1902 Encyclopedia > Libraries > Libraries - Modern World - United Kingdom, England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland

(Part 3)


These are most conveniently described in geographical order, and a general survey on this method will be found in the tables at the end of this article. The following sketch supplies additional details.

The United Kingdom

The British Museum ranks in importance before all the great libraries of the world, with the single exception of the Bibliotheque Nationale at Paris, and far excels the latter institution in the systematic arrangement and accessibility of its contents. Recent changes have somewhat limited its former universality of character, but it still remains the grand national repository of literature and archaeology. The library consists of over 1,550,000 printed volumes and 50,000 manuscripts. This extraordinary opulence is principally due to the enlightened energy of the late Sir Antonio Pauizzi. The number of volumes in the printed book department, when he took the keepership in 1837, was only 240,000; and during the nineteen years he held that office about 400,000 were added, mostly by purchase, under his advice and direction. It was Panizzi likewise who first seriously set to work to see that the national library reaped all the benefits bestowed upon it by the Copyright Act.

The foundation of the British Museum dates from 1753, when effect was given to the bequest (in exchange for 20,000 pounds to be paid to his executors) by Sir Hans Sloane, of his books, manuscripts, curiosities, &c., to be held by trustees for the use of nation. A bill was passed through parliament for the purchase of the Sloane collections and of the Harbeian MSS, costing 10,000 pounds. To these, with the Cottonian MMS, acquired by the country in 1700, was added by George II., in 1757, the royal library of the former kings of England, coupled with the privilege, which that library had for many years enjoyed, of obtaining a coy of every publication entered at Stationers’ Hall. This addition was of the highest importance, as it enriched the museum with the old collections of Archishop Cranmer, Henry prince of Wales, and other patrons of literature, while the transfer of the privilege with regard to the acquisition of new books, a right which has been maintained by successive Copyright Acts, secured a large and continuous augmentation, the yearly average of which has now reached 8000 or 9000 volumes. A lottery having been authorized to defray the expenses of purchases, as well as for providing suitable accommodation, the museum and library were established in Montague House, and opened to the public 15th January 1759. In 1763 George III. presented the well-known Thomason collection (in 2220 volumes) of books and pamphlets issued in England between 1640 and 1662, embracing all the controversial literature which appeared during that period. The Rev. C.M. Cracherode, one of the trustees, bequeathed his collection of choice books in 1799; and in 1820 Sir Joseph Banks left to the nation his important library of 16,000 volumes. Many other libraries have since then been incorporated in the museum, the most valuable being George III’s royal collection (q5,000 volumes of tracts, and 65,259 volumes of printed books, including many of the utmost rarity, which had cost the king about 130,000 pounds, which was presented (for a pecuniary consideration, it has been said) by George IV. in 1823, and that of the Right Honorable Thomas Grenville (20,249 volumes of rare books, all in fine condition and binding), which was acquired under bequest in 1846. The Cracherode, Banksian, King’s and Grenville libraries are still preserved as separate collections. Other libraries of minor note have also been absorbed in a similar way, while, at least since the time of Panizzi, no opportunity has been neglected of making useful purchases at all the British and Continental book auctions.

The collection of English books is far from approaching completeness, but, apart from the enormous number of volumes, the library contains an extraordinary quantity of rarities. Few libraries in the United States equal either in number or value the American books in the museum. The collection of Slavonic literature, due to the initiative of the late Mr Watts, is a remarkable feature; after that of the St Petersburg Imperial Library it is believed to be the largest in existence. Indeed, in cosmopolitan interest the museum is without a rival in the world, possessing as it does the best Hungarian collection out of that country, the best Dutch library out of Holland, and in short the best library in any European language out of the territory in which the language is vernacular. The Hebrew books number over 12,000, the Chinese nearly 27,000, and the printed books in other Oriental languages about 13,000 volumes. Periodical literature has not been forgotten, and the series of newspapers is of great extent and interest. Great pains are taken by the authorities to obtain the copies of the newspapers published in the United Kingdom to which they are entitled by the provisions of the Copyright Act, and upwards of 1900 are annually collected, filed, and bound. Under the English Copyright Act there were received, in 1881, not counting single pieces, such as broadsides, songs, &c., 8857 volumes and pamphlets, and 21,792 parts of volumes, and through the international copyright treaties 941 volumes and 433 parts.

The department of MSS. is at least equal in importance to that of the printed books. The collection of MSS in European languages ranges from the 2d century before Christ down to our own times, and includes the Alexandrian MS. (q.v.). The old historical chronicles of England, the charters of the Anglo-Saxon kings, and the celebrated series of Arthurian romances are well represented; and care has been taken acquire on every available opportunity the unprinted works of English writers. The famous collections of MSS. made by Sir Robert Cotton, and Harley earl of Oxford, have already been mentioned, and from these and other sources the museum has become rich in early Anglo-Saxon and Latin codices, some of them exhibiting marvels of skill in calligraphy and ornamentation, such as the charters of King Edgar and Henry I. to Hyde Abbey, which are written in gold letters, others interesting for different reasons, such as the book of Durham, in Latin and Anglo Saxon, reputed to have been Bede’s own copy. The Burney collection of classical MSS. furnished important additions, so that from this source and from the collection of Arundel MSS. (transferred from the Royal Society in 1831), the museum can boast of an early copy of theIliad, and one of the earliest known codices of the Odyssey. There is likewise an extensive series of ancient Irish texts, with many modern transcripts, the Bridgewater MSS. on French history, and Lord Guilford’s similar collection to illustrate the history of Italy. Special reference may be made to the celebrated Bedford Missal, illuminated for the duke of Bedford, regent of France, and to Henry VI.’s copy of Hardyng’s chronicle. The Oriental collection is also extremely rich and ample, including the library formed by Mr Rich (consul at Baghdad in the early part of this century), and a vast quantity of Arabic, Persian, and Turkish MSS; he Chambers collection of Sanskrit MSS.; several other collections of Indian MSS.; and a copious library of Hebrew MSS. (including that of the great scholar Michaelis, and codices of great age, recently brought from Yemen). The collection of Syriac MSS., embracing the relics of the famous library of the convent of St Mary Deipara in the Nitrian desert, formed by the abbot Moses of Nisibis,in the 20thcentury, is the most important in existence; of the large store of Abyssinian volumes many were amassed after the campaign against King Theodore. The number of genealogical rolls and documents relating to the local and family history of Great Britain is very large. Altogether there are now over 50,000 MSS. 9of which 8500 are Orienta), besides 45,000 charters and rolls.

The musical works comprise upwards of 11,000 volumes of vocal and nearly 6000 volumes of instrumental music, the number of separate pieces amounting to more than 70,000. The catalogue is in manuscript. The collection of maps, charts plans, and topographical drawings is also a remarkable one. The maps are nearly 116,000 in number. Letter A of a printed catalogue of the maps is already in type.

The name of Panizzi is inseparably connected with his circular reading-room, opened in 1857. This is encompassed by the new library, with shelf-space for a million and a half volumes. The presses inside the reading-room, arranged in three tiers, contain upwards of 80,000 volumes, those on the ground floor (20,000) being books of reference to which readers have unlimited access. The comfortable accommodation for readers is briefly described below. Perhaps not the least convenient arrangement here is the presence of the superintendent, whose duty it is to help readers in their difficulties; the varied qualifications of the present holder of the officer are well known. The electric light has been successfully used until 8 o’clock P.M. through the darker months from the earlier part of October. In order to enjoy the privilege of reading at the British Museum, the applicant (who must be over twenty-one years of age) must obtain a renewable ticket of admission through a recommendation from a householder addressed to the principal librarian. Formerly no person was admitted until the ticket had been presented at the entrance, but latterly this rule has been considerably relaxed. During 1881 the number of readers was 133,842. In spite of the hostile criticism to which it has sometimes been subjected, it cannot be denied that the general catalogue of the printed books (which now runs to upwards of 2000 volumes in manuscript) is a marvelous work executed in a praise worthy manner. Some slight notion of the extentof the catalogue may be derived from the fact that it contains the works of over 2400 authors of the name of Smith. But the rapidly increasing size of the catalogue has impelled the trustees to resort to print in order to diminish the bulk. Since 1880 the titles of all accessions have been printed and as it becomes necessary to break the manuscript volumes, the titles contained in them are also printed; in course of time, therefore, the whole of the titles will have been put into type. The sheets are published at regular intervals, and can be purchased. It is proposed to issue separately headings of special, interest, whether of subjects or of authors, e.g., Shakespeare, Bible, Liturgies, &c. Considerable progress has been made in the preparation for the press of a catalogue of English books printed before the year 1640.

The printed catalogues of books commence with one published in 2 vols. folio, 1787, followed by that of 1813-19 in 7 vols. 8vo; the next is that of the library of George III., 1820-29, 5 vols. folio, with 2 vols. 8v0, 1834, describing the geographical and topographical collections; and then the Bibliotheca Grenvilliana, 1842-72, 4 vols. 8vo. The first vol. (letter A) of a general catalogue appeared in 1841 in a folio volume which has never been added to. The octavo catalogue of the Hebrew books came out in 1867; that of the Sanskrit and Pali literature is in 4to, 1876; and the Chinese catalogue is also in 4to, 1877. There are also printed lists of the books of reference (1871) and bibliographies (1881) in the reading-room. Private enterprise has done a great deal towards cataloguing the American books (by Mr H. Stevens, 4 vols, 8vo), and the British topographical literature has recently been the subject of a similar publication by Mr J.P. Andersons, 8vo, 1881.

The printed catalogues of the MSS. are-that of the old Royal Library, 1734, 4 to; the Sloane and others hitherto underscribed, 1782, 2 vols. 4 to; the Cottonian, 1802, folio; the Harleian, 1808, 4 vols. folio, the Hargrave, 1818, 4to; the Lansdowne, 1819, folio; the Arundel, 1840, folio; the Burney, 1840, folio; the Oriental (Arabic and Ethiopic0 5 pts. Folio, 1838-71; the Syriac, 1870-73, 3 pts, 4to; the Ethiopic, 1877, 4to; the Persian, 1879-80, 2 vols. 4to; and the Spanish, 1875-80, 3 vols. 8vo. There are alsoi catalogues of the Greek and Egyptian papyri, 1839-46, 5 pts., folio. The additional MSS. from 1831-75 are described in 10 vols. 8vo, 1835-77, with indexes (1783-1835) in folio and (1854-75) in 8vo. A catalogue of the MS. music was produced in 1842, 8vo; and one of the MS. maps in 1844, 2 vols. 8vo.

The binding is done upon the premises, and the sum expended each year is 9000 pounds. the average sum annually spent upon the purchase of books is about 10,000 pounds, and upon MSS. 2500 pounds. Since the catalogues ceased to be transcribed 3000 pounds is annually spent on printing.

London is very badly off as regards public libraries, and the largest general collection which is available without any tedious preliminary forms is that of the corporation of the city of London at the Guidhall. A library was established here by Sir Richard Whitington between 1421-26, and several notices in the civic records show how well in those times the citizens cared for their books. But it did not remain without accident; in 1522 the Lord Protector Someset carried off three cart-loads of books, and during the great fire of 1666 the remainder was destroyed together with the library buildings. Nothing was done to repair the loss until 1824, when a committee was appointed, and rooms set apart for library purposes. In 1840 a catalogue of 10,000 volumes was printed, and in 1859 a second was prepared of 40,000 volumes. In consequence of the large and increasing number of the readers, the present fine building was commenced about ten years later, and, after having cost 90,000 pounds, was opened in 1873 as a free public library. There are now upwards of 80,000 printed volumes and 300 MSS. The contents are of a general character, and include a special collection of books about London, the Solomons Hebrew and rabbinical library, and the libraries of the Clockmakers’ Company and the old Dutch church in Austin Friars. The only rate-supported library in the metropolis is that of the united parishes of St Margaret and St John at Westminster (13,527 volumes), founded in 18567, principally by the influence of the late Lord Hatherley, with a small branch at Knightsbridge. The Nothing Hill Free Public Library (5000 volumes) is supported by Mr James Heywood, and the Bethnal Green Free Library and South London Free Library by voluntary subscription.

Of libraries of a more special character, those principally devoted to theology have perhaps the first claim to notice. The archiepiscopal library at Lambeth was founded in 1610 by Archbishop Bancroft, and has been enriched by the gifts of Laud, Tenison, Manners Sutton, and others of his successors; it is now lodged in the noble hall built by Juxon. The treasures consist of the illuminated MSS., and a rich store of early printed books; of the latter two catalogues have been issued by S.R. Maitland. The MSS. are described in H.J. Tood’s catalogue, 1812. Sion College is a guild of the parochial clergy of the city and suburbs of London, and the library was founded in 1629 for their use; laymen may also read (but not borrow) the books when recommended by some beneficed metropolitan clergyman. The library is especially rich in liturgies, Port-Royal authors, pamphlets, &c. The copyright privileges was commuted in 1835 for an annual sum of 363, 15s 2d pounds. The present building was erected immediately after the great fire. The chamber in the old cloisters, in which the library of the dean and chapter of Westminster is preserved, is well known from the charming description by Washington Irving in his Sketch Book. There are about 11,000 volumes, mostly of old theology and history, including many rare Bibles and other valuable books. The library of the dean and chapter of St Paul’s was founded in very early times, and now numbers some 8700 volumes, mainly theological , besides over 10,300 pamphlets with a good collection of early Bibles and Testaments, Paul’s Cross Sermons, and works connected with the cathedral. Dr Williams’s library was founded by the will of an eminent Prebyterian divine of that name; it was opened in 1729. The books (30,000 printed volumes and 1000 MSS.) are housed in a new building, completed in 1873. Theology of all schools of opinion is represented, and there are special collections of theosophical books and MSS., the works of Boehme, Law, and other mystical writers. The MSS. include the original minutes of the Westminster Assembly, letters and treatises of Richard Baxter, &c. The British and Foreign Bible Society has a remarkable collection of Bibles and Biblical literature, of which a printed catalogue was published in 1855. Perhaps the best library of Catholic theology in London is that of the Oratory at South Kensington, established in 1849.

Of the law libraries, that at Lincoln’s Inn is the oldest and the largest. It dates from 1497, when John Nethersale, a member of the society, made a bequest of forty marks, part of which was to be devoted to the building of a library for the benefit of the students of the laws of England. A catalogue of the printed books was published in 1859, and the MSS. were catalogued by the Rev. Joseph Hunter in 1837. The library of the Inner Temple is known to have existed in 1540. In the middle of the 17th century it received a considerable benefaction from William Petyt, the well-known keeper of the Tower-records. There are now about 36,000 volumes, including the pamphlets collected by John Adolphus for his History of England, books on crime and prisons brought together by Mr. Crawford, and a selection of works on jurisprudence made by John Austin. A library in connection with the Middle Temple was in existence during the reign of Henry VIII., but the date usually assigned to its foundation is 1641, when Robert Ashley left his books to the inn of which he had been a member. Gray’s Inn Library was perhaps established before 1555. In 1669 was made the first catalogues of the books, and the next, still extant, in 1689. The Incorporated Law Society (1831) has a good law and general library (30,000 volumes0, including the best collection of private Acts of Parliament in England, and a large number of pamphlets relating to Anglo-catholic controversies brought together by the late Rev. Joseph Mendham. The catalogue was printed in 1869.

The collegiate library at Dulwich dates from 1619, and a list of its earliest accessions, in the handwriting of the founder, may still be seen. There are now about 7000 volumes of miscellaneous works of the 17th and 18th centuries, with a few rare books. A catalogue of them was printed in 1880; and one describing the MSS. (567) and the muniments (606) was issued during the succeeding year. The last two classes are very important, and include the well-known "Alleyn Papers" and the theatrical diary of Philip Henslow. Soon after the foundation of the University of London in 1837, an endeavor was made to provide a library, but it has had to look to gifts rather than to purchases for its accessions. In 1871 the university obtained, in this manner, the library of the historian Grote, and in the same year Lord Overstone purchased and presented the mathematical collection of De Morgan. A catalogue was printed in 1875. The books at University College (1828) are much more numerous, and here also a considerable proportion are donations, including the Morrison Chinese library of 10,000 volumes, the Daulby Roscoe Icelandic books, the Graves mathematical and physical library, and the Barlow Dante bequest. A printed catalogue of the greaterportion was brought out in 1879. The library at King’s College includes a collection of works on Eastern subjects bequeathed by Dr Marsden, as well as the scientific books formerly belonging to Sir Charles Wheatstone. The medical library is distinct. The educational library at the South Kensington Museum numbers about 42,200 volumes, and may be consulted by teachers and students of the departmental schools, and by other persons on the same terms as the art library mentioned below. The ninth edition of the catalogue appeared in 1876.

The library of the Patent Office is the largest scientific and technical collection, indeed the only one which is readily open to the public. There are at present 80,000 volumes, including a very extensive series of the transactions and journals of learned bodies. A catalogue is now in the press. Transactions and proceedings of societies, with scientific periodicals, compose almost the whole library of the Royal Society, which extends to about 40,000 volumes. The diarist Evelyn induced the seventh duke of Norfolk to present to the Society the Arundel library, part of which has formerly belonged to Matthias Corvinus. The MSS., however, were sold to British Museum in 1831 for 3559 pounds, and a quantity of rare printed books have also been disposed of. Scientific inquirers are freely admitted to the Museum of Practical Geology in Jermyn Street, where there are over 30,000 volumes on geology, mineralogy, mining, and metallurgy, including the former collections of De la Beche and Murchison. A printed catalogue was issued in 1878. For the libraries of other scientific institutions see the tables.

Medical and surgical libraries are attached to all the chief hospitals and medical societies (see the tables).

For the fine arts there is the National Art Library (1852) at the South Kensington Museum, which is now an excellent collection of 56,000 drawings, and 80,000 prints. Art students are admitted free, as are ordinary visitors on Museum pay days; otherwise a charge of 6d. per week is made to the latter. The library of the Royal Academy of Arts, after its journey from Somerset House to Trafalgar Square, has been lodged in the old ball-room of Burlington House since 1875. At the National Gallery is preserved for official use the library (3500 volumes) formerly belonging to Sir C. L. Eastlake, P.R.A., which is particularly rich in catalogues and descriptions of picture galleries. The Royal Institution of British Architects (1834) possesses over 6500 volumes on architectural and allied subjects, including an almost complete collection of editions of Vitruvius. The library of the Royal Academy of Music (1822) is almost exclusively musical, and, although numbering less than 1000 volumes, contain many rare and interesting works. The library of the Sacred Harmonic Society is said to be one of the best arranged and most valuable musical collections in England. A third edition of the printed catalogue appeared in 1872, when the library contained 4851 volumes.

The best library of archaelogy and kindred subjects is that of the Society of Antiquaries, consisting of nearly 20,000 printed volumes and 500 MSS. It is rich in early printed books, topography, heraldry, and numismatics, and includes a curious collection of books on pageans presented by Mr Fairholt, and the remarkable assmblage of lexicorgraphical works formerly belonging to the late Albert Way, given by his widow. There is a good muster of heraldic works at the Herald’s College, and the library of Sir John Soane (15,000 volumes) is still preserved in the museum at his house in Lincoln’s Inn Fields. The printed catalogue (1878) shows that it is a fairly good collection of books on architecture and antiquities.

Among subscription libraries, the London Library stands first in order of importance. It was founded in 1841 as a lending library for the use of scholars, and Dean Milman, Sir G.C. Lewis, Mr Gladstone, Thomas Carlyle, Henry Hallam, and other eminent men took part in its formation. By means of a moderate subscription, funds were raised for the purchase of books on general subjects, which now amount to about 90,000 volumes. The least catalogue was printed in 1875, with a supplement I n 1881. The London Institution (1805) is a proprietary library to which proprietor’s nominees and yearly subscribers also have admission. For reference purposes reader’s tickets are very liberally granted to other persons. The books now number about 70,000 volumes in general literature; the departments of history and topography are especially rich, and the number is rapidly growing. A complete catalogue was published in 1837-43; almost the whole collection, including reference and circulating libraries very minutely classified, is contained in one room. Porson filled the position of librarian here at the close of his life, but he proved no better a librarian here at the close of his life, but he proved no better a librarian than did Casaubon before him at Paris. The library of the Royal Institution of Great Britain was founded in 1803 by the subscriptions of the members, amounting, in 1806, to 6000 pounds. There are now 40,000 volumes in scientific and general literature; they are not lent out. There is an interesting series of 56 volumes of MS correspondence relating to the America war.

The libraries of the two branches of the legislature may be named with those of the great public offices. The Foreign Office library contains about 70,000 volumes, including the old library of the Board of Trade (20,000 volumes); history, geography, and law are well represented, and the department of treaties and diplomacy is of course very complete. The India office library was formed by a vote of the court of directors of the East India Company in 1801. The services in India were also invited to aid in the creation of an institution which should become a permanent repository of Oriental lore, and many munificent donations were received in consequence of the appeal. The printed books now number nearly 40,000, chiefly on Indian and Oriental subjects, with about 10,000 Sanskrit , Arabic, Persian, Pali, and other Oriental manuscripts. Loth’s excellent catalogue of the Arabic codices was published in 1877, and other catalogues are now ready for the press. At the Colonial office there is a collection of about 12,000 works relating to colonial history and administration, and the Home Office possesses about 5000 volumes of parliamentary, historical, and legal works. The Admiralty library extends to about 25,000 volumes, chiefly voyages and travels; a printed catalogues was issued in 1875. At the War Office there are also 25,000 volumes, mainly topographical and military. The MS. records are estimated to extend to 100,000 volumes, but only those of the last twenty years are kept in Pall Mall, the remainder being at the Record Office. These records extend from the time of Queen Elizabeth, and there are some of earlier date. The older volumes belonged to the late Board of Ordnance, and the series also includes the dispatches from generals commanding armies on foreign service. All these libraries are for official use only, but at the India Office strangers are admitted upon proper introduction.

Many of the principal clubs possess libraries; that of the Athenaeum is by far the most important. It now numbers about 48,000 volumes of books in all departments of literature, and is especially rich in well-bound and fine copies of works on the fine arts, archaeology, topography, and history. The pamphlets, of which there is a complete printed catalogue, as well as of the books, form a remarkable series, including those collected by Gibbon and Mackintosh. Next comes the Reform Club, with about 30,000 volumes, chiefly in belles-lettres, with a fair proportion of parliamentary and historical works. The Oxford and Cambridge Club has 20,000 volumes in general and classical literature. At the Garrick there is a small dramatic collection; and the United Service Club, besides a number of books on professional subjects, possesses the fine library which formerly belonged to Dugald Stward.

A few libraries which could not be brought into any of the foregoing classes may now be spoken of. First comes the library of the Royal Geographical Society (1832), a valuable collection of 20,000 volumes of voyages and travels, and works on the sciences connected with geography, with many costly Government publications and geographical serials. The catalogue has been printed with supplements down to 1880. The maps and charts number 35,000, with 500 atlases and 2450 large diagrams. Since 1854, in consideration of an annual grant of 500 pounds from the treasury, the map room has been open for public reference. At the Royal United Service Institution there are also about 20,000 volumes, chiefly naval and military, with a printed catalogues, 1865. Besides the members, offices of both services are admitted. The Royal Asiatic Society has a library of nearly 8000 printed books, with 750 MSS. in Sanskrit, Persian, Turkish, &c., 5000 Chinese books, and 220 Japanese. Besides the art and educational libraries at South Kensington, there are also deposited at the museum, and open under the same regulations, the library of the Rev. Alexander Dyce, bequeathed in 1869, and the books of John Forster, left in 1876. The Dyce collection (15,000 volumes) is strong in the English drama and poetry, Italian literature, and classical authors. The Forster library (19,000 volumes) abounds in history, biography, travels, plays, and fiction, tracts, Americana, proclamations, ballas, &c.; the manuscripts include three note-books of Leonardo da Vinci, and the Garrick correspondence in 39 volumes.

Notices of a considerable number of other metropolitan libraries, not mentioned in the preceding pages, may be found in the tables at the end of this article.

With one or two exception, libraries are attached to the cathedrals of England and Wales. Though they are of course intended for the use of the cathedral or diocesan clergy, they are in most cases open to any respectable person who may be properly introduced. They seldom contain very much modern literature, chiefly consisting of older theology, with more or less addition of classical and historical literature. They vary in extent from a few volumes, as at Llandaff or St David’s to 15,000 volumes, as at Durham. Together they possess nearly 150,000 printed and manuscript volumes. As a rule, very little is spent upon them, and they are very little used.

The library of Christ Church, Oxford, belongs alike to the college and the cathedral, but will be more properly described as a college library. The cathedral library of Durham dates from monastic times, and possesses many of the books which belonged to the monastery. These were added to by Dean Sudbury, the second founder of the library, and Bishop Cosin. The collection has been considerably increased in more modern times, and now contains 15,000 volumes. It is especially rich in MSS. some of which are of great beauty and value; a catalogue of them was printed in 1825. The library has good topographical and entomological collections. The chapter spend 370 pounds per annum in salaries and in books. The library at York numbers about 11,000 volumes, and has been very liberally thrown open to the public. It is kept in the former chapel of the archbishop’s palace, and has many valuable MSS. and early printed books. The foundation of the library at Canterbury dates probably from the roman mission to England 596 A.D., although the library does not retain any of the books then brought over, or even of the books said to have been sent by Pope Gregory to the first archbishop in 601. It is recorded that among Lanfranc’s buildings was a new library, and Becket is said to have collected books abroad to present to the library. The collection now numbers about 9900 printed books, with about 110 MS. volumes, and between 6000 and 7000 documents. A catalogue was printed in 1802. The present building was erected in 1867 on part of the site of the monastic dormitory. The library at Lincoln contains 7400 volumes, of which a catalogue was printed in 1859. It possesses a fine collection of political tracts of the age of Elizabeth, James, and Charles I. The present collection at Chichester dates from the Restoration only; that at Ely is rich in books and tracts relating to the non-jurors. The library at Exeter possesses many Saxon MSS. of extreme interest, one of them being the gift of Leofric, the first bishop. The treasures of Lichfield were destroyed by the Purtians during the civil war, and the existing library is of later formation. Frances, duchess of Somerset, bequeathed to it nearly 1000 volumes, including the famous Evangeliary of St Chad. The collection at Norwich is chiefly modern, and was presented by Dr. Sayers. The earlier at Peterborough having almost wholly perished in the civil war, Bishop White Kennett became the virtual founder of the present collection. Salisbury is rich in incunabula, and a catalogue has recently been printed. Winschester Cathedral Library is mainly the bequest of Bishop Morley in the 17th century. The library at Bristol, then numbering 6000 or 7000 volumes, was burnt and pillaged by the mob in the riots of 1831. Only about 1000 volumes were saved, many of which were recovered, but few additions have been made to them. at Chester in 1691 Dean Arderne bequeathed his books and part of his estate "as the beginning of a public library for the clergy and city." The library of Heredford is a good specimen of an old monastic library; the books are placed in the Lady Chapel, and about 230 choice MSS. are chained to oaken desks. The books are ranged with the edges outwards upon open shelves, to which they are attached by chains and bars. The four Welsh cathedrals were supplied with libraries by a deed of settlement in 1709. The largest of them, that of St Asaph, has about 1750 volumes.

The Bodleian Library, though it had been preceded by various efforts towards a university library, owed its origin to Sir Thomas Bodley. After a long and honorable career as a diplomatist he determined, as he says, to take his staff at the library door in Oxon. Contributing largely himself, and procuring contributions from others, he opened the library with upwards of 2000 volumes in 1602. In 1610 he obtained a grant from the Stationer’s Company of a copy of every work printed in the country. The additions made to the library soon surpassed the capacity of the room, and the founder proceeded to enlarge it. By his will he left considerable property to the university for the maintenance and increase of the library. The example set by Bodley found many noble imitators. Amongst the chief benefactors have been Sir Henry Savile, Archbishop Laud, John Selden, Sir Kenelm Digby, Lord Fairfax, Richard Gough, Francis Douce, Richard Rawlinson, Rev. Robet Mason, and F.W.. Hope. The library now contains almost 400,000 printed volumes, and about 30,000 manuscripts. The number of separate works exceeds a million. But the number of volumes conveys a very inadequate idea of the valuable character of the collection. In the department of Oriental manuscripts it is perhaps superior to any other European library; and it is exceedingly rich in other manuscript treasures. It posses a splendid series of Greek and Latin editions principes, and the earliest production of English presses. Its historical manuscripts contain most valuable materials for the general and literary history of the country.

The last general catalogue of the printed books was printed in 4 vols folio, 1843-51. In 1859 it was decided to prepare a new manuscript catalogue on the plan of the great catalogue at the British Museum, and this has recently been completed in duplicate. It extends to over 700 folio volumes, in which the books are entered on manifolded slips. It is an alphabetical author-catalogue; and the Boldleian, like the British Musuem, has no accessible subject index. A catalogue on subjects is now, however, in course of preparation. There are also printed catalogues of the books belonging to several of the separate collections. The MSS. are in general catalogued according to the collections to which they belong, and they are all indexed, although they are not all catalogued as yet. Five volumes have been published under the late Mr. Coxe’s editorship of the "Catalogi Codicum MSS. Bibliothecae Boldleianae," 1853-63, in quarto, and there is a folio catalogue of Oriental MSS.

In 1860 the beautiful known as the "Radcliffe Library," now called the "Camera Bodleiana," was offered to the curators of the Boldleian by the Radcliffe trustees. It is used as a storehouse for the more modern books, including the new periodicals, which lie upon its tables; and it also serves as a reading-room. It is the only room open after the hour when the older building is closed owing to the rule as to the exclusion of artificial light. The separation of the books is a source of some inconvenience in practice, and it has been proposed of late years to remove the entire collections to a new building which should be erected for the purpose of accommodating them.

The library is open by right to all graduate members of the university, and to others (over eighteen years of age) upon producing a satisfactory recommendation. No books are allowed to be sent out of the library except by special leave of the curators, in which respect there is a marked contrast with the practice at the University Library at Cambridge, and still more so with conspicuous liberality in this respect of the university libraries of Germany. The hours are from 9 to 4 and 9 to 3, according to the time of year, the Camera being open from 10 to 10 all the year round. The library is only closed altogether some twenty-nine working days in the year. The general control of the library is committed to a board of thirteen curators. The permanent endowment is comparatively small; the ordinary expenditure, chiefly defrayed from the university chest, is about 4500 pounds.

The other important collections not connected with particular colleges are the Radclifee Labrary and the library of the Taylor Institution. The former was founded by the famous physician Dr JohnRadcliffe, who died in 1714, and bequeathed, besides a permanent endowment of 350 pounds a year, the sum of 40,000 pounds for a building. The library was opened in 1749. Many years ago the trustees resolved to confine their purchases of books to works on medicine and natural science. When the university museum and laboratories were built in 1860, the trustees allowed the books to be transferred to the museum. The completeness and convenience of the arrangements make the Radcliffe the model of a working scientific library. The Taylor Institution is due to the benefaction of Sir Robert Taylor, an architect, who died in 1788, leaving his property to found an establishment for the teaching of modern languages. The library was established in 1848, and is devoted to the literature of the modern European languages. It contains a fair collection of works on European philology, kwith a special Dante collection, about 1000 Mazarinades and 400 Luther pamphlets. It contains altogether 30,000 volumes, with a few MSS. The Finch collection, left to the university in 1830, is also kept with the Taylor Library. Books are lent out to members of the university and to others on a proper introduction. The endowment affords an income of 800 pounds to 1000 pounds for library purposes, and about 2000 volumes are added yearly.

The libraries of the several colleges very considerably in extent and character. That of All Souls was established in 1443 Archbishop Chichele, and enlarged in 1710 by the munificent bequest of Crhsitopher Codrington. It devotes special attention to jurisprudence, of which it has a large collection. It possesses 40,000 printed volumes and 300 MSS, and fills a splendid hall 200 feet long. The library of Brasenose College has a special endownment fund, so that it has, for a college library, the unusually large income of 200 pounds. The library of Christ Church is rich divinity and topography. It empbraces the valuable library bequeathed by Charles Boyle, third earl of Orrery, amounting to 10,000 volumes, the books and MSS. of Archbishop Wake, and the Morris collection of Oriental books. The building was finished in 1761, and closely resembles the basilica of Antoninus at Rome, now the Dogana. Corpus possesses a fine collection of Aldines, many of them presented by its founder Bishop Fox, and a collection of 17th century tracts catalogued by Mr Edwards, with about 400 MSS. Exeter College Library has 25,000 volumes, with special collections of classical discertations and English theological and political tracts. The library of Jesus College has few books of later date than the early part of the last century. Many of them are from the bequest of Sir Leoline Jenkins, who built the existing library. There are also some valuable Welsh MSS. The library of Keble College, consists largely of theology, including the MSS. of many of Keble’s works. The library of Magdalen College has about 22,500 volumes (including many volumes of pamphlets) and 250 MSS. It has scientific and topographical collections. The library of Merton College has of late devoted itself to foreign modern history. New College Library has about 17,000 printed volumes and about 350 MSS., several of which were presented by its founder, William of Wykeham. Oriel College Library, besides its other possessions, has a special collection of books on comparative philology and mythology, with a printed catalogue. The fine library of Queen’s College is strong in theology, in English and modern European history, and in English county histories. St John’s College Library is largely composed of the literature of theology and jurisprudence before 1750, and possesses a collection of medical books of the 16th and 17th centuries. The newer half of the library building was erected by Inigo Jones at the expense of Laud, who also gave many printed and manuscript books. The room used as a library at Trinity College formed part of Durham College, the library of which was established by Richard of Bury. Wadham College Library includes a collection of botanical books bequeathed by Richard Warner in 1775 and a collection of books, relating chiefly to the Spanish Reformers, presented by the executors of Benjamin Wiffen. Worcester College Library has of late specially devoted itself to classical archaeology. It is also rich in old plays.

It must be admitted that the college libraries as a rule have not been used to any great extent. Of late, however, there have been signs of awakening interest. About 1871 there was a meeting of college librarians; and it was agreed that the colleges, instead of making merely sporadic purchases from the whole field of literature, should rather husband their limited resources and restrict themselves each to some special department. but the idea has not been carried out very thoroughly, and a good deal must be done before the college libraries can be said to be as useful and efficient as they might be.

The history of the University Library at Cambridge dates from the earlier part of the 15th century. Two early lists of its contents are preserved, the first embracing 52 volumes dating from about 1425, the second a shelf-list, apparently of 330 volumes, drawn up by the outgoing proctors in 1473. Its first great benefactor was Thomas Scott of Rotherham, archbishop of York, who erected in 1475 the building in which the library continued until 1755. He also gave more than 200 books and manuscripts to the library, some of which still remain. The library received other benefactions, but nevertheless appeared "but mean" to John Evelyn when he visited Cambridge in 1654. In 1666 Tobias Rustat presented a sum of money to be invested to buy the choicest and most useful books. In 1715 George I. presented the library of Bishop Moore, which was very rich in early English printed books, forming over 30,000 volumes of printed books and manuscripts. The finds bequeathed by William Worts and John Manistre, together with that of Rustat, produce at present about 1500 pounds ka year. The share of university dues appropriated to library purposes amounts to 3000 pounds a year. In addition the library is entitled to new books under the Copyright Acts. The number of printed volumes in the library cannot be exactly stated, as no recent calculation on the subject exists. It has been variously estimated at a quarter or half a million. The calendar states it as 200,000. It includes a fine series of editions principes of the classics and of the early productions of the English press. The MSS. number 5723, in which are included a considerable number of adversaria or printed books with MS. notes, which form a leading feature in the collection. The most famous of the MSS. is the celebrated copy of the four gospels and the Acts of the Apostles, which is known as Codez Bezae, and which was presented to the university by that Reformer. A catalogue of the MSS. has been published in 4 vols. 1856-61. There is no printed catalogue of the books, although the catalogue is in print, the accessions being printed and cut up and arranged in volumes. The regulations of the library with regard to the lending of books are very liberal, as many as ten volumes being allowed out to one borrower at the same time.

There is a library attached to the Fitzwilliam Museum bequeathed to the university in 1816. It consists of the entire library of Lord Fitzwilliam, with the addition of an archaeological library bought from the executors of Colonel Leake, and a small number of works, chiefly on the history of art, since added by purchase or bequest. It contains a collection of engraving of old masters, a collection of music, printed and MS., and a collection of illuminated MSS., chiefly French and Flemish, of the 14th to 16th centuries. The books are not allowed to be taken out.

The library of Trinity College, which is contained in a magnificent hall built by Sir Christopher Wren, has about 90,000 printed and 1918 MS volumes, and is especially strong in theology, classics, and bibliography. It owes to numerous gifts and bequests the possession of a great number of rare books and manuscripts. Amongst these special collections are the Capell collection of early dramatic and especially Shakespearian literature, the collection of German theology and philosophy bequeathed by Archdeacon Hare, and the Grylls bequest in 1863 of 9600 volumes, including many early printed books. There are printed catalogues of the Sanskrit and other Oriental MSS. by Dr Audrecht and Professor Palmer, and of the incunabula by the present librarian, Mr Sinker. The library is open to all members of the college, and the privilege of using it is liberally extended to properly accredited students.

None of the other college libraries rivals Trinity in the number of books. The library of Christ’s College received its first books from the foundress. Clare College Library includes a number of Italian and Spanish plays of the end of the 16th century left by George Ruggle. The library of Corpus Christi College first became notable through the bequest of books and MSS. made by Archipelago Parker in 1575. The printed books are less than 5000 in number, and the additions now made are chiefly in such branches as throw light on the extremely valuable collection of ancient MSS., which attracted scholars from all parts of Europe. There is a printed catalogue of these MSS. Gonville and Cains College Library is of early foundation. A catalogue of the MSS. was printed in 1849, with pictorial illustrations, and a list of the incunabula in 1850. The printed books of King’s College includes the fine collection bequeathed by Jacob Bryant in 1804. The MSS. are almost wholly Oriental, chiefly Persian and Arabic, and a catalogue of them has been printed. Magdelene College possesses the curious library formed by Pepys and bequeathed by him to the college, together with his collections of prints and drawings and of rare British portraits. It is remarkable for its treasurers of popular literature and English ballads, as well as for the Scottish manuscript poetry collected by Sir Richard Maitland. The books are kept in Pepys’s own cases, and remain just as he arranged them himself. The library of Peterhouse is the oldest library in Cambridge, and possesses a catalogue of some 600 or 700 books dating from 1418, in which year it was completed. It is chiefly theological, though it possesess a valuable collection of modern works on geology and natural science, and a unique collection of MS. music. Queen’s College Library contains about 30,000 volumes, mainly in theology, classics, and Semitic literature, and has a printed class-catalogue. The library of St John’s College is rich in early printed books, and possesses a large collection of English historical tracts. Of the MSS. and rare books there is a printed catalogue. For the other college libraries see the tables.

Free Public Libraries. – In the year 1850 Mr Ewart introduced the first Publci Libraries Act into the House of Commons, and it has since been supplemented and amended by the Acts of 1855, 1866, 1871, and 1877. Mr Ewart had previously carried through parliament the Museums Act of 1845; and small libraries had been established in connection with museums under the Act at Salford and Warrington. The number of towns which have established rate supported libraries, or in which the Acts have been adopted, now amounts to at least ninety-six, ten of these towns being in Scotland, and one only in Ireland. It is noticeable that the Acts have not been adopted in any of the great capital towns of the three kingdoms, except in one single parish of Westminster. Many of our largest towns are also in default. Glasgow may be considered to be sufficiently provided for by the munificent Mitchell bequest. Of the libraries which have actually been opened sixteen are in places of over 100,000 inhabitants, twenty in towns of between 50,000 and 100,000 inhabitants, sixteen in towns of between 30,000 and 50,000, eleven in towns of between 20,000 and 30,000 inhabitants, seventeen in towns of between 10,000 and 20,000 inhabitants, and finally six in towns of less than 10,000 inhabitants.

Taking the latest returns we have been able to obtain, which are with a few exceptions those of the year 1880-81, the number of volumes in stock and of the total issues is as follows. In eighty-one libraries returning their number of volumes, there is a total of 1,448-192 volumes in stock; while the total issues for the year in seventy-six libraries amounted to the enormous number of 9,023,742 volumes. Even these figures afford a very inadequate idea of the service rendered by thee institution in supplying popular reading. They take no account of the visits made to the newsrooms which are almost invariably connected with the libraries, or of the use made of the magazines and periodicals which lie upon the tables. The free public libraries generally consists of a lending department, with a reference library wherever the institution can provide one. A very large proportion of the issues from the lending departments consists of fiction, the percentage varying in different libraries from about 50 to as much as 75 per cent. of the whole. It is only in the case of the wealthier institutions, such as those in the great towns of Liverpool, Manchester, and Birmingham, that the reference departments are so important as to claim consideration here in respect of the intrinsic character of their collections. Even some of the smaller libraries, however, present features of interest in their collections of local books, or of books illustrating the trade or industry of the district, or the life and writings of some great man connected with or born in the locality.

The Salford Free Public Library was one of the libraries which were established under the Museums Act of 1845, and was opened in 1850 in connection with the museum and picture gallery at Peel Park. The buildings are pleasantly situated in grounds of 46 acres in extent. The reference library now contains 33,500 volumes, and besides the central lending departments there are three branches in different parts of the borough. The income from the penny rate is about 3300 pounds; but this is found to be inadequate.

The Manchester Free Library was the first to be established under the Act of 1850. A public subscription of nearly 13,000 pounds was raised to defray the expenses of its establishment, and the library was opened in September 1852. The working of this library was a success from the outset. The issues in the first year were in the reference departments 61,080 volumes, and in the lending departments 77,232. The progress made since then may be measured by the number of volumes issued last year (1881), which amounted to 966,468, and by the fact that six branch libraries have been established. The rate produces an income of 11,000 pounds. The reference library now possesses a valuable collection of 65,000 volumes, chiefly of standard works. It contains several special collections, chiefly connected with the industries and history of the district. The library of the English Dialect Society, of which a catalogue has been printed, is deposited here. In addition, the library possesses a very extensive series of periodicals, and a larger collection of political and commercial tracts than can be found any where in the country except at the British Museum. A good catalogue was printed in 1864, and a new and extensive index has just appeared.

The library at Liverpool, which was established under a special Act passed in 1852, is the most successful of all the free public libraries, and is connected with a splendid museum and art gallery, the former formed around the nucleus of the ornithological specimens bequeathed to the town by the thirteen earl of Derby. The rapid extension of museum and library soon rendered larger premises a necessity. The late Sir William Brown took upon himself the entire cost of the present extensive buildings, which were opened in 1860. In 1880 was opened the Pictor Reading-Room. It is a circular room 100 feet in diameter, surmounted by a dome, the entire height being 56 feet. It contains 50,000 volumes and will accommodate over 300 readers. Since April 1881 the electric light has been employed. Under the reading-room is a large circular lecture-room accommodating 1500 persons in which lectures are regularly delivered. There is a numerous collection of local books and pamphlets. The Binns collection, consisting of maps, plans, drawings, portraits, &c., all having reference to the county of Lancaster, is very interesting and valuable. The issues from the reference library in 1880 were 870,716, and with the issues from the two lending departments make the enormous aggregate of 1,307,131. The rate produces an income of 13,000 pounds per annum of which more than 5000 pounds is expended upon the libraries. An elaborate catalogue of the reference library was published in 1872, and a supplement is now being printed. In 1853 Bolton established a library which now has a circulation of over 240,000 volumes. In 1855 libraries were established at Birkenhead and Sheffield. At Birkenhead the rate produces 1500 pounds, and 130,000 volumes were lent out last year. At Sheffield, where the rate produces 4750 pounds, there are three branches, and the total issues last year were 384,266. The reference library has only 900 volumes.

The Acts, after having been rejected at Birmingham in 1852, were adopted in 1860. By 1868 four branches had been opened in addition to the central reference and lending libraries. The issues from the lending departments last year were 400,000 volumes. The reference library consisted of over 50,000 volumes. The Shakespeare Memorial Library consisted of about 7000 volumes. There were also the Staunton Warwickshire collections of books and MSS. and the Cervantes books. All these collections were unfortunately destroyed by a fire on January 11,1879. The inhabitants of Birmingham have shown much public spirit in repairing the losses then sustained so far as is possible, and the new central reference and lending libraries are expected to be early in 1882, when it is anticipated that there will be as many volumes ready to be placed in the reference library as there were when the former library was destroyed. No town in England is so surrounded with free libraries as Birmingham. The rate at Birmingham produces over 6000 pounds.

The free library at Nottingham (1867) has recently had new quarters found for it in the new university buildings. It ha two branches, and its issues are about 160,000. The rate produces 2200 pounds. The local collections include a Byron library. The library at Leeds (1868) has no less than twenty-one branches, and together they count over 109,000 volumes. The issues last year, in addition to the use made of the central reference library, were 639,613. The rate produces nearly 5000 pounds. At Leicester there is only a halfpenny rate, which products about 800 pounds. The issues last year were 192,317 At Bradford (Acts adopted 1871) the rate produces 2300 pounds, and there are five branches with a circulation of 291,276 volumes, besides the use made of the reference library. At Plymouth (Acts adopted 1871, library opened 1876) the circulation was 171,851 last year; at Rochdale (Acts adopted 1872) 168,514. At each place there is a good collection of local literature, and at Rochdale a collection of works of the woolen manufacture. The library at Newcastle, opened in 1880, has issued from its lending departments, in its first year, no less than 301,925 volumes to about 14,0000 readers. A splendid building is in course of erection to accommodate the reference library. This department is intended to contain a complete collection of all standard works, and also a collection of books and manuscripts relating to Newcastle and the northern counties generally. The rate produces 2800 pounds. At Bristol a town library had been established in 1614 by Robert Redwood and Archbishop Matthew, and this has formed the nucleus of the collections formed under the Acts when they were adopted in 1875. The total number of volumes is about 46,000. The issues were 432,646 at the central library and its three branches. At Southport (1875) Mr Atkinson gave the building called after him for a library and art gallery. The issues last years were 110,778. The rate produced 775 pounds, and an additional voluntary rate produced a little over 100 pounds besides.

It will be seen from this summary statement that the libraries established under the Acts have in the cases mentioned been abundantly used. The merit of these results is very largely due to the enlighten energy of those who are entrusted with their administration.
Amongst the English libraries that have not yet been described there are few that call for special mention. Some of these have been founded by individuals, and still bear their names. The most notable of these is the fine old library established by Humphrey Chetham at Manchester in 1653, which is still housed in the old collegiate buildings where Raleigh was once entertained by Dr Dee. The collection consists largely of older literature, and numbers 40,000 volumes, with 300 MSS. It is freely open to the public, and may be said to have been the first free library in England. Dr Shepherd’s library at Preston was bequeathed by the founder, a physician of the town, to the corporation of Preston in trust for the inhabitants in the year 1759. It is a library of reference, accessible on a recommendation from an alderman. The William salt Library, a special Staffordshire library with numerous MSS. and other collections, formed to bring together materials for a history of Staffordshire, was opened to the public in 1874.

Some mention should be made also of the more important subscription or proprietary libraries, which were formed for themost part in the latter half of the 18th century. It is difficult for us to realize how few collections of books were accessible to the public of the last century. The first in Birmingham was opened by Hutton in 1757. The idea of a proprietary library appears to have been first carried out at Liverpool in 1758. The library then formed still flourishes at the Lyceum, and possesses a collection of 72,000 volumes and an income of 1200 pounds a year. In 1760 a library was formed at Warrington which has been merged in the Warrington Museum. The Leeds library was established in 1768, and now has 85,000 volumes, and an income of 1430 pounds. In 1772 the Bristol museum and library was formed, numbered Coleridge, Southey, and Landor among its earlier members. It now reckons 50,000 volumes, and an income of 1400 pounds a year. The Birmingham (old) library was formed in 1779, and its rules were drawn up by Priestley, who had already taken an active share in the management of the libraries at Warrington and Leeds. The library has now 40,000 to 50,000 volumes, and an income of 1600 pounds. Many similar institutions are noticed in the tables, while others have given place to the trade circulating libraries and to the libraries established under the Free Libraries Acts.

A few modern collegiate libraries, finally, claim a summary notice. The library of the university of Durham dates only from 1833, and was begun by a gift of books from Bishop Van Mildert, to which many other donations have since succeeded. The Routh collection includes a large collection of early tracts. The Winter-bottom collection is chiefly classical, and the Maltby collection classical and theological. The library of the Owens College, Manchester, was formed on the establishment of the college in 1851 by a gift of books from Mr James Heywood, F.R.S. It has since been largely increased by donations and bequests, including the libraries of Bishop Lee, Mr Crace Calvert, and others. It has an endowment fund of 2500 pounds. The library at Stonyhurst College has gradually grown since the establishment of the college in 1794. There is a printed catalogue of books printed before 1551. The Walshian Library at St Mary’s College, Oscott, was established by Bishop Walsh in 1839, having been purchased by him from the Marchese Marini. It has MSS. and many early printed books.

The principal library in Scotland is that of that Faculty of Advocates, who in 1680 appointed a committee of their number, which reported that "it was fitt that, seeing if the recusants could be made pay their entire money, there wold be betwixt three thousand and four thousand pounds in cash; that the same be employed on the best and finest lawers and other law bookes, conforme to a catalogue to be condescended upon by the Facultie, that the samen may be a fonde for ane Bibliothecque whereto many lawers and other many leave their books." In 1682 the active carrying out of the scheme was committed to the Dean of Faculty, Sir George Mackenzie of Rosehaugh, who may be regarded as the founder of the library. In 1684 the first librarian was appointed, and the library appears to have made rapid progress, since it appears from the treasurer’s accounts that in 1686 the books and furniture were valued at upwards of 11,000 pounds Scots, exclusive of donations. In the year 1700, the rooms in the Exchange Stairs, Parliament Close, in which the library was kept, being nearly destroyed by fire, the collection was removed to the ground floor of the Parliament House, where it has ever since remained. The library retains the copyright privilege conferred upon it in 1709. The number of volumes in the library is computed to amount to 265,000; of the special collection the most important are the Astorga collection of old Spanish books, purchased by the faculty in 1824 for 4000 pounds; the Thorkelin collection, consisting of about 1200 volumes relating chiefly to the history and antiquities of the northern nations, and including some rare books on old Scottish poetry; the Dietrich collection of over 100,000 German pamphlets and dissertations, including many of the writings of Luther and Melancthon, purchased for the small sum of 80 pounds; and the Combe collection.

The faculty appear early to have turned their attention to the collection of MSS., and this department of the library now numbers about 3000 volumes. Many of them are of great interest and value, especially for the civil and ecclesiastical history of Scotland before and after the Reformation. There are thirteen monastic chartularies which escaped the destruction of the religious houses to which they belonged. The MSS. relating to Scottish church history include the collections of Spottiswoode, Woodrow, and Calderwood. The Woodrow collection consists of 154 volumes, and includes his correspondence, extending from 1694 to 1726. Sir James Balfour’s collection and the Balcarres papers consist largely of original state papers, and include many interesting royal letters of the times of James V., Queen mary, and James VI. The Sibbald papers, numbering over 30 volumes, are largely topographical. The Riddel notebooks, numbering 156 volumes, contain collections to illustrate the genealogy of Scottish families. There are about one hundred volumes of Icelandic MSS., purchased in 1825 from Professor Finn Magnusson, and some Persian and Sanskrit, with a few classical, manuscripts. The department has some interesting treasures of old poetry, extending to 73 volumes. The most important are the Bannatyne MS. in 2 vols. folio, written by George Bannatyne in 1568, and the Auchinleck MS., a collection of ancient English poetry, named after Alexander Boswell of Auchinleck, who presented it in 1774.

The first catalogue of the printed books was compiled in 1692, and contains a preface by Sir George Mackenzie. Another was prepared under the care Ruddiman in 1742. In 1853 the late Mr Halkett commenced a catalogue, which has been printed in 6 vols. 4to, with a supplement, and includes all the printed books in the library at the end of 1871, containing about 260,000 entries. It is an illustration of the public spirit with which they conduct their library, that the whole cost of printing this extensive catalogue, over 5000 pounds, has been borne by the members of the faculty. The library, managed by a keeper and staff, under a board of six curators, is easily accessible to all persons engaged in literary work, and is for all practical purposes the public consulting library of Scotland.

The origin of the University Library of Edinburgh is to be found in a bequest of his books of theology and law made to the town in 1580 by Clement Little, advocate. This was two years before the foundation of the university, and in 1584 the town council caused the collection to be removed to the college, of which they were the patrons. As it was the only library in the town, it continued to grow and received many benefactions, so that in 1615 it became necessary to erect a library building. Stimulated perhaps by the example of Bodley at Oxford, Drummond of Hawthornden made a large donation of books, of which he printed a catalogue in 1627, and circulated an appeal for assistance from others. In 1678 the library received a bequest of 2000 volumes from the Rev. James Nairne. In 1709 the library became entitled to the copy privilege, which has since been commuted for a payment of 575 pounds per annum. In 1831 the books were removed to the present library buildings, for which a parliamentary grant had been obtained. The main library hall (190 feet in length) is one of the most splendid apartments in Scotland. One of the rooms is set apart as a memorial to General Reid, by whose benefaction the library has greatly benefited. Amongst the more recent accessions have been the Halliwell-Phillips Shakespeare collection, the Laing collection of Scottish MSS., the Baillie collection of Oriental MSS. (some of which are of great value), and the Hodgson collection of works on political economy. The library now consists of about 140,000 volumes of printed books with 2000 MSS.

The library of the Writers to Her Majesty’s Signet was established by the society in 1755. At first it consisted of law books exclusively, but in 1788 they began to collect the best editions of works in other departments of literature. During the librarianship of Macvey Napier (1805-37) the number of volumes was more than sextupled, and in 1812 the library was removed to the new hall adjoining the Parliament House. In 1834 the upper hall was devoted to the collection. This is a magnificent apartment 142 feet long, with a beautiful cupola painted by Stothard. The library now contains nearly 70,000 volumes, exclusive of pamphlets, and includes some fine specimens of early printing, as well as many other rare and costly works. It is especially rich in county histories and British topography and antiquities. A catalogue of the law books was printed in 1856. The late David Laing, who became librarian in 1837, published the first volume of a new catalogue in 1871. The second volume is nearly completed. The books are lent out to the Writers and even to strangers recommended by them. This library, like that of the Advocates, is most liberally opened to literary inquirers, and has thus acquired a quasi-public or national character.
There are various other important libraries in Edinburgh, but no considerable lending library open freely to the poorest of the people, and two attempts which have been made to introduce the Libraries Acts have been unsuccessful.

The first mention of a library at St Andrew is as early as 1456. The three colleges were provided with libraries of their own about the time of their foundations-St Salvador’s 1455, St Leonard’s 1512, St Mary’s 1537. The University Library was established about 1612 by King James VI., and in the course of the 18th century the college libraries were merged in it. The copyright privilege was commuted in 1837. The collection numbers 90,000 volumes exclusive of pamphlets, with about 200 MSS., chiefly of local interest. About 1200 volumes are added yearly. A library is supposed to have existed at Aberdeen since the foundation of King’s College by Bishop Elphinstone in 1494. The present collection combines the libraries of King’s College and Marischal college, now incorporated in the university. The latter had its origin in a collection of books formed by the town authorities at the time of the Reformation, and for sometime kept in one of the churches. The library has benefited by the Melvin bequest, chiefly of classical books, and those of Henderson and Wilson, and contains some very valuable books. The general library is located in Old Aberdeen, while the medical and law books are in the New Town. The library has a grant, in lieu of the copy privilege, of 320 pounds. The library of the university of Glasgow dates from the 15th century, and numbers George Buchaman and many other distinguished men amongst its early benefactors. A classified subject-catalogue is in progress. The annual accessions are about 1500, and the commutation-grant 707 pounds. connected with the university, which is trustee for the public, is the library of the Hunterian Museum, formed by the eminent anatomist Dr William Hunter. It is a collection of great bibliographical interest, as it is rich in MSS. and in fine specimens of the early printing, especially in Greek and Latin classics. The printed books number about 13,00 volumes, and the MSS. some 600 volumes. All the Scottish university libraries lend books to students, on deposit of 1 pound, to graduates, for an annual subscription of half a guinea, and to persons engaged in literary research, by permission of the senatus.

The Mitchell Library at Glasgow bids fair to be the most important public library outside Edinburgh. It was founded by a munificent bewuest of 70,000 pounds from the late Mr Stephen Mitchell. The library was opened in 1877, in temporary premises, and already contains over 36,000 volumes. It includes a special collection of Scottish poetry called "The Poet’s Corner," and a collection of Glasgow literature, including early specimens of Glasgow printing. The library is open to all persons over fourteen years of age, and the number of readers during the first three years in which the library has been opened is believed to be without precedent. The number of volumes issued in 1880 was 390,732.

The English Libraries Act of 1850 was extended to Scotland in 1854, and the first town to put it into operations was Airdrie, in 1856. The largest of the libraries which have been opened under the Acts is at Dundee, which possesses 35,500 volumes, with a circulation of 252,314. The rate produce 2390 pounds. Although the resources of the other towns in which the Acts have so far been adopted do not enable them to rival the larger English towns, the results are proportionately quite as satisfactory. The turn-over of their stock of books is generally large, and the reading done appears to be more solid and serious than in England. The percentage of fiction issued is at least 10 or 15 per cent. below the average rate in the English free libraries.

The establishment of the library of Trinity College, Dublin, is contemporaneous with that of the Bodleian at oxford, and it is an interesting circumstance that, when Challoner and Ussher (afterwards the archbishop) were in London purchasigng books to form the library, they met Bodley there, and entered into friendly intercourse and co-operation with hi to procure the choicest and best books. The commission was given to Ussher and Challoner as trustees of the singular donation which laid the foundation of the library. In the year 1601 the English army determined to commemorate their victory over the Spanish troops at Kinsale by some permanent monument. Accordingly they subscribed the sum of 1800 pounds to establish a library in the university of Dublin. For Ussher’s own collection, consisting of 10,000 volumes and many valuable MSS., the college was also indebted to military generosity. On his death in 1655 the officers and soldiers of the English army then in Ireland purchased the whole collection for 22,000 pounds with the design of presenting it to the college. Cromwell, however interfered, alleging that he proposed to found a new college, where the books might more conveniently be preserved. They were deposited therefore in Dublin Castle, and he college only obtained them after the Restoration. In 1674 Sir Jerome Alexander left his law books with some valuable MSS. to the college. In 1726 Dr Palliser, archbishop of Cashel, bequeathed over 4000 volumes to the library; and ten years later Dr Gilbert gave the library nearly 13,000 volumes which he had himself collected and arranged. In 1741 the library received a valuable collection of MSS. as a bequest from Dr Stearne. In 1802 the collection formed by the pensionary Fagel, which had been removed to England on the French invasion of Holland, was acquired for 10,000 pounds. It consisted of over 20,000 volumes. In 1805 Mr Quin bequeathed a choice collection of classical and Italian books. There have been many other smaller donations, in addition to which the library is continually increased by the books received under the Copyright Act. The library now contains 192,000 volumes and 1880 MSS., and about 3000 volumes are added every year. There is no permanent endowment, and purchase are made by grants from the board. The whole collections are contained in one building, erected in 1732, consisting of eight rooms. The great library hall is a magnificent apartment over 200 feet long. A new reading-room was opened in 1848. A catalogue of the books acquired before 1872 is now in course of printing. There is no printed catalogue of the MSS. Graduates of Dublin, Oxford, and Cambridge are admitted to read permanently, and temporary admission is granted by the board to any fit person who makes application. Books and MSS. are lent out only under special regulations. A leading library has been established to make provision for the needs of the students.

The public library, St Patrick’s, Dublin, sometimes called Marsh’s Library after its founder, was established about 1694 by Archbishop Marsh, was incorporated by Act of Parliament in 1707, and endowed by its founder at his death in 1713. The building was erected by the founder, and the original oak fittings still remain. There is no room for additions, and a large collection of modern books was refused a few years ago on that account. The endowment is too small to allow of purchases from the funds of the library, so that it still retains the character of a 17th century library. The books are chiefly theological, and in the learned languages; they include the libraries of Bishop Stillingfleet and of Elias Bouhereau, a French refugee, who was the first librarian.

The library of the Royal Dublin Society was commenced shortly after the formation of the society in 1731. With the exception of about 10,000 volumes of the publications of learned societies and scientific periodicals, with a few early editions, its books were transferred to the state, in 1877, to assist in forming the national library of Ireland. The manuscript collections of Walter Harris on Irish history were purchased and placed in the library for public use by the Irish parliament. The library of the Royal Irish Academy was established on the formation of the Academy in 1785, for the purpose of promoting the study of science, literature, and antiquities in Ireland. The library possesses about 40,000 printed volumes and about 1400 MSS. There is a large collection of MSS. and books relating to the history, ancient language, and antiquities of Ireland. They include the Betham collection, acquired partly by public subscription in 1851. The library is partly supported by a Government grant of 200 pounds per annum, and is freely open on a proper introduction. Under the direction of the present honorary librarian, the publication of Irish MSS. in the library was begun in 1870, and has since continued. The library of King’s Inns was founded, pursuant to a bequent of books and legal MSS. under the will of Mr Justice Robinson in 1787, to form the nucleus of a library for law students. It is partly supported from the funds of the benchers, but partly also by a treasury grant of 433 pounds, 6s. 8d. in lieu of the copy privilege. No books are lent out, and the use of the library is confined to students and barristers; so that the public has no advantage in return for the annual contribution of public money.

There is no library in Dublin corresponding in extent and public accessibility to the British Museum in London, or the Advocates’ Library in Edinburgh. About 1850 it was proposed to supply the deficiency to combining the libraries of the Dublin Society and the Irish Academy, both of which had long received grants of public money, together with the collection of Archbishop marsh. Accordingly in 1854 an Act of Parliament was passed "fro the establishment of a national gallery and for the care of a public library in Dublin." The scheme thus authorized has never been carried out. In 1877, however, the National Library of Ireland was established in the apartments of Leinster House. the library is under the Science and Art Department of South Kensington, and is super-intended by a body of twelve trustees in Dublin. For the last two years it has received an annual vote of 1000 pounds from parliament for the purchase of books. As already mentioned, the books of the Royal Dublin Society have been transferred to it. It is freely open to the public on a respectable introduction, and is much used.

The public library of Armagh was founded by Lord Primate Robinson in 1770, who gave a considerable number of books and an endowment. The books are freely available, either on the spot, or by loan on deposit of double the value of the work applied for. At Belfast the Queen’s College Library has about 36,000 volumes, with a special collection of books on the languages and literature of the East. The library of the Queen’s College, Cork, contains about 25,000 volumes, 1600 of the most valuable of which have been presented by Mr Crawford. The library is easily accessible to literary inquires, and is much used by strangers. The library of Maynooth College is chiefly theological, and contains the collections bequeathed by the late president, Monsignor Russell. There are about 40,000 volumes and a few MSS.

Dundalk is at present the only town that has a library under the Public Libraries Acts, which were adopted there in 1856. The rate produces only about 80 pounds.

Read the rest of this article:
Libraries - Table of Contents

Search the Encyclopedia:

About this EncyclopediaTop ContributorsAll ContributorsToday in History
Terms of UsePrivacyContact Us

© 2005-17 1902 Encyclopedia. All Rights Reserved.

This website is the free online Encyclopedia Britannica (9th Edition and 10th Edition) with added expert translations and commentaries