“Librarians, read Morel!”

The work of the early-twentieth-century librarian and novelist Eugène Morel is often quoted but remains under-appreciated. His time studying libraries in the English-speaking world and working at the French National Library inspired him to write two avant-garde essays on the development of public libraries entitled Bibliothèques. Essais sur le développement des bibliothèques publiques et de la librairie dans les deux mondes and La Librairie publique. Not only did he provide the theoretical underpinnings for the French public library system, but he also raised some astonishingly prescient questions about national, specialist, and university libraries and subjects as diverse as cataloguing, legal deposit, architecture, services to readers, and staff training.