Exciting new project on library history research I plan to participate in.
We are delighted to announce the launch of a new AHRC-funded research network on Community Libraries, which aims to establish a dynamic, multi- and interdisciplinary research forum to investigate the cultural history of libraries at the dawn of the modern age.
In the two centuries before the passage of the Public Libraries Act in the UK in 1850, libraries proliferated across the UK, Europe and North America on a bewildering variety of organizational models. Libraries emerged to serve particular communities, reflecting the specialist demands of military garrisons, emigrant vessels, prisons, schools, churches, mechanics institutes, factories, mills, and informal networks of medical men and lawyers. Libraries were part of the newly emerging leisure industry, with books available for hire from smallscale operators in inns, taverns, banks, railway stations, and coffee houses, and from the sprawling city circulating libraries associated with the rise of the novel. Subscription libraries, library societies, book clubs, and other proprietary institutions provided a forum for conversation, debate and sociability, and…
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