§ Order of the day for the Second Reading read.
* LORD WINDSOR
My Lords, the Bill which I am about to ask your Lordships to give a Second Reading to is a much more modest one than the Bill which I introduced earlier in the Session, but which I did not proceed with when I discovered that the Local Government Board objected to several of its clauses. I have made myself acquainted with the clauses to which the Local Government Board object, and have agreed to withdraw them—namely, Clauses 2, 3, 4, 8, and 9, and I now ask your Lordships to allow the Bill to be read a second time subject to that reservation. What remains is only a small portion of the Bill, but it contains, however, one or two clauses of considerable importance. The Bill had been drafted by those who have practical experience of the working of libraries, and its object was not to increase the powers of library authorities, but to make the Libraries Acts more workable. That was the sole object of the Bill, but the Local Government Board objected to certain clauses on the ground that they unnecessarily enlarged the powers of 193 library authorities, and, as I have said, I have dropped those clauses. Clause 6 is a very important one. The Public Libraries Act, 1892, empowers a library authority to make regulations for the use of their buildings, but no power is given to enforce such regulations. Following the precedent of the Public Libraries (Scotland) Act, 1887, Section 22, it is proposed to give the library authority power to make byelaws, subject to the sanction of the Local Government Board, for the regulation of the buildings under its control, and for other definite objects, so as to meet many practical difficulties which have been experienced by library authorities in the past. Clause 7 is also considered an important clause. The library authorities of two or more parishes or of two or more urban districts may now agree together for the joint use of one library, but authorities in an urban district and a parish may not so agree. This clause would enable the library authority of any district to agree with any other library authority for the joint use of a common library, etc. Although the Local Government Board do not agree with all the remaining clauses, I understand that they will not oppose the Second Reading if the five clauses I have referred to are cut out of; the Bill. On that understanding I beg to move the Second Reading of the Bill.
§ "That the Bill be now read 2a."—(Lord Windsor.)
* LORD HARRIS
My Lords, the withdrawal of the clauses referred to has, I understand, been agreed upon between the Local Government Board and the noble Lord; but in assenting to the Second Reading of the Bill the Local Government Board wish it to be understood that they do not commit themselves to the approval of the clauses which remain after those mentioned by the noble Lord have been struck out. I refer particularly to Clauses 6 and 10, the latter of which abolishes the present requirement of the approval of a parish meeting or vestry in certain cases. The Local Government Board is doubtful whether that clause is advisable. With this reservation I shall not oppose the Second Reading.
§ On Question, agreed to.
§ Bill committed to a Committee of the whole House on Monday next.