The Cambridge History of Libraries in Britain and Ireland. by Alistair Black, Peter Hoare, Peter Hoare

By Alistair Black, Peter Hoare, Peter Hoare

The general public Libraries Act of 1850 based a convention of public provision and repair which keeps this present day, and nationwide and educational libraries have grown and improved consequently. Libraries became an instead of a localized phenomenon, and librarianship has constructed from a scholarly craft to a systematic occupation. The essays during this quantity current an image of serious variety, protecting public, nationwide, educational, subscription and personal libraries. The clients of libraries are a big a part of their background and are thought of right here intimately, along the advance of the library career and the impression of recent details applied sciences.

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1 During our period, industrial production moved on to a more technical plane, and became irrevocably determined by the outputs of applied science (the ‘knowledge economy’, we might observe, existed for a century or more before its ‘rediscovery’ in the late twentieth century). Society underwent a process of massification. This was as much the case in terms of political arrangements (universal suffrage), communications (the mass media, including the book trade and newspapers) and social provision (education, welfare and housing) as it was in respect of production, consumption and advertising.

The purpose and role of a library will vary from one to another and will interface with the driving forces of the modern age in different ways. However, generally speaking two basic factors have shaped the ‘modern library’, one practical, the other intellectual. Addressing the Library Association in 1938, its then president W. C. 6 In this brief sentence Sayers succeeded in crystallising the dual essence of a library: its spiritual and material functions. On the one hand, a library fulfils an idealistic, poetic and mystical role.

S. McClarence, ‘The town the British left behind’ (The Times, 21 January 2006, Books section, 6) is an account of the library’s survival, now wholly under Indian control. 29 Books from the library containing the rules are extant in the British Institute in Florence and elsewhere. 30 Probably the most influential and certainly the widest-ranging international enterprise in the library sphere is the British Council, founded in 1934 to promote ‘a wider appreciation of British culture and civilisation’.

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