University Of Tasmania
whole_AdkinsKeithEdwin2004_thesis.pdf (35.89 MB)

For the best of reasons : the Evandale Subscription Library 1847-1861

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posted on 2023-05-26, 22:19 authored by Adkins, KE
This thesis is a study of books, libraries and reading in colonial Tasmania, conducted largely through an examination of the records of the Evandale Subscription Library in the period 1847 - 1861. The aims of this study are threefold. Firstly, it intends to show the foundations and traditions upon which the Evandale Subscription Library was established, emanating both from Britain and from within the colony. Founded as a penal colony, in 1803, within a generation Tasmania also became a destination for free British settlers seeking to improve their circumstances at the farthermost ou;post of the Empire. The decline of the Aboriginal population following the appropriation of their land, the latter's suitability for agriculture, and the availability of convict labour, left few impediments for settlers, beyond the isolation they experienced and the absence of sufficient means for intellectual recreation and practical enquiry. As a result, some of the earliest community-based libraries in the Australian colonies were established in Tasmania. Secondly, it aims to reveal the borrowing habits of library subscribers, from evidence of borrowing rather than from the incidence of bookselling, or merely from availability, given the evidence of library catalogues. The incidence of books and reading in emerging societies has long interested historians. Mostly such enquiry is hampered by the lack of hard data. For Tasmania, the fortuitous survival of the loans and borrowing register of the Evandale Subscription Library provides evidence of the books borrowed by library subscribers at a critical time in the colony's development, coinciding with the cessation of convict transportation and the emergence of representative government. This study also investigates the sharing of books and periodicals within the home or family unit, particularly by women. As a means of collating this data, to determine the borrowing habits of subscribers, an electronic database was constructed from the library's catalogue of books and loans register. Thirdly, this study aims to demonstrate the importance of the Evandale Subscription Library (and libraries, books and reading generally) in the lives of individuals in the colony, as a means of recreation, of self-improvement, of maintaining links with their homeland, and to the building of a civilised society, in the British model


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Copyright 2004 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s). For consultation only. No loan or photocopying permitted until 01 May 2006. Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Tasmania, 2004. Includes bibliographical references

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