Alex In Leeds

(Book Reviews and Adventures…)

Review: Leeds Public Libraries 1870-1920 by T W Hand

3 Comments

Leeds Public Libraries 1870-1920 by T W Hand

Full Title: A brief account of the public libraries of the City of Leeds, 1870-1920
Category: Non-Fiction/Libraries/Leeds – Hardback: 40 pages – Publisher: Jowett and Sowry – Source: Independent subscription library
First Published: 1920

I only know of three copies of this book in Leeds and the one I borrowed was from the independent library, the public library have it only for reference rather than borrowing and the third copy is at the British Library. The copy I borrowed probably hasn’t been read since 1920, it took the staff some hunting to find it for me, but it answered so many questions I had about the formation of the Leeds public libraries and why the city seems to have so many (53 branches until last year when 13 closed) and yet care so little about them.

Thomas Hand was the City Librarian in 1920 and wrote this gorgeous little history of the libraries after the war, during a time of great change within the branches. He had access to records and his colleague’s memories and so his testimony is remarkably honest and detailed. He wrote about the difficulties in setting up the libraries (people campaigned against them which is frankly baffling), financial worries and deciding on locations and building the early branches.

It made me realise how hard the libraries in this city have always had to struggle, that funding, support, decent resources etc aren’t just modern issues and that housing and sharing books is never easy in any era.

I am so very glad he wrote this account as almost none of these details were known to me, I only wish someone in the 1970s had filled in the story over the era of cheap Penguins, more branches opening up and the restrictions of WWII! :)

List of books read in 2012 / Index of Non-Fiction

About these ads

Author: Alex in Leeds

Book reviewer, blogger, photographer and adventuress who completed 101 goals in 1001 days. I can be found on Twitter as @AlexInLeeds.

3 thoughts on “Review: Leeds Public Libraries 1870-1920 by T W Hand

  1. Pingback: Leeds today: cinema, transport, trams, more cinema, arena, PROTEST, libraries, market and the Queen. | Beyond Guardian Leeds

  2. Hi Alex, you OK if I borrow your cover scan for a post I’m writing about Hand? You’re the only person that’s ever written about him that I can find!

    • Ugh, I missed this at the time. Forgive me. If you ever want to borrow an image like that, just go for it. I love what you do so I’m happy to share the info/images I have if it helps and is credited. :)

Thoughts?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,572 other followers