- Public Library Lending Services to Groups
- No.2, p.93-107
This is the report of the practice work the focus of which is put on the examination of existing library services to groups of people in enterprises and business concerns.
As mass media of various kinds develop and the form of living becomes more standardized, the reading activity of people, which is purely individual and self-stimulating, becomes less active, and yet the desire to read has never been lost among them.
Public libraries, which are expected to serve the public in general, however, can hardly fulfill their tasks, for most of services provided are directed to pupils and students, if not it is desirable. Unless devising some method to facilitate reading materials to those working in the society as a whole, it will be hard to maintain and develop the habit of reading among people working, especially young adults and those with no reading facilities at hand.
Hibiya Public Library, the metropolitan library located in the center of Tokyo, has been serving groups of people in enterprises and business concerns operating with rather smaller scale. The library selects and sends a collection to each group, which thus gets an opportunity to take access to books for a certain length of period, say a month or so. However, the number of groups amounts nearly 400,000 and those now served occupy only O.08% of the total number, namely 330 groups, however hard the Library may try.
The objective of offering service of this kind is to provide people with an opportunity to read and to create atmosphere in factories and offices to cherish the habit of reading. At present, each collection, or groups of books selected, consists of recreational readings and books for practical purposes, the number of the former being much greater than that of the latter. It has been found that books provided in this manner have been used quite extensively. As for the quality of reading, however, reservation must be made, and it is regrettable to say that it is hard to find any remarkable development since the service started. Yet, a patient observation may be required before any achievement clearly takes shape.
As to the future, the bottle neck on quantitative basis, as has been mentioned before, should be broken off by developing a new policy if they are not satisfied with status quo. Here is the possibility of expanding activities of 51 ward libraries which are supposed to have closer contact with people in smaller areas or in specific vocational groups. If this can be realized, the metropolitan library will be able to work as a coordinator for ward libraries in Tokyo, thus providing more extensive services more closely related to the needs and demands of people.