From The Shetland Times, Friday 8th July, 1960
Is it worthwhile continuing a free reading room in the county library headquarters? There was a divergence of opinion at the annual meeting of the Feuars and Heritors of Lerwick on Wednesday afternoon, when there was a suggestion that the grant to the reading room should be cut by half. In the end, however, a majority vote favoured giving the reading room the normal £100 grant.
Mr W. K. Conochie was called on to preside at the meeting, and intimated there was a free income of £327 to de disposed of.
It was suggested that the following grants should be paid: Stipend to the Church of Scotland General Trustees, £16 13/4; £150 to Lerwick Town Council in aid of expenditure incurred in improving the Town Hall and playing fields; £100 for the newsroom; and £25 each to Lerwick Brass Band, British Legion Pipe Band, and Shetland Tourist Association.
Miss Harrison thought that was an awful lot to grant to the newsroom. She went to the library frequently and never saw more than two people in at one time.
Mr J. N. Inkster moved that the grants be approved, and Mr J. R. Ganson seconded, but Miss Harrison moved that the newsroom grant be cut to £50, and Mr A. D. Bennet seconded, as he agreed few people used the room. It seemed a waste of money in these days, when newsagents supplied practically everyone with papers.
The factor, Mr Peter Goodlad, said he had seen quite a crowd in the room.
The chairman said that the amendment, if carried, would mean that a number of publications presently supplied to the newsroom would be stopped.
Miss Harrison: They get so many donated.
Chairman: That is true.
Mr Lindsay Robertson said this was a heirloom from the days of the Literary and Scientific Society, when they had to keep up property. There must be a saving there.
Mr Goodlad pointed out that there was no obligation on the County Council to provide a free newsroom, and this grant enabled them to supply that service. Mr Tom Henderson recalled that in the days of the Literary Society publications might cost sixpence to ninepence; to-day they might cost up to 2/6. There were two sides of expenditure to be considered.
Mr Conochie thought it might be an unfortunate thing to cut the grant at the moment in view of the fact that there was a possibility of a new building being forthcoming in the reasonable future. It might be just as well if the grant was allowed to run until there was a change in the arrangements.
Miss Harrison: They will require a bigger grant then.
Chairman: The whole situation could be reconsidered then.
The vote resulted in a 9-4 majority in favour of the £100 grant being continued.
Mr Frank Scott was elected a trustee in place of his father, the late Mr L. G. Scott.
Mr Bennet inquired about what happened to the £25 granted to the Town Council to help with royal visit expenditure last year. Did they still have it in hand, or had it been spent?
The chairman confessed he could not answer the question, but it was unlikely the Council had it in hand. The Council had fairly heavy expenditure in that connection last year, and he thought it would have been used. Fortunately the expenditure on the royal visit this year would not be so big.