A major new reference source, this is the first scholarly history of libraries in these islands to cover the whole period up to the present day. It aims to include libraries of all types (institutional and private), as well as the development of library buildings and furnishing, their user communities – and not least librarians and their colleagues in related areas of endeavour, the evolution of today's profession.
Volume 1, edited by Elisabeth Leedham-Green and Teresa Webber, runs from the beginnings to 1640 - over a millennium, from Celtic and Anglo-Saxon cultures through the Middle Ages and Renaissance to the outbreak of the Civil War, and bridging the transition from manuscript to print.
Volume 2, edited by Giles Mandelbrote and Keith Manley, covers more than two centuries from 1640 to 1850, from the turmoil of the mid-17th century through the Restoration and Augustan age to the world of circulating and subscription libraries, and illustrating the wider reach of British libraries across the globe.
The final volume, edited by Alistair Black and Peter Hoare, traces the growth of public libraries after 1850, but also the blossoming of higher education and of specialist libraries of many kinds, not forgetting the arrival of the world of electronic information. This volume brings the story up to the year 2000 - with occasional references to the last six years
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