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Ships' Libraries

Volume 476: debated on Wednesday 28 June 1950

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asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty why "Winter Song," by James Hanley, has been ban- ned from ships' recreational libraries in the Royal Navy.

This book has not been banned. It was not bought because of its price.

In view of the fact that the present selector of books for ships' libraries is the Director of Victualling, would it not be better to get some other officer to buy books for their quality rather than for their weight?

Literature is food for thought, and the Director of Victualling is perhaps not altogether inappropriate. I am not sure, in view of the state of the modern novel, that it is not a bad idea to buy books by the ounce.

Can the Parliamentary Secretary say whether this book, "Winter Song," was written by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster?

Is it not true that the Director of Education has something to say in these matters?

Instructor lieutenants run the libraries in ships, but the purchase is carried out by the Director of Victualling for convenience.

Could not a copy of this book be put in the Library so that Members can draw their own conclusions as to its suitability for the Navy?

If the hon. and gallant Member will accept my judgment, I do not think he will find it as interesting as all that.