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" A Taste For Reading In The Country": Religious And Endowed Libraries

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Chapter Summary

The survival of borrowing records from a remarkable succession of endowed and religiously-inspired libraries, founded largely in the seventeenth century, allows to add extensive evidence of book loans to the speculations about how such institutions influenced provincial culture in the age of Enlightenment. A small number of endowed libraries also flourished in provincial Scotland in the age of Enlightenment, closely related, in motivation at least, to libraries like the Dumfries Presbytery Library and others of the Kirkwood scheme. An endowed library offering far more extensive holdings was that founded at Dunblane by Robert Leighton,Bishop of Dunblane and Archbishop of Glasgow. Dismissed by Aitken as "scarcely" a public library at all, the Leightonian Library actually seems to have been a major feature of the cultural landscape, warranting pride of place in the Statistical Account of the parish composed by two of its regular clerical patrons.

Keywords: Dumfries Presbytery Library; endowed libraries; Leightonian Library; religiously-inspired libraries; Scotland



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