Victorian Circulating Libraries
By
Jennifer Carnell

Unlike some book collectors, I am always pleased to see the labels of circulating libraries. The circulating libraries were the main buyers of three decker novels, and to remove these labels is to remove their history. On this page, which was originally on the website until 2006 and has now been restored, will be displayed adverts, as well as labels and stamps in books and a few pieces of associated ephemera.

Admiralty Subscription Library
Time allowed for reading this volume 7 days
Label found in a first edition copy of Wives and Daughters (1866) by Mrs. Gaskell.

A first edition of In High Places (1898) by Mary Elizabeth Braddon, rebound in a Boots Booklover's Library binding.

Alexander Bowman's Circulating Library
Brook Street, Broughty Ferry.
Library label pasted on to the front cover of a novel published in 1885 (Flower and Weed by Braddon).


'J. Fox's Circulating Library (library label circa 1847)
Burley Place
Kirkstall Road Leeds.
Which contains a variety of useful and entertaining Works.
Time allowed for Reading - 7 days
Charge for each Volume - 1½ d.
Forfeiture per Day keeping a Book beyond the time - ½ d.
If any Book be lost, written in, or injured, the person who took it out shall replace it, and if it be one of a set
he shall either procure a Volume to match, or take the remaining volumes and procure a new set for the
Library, or pay the value fixed upon it. Any stranger wishing to take Books out of this Library, must be
introduced by a person known to the Libraries.
Each Volume must be paid for on its being taken out.
N.B. The Fines will be strictly enforced.'
This label belongs to a copy of the second volume of Reynolds's Miscellany, published in 1847.

Great Western Railway Mechanics' Institution, New Swindon
Library Department
A label pasted into a one volume reprint of The Story of Barbara by M.E. Braddon, circa 1881.
'It is particularly requested that Females and Children will change Books in the Morning or Afternoon.'

A stamp on the title page.

Grosvenor Gallery Library
137, New Bond Street, London, W.
Library label in a three volume novel published in 1895 (Colonel Norton by Florence Montgomery).

'Circulating Library. - A bargain.
Four hundred volumes of
Modern Novels,
Including the Works of the most Popular Authors, to be sold for £20.
Apply to W. Hyde, 17, Great Titchfield street, Oxford street, three doors from Mortimer street.'
W. Hyde may have been the agent for the sale, rather than the library owner.
An advert published in Reynolds's Miscellany, 12 June 1847.

Mudie's Select Library
Mudie's Select Library, New Oxford Street, London.
A magazine advert published in 1874.

A hardback Mudie's Catalogue, a publication which listed all the books in stock at Mudie's Library.


Salmon's Library
The Post Office, 32 & 33 White Rock, Hastings.
The circulating library label shows an interesting advert for Goss China.
The label is on the front cover of a novel published in the late 1890s (The Valley of Poppies by Joseph Hatton)
and the form inside showed it had never been borrowed.

An advert published in 1863 for the United Libraries, 307 Regent Street, London.
The United Libraries was comprised of several older libraries:
Booth's of Duke Street (established 1786)
Saunders & Otley, a publisher in Conduit Street
Churton's of Holles Street
Hodgson's, Marylebone Street.

A second advert, also published in 1863.

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