deliberative Assembly. We will have everything jammed in on us in a few days. We should be allowed to raise questions on the next stage. I am against the feeling that this House is an automatic recording machine, even when the legislation is non-contentious.

Like my comrade, Senator Sir John Keane, it is my intention to put in an amendment on the next stage.

Would it be possible to have amendments sent in for to-morrow?

What is the objection to taking the Committee Stage next week, seeing that the House will be sitting? Let us have time to think over matters.

It would seem that we are having rather an unseemly rush at the end of the session. Is not that so? So is the Dáil. We will be sitting next week but this is expected to be the last week that the Dáil will sit. If the Parliamentary Secretary were to accept an amendment to Section 5, which is the section to be amended, he must have it ready for the Dáil next week, less perchance there would be no machinery for agreement.

It is quite possible the Dáil may not sit next week.

The difficulty, as I understand it, is that there is an anxiety to conclude this agreement with the Carnegie Trust and we are very anxious to pass the Bill through for that reason. In the circumstances I would ask the indulgence of the members of the House. If the Bill does not prove satisfactory an amending Bill can always be introduced afterwards.

Perhaps Comrade Keane and Comrade Foran can engage themselves in this matter to-morrow.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

Could it be taken later to-night?

If there are no amendments, yes.

An Leas-Chathaoirleach

There are some amendments already in.

It can be taken to-morrow.

I have no objections to taking it to-morrow but I object to rushing the whole lot of them. But in view of the situation that we are more or less accepting it might be as well to remind the Parliamentary Secretary we may not reach it to-morrow, judging by the agenda which comes first.

There does not seem to be much point in having the remaining stages to-morrow if the Dáil will not be sitting next week because any amendment accepted here could not be brought before the Dáil if it is not sitting and it would be very undesirable that the Dáil should have to come together again to consider a small amendment.

There may be other small amendments.

Order it for to-morrow and we will see to-morrow how we stand.

Committee Stage ordered for Thursday, 11th December.