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specially entitled to notice may be ranked in the following order :
200,000':: * Munich University Library
200,000 Heidelberg University Library
200,000 :- 5310 Cambridge Public Library
166,724 Bologna University Library
150,000 Prague *University Library.
130,000 Vienna University Library
115,000 Leipsic University Library
112,000 Copenhagen. University Library
110,000 Turin. * University Library
110,000 Louvain University
Trinity College Library 104,239
100,000 Edinburgh University Library
90,854 Glasgow University Library
The foundation of the University Library of Turin dates from 1436 ; that of Cambridge, from 1484; that of Leipsic, from 1544; that of Edinburgh, from 1582; and the Bodleian, from 1597. The small library of the University of Salamanca is said to have been founded in 1215.
The Göttingen, Prague, Turin, and Upsal, are lending libraries. Those of Göttingen, Prague, Turin, Oxford, Cambridge, and Dublin, are legally entitled to copies of all works published within the States to which they respectively belong. The number of volumes accruing to the Bodleian from the operation of the Copyright Act, since 1825, computing them from the number supplied to the British Museum, would be about 38,000.
The annual expenditure of the Tübingen Library is about, £760; of the Göttingen Library, £730; of the Breslau, about £400. That of the Bodleian, at Oxford, is now about £4,000– of which sum £1,375 is defrayed by proceeds of various benefactions, about £650 by matriculation fees, and about £1,500 by • library dues.
In reference to the degree of accessibility to all the foreign libraries that have passed in review, it may be generally affirmed that admission is granted unrestrictedly—to the poor as well as to the rich to the foreigner as well as to the native. The libraries of France,' says M. Guizot, are accessible in every way; for the purpose of reading, and also for borrowing, books. Any workman, whatever his social condition, who can obtain a
certificate from his employer as to his respectability and honesty, may have books lent to him. We have also the assurance of his Excellency, M. Van de Weyer, that the fourteen libraries of Belgium are all accessible to the public; any person, without any letter of authorization, may go into them and be supplied with a book, if he asks for it. The same privilege is shown to exist in the libraries even of jealous and priest-ridden Italy. M. Libri states that, in almost every town of Italy, there are public libraries freely accessible to the public—a concession limited only by the necessity of applying for permission to read forbidden books, over which the Church and the government keep a strict watch. For instance, the Florentine History of Macchiavelli’ is prohibited, and there are many others to which the same restriction extends. Generally speaking, the books are not lent out to individuals to read at home; but the libraries attached to all the universities of Italy lend books to professors; whilst the privilege of reading, instead of being monopolized by the students, is shared by the public at large. The access in Italy is more unrestricted than that enjoyed at the British Museum. Respecting the libraries of Germany, C. Meyer, Esq., German secretary to his Royal Highness Prince Albert, says:
They are, with few exceptions, freely accessible ; they are, moreover, lending libraries, which is one most important difference between the English and the German libraries. Every citizen has free access to the town library, and every member of the University has free admission to the University library; and each of these two classes of readers can mutually introduce the other to the respective libraries they are privileged to attend. Thus the system in the German towns is somewhat analogous to that adopted at the British Museum, with this important
distinction, however—that the latter is not a lending library, whereas the introduction to a German library confers the right of taking away books.'
Now it appears that we have only one library in Great Britain that affords the same measure of advantages and facilities with the glorious array of foreign collections at which we have glanced; and that is the library founded by Humphrey Chetham, in Manchester. There are ten or eleven libraries to which admission may be secured by the production of some sort of recommendation ; and there are about twenty in addition that are accessible as a matter of grace and favour.
In our metropolis there are a few old and scanty libraries, but which, however resuscitated and improved, would never be commensurate with the mighty wants of our extending population. The more ancient part of London is the spot best supplied. The vast population which is being almost daily added to our modern
Babylon, is withdrawing further and further from the feeble beams which these conservatories of light diffuse. The City, and the precincts of the British Museum, are the localities best furnished with books. But so far as libraries may be regarded as auxiliaries of sound learning, and as an index to popular intelligence and intellectual progress, a kind of literary darkness and stagnation seems to prevail over the congregated masses inhabiting the newly-formed districts of the metropolis. For instance, there is no public library to be found in Pimlico, none in Marylebone, none in Finsbury, none in Islington or Hackney, none in Southwark, and only the shadow of a departed one in Westminster. Almost every collection of books in London or the provinces that can aspire to the character of a public library, owes its origin to a somewhat remote date ; showing that our ancestors, with all their imputed inferiority, paid more attention to the formation of such institutions than ourselves. We will give a few particulars respecting some of them.
Dr. Williams's Library, situated in Red Cross-street, in the City, was opened in 1729. It originally constituted the private collection of Dr. Williams, an eminent Presbyterian divine, to which he subsequently added the library of Dr. Bates. It is vested in trustees, who, early in the trust, placed it under the administration of the Court of Chancery, for the purpose of transferring all responsibility from themselves. Many valuable donations and bequests have been, in past years, made to the foundation; and the number of volumes now contained in the library is about 20,000. The specific object of the founder in establishing it is not defined in the will. The trustees have recently extended its advantages to every person of respectability, free of all expense and trouble. The works are principally on theology, ecclesiastical history, and biography, with a few in all the more important departments of learning. There is accommodation for fifty or sixty readers ; but the number who frequent the room during the year does not average more than fifty or sixty, and these are chiefly divines. Being, in common with all our libraries, only open during the day, when the multitudes are necessarily busily engaged in the pursuits of trade, its influence and utility are very slight. The librarian thinks it is situated in a bad locality, and suggests its removal to the neighbourhood of University College, where, by an increase of accommodation, and by being thrown open in the evening, it might become a real blessing to our fellow citizens. bon u Not far from Dr. Williams's Library, in London Wall, is situated tue library of Sion College, founded by Dr. White, rector of St. Dunstan's in the West, in the year 1636. The conditions of admission are somewhat similar to those of the British Museum. A note from any Fellow of the College-that is to say, any incumbent in London-will introduce a reader for twelve months ; while a discretionary power is given to the librarian to allow persons to consult the library whom he may consider qualified. The primary object of the library was to afford literary facilities to the Established clergy of the City of London. The number of volumes ranges
between 35,000 and 40,000; they are on general subjects, with, however, a larger proportion than usual of theological works ; many of the books are exceedingly rare, or altogether unique. The collection is rich on general history, particularly concerning the times of Charles I., and of the same period on the Continent. The number of persons who frequent the library is not more than 300 or 400 a year; and the number of volumes in circulation during the same period do not exceed 6,000, all of which are taken out by the clergy. A few physicians and men of antiquarian research frequent the room; but no persons of the working, and very few of the middle, classes of society. The Rev. Mr. Christmas, the librarian, suggests that by an arrangement enabling more persons to take out books on certain terms of subscription, this library might be opened to the public, and 200 readers accommodated, where at present there are not more than six or seven. It is, however, unlikely that this, or any other library in a large town, will be extensively used, unless it be open in the evening.
In the city of Westminster, there. still slumbers the library founded by Archbishop Tenison, in the year 1685. In the orders and constitutions of the founder, it is declared that the books of the said library' are to be for public use, but especially for the use of the vicar and lecturer of the said parish,' and other clergymen within the precincts. The public' intended to be benefited by this collection, consists of the inhabitants residing within the boundaries of the ancient parish of St. Martin. The trustees are appointed for life by a Master in Chancery. The books are mainly upon theological subjects, of great variety, curiosity, and value ; but do not exceed 4000 in number. They are stated by the librarian to be in as dilapidated a condition as books can well be; they are kept under the careful custody of lock and key, and are never taken down to be cleaned,
whilst the bindings are rapidly going to decay from neglect. During eighteen months, one studious person only applied for permission regularly to consult the books : he did so for three or four days, and then gave up in despair. This library has been degraded into a club-room, where persons repair to read newspapers and play at chess. Were it restored, it is thought that it would be much frequented, and that accessions would be made by way of donations. It appears that accommodation could with
ease be provided for thirty readers. The restoration of the library is now under the consideration of the trustees; and it certainly might form the nucleus of a good local library for Westminster.
These, with the British Museum and the Lambeth Palace library, constitute the entire public provision for the intellectual nurture and delectation of more than two millions of souls ! How far they are adapted for that purpose, we leave our readers to determine.
Connected with the deaneries and chapters of our cathedrals, there is an ancient set of libraries commonly called cathedral libraries. Of these there are thirty-four in England and six in Ireland. Their basis is theological ; to some of them additions are annually made; and attention is being given to their restoration and improvement. In several, a moderate freedom of access is conceded to the public. The number of volumes in each ranges from 4,000 to 11,000. These, if the sanction of those who preside over them could be obtained, would form excellent nuclei of provincial libraries for the ancient cities of our land.
Parochial libraries once prevailed to a considerable extent throughout this country. Evidence has been collected of the existence of 163 such libraries in England and Wales, and 16 in Scotland. They were generally designed for the use of the clergy. Their foundation was, in the first instance, due to individual benevolence ; but subsequently, and principally, to the efforts of Dr. Bray and his associates, at the beginning and in the middle of the last century. They have, in most cases, been suffered to go to dilapidation. In Beccles, Suffolk, however, the books have been rescued from neglect and danger, deposited in a room, and made the germ of a town library. This laudable example is commended to the imitation of others who possess the perishing wreck of a public parish library.
We have done. A multitude of reflections and practical suggestions come thronging upon us; but, however important they may seem, we impose a rigorous restraint on ourselves, and conclude this, we trust not valueless, article without further comment. The facts we have massed may be safely left to produce their proper practical effect upon the minds of our intelligent readers, and act as a powerful stimulus to benevolent activity on behalf of the myriads of our untaught. The exertions of the British people may do much towards supplying the deficiency we have pointed out; and what they have already accomplished clearly proves, that they need only to be apprised of their duty honestly and earnestly to set about its perform