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National Trust Libraries with Mark Purcell

Thursday, May 3, 5:00 pm
Location: SML International Room

The libraries of the British National Trust (in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland) together form one of the greatest repositories of early printed books in Europe, and they are almost certainly the largest collection of historic libraries in the hands of a single institution anywhere in the world. For decades these libraries were almost entirely invisible and inaccessible, but over the last ten years the Trust has been engaged in a huge program to get their catalogues online, to open up the collection for research, and to investigate the cultural significance of books which have often remained for hundreds of years in the places where they were once collected and read. This illustrated presentation will give an overview of the libraries—many but not all in country houses, a summary of current projects, and some thoughts on the research value of 300,000 books divided among more than 150 separate locations.

Mark Purcell has been Libraries Curator to the National Trust since 1999. He originally read History at Oriel College, Oxford, trained at University College, London, and has published extensively on the history of books and libraries in early modern Britain and Ireland.

Yale University Library’s Standing Committee on Professional Awareness, SCOPA, strives to encourage professional growth and the development of librarianship as a dynamic profession. SCOPA organizes a regular series of forums devoted to a wide range of topics concerning initiatives in Yale libraries and academic libraries in general. SCOPA welcomes suggestions concerning possible future forums.

More information on SCOPA