L. M. Harrod



Leonard Montague Harrod (b. 21 May 1905, Horsham, England–d. 12 March 19841), commonly referred to as L. M. Harrod, was appointed the librarian of the Raffles Library on 8 September 1954, and then its director from January 1955 to December 1959. A qualified librarian,2 Harrod contributed greatly to the development of the library system, the planning, and progress of the Raffles Library. He was formerly the Chief Librarian and Curator of Islington Public Libraries, and was the pioneer of Singapore’s then new public library.3

Education
Harrod was educated at Rutlish School, Merton, Surrey, and the School of Librarianship, University College, London.4


Career5
1923–24: Wimbledon Public Library.
1924–26: Fulham Public Library.
1926–37: Croydon Public Library.
1937–40: Borrowing Librarian, Mitcham Public Library.
1940–54: Chief Librarian and Curator, Islington Public Libraries.
1954–59: Librarian (1954) , Director, National Library Singapore.6
1960–61: Librarian, John Liang R. & D.7
1961: Librarian, City of Westminster College.8
1961–69: Senior Lecturer, School of Librarianship, Northwestern Polytechnic, London.9

Publications
1951: The Libraries of Greater London10
1957: Books for young people: Group 3: Fourteen to seventeen: annotated and classified11
1959: The Librarian’s Glossary of Terms used in Librarianship and the Book Crafts and Reference Books (2nd ed.)12

Membership in associations
Society of Indexers13

Background
When Harrod was librarian and later director of the Raffles Library (1954–59), the library did not yet have its own building but occupied the western wing of the Raffles Museum adjoining Fort Canning Road, while the Junior Library was in the adjacent wing with a separate entrance. Harrod was specially appointed for the establishment of a free Public Library system of libraries for the colony, as well as promoting plans for the new library.14

Harrod faced a shortage of funds and experienced and qualified staff to build and maintain the library’s collection and to provide a good reference and lending service. In spite of this, he made a considerable amount of progress in increasing the library’s collection, membership and loans.15

Contributions to the Raffles Library 
Browne System and combined receipts
Harrod instituted a number of improvements to make the library more productive. The two main changes were the introduction of the Browne System of issuing books and the usage of a combined receipt for subscriptions and deposits. The Browne System was used by the library for more than 30 years before it switched to the computerised system in 1988. The usage of a combined receipt for subscriptions and deposits replaced the need for eight forms of receipts, which were previously in use.16

Library services
Harrod initiated his blueprint for setting up a comprehensive children’s section; library branches in the more populated suburbs as part of the library’s decentralisation policy; and an information bureau to cater to personal, telephone and written enquiries. He intended the new public library to be the best in Southeast Asia. It was this great enthusiasm for his work that led to the transfer of the administration of the Raffles Library from the Director of Raffles Library and Museum, to the Librarian of the Raffles Library, and the library’s eventual separation from the Museum.17

Promotion of local languages
In preparation for the free public library, Harrod worked hard to restore balance to the subject and linguistic representation of the existing book stock, purchasing nearly 14,000 reference books in Chinese for $13,600. Later, books and newspapers in all four languages, as well as music scores, were also purchased.18

To promote local languages, a branch library stocking mainly Chinese books was opened on 24 November 1956 in the Yio Chu Kang Community Centre, under the directorship of Social Welfare. This was initiated when a bulk gift of books, received by the principal of one of the village schools, was handed to the Raffles Library to administer. Harrod also initiated a novel project to translate children’s books in English into the other official languages, receiving publicity from the press. The soliciting and preservation of archival material or local publication were the extra duties added to the responsibilities of the Librarian.19

Publicity efforts
Harrod publicised the library’s facilities by establishing a booth at the Colony-wide Health Week exhibition in November 1955, at the Happy World amusement park. To increase the usage of branch libraries, he sent out publicity pamphlets and letters of invitation to residents of Siglap and Upper Serangoon. He also maximised the usage of library books by devising a method of interchanging books between branch libraries.20

Raffles Library ranked as “national” library
By 1 October 1955, the Raffles Library had taken over the management of the Joo Chiat Community Library, which had been run by volunteers. In 1955, two significant developments took place. The library became a depositing and controlling authority for the government archives, and began to observe the Printers and Publishers Ordinance more stringently. In view of its responsibilities in relation to these two functions, the Raffles Library was ranked as a “national” library for Singapore.21

In January 1957, the library’s bulletin was issued for the first time, disseminating valuable information on library developments.22 In 1959, with a fully responsible Parliamentary government replacing the colonial bureaucracy, the library had evolved from a national institution by law, to being a symbol for national identification and solidarity. In line with this, the library made some changes in administration and content. It purchased more non-fiction books on science, mathematics, agriculture and husbandry to meet the technical requirements of an industrialising society and a greater decentralisation of library facilities. Together with this came a rapid Malayanisation of the staff. Two staff members were sent for overseas training at the Northwestern Polytechnic in London on government scholarships, in order to obtain professional library qualifications.23

New library building
Harrod, together with the senior architect of Public Works Department, designed the National Library Building at Stamford Road. Although the new library building was severely criticised for its harsh red-brick exterior, and described as “out of character”, “forbidding”, and “intimidating”, it was acknowledged that its 101,500 sq ft of floor area was a great expansion compared to the old library. Harrod’s foresight in providing for the five floors of stack area was also acknowledged.24

Resignation
In 1960, the then political leadership imposed a 10-percent reduction in the salary of civil servants earning $505 or more a month.25 This affected the majority of the expatriate employees who were specially recruited for their professional skills, and it was in such demoralising circumstances that Harrod resigned in January 1960. His resignation saved him from the negative reaction directed at the new National Library building.26



Author
Zaubidah Mohamed



References
1. Thornton, J.L. (1984, October). Obituary: Leonard Montague Harrod. The Indexer: journal of the Society of Indexers, 14(2) Retrieved March 20, 2018, from The Indexer website (archives): https://www.theindexer.org/files/14-2/14-2_084.pdf
2. Landau, T. (Ed.). (1972). Who’s who in librarianship and information science. London, New York, Abelard-Schuman, p. 129. (Call no.: R 020.92 WHO); Seet, K. K. (1983). A place for the people. Singapore: Times Book International, pp. 102–104, 114. (Call no.: RSING 027.55957 SEE-[LIB]); Raffles Library and Museum. (1955). Report of the Raffles Museum and Library 1954 [Microfilm no.: NL 5723]. Singapore: Government Printing Office, pp. 1, 12; Raffles Library and Museum. (1956). Report of the Raffles Museum 1955 [Microfilm no.: NL 9548]. Singapore: Government Printing Office, p. 1; Harrod, L. M. (1957). Raffles Library annual report 1955 [Microfilm no.: NL 9548]. Singapore: Government Printing Office, pp. 1–3; Harrod, L. M. (1957). Raffles Library annual report 1956 [Microfilm no.: NL 9548]. Singapore: Government Printing Office, p. 1.
3. Seet, K. K. (1983). A place for the people. Singapore: Times Book International, pp. 102–104, 114. (Call no.: RSING 027.55957 SEE-[LIB]); Raffles Library and Museum. (1955). Report of the Raffles Museum and Library 1954 [Microfilm no.: NL 5723]. Singapore: Government Printing Office, pp. 1, 12; Raffles Library and Museum. (1956). Report of the Raffles Museum 1955 [Microfilm no.: NL 9548]. Singapore: Government Printing Office, p. 1; Harrod, L. M. (1957). Raffles Library annual report 1955 [Microfilm no.: NL 9548]. Singapore: Government Printing Office, pp. 1–3; Harrod, L. M. (1957). Raffles Library annual report 1956 [Microfilm no.: NL 9548]. Singapore: Government Printing Office, p. 1. 
4. Thornton, J.L. (1984, October). Obituary: Leonard Montague Harrod. The Indexer: journal of the Society of Indexers, 14(2) Retrieved March 20, 2018, from The Indexer website (archives): https://www.theindexer.org/files/14-2/14-2_084.pdf
5. Seet, K. K. (1983). A place for the people. Singapore: Times Book International, pp. 102–104, 114. (Call no.: RSING 027.55957 SEE-[LIB]); Raffles Library and Museum. (1955). Report of the Raffles Museum and Library 1954 [Microfilm no.: NL 5723]. Singapore: Government Printing Office, pp. 1, 12; Raffles Library and Museum. (1956). Report of the Raffles Museum 1955 [Microfilm no.: NL 9548]. Singapore: Government Printing Office, p. 1; Harrod, L. M. (1957). Raffles Library annual report 1955 [Microfilm no.: NL 9548]. Singapore: Government Printing Office, pp. 1–3.
6. New Raffles Librarian due next week. (1954, September 4). The Singapore Free Press, p. 5. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
7. Thornton, J. L. (1984, October). Obituary: Leonard Montague Harrod. The Indexer: journal of the Society of Indexers, 14(2) Retrieved March 20, 2018, from The Indexer website (archives): https://www.theindexer.org/files/14-2/14-2_084.pdf
8. Thornton, J. L. (1984, October). Obituary: Leonard Montague Harrod. The Indexer: journal of the Society of Indexers, 14(2) Retrieved March 20, 2018, from The Indexer website (archives): https://www.theindexer.org/files/14-2/14-2_084.pdf
9. Thornton, J. L. (1984, October). Obituary: Leonard Montague Harrod. The Indexer: journal of the Society of Indexers, 14(2) Retrieved March 20, 2018, from The Indexer website (archives): https://www.theindexer.org/files/14-2/14-2_084.pdf
10. Harrod, L. M. (1951). The Libraries of Greater London. Bell. (Call no.: RCLOS 021.009421 HAR-[DIR])
11. Harrod, L. M. (1957). Books for young people: Group 3: Fourteen to seventeen : annotated and classified. Library Association. (Call no.: RCLOS 028.52 LIB-[LIB])
12. Harrod, L. M. (1959). The librarians’ glossary: terms used in librarianship and the book crafts. Grafton. (Call no.: RUR 020.14 HAR-[LIB])
13. Thornton, J. L. (1984, October). Obituary: Leonard Montague Harrod. The Indexer: Journal of the Society of Indexers, 14(2). Retrieved 2018, March 20 from The Indexer website (archives): https://www.theindexer.org/files/14-2/14-2_084.pdf
14. Seet, K. K. (1983). A place for the people. Singapore: Times Book International, pp. 101–117. (Call no.: RSING 027.55957 SEE-[LIB]); Raffles Library and Museum. (1955). Report of the Raffles Museum and Library 1954 [Microfilm no.: NL 5723]. Singapore: Government Printing Office, pp. 1, 12; Raffles Library and Museum. (1956). Report of the Raffles Museum 1955 [Microfilm no.: NL 9548]. Singapore: Government Printing Office, p. 1; Harrod, L. M. (1957). Raffles Library annual report 1955 [Microfilm no.: NL 9548]. Singapore: Government Printing Office, pp. 1–3; Harrod, L. M. (1957). Raffles Library annual report 1956 [Microfilm no.: NL 9548]. Singapore: Government Printing Office, p. 1.
15. Seet, K. K. (1983). A place for the people. Singapore: Times Book International, pp. 101–117. (Call no.: RSING 027.55957 SEE-[LIB])
16. Seet, K. K. (1983). A place for the people. Singapore: Times Book International, pp. 101–117. (Call no.: RSING 027.55957 SEE-[LIB])
17. Anuar, H. (1983). The National Library of Singapore 1958–1983. Singapore libraries bulletin, 13, 3–10. Singapore: Library Association of Singapore. (Call no.: RCLOS 020.5 SLB); Seet, K. K. (1983). A place for the people. Singapore: Times Book International, pp. 101–117. (Call no.: RSING 027.55957 SEE-[LIB]); Eastley, A. (1956, May 21). New Temple of Education. The Singapore Free Press, p. 16. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
18. Anuar, H. (1983). The National Library of Singapore 1958–1983. Singapore libraries bulletin, 13, 3–10. Singapore: Library Association of Singapore. (Call no.: RCLOS 020.5 SLB) 
19. Anuar, H. (1983). The National Library of Singapore 1958–1983. Singapore libraries bulletin, 13, 3–10. Singapore: Library Association of Singapore. (Call no.: RCLOS 020.5 SLB); Seet, K. K. (1983). A place for the people. Singapore: Times Book International, pp. 101–117. (Call no.: RSING 027.55957 SEE-[LIB])
20. Seet, K. K. (1983). A place for the people. Singapore: Times Book International, pp. 104–105. (Call no.: RSING 027.55957 SEE-[LIB])
21. National Library. (1955–1957). Raffles Library annual report [MFC NL0045/024]. Singapore: The Library; Seet, K. K. (1983). A place for the people. Singapore: Times Book International, pp. 104–105. (Call no.: RSING 027.55957 SEE-[LIB])
22. Seet, K. K. (1983). A place for the people. Singapore: Times Book International, pp. 109-110. (Call no.: RSING 027.55957 SEE-[LIB])
23. National Library. (1955–1957). Raffles Library annual report [MFC NL0045/024]. Singapore: The Library; Seet, K. K. (1983). A place for the people. Singapore: Times Book International, pp. 101–117. (Call no.: RSING 027.55957 SEE-[LIB])
24. Anuar, H. (1983). The National Library of Singapore 1958–1983. Singapore libraries bulletin, 13, 3–10. Singapore: Library Association of Singapore. (Call no.: RCLOS 020.5 SLB); Seet, K. K. (1983). A place for the people. Singapore: Times Book International, pp. 101–117. (Call no.: RSING 027.55957 SEE-[LIB])
25. Seet, K. K. (1983). A place for the people. Singapore: Times Book International, pp. 114–115. (Call no.: RSING 027.55957 SEE-[LIB])
26. Seet, K. K. (1983). A place for the people. Singapore: Times Book International, p. 114. (Call no.: RSING 027.55957 SEE-[LIB])



The information in this article is valid as at 2003 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.


 

Subject
Science and technology>>Library and information science>>Library and information services
Librarians--Singapore--Biography
Pioneers
People and communities>>Social groups and communities
Library directors--Singapore--Biography
Personalities>>Biographies>>Pioneers
L. M. Harrod, 1905-?
Law and government>>Culture and community>>Public libraries