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Mechanics' Institute - Library

Historic Documents
Léa Moreau
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Historic Documents Details
Initially a place of entertainment, the Mechanics' Institute subsequently became a public library on the adoption of the Public Libraries Act (1884).

The Library was the most valuable asset of the institution and was viewed as a necessity, providing significant educational opportunities to its members.
Many of the books within the initial library were donated by members and friends of the institution, such as the booksellers Angus & Co., and the well-known architect Archibald Simpson who provided technical books.

The first Catalogue of books in the library of the Aberdeen Mechanics Institute was published in 1825, with some additions were added the following year. Originally, 800 copies of the catalogue were printed. We hold both the first catalogue and its additions in our collections.

In 1837, the library consisted of over 11,000 volumes of works, mainly relating to science and the arts. It was primarily a library of scientific and technical books but, after just a few years, the Committee discussed the possibility of extending its collections to adult fiction.

The library grew steadily over the following years and, owing to the advantage of a new building and a good library, people joined the classes in larger numbers. When the institute was disbanded, the library's contents were donated to the new public library in Rosemount Viaduct - now Aberdeen Central Library.
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