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Tour of the Library - Free!! -
Morrab Library, Morrab Gardens, Penzance, TR18 4DA
Date: Thursday 26th July 2012
There is no need to book for this event - no tickets will be issued - just turn up!
The Morrab Library is an independent library established in 1818, situated in the beautiful Morrab Gardens, in Penzance. It is rare, remarkable and rewarding.
The Library is rare because it is the only independent library in Cornwall and one of only 30 in the United Kingdom. It is one of the largest, ranking sixth, with more than 40,000 volumes, and is strong in literature, history, biography, antiquities, topography and travel, and religion.
It is remarkable because it houses a marvellous series of collections which have gradually been acquired since the library was founded in 1818. The Jenner Room has brought together its extensive Cornish collection and its holdings on the other Celtic countries as a centre for Celtic studies.
Some 2,750 of its books were printed before 1801. The Library offers great research potential in its extensive runs of eighteenth- and nineteenth- century periodicals, among which are over a century of Cornish newspapers which start before 1850. There are seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Parliamentary Reports, nineteenth-century Blue Books and Historic Manuscript Commission Reports.
There is a collection of 3,000 Napoleonic memorabilia, which has been described as "the only great Napoleonic collection in the world"; whilst the Library's photographic archive has a computerized catalogue of over 10,000 prints and negatives of antiquities, places, people and events in West Cornwall. It has recently acquired a further 15,000 transparencies of buildings, industrial archaeology and related interest.
It is rewarding because it is a real pleasure to be there. Some of that is due to the building itself, a fine Victorian mansion set in delightful gardens, with large and comfortable rooms.
The Reading Room, with its current magazines and reference books, is especially sunny and welcoming, although members use every room as a reading room, except perhaps the pantry where they make themselves coffee. But above all thanks to its members and staff, the Morrab has the happy atmosphere of an unstuffy club.
That atmosphere is probably why most people join the Morrab, certainly why they stay in membership. Although it's a rich resource for research, the vast majority of members come along for the latest novel or non-fiction book, but they also come to meet with other members. It is a library for all who like books and people and its membership has been steadily growing. If you are not a member do take this opportunity of a visit and take a look around. In the meantime enjoy the Morrab's website: www.morrablibrary.org.uk
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