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

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Adkins, KE (2004) For the best of reasons : the Evandale Subscription Library 1847-1861. PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Abstract

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

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Evandale Subscription Library, Library use studies, Libraries
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

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).

Additional Information:

For consultation only. No loan or photocopying permitted until 01 May 2006. Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Tasmania, 2004. Includes bibliographical references

Date Deposited: 25 Nov 2014 00:53
Last Modified: 23 Aug 2017 04:48
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