Celebrating National Libraries Week

This month brings us National Libraries Week (8th - 13th October) but here at Gladstone’s library we’re spreading it over a whole month with our October 2018 exhibition in our History Room. Curated by Kit from our Graduate Work Experience programme, this display celebrates libraries and book cataloguing using items from William Gladstone’s own collection.

Take a look below at highlights from the exhibition which showcases Gladstone’s own interest in libraries and librarianship.

A Guide to the Study of Book Plates – J. Leicester Warren, London, 1880 (WEG S/30/WAR) 

This is a beautifully illustrated guide from Gladstone’s collection on the significance of bookplates in both private and public collections. The title page below is an example of the intricacies within bookplates. This one in particular was created for the humanist, Willibald Prickheimer in 1502. Look closely and you’ll see that there are two coats of arms; on the right is Pirckheimer's and on the left is his wife Crescentia's. Above both is a helmet held by two cherubs (putti), and below are two putti fighting. 

'Books have been lost, borrowed, or stolen ever since type began, and a mere manuscript name is inconspicuous and easily effaced.'

(Warren, p.1)

A Biographical Sketch of Sir Anthony Panizzi K.C.R., Late Principle Librarian, British Museum - Robert Cowtan (WEG S/41/PAN COW) 

A notable figure within the history of librarianship and someone Gladstone spoke very highly of, Anthony Panizzi, could not go without a mention during this month of celebration! Often cited as the ‘revolutionist turned librarian’, Panizzi (1797–1879) was appointed head of the British Museum and principal librarian in 1856. He was responsible for the great expansion of the library, the building of the famous round Reading Room, and the compilation of cataloguing rules which remain influential today. Including the one in our display, Gladstone had three copies of books relating to Panizzi, and the two often corresponded via letters.  

How to Catalogue a Library – H. B. Wheatley, London, 1889 (WEG S/48/WHE)

Wheatley was a prolific writer as well as co-founder of the Library Association, therefore much of his work concentrated on libraries and librarianship. How to Catalogue is aimed mainly towards smaller libraries and includes chapters titled ‘How to treat a title page’, ‘Arrangement’, and ‘Rules for a small library’. The book details extensive arguments on whether it is best to catalogue books alphabetically, or by genre.

My notion is that every book, big and little, that is published, like every child, big and little, that is born, should be registered, without inquiry into its merits or character…'

(Wheatley, p.66) 

Finally we have an extract from Gladstone’s own writing...

Speeches and Writings vol.10, Chapter 16, On Books and the Housing of them. – W.E. Gladstone, London, 1890 (WEG M/34.9G/1) 

 

From reading Gladstone’s piece on the housing of books we can gauge how important adequate housing for large collections and ensuring their wellbeing was to Gladstone. Below is a map drawn up by Gladstone meaning that 'no book ought to be squeezed or even coaxed in its place.' (Gladstone, p.393)


Treasures from the Gladstone Foundation Collection: Celebrating National Libraries Week is on display in our History Room throughout October 2018. To view as a visitor, join one of our daily Glimpses at 12pm, 2pm or 4pm. 

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