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Friday, 25 November 1910

Senator McGREGOR (South AustraliaVicePresident of the Executive Council) . - I have not yet received the return, which was only moved for yesterday. The officers in the different Departments are so busy towards the close of the session that I do not know whether they will be able to supply it to-day, but I can assure the honorable senator that if it is available before the end of the session it will be laid on the table.

Senator GIVENS(Queensland) [3-451- - I notice that the Library Committee are calling for applications for a cataloguer for the Library. Honorable senators have the fullest possible confidence in the members of the Library Committee. But, nevertheless, it may be permissible to offer them an expression of opinion regarding this matter. A mistake can easily be made in the appointment of the cataloguer. The Committee might appoint a man with high educational attainments - one who might have obtained university degrees - and yet not get the best man for this position. We want a great deal more than a mere mechanical dry-as-dust cataloguer. The only man who can prepare such a catalogue as we require is one who is a genuine lover of books. A good library catalogue is not merely a classified list, and the capacity for this work is not easily attained. X taste for it must be inborn in a man. He must have an instinctive feeling for the classification of literature. I hope, therefore, that in the selection of a cataloguer the Committee will not be guided by the possession of scholastic attainments, but will endeavour to find a man who is a real lover of books. If we secure the services of a man whose qualifications are principally scholastic - one who has simply passed examinations - we shall get an officer who will perhaps be able to compile an absolutely correct catalogue, but one which nevertheless will be practically useless except as an index. We hope for something better than that for' our National Library. I trust that the Committee will take what I have said in the spirit in which the observations are offered.

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