HC Deb 20 July 1911 vol 28 cc1270-1

asked the Secretary to the Treasury whether his attention has been called to the fact that it is often impossible to obtain at the British Museum literary and scientific works of high value published in France, in Germany, in Italy, or in the United States; and whether the advisability will be considered of making arrangements, either by a system of exchange or by purchase, whereby such works will become available at the British Museum without undue delay?


The British Museum spends a considerable sum every year in the purchase of foreign books, and a book is kept in the reading room, and examined daily by officers of the Department, in which any reader can enter suggestions as to desirable acquisitions, and private advice on the same subject is readily attended to. It may be said, in general, that the British Museum contains a more complete collection of the books of any foreign country than any other library except the national library of that particular country. Indeed, foreign visitors have often stated that they have been able to see in the British Museum books published in their own. country to which they have been unable to obtain access in their own country's libraries. If the hon. Member has any specific cases in his mind in asking the question, I should be glad if he would bring them at once to the notice of the British Museum authorities, who are always grateful for advice and suggestions from competent persons in their efforts to keep their collections complete.