By Elisabeth Leedham-Green, Teresa Webber
This quantity is the 1st certain survey of libraries in Britain and eire as much as the Civil warfare. It lines the transition from collections of books with no mounted neighborhood habitation to the library, mainly of published books, a lot as we all know it this day. It examines altering styles within the formation of e-book collections within the previous medieval interval, strains the mixed impression of the actions of the mendicant orders and the scholarship of the schools within the 13th and fourteenth centuries, and the adoption of the library room and the expansion of personal publication collections within the fourteenth and 15th. the quantity then focuses upon the dispersal of the monastic libraries within the mid-sixteenth centuries, the production of recent sorts of library, and at last, the stairs wherein the collections gathered by way of antiquaries got here to shape the bases of the nationwide and institutional libraries of england and eire.
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Extra resources for The Cambridge History of Libraries in Britain and Ireland, Vol. 1: To 1640
2 The most important body of which is being newly (re-)edited for the Corpus of British Medieval Library Catalogues (CBMLC). 13 Cambridge Histories Online © Cambridge University Press, 2008 t h e ph y s i c a l s ett i n g the extant medieval booklists and catalogues were intended to act as finding lists, and not many before the fourteenth century provide information about the location of the books. Moreover, such documents are rarely a comprehensive account of all the collections possessed by a community, and by their nature (a record of one particular moment in time) give an artificially static view of those they do list.
The catalogue describes almost half of the books as either ‘large’ ‘medium-size’ or ‘small’, revealing that whereas books of all sizes appear on the bottom four shelves of most presses, the fifth and sixth shelves – where they occur (namely presses i, iv and possibly also iii) – have small and medium volumes only, some of which, moreover, were not in formal bindings. Accordingly, while most of the lower shelves held between twelve and thirty-eight volumes, the fifth and sixth shelves of presses i and iv had forty-five to fifty.
The first library rooms – chambers in which books were not only stored but also consulted – usually held only a portion of the total collection, other parts being stored elsewhere. Throughout our period, where the collections were kept, how they were stored and the principles underlying their organisation were directly connected to their size, function and use. Nevertheless, other, less practical factors, ranging from inertia to the wishes of benefactors, could also come into play. In all but a few of the major religious communities, book collections were usually small, numbering hundreds rather than thousands; and in many institutions a proportion of the books would always be in the hands of individual members, reducing the number for which storage space was required.
The Cambridge History of Libraries in Britain and Ireland, Vol. 1: To 1640 by Elisabeth Leedham-Green, Teresa Webber