This sticker is in the back of a book published in 1940, originally part of the collection of the Public Lending Library of Victoria (itself a part of the Public Library of Victoria, as the SLV was then known). I was struck particularly by no. 4. Were books considered possible vectors for infectious disease -- TB, perhaps? (If so, then obviously the best idea would be to get those books back into circulation as soon as possible.) Or maybe the Chief Librarian was worried that if everyone in the house was sick, their library books wouldn't be returned on time, even despite the THREEPENCE fine for every three days or fraction thereof that they were overdue. (I can just imagine the Librarian glaring at the hapless late returner and spitting out the words "That will be THRUP. PENCE.") I also like the way in which books are treated like people: they are not to be "detained" or "injured" (as a bibliophile, I'm always in danger of the former habit but completely agree with their firm stance on the latter). But I'm dying to know what Lending Library Rule 6 was. If there are any former patrons still around they could probably tell me -- given the familiarity they were expected to have with the Lending Library Rules it's probably burned into their minds. And can you imagine your embarrassment at waking up the day after moving house, and realising that you've neglected to notify the Librarian without delay?
From here, we can see that the reign of terror of Wm. C. Baud and C. A. McCallum, Chief Librarians, ended in 1960. We can be thankful that we live in more enlightened times: since August last year, I've accumulated $13.50 in overdue fines at the university library (about 5s in 1940s terms), and they don't seem to care in the slightest. Viva la revolución!
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