17 JULY 1886, Page 25

Free Public Libraries. By Thomas Greenwood. (Simpkin and Marshall.)—Mr. Greenwood

begins with a brief history of the move- ment. The Act permitting municipalities to institute such libraries was carried in 1850. No town, however, was to have the option with less than 10,000 inhabitants, and the rate was not to be more than a halfpenny. The number has now been reduced to 5,000, and the maximum rate fixed at a penny. The first free library was opened at Manchester, in 1852. There are now somewhat more than a hundred in England, not reckoning six in the suburbs of London. In London itself there is not one; Wales has four, Scotland ten, and Ireland three (actually opened). In the United States there is more activity in this way, as far, at least, as the older States are concerned. Australasia shows very creditably in the matter. This is a useful, as well as interesting book. We hope that it may do good service in promoting the movement.