20 JANUARY 1961, Page 15

SIR,—Mr. H. E. Taylor asks: 'Can a book be lent

to its owner? The books in public libraries belong to the persons who use them.' Are not public lavatories lent to their owners—at least to half of them—at a penny a time? The word 'owner' in such connections is misleading. The corporate body, however it may consist—a local authority, a college, a club, a sub- scription organisation—is the legal owner and the individual user is a borrower. If Mr. Taylor defaces either public library books or a public lavatory wall he can be prosecuted for thus misusing his 'own' property.

The answer to Mr. Taylor's other question is that the Libraries (Public Lending Right) Bill does cover other libraries than the public libraries. But naturally there will be exemptions, as already there are exemptions from the normal necessity to pay for books acquired : the British Museum, the Bodleian Library, and the National Libraries of Scotland, Wales and Ireland, receive their books free.—Yours faithfully, J. ALAN WHITE Vice-Chairman Authors and Publishers Provisional Lending Right Association 84 Drayton Gardens, SW10