Annual Report of the Public Library and Art Gallery (1918)

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 the end of March 1918.

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The following is a transcription of a historic book and may contain occasional small errors.

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

Mr. Chairman and Gentlemen.

I have pleasure in submitting my 9th Annual Report, covering the 12 months ended March 30th, 1918 ; the 20th 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 239,377, an increase of 13,095. (See Table III., page 15).

The Total Issue from all departments since the opening of the Libraries, 20 years ago, is 3,843,844.

The Total Stock of books in all departments (exclusive of Patent Library) is now 42,406, an increase of 881. (See Table I., page 13).


The Number of Volumes in stock is now 31.483, an increase of 573. 628 new books were added during the year, and 55 worn out volumes have been written off. The number of worn out volumes replaced was 428, making the total number of volumes acquired during the year 1,056.

The number of worn out volumes awaiting replacement has steadily risen during the past two years, and there are now some 2,000 waiting to be dealt with. It is hoped that considerable improvement may be effected this year.

The Issues from the Central Lending Library were 225,834 — the highest yet recorded — an increase of 12,284; the daily average issue being 863, as against 802. (See Table II., page 14).

Increases are shewn in the following classes : Social Science, 249 : Natural Science, 378 ; Fine and Useful Arts, Sol : History and Travel. 02 : Biography, 143 ; Fiction, 3.890. Decreases were recorded in Religion and Philosophy, S : Literature and Poetry. 279 : Juvenile, 2949 ; Magazines and Bibliography. 15.

The Juvenile Non-fiction issues for the year were 4,777, as against 4,276.

The percentage of Fiction issued was 66.7.

The number of books in embossed type issued to blind readers was 619, as against 646 last year.

The number of overdue books written for during the year was 1,327, last year 1,523 ; and 1,484 post cards for Bespoken Books were sent out, against 960 last year.

The number of Borrowers’ Cards in force (Table IV., page 16) is 8,437, as against 7,341, an increase of 1,096. Non-fiction (extra) Cards are held by 1,020 borrowers, as against 598, an increase of 422. This increase is due, to a large extent, to the fact that commencing in December last the necessity for filling in a second application form was done away with by arranging for an indication of the wish for these cards to be filled in on the application form for the ordinary borrowers' card.

The collection of books for the Camps Library has been continued, and 66 volumes and 415 magazines have been forwarded.

It is a matter for some surprise and regret that more use has not been made of the facilities offered to wounded soldiers for borrowing books. Cards are issued, to such as apply, without formality of any kind. Only 8 of these cards have been applied for.

The list of books on Chemistry and Chemical Technology mentioned in last report as under revision preparatory to publication was, by courtesy of the proprietors, printed by sections in the “Huddersfield Examiner,” following which 200 reprints were obtained for distribution. The list extends to 32 pages and is in fair demand.

Arrangements have been made for the publication of a list of books on Commerce and Trade contained in the Library. This is now in course of compilation, but owing to conditions at present prevailing progress is slow. In connection with this work it was found when the Government Blue Books, Reports, etc., were being re-arranged and catalogued, that there were gaps here and there ; also, the Chamber of Commerce having ceased handing these works over to us as they were received from H.M. Stationery Office, it was decided to purchase such as were required to complete the sets to date. Application was also made requesting that this Library be placed on the List of Libraries to which such publications are distributed. This application was, on request, repeated in March, the elate at which the list is revised, but nothing further has, so far, been heard of the matter.


The Teachers’ Special Cards in force number 150, as against 130 last year ; the issues on these being 737, as against 647.

At Almondbury the numbers are Cards, 3 ; last year 4 ; issues, 10 ; last year, 25.


shewing (Lending Library only) the number of books in stock the total issues, daily averages, and number of borrowers each year since the opening of the Library, is given herewith

Year Ending Books in Stock Books Issued Daily Avg, Issue No. of Borrowers
April 22nd 1898 4890
March 31st 1899 7124 97015 386 4584
March 31st 1900 9360 115248 438 4298
March 31st 1901 11188 128914 493 4418
March 31st 1902 13252 141945 548 4497
March 31st 1903 14771 156478 598 5202
March 31st 1904 16567 164326 627 5269
March 31st 1905 18806 177665 663 5489
March 31st 1906 19593 183645 686 5742
March 31st 1907 20701 180152 678 5523
March 31st 1908 22004 186546 691 5631
March 31st 1909 22995 190007 722 6274
March 31st 1910 24489 194732 735 6046
March 31st 1911 25807 202385 752 6518
March 31st 1912 27076 206502 777 6623
March 31st 1913 28263 218305 824 6753
March 31st 1914 29399 210727 800 6990
March 31st 1915 30452 216161 816 7770
March 31st 1916 30395 215636 807 7093
March 31st 1917 30910 213550 802 6743
March 31st 1918 31483 225834 863 7417
Total Issues 3625773

A Special Book-mark was prepared and distributed to borrowers with a view to checking the pencilling in, and turning down corners of pages, which is unfortunately so prevalent.


The number of volumes now in stock in the Reference library is 8,119, an increase of 261. The number of works consulted was 7,254, as against 6,755, an increase of 499.

A volume of the Library Edition of Ruskin’s Works was damaged by writing and ink marks upon some of the plates. Every effort was made to trace the individual concerned, who gave an address in a neighbouring town, but unfortunately without result.


Year Ending Stock Issues
April 22nd 1898 486
March 31st 1899 1104 1765
March 31st 1900 1509 1770
March 31st 1901 1649 1765
March 31st 1902 2175 1808
March 31st 1903 3034 2458
March 31st 1904 3839 3975
March 31st 1905 4298 3574
March 31st 1906 4321 4642
March 31st 1907 4663 4337
March 31st 1908 4909 4827
March 31st 1909 4977 4959
March 31st 1910 5464 4557
March 31st 1911 5807 5959
March 31st 1912 6208 6138
March 31st 1913 6658 5425
March 31st 1914 6965 7639
March 31st 1915 7272 7664
March 31st 1916 7505 7224
March 31st 1917 7858 6755
March 31st 1918 8119 7254


The number of Specifications and Journals consulted was 572, as against 707 last year ; the number of persons using this department being 77, as against 97.

Increased accommodation which would avoid the removal of Specifications more than 15 years old would tend to a greater use being made of this department. Searchers frequently require the full specification details of old patents and in consequence must have recourse elsewhere. The need for as full a collection as possible in this town will become increasingly apparent coincident with the developments in industry now proceeding.


The number of volumes in stock at the Almondbury Branch Library is 2,804, an increase of 47. The Issues during the year were 5,717, as against 5,270, an increase of 447.

The number of Borrowers is 178 (as against 158) of whom 6 hold Non-fiction Cards.

The whole of these premises, interior and exterior, were painted and decorated in June, 1917.

The Caretaker, Albert Whiteley, resigned in April 1917, and I regret to report that Joseph North, a former holder of the post, who took on the job temporarily until December, died on the 20th March last. In December the appointment was given to Joe N. Jessop.

Though some amount of trouble has again been experienced with disorderly and noisy young people, this was overcome by vigorous steps taken, and there has been no cause for complaint for some time.


During the year the number of volumes sent to the binders for re-binding was 1,675. Last year 1,412 volumes were re-bound. Minor repairs, numbering many thousands, have in addition, been carried out by the staff.

For the School Libraries 203 volumes were sent for re-binding, as against 128 last year.


The issues for the y from the 37 boxes in the 28 Elementary Schools to which books are supplied by the Education Committee are shewn in a Table on page 17. The Total Issue was 30,888, as against 32,473 last year.

It would, I feel, be an undoubted advantage if the scheme were revised on the basis of the establishment at each school of its own School Library, instead of the method of travelling libraries now in vogue, involving a change round each year, and the extension of the scheme to embrace all schools. In this way a good collection could be built up at each place, in accordance with the varying needs of each locality. The question of overhaul, and the dealing with binding and replacements would, under this method, be a much less formidable undertaking than it is at present to the Public Library Staff.


Exhibitions and attendances during the 12 months were :—

Huddersfield Art Society, April 1st to 28th, 1917, 4 weeks 4056
Canadian Official War Photographs, May 14th to 26th, 2 weeks 1161
Permanent Collection, June 25th to Oct. 13th (estimated) 4310
Permanent Collection and Pictures loaned by Exors. of late Mr. Joseph Woodhead, Oct. 20th to Jan. 5th, 1918 (estimated) 2285
Cartoons by Louis Raemaekers and Lithographs by G. Spenser Pryse, Jan. 21st to Feb. 16th, 5 weeks 8252
Permanent Collection : Arundel Chromos, Water Colours and Turner Engravings, Feb. 22nd to April 3rd 2360
Total 22424

A charge was made for admission to the War Photographs Exhibition, the proceeds going to the Canadian War Memorials Fund for which purpose the Exhibition, which visited many of the larger towns, was organised. The number paying for admission was 891, and some 370 wounded soldiers were admitted free. Some exceptionally fine photographs were among the exhibits.

The Raemaekers Exhibition attracted a good deal of attention, and interest in the prints was most marked. The kindness of Mr. Henry S. Clough, of Keighley, in lending them for exhibition, together with the Lithographs by Spenser Pryse, was much appreciated.

In June, 1917, eight oil paintings, one of which is too large to be properly shewn in the present gallery, and seven are not considered of sufficient merit to be worthy of exhibition, as part of the permanent collection, were loaned to the Technical College in response to an application for some pictures to cover the wall space in the entrance hall there.

In October, eight pictures from the collection of the late Mr. Joseph Woodhead were loaned to the gallery by his Executors.

It was reported at the March meeting, that the portrait of the Chairman, Mr. Councillor Thomson, by J. W. Brooke, which is to be eventually hung in the Art Gallery, had, at his request, been transferred to the Education Offices for the time being.


Mr. Goulden, who is serving with His Majesty’s Forces, was wounded in May, 1917. I am glad to state he is fully restored to health again. He now holds the rank of Sergeant.

H. Townend was called up in May, 1917, and is now in France.

Hilda Flood was appointed Junior Assistant (Temporary) in his place.


Mr. Councillor Platts and the Librarian attended the Conference of the library Association at London, in October 1917, which proved to be one of the most important yet held. A full report of the Proceedings has been sent to each member of the Committee.

Owing to serious illness, the Chairman, Mr. Councillor Thomson, was unable to attend the meetings of the Committee for some months. A resolution of sympathy was forwarded to him in July, 1917.

The Deputy-Chairman, Mr. John Watkinson, resigned his office in November 1917, but is continuing as a member of the Committee.

Mr. Alderman Fred Lawton and Mr. Councillor J. H. Platts were appointed Chairman and Vice-Chairman respectively at a meeting of the Committee, held 12th. November, 1917.

The usual Lists of Periodicals and of Donors of Books, etc., have been again omitted this year, owing to paper restrictions. 140 volumes, 23 pamphlets, and a framed mezzotint portrait of the late B. H. Allen, of Greenhead, have been presented, to the donors of which the thanks of the Committee have been conveyed, as also to the donors of periodicals.


A visit of investigation into the Library service and accommodation and of local conditions was paid by Mr. A. L. Hetherington, Secretary to the Trustees, and Mr. T. W. Hand, Chief Librarian. Leeds, on May 29-30th. 1917.

As an outcome of this visit, a conditional offer was made on 27th Oct., 1917, by the Trustees of a gift of £10,500 for new Library Buildings, to be allocated as follows :— £3,000 each for the erection of two Branch Libraries, one at Lindley and one at Lockwood, and the sum of £4,500 towards the cost of a New Central Library ; the conditions being that an amount of £10,500 be subscribed from other sources, that free sites be provided for each building, without any charge on the Library rate ; that the present rate of Id. be increased to one of 1d. ; plans to be submitted to the Trustees ; and that the Library at Almondbury be more fully developed with the increased funds which will accrue from the larger rate.

This offer was accepted at a meeting of the Committee held on 16th. Nov., 1917, when the grateful appreciation of the generous offer of the Trust was placed on record by the Committee. This was confirmed bv the Council, who at a later meeting, resolved that as soon as possible after the war a Public Library worthy of the town be erected as a Memorial to the brave men of this Borough who have offered, and many of them given, their lives for their country ; and provision be made in association therewith for an Art Gallery, and Museum.

The consummation of this scheme will provide accommodation. the lack of which has been for many years so marked, suitable and adequate to the needs of the Library which has been built lip for the town.

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