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A catalogue of books placed in the galleries in the reading room of the British museum

books placed in the galleries in the reading room of the British museum 

British museum BOOKS


The present brief Catalogue lias has been drawn up to facilitate the use of the collection of books placed in the galleries of the Reading Room. The additional space assigned to the Library at the removal of the Natural History Departments made it possible to carry into effect a most valuable suggestion of the Principal Librarian, by removing from the Reading Room the long sets of periodicals, which formerly occupied the galleries, and were comparatively little used, and by placing in their stead a selection of the books gathered from all parts of the Library, which were found to be most frequently asked for by readers. 

From this alteration a twofold advantage was anticipated: in the first place, the books being in the room could be promptly Bupplied, special arrangements being made to facilitate and quicken their delivery, but above all, they could be made use of in the evening, when the Reading Room is illuminated by the electric light, and when it is impossible to obtain books from the interior of the Library. To enable the collection to be used, it was requisite that a Catalogue should be prepared, and this has been done with all possible brevity. 

The books is fully described in the " New General Catalogue " of the Museum, it was unnecessary to do more than to furnish such indications as would enable the works and the editions to be identified, and to supply the press-marks. The contents of collections and of the collected editions of authors' works have, however, been set out; so as to enable the reader to write for the particular work, or volume, which he may require. A comprehensive index has been added, which will furnish the clue to a very wide range of subjects, more especially if used in conjunction with that of the " List of Books of Reference," * to which it is supplementary. Many important works are necessarily absent from 

A List of the Books of Reference in the Reading Room of the British Museum, Second Edition, revised. Printed by order of the Trustees. London, 1871. 

 the present Catalogue, on account of their being placed in the Library of Reference on the ground floor. The present collection is not to be regarded as a Library of Reference. The chief object informing it has been to bring together in a convenient position the books in general demand and thus to save time in supplying books to the readers. Many books therefore which would not otherwise have found a place in it have been included because they were found to be often asked for, and others because they form parts of collections, desirable as a whole, from which it was impossible to separate them. 

s far as possible, the new works and new editions have been included up to the time of going to press. It is proposed for the future that new books of importance should be incorporated into this collection as they appear and that those which may have become obsolete, should, from time to time, be removed. It is hoped that when the plan is in full operation, there may be, within the walls of the Reading Room, a Library of some sixty thousand volumes, comprising the most useful books upon all subjects, kept up to date by the constant addition of new publications, and freely and quickly available at all hours at which the Reading Room is open to the public. 


Author: George William Porter, 
Publication date:1886

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