The past, present and future of public libraries

University of Bath librarian Howard Nicholson will provide an outline of the history of public libraries in a free public lecture at the University on 7 March.

British public libraries have a history going back to the seventeenth century but are perceived by many as currently being outmoded and consequently in decline.

This lecture outlines the history of the public library, looks at some of the challenges they currently face, and speculates on how they can adapt to our age of public funding cuts, increased personal affluence and the Internet.

Politics aside, this talk considers how publicly-funded libraries are adapting to changing needs and, where supported, are finding new ways to engage their communities.

Howard Nicholson has been University Librarian at the University of Bath since September 1992.  Previously he worked as a Sub-Librarian at the London School of Economics and as an Assistant Librarian at the University of Sussex. He has served on SCONUL committees concerned with library buildings, service quality and copyright.

Further professional interests include publishing, staff development, library statistics and quality assessment in libraries. Mr Nicholson attended the University of Sussex as a mature student, having already started his career in librarianship and gained a First Class honours in English and an MA in English Literature.

The lecture is part of the University’s General University Lecture Programme (GULP). Others in the series include:

14 March - Urban Peregrines - Bath’s very own Speed Hunters! Ed Drewitt, learning officer for the Bristol Dinosaur Project will reveal a different side to Peregrines- not only as majestic, aerial hunters but as opportunistic falcons living often nomadic lives.

21 March - Protecting Architectural World Heritage from Seismic Hazard- Some of the fundamental concepts of earthquake engineering and recent research developments in the field of earthquake protection will be illustrated by way of examples of retrofit of heritage structures in Europe and Latin America.

The lecture is taking place in Lecture Theatre 8West 1.1 and starts at 5.15pm. Free parking is available in the West Car Park after 5pm.

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