The history of the University Library
University College Bristol was founded in 1876. In 1877 the first reference appears in its records to a library. To find out more, please view the following sections
The development of the Library
- 1876: foundation of University College Bristol.
- 1877: the Medical Library is mentioned in the UCB 1877/78 Calendar (p.4).
- 1883: first recorded mention of a non-medical library: "a small library is attached to the College for the use of past and present students" (1883/84 Calendar, p.18.) A library bookplate survives from September 1880.
- 1888: appointment of James Rowley, Professor of History and English Literature, as the first Honorary Librarian.
- 1892: incorporation into the College's medical school library of the collections of the Bristol Medico-Chirurgical Society, the Bristol Royal Infirmary and the Bristol General Hospital
- 1909: foundation of the University of Bristol.
- 1910: amalgamation of the engineering libraries of the University and the Merchant Venturers' Technical College.
- 1923: appointment of W.L. Cooper, the first full-time paid Librarian of the University.
- 1925: opening of the Wills Memorial Building, including the first purpose-built library accommodation housing the Arts & Science Library and the Medical Library relocated from temporary accommodation in the nearby Drill Hall (now demolished).
- 1940: extension to the Wills Memorial Building library wing opened (but not brought into service until 1945 owing to war conditions).
- 1950: seven boxes containing account books, sketch books, diaries and letters of I.K. and H.M Brunel received from the Dowager Lady Noble (the collection later much enhanced by gift and purchase).
- 1963: incorporation into the University Library of the collection of the Royal West of England Academy School of Architecture.
- 1976: opening of the new Arts & Social Sciences Library in Tyndall Avenue, including central administrative departments; the Law Library and closed-access stackrooms remain in the Wills accommodation but other space is vacated for academic use.
- 1976: the Library's first computer is brought into use as circulation is transferred to the SWALCAP system.
- 1977: incorporation into the University Library of the collection of the National Liberal Club, London.
- 1989: opening of a new closed-access Store on the Long Ashton Research Station site; the Wills stackrooms are vacated for academic use.
- 2000: the University Library becomes a constituent part of the new Information Services division.
- 2004: the Store moves to new premises at Brislington on the sale of the Long Ashton site.
- 2005: planning starts for a new building to replace the Arts & Social Sciences Library - Project NUCLEUS.
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Librarians of the University
In 1888, twelve years after its foundation, University College Bristol appointed its first Honorary Librarian.
- 1888-1901: James Rowley (Honorary Librarian of University College)
- 1901-1923: Ernest Sibree (Honorary Librarian of University College until 1909, then of the University)
- 1923-1946: William Luther Cooper (the first full-time paid Librarian of the University)
- 1946-1951: Francis Lawrence Kent
- 1951-1966: James Shum Cox
- 1966-1989: Norman Higham
- 1990-2002: Martin Geoffrey Ford (also Director of Information Services from 2000)
- 2003-2009: Alison Allden (also Director of Information Services, and Deputy Registrar from 2004-2009)
- 2009-: Cathryn Gallacher
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- L. Burlingham, 'Maria Mercer Physics Library' (Word, 39KB), (1999, revised by D. Avent-Gibson 2006, unpublished)
- A. Dodson, ‘Ernest Sibree: a forgotten pioneer and his milieu’, Journal of Egyptian archaeology, vol.93 (2007)
- L.M. Griffiths, 'The Bristol Medical Library', Bristol medico-chirurgical journal, vol.29 (1911), p.335-73
- F.L. Kent, 'The University of Bristol Library' (Word, 34 KB), Journal of documentation, vol.5 (1949), p.131-135 (full text reproduced by permission of Emerald Publishing)
- P.G. King, 'SWALCAP automated systems at Bristol', Bulletin (Ligue des Bibliothèques Européennes de Recherche), no.27 (1986), p.6-11
- N. Lee, 'The Library of the University of Bristol, 1876-1975' (Word, 90KB), also published in Archives & local history in Bristol & Gloucestershire :essays in honour of David Smith /edited by Joseph Bettey (Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society, 2007)
- 'On the history and growth of the Bristol Medical School Library', Bristol medico-chirurgical journal, vol.85 (1970), p.93-100
- A.E.S. Roberts, 'The Medical Library of the University of Bristol', Medical journal of the South West, vol.73 (1958), p.12-14
- C.K. Rudge, 'The Bristol Medical Library', Bristol medico-chirurgical journal, vol.30 (1912), p.344-50
- C.J. Spittal, 'History of the Engineering Faculty Library' (Word, 48KB), (2005, unpublished)
- C.J. Spittal, 'Queen's Building Library, University of Bristol', Library Association record, vol.61 (1959), p.295-98
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