Annual Report of the Public Library and Art Gallery (1916)

The following annual report was written by the Borough Librarian, Frederick Charles Percy Cole, and provides a summary of the Huddersfield Public Library and Art Gallery in the 12 months up to 31 March 1916.

The report also contains statistics and details for 1917.

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To the Committee of the Public Library and Art Gallery, Huddersfield.

Mr. Chairman and Gentlemen,

I have pleasure in presenting my 7th Annual Report, covering the 12 months ended March 31st, 1916 ; the 18th submitted.

The Combined Total of books issued and consulted at the Central Lending, Reference, and Patent Libraries, and the Almondbury Branch Library for the year was 238,915, as against 238,349, an increase of 566. (See Table III., page 19).

Under present conditions, and following an increase of 6,498 last year, such a result can only be regarded as most satisfactory in all respects. The great majority of Public Libraries during the past two years have reported considerable decreases in all departments.

The Total Issue from all departments since the opening of the Libraries, 18 years ago, is 3,378,185.

The Total Stock of books in all departments (exclusive of Patent Library) is now 40,626, as against 40,327, an increase of 299. (Table I., page 17).


The number of Volumes in stock in the Central Lending Library is now 30,395, as against 30,452, a decrease of 57. 732 new books have been

added during the year ; as against 1,058 last year ; the decrease in the net total being due to the transfer of 29 vols. to the Almondbury Branch, and the withdrawal of 760 worn out books, which, being out of print, have been written off. The number of books coming under this category is on the increase and the proportion of replacements as against new and recent works will become higher than has hitherto been the case.

In addition to the new works above noted, 221 worn out volumes have been replaced, making the total number added during the year 953 ; and where necessary replacement is being proceeded with as secondhand and remainder copies can be obtained. The withdrawn copies have mostly been sent to the Sailors’ Rest, Hull (in connection with the Missions to Seamen) where they are gratefully received, and distributed amongst the boats.

The Issues from the Central Lending Library were 215,636, as against 216,161, a decrease of 525 ; the daily average issue being 807, as against 816. (See Table II., page 18).

The following classes shew decreases : Religion and Philosophy, 108, or 3.4 per cent. ; Fine and Useful Arts, 464, or 3.9 per cent. ; History and Travel, 382, or 4.4 per cent. ; Biography, 119, or 3.6 per cent. ; Literature and Poetry, 105, or 1.7 per cent. ; Fiction, 8,013, or 5.5 per cent. ; increases being recorded in Social Science, 310, or 17.8 per cent. ; Natural Science, 41, or 1.1 per cent. ; Juvenile, 7,849, or 25.7 per cent. ; and Magazines and Bibliography, 565, or 64.3 per cent. The increase in Class B, Social Science, is probably due to interest in International Relations and Law, Naval and Military Administration and kindred subjects being stimulated by the War ; and in Class K, Magazines, &c., for the same reason, greater use has been made of the reviews, which after withdrawal from the Reading Rooms, are issued from the Lending Library in the same way as books. It is rather surprising that in Class E, History and Travel, a decrease is shewn. A large number of works upon the War and the Countries involved have been added, a list of which has been printed and distributed, copies also being displayed at the Library, and these books have been extensively used. It is encouraging to note the sustained increase in the use of the Juvenile section of the Library, a matter to which I drew attention at some length in last year’s report. That the children are becoming more and more attracted to, and interested in, the Library and all that it means to them, is shewn both by the larger issues in this section and the greater number of Juvenile borrowers, and is a hopeful sign for the future. The Juvenile section is most useful as a means of training them to make fuller use of the general Library as they become older. An examination of the Class percentages given in Table II., page 18, will reveal that there is very little diminution in the proportion of use of the works in the Nonfiction Classes.

The percentage of Fiction issued is 64.1, the lowest yet recorded, as against 67.7 last year, which was the lowest up to that date. - It should be borne in mind, too, that this percentage is based on the Lending Library issues only, and is relatively much lower when the other departments are taken into consideration. The Juvenile Non-fiction issues for the year were 5,345, as against 3,577.

The number of books in embossed type issued to blind readers was 425 (included in Lending Library total), as against 453 last year and 413 the previous year. The provision of these books is a much appreciated boon.

The number of Overdue books written for during the year was 1,082, and 917 post cards for Bespoken books were sent out.

The number of Borrowers’ cards in force (Table IV., page 20) is 7,659, as against 8,383, a decrease of 724. Non-fiction (extra) cards are held by 566 borrowers, as against 613 last year, a decrease of 47. The number of Juvenile Borrowers, age 11-12, is 706, as against 601 ; the number aged 13-15 is 749, as against 695.

The number of ratepayer borrowers is 1,920, as against 2,362 ; Non-ratepayers 5,173, as against 5,408. The number of male borrowers was 3,635, as against 4,069 ; female borrowers 3,458, as against 3,701.

The following Special Lists of Books have been prepared and displayed in the Lending and Reference Libraries and are well used:— The War ; Dyeing, Bleaching, Sizing, etc. ; Textiles and Textile Manufactures ; The Brontes ; Mexico ; Local Government, Town Planning, etc.

“The War” ; “Dyeing”; and “Textiles” Lists, and Lists of Recent Additions, have, by courtesy of the Editors, been published in two of the Local papers, and Reprints obtained. These have been distributed on application at the Lending Library, and have been well taken up. Copies of the two latter have also been sent to the Departments of the Technical College concerned with these subjects, and are there displayed. A Special List on Embroidery and Art Needlework has also been prepared on request and sent to the Art Department. It is hoped by this means greater use of the books by the Students attending the College may be induced.

An appeal was received in November, 1915, from Mr. A. T. Davies, Board of Education, for books for Civilian Prisoners interned at Ruhleben. From a list of available books which was sent to him, 9 volumes were selected and forwarded.


The number of Volumes in stock at the Almondbury Branch Library is 2,757, an increase of 31. The Issues during the 12 months were 5,270, as against 5,812, a decrease of 542.

The number of Borrowers is 158, as against 217, of whom 5 hold Non-fiction Cards.


The number of volumes sent to re-bind was 1,412. Last year 2,162 volumes were re-bound.

For the School Libraries 128 volumes were sent for rebinding, as against 217 last year.


On page 15 is given a table shewing the issues for the 12 months from the 37 boxes in the 28 Elementary Schools to which books are supplied by the Education Committee. The Total Issue was 32,473, as against 32,505 last year.

It is to be regretted that a large number of these books are in very dirty condition, the whole stock needing drastic weeding out and replacement. The issue to the children of books in such condition will have, it is to be feared, anything but a good effect upon the handling of books issued from the Public Library to such of them as are borrowers.


The following are the Exhibitions and the attendances during the 12 months :—

Huddersfield Art Society, May 17th to June 24th, 1916, 5½ weeks 5915
Permanent Collection, and Oil Paintings lent by Mr. Robt. Hopkinson, July 15th to Jan. 20th, 1917 (Estimated) 4577
Lithographs (Senefelder Club), Feb. 3rd to March 3rd, 1917, 4 weeks 3970
Huddersfield Art Society, March 24th to March 31st, 1 week (part period) 1201
Total 15663

The Exhibition of Lithographs was the result of revival of a proposal for such an Exhibition 12 months earlier, and was justified by results. The attendance was good and much interest was evinced in the works, particularly by people engaged in the Printing and Allied Trades. The framed exhibits were supplemented by prepared litho stones and zincs; drawings and prints from the same, and a litho hand-press. Descriptive notes and a brief bibliography were a feature of the catalogue much appreciated by visitors.

An oil painting “Richmond,” by the late J. H. Fearnley, was presented, and two others lent, to the Art Gallery by Mrs. Fearnley.


In September, 1916, the North Central Library Association was formed, and the Chairman, (Mr. Councillor Geo. Thomson, J.P.) and myself were appointed to the Council of this New Branch.

A well attended meeting of this Association was held at Huddersfield in March, the use of the Council Chamber and Reception Room at the Town Hall being granted by the Mayor, Ald. W. H. Jessop, J.P. The subject under discussion was “The Relation of the Public Library to the School.”

On the closing down of the business of the late Mr. J. E. Shaw, photographer, opportunity was taken to acquire a number of negatives comprising local portraits and views. Prints from these should form the nucleus of an interesting and increasingly valuable collection.

A visitor, detected in the mutilation of a newspaper, was prosecuted, resulting in a fine of 20 shillings and costs.

Owing to paper restriction and with a view to reducing the bulk of this report, the usual List of Donors of books, etc. has been omitted. Forty volumes, fifty-one pamphlets, framed facsimile letters respecting services of 2nd W. Yorks. Yeomanry Cavalry, 1848, and a Celestial Globe have been presented during the year, to the Donors of which the thanks of the Committee have been conveyed.

Much gratification was felt at the receipt, on Feb. 16th, of a communication from the Carnegie United Kingdom Trustees, notifying their intention of securing the services of a “Library Expert,” who, together with the Secretary (Mr. A. L. Hetherington, M.A.), would pay a visit to Huddersfield to investigate further the application for a library building grant which had been sent to them on behalf of this Committee.

Desirable extensions of the Library’s activities are unfortunately precluded by the unsuitability and inadequacy of our present premises. Every department suffers from this cramping and condition of overcrowding.

I am, Gentlemen,
Yours obedient servant,
Librarian and Curator.

Annual Report of the Public Library and Art Gallery (1916)


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