Page:Essays in librarianship and bibliography.djvu/273

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Library administration, like all other departments of human activity in this age, must experience the results of the unexampled development of science in its application to the affairs of life. The most immediately obvious of these are the mechanical: so simple a device as the sliding-press, as will be shown in its place, has saved the nation thousands of pounds. The most promising field for such achievements has hitherto been the United States of America, where the application of scientific contrivances to ordinary purposes is more general than in Europe, and where the more important libraries are new structures, where improvements can form part of the original plan, with no fear of impediment from arrangements already existing. Next to mechanics, photography and electricity may be named as the scientific agencies chiefly adapted for the promotion of library service. Photography has been sufficiently treated in another essay in this volume. The services of electricity will be most cordially acknowledged by those who best remember the paralysis of literary work, alike official and private, engendered by a fog at the British Museum, and in particular recall the