Skip to content

Jonathan Dowland: libraries

Cover for The Rise Of The Meritocracy

Cover for The Rise Of The Meritocracy

At some point during my Undergraduate years I lost the habit of using
Libraries. On reflection this is probably Amazon's fault. In recent years
I've tried to get back into the habit of using them.

Using libraries is a great idea if you are trying to lead a more minimalist
life. I am registered to use Libraries in two counties: North Tyneside, where I
live, and Newcastle, where I work. The union of the two counties' catalogues is
pretty extensive. Perhaps surprisingly I have found North Tyneside to offer
both better customer service and a more interesting selection of books.

Sometimes there are still things that are hard to get ahold of. After listening
to BBC Radio 4's documentary The Rise and Fall of
, presented by Toby
Young, I became interested in reading The Rise of the
: an
alarmist, speculative essay that coined the term meritocracy, written by
Toby's father, Michael Young.

The book was not on either catalogue. It is out of print, with the price of
second hand copies fluctuating but generally higher than I am prepared to pay.
I finally managed to find a copy in Newcastle University's
. As an associate of the School of
I have access to the Library

It's an interesting read, and I think if it were framed more as a novel than as
an essay it might be remembered in the same bracket as Brave New World or 1984.