This book was prepared by instruction of the Norwich Public Library Committee, and it is now published as a souvenir of the sixtieth anniversary of the opening of the present Public Library, which will take place on March 16th, 1917. Norwich occupies a unique place in the history of libraries: it has the distinction of having established in 1608 one of the earliest provincial public libraries, if not the first in England, and it was the first municipality to adopt the Public Library Act, 1850. It is hoped, therefore, that the following sketch, besides giving local readers and archŠologists a detailed account of an important Norwich institution, will form an interesting chapter in the history of British Libraries.
hem, we Agree to subject our selves to ye Penalties mentioned in ye orders Confirmed by the Court of Common Councill in ye said City."
The Library at this time was clearly a Reference Library, and its maintenance partly depended on the members who agreed to pay their "proportions" of 12d. quarterly, and also their equal share in any charges made for the "better preserving of the Library." The earlier entries in the Minute Book give a fair record of the proceedings at the meetings: they record the names of the members present, the names of new members admitted to the use of the Library, the quarterly payments of the members, the donations of books, books purchased with money given to the Library, duplicate books exchanged for other books, the appointments of the Library Keepers and Under Library Keepers, and other matters connected with the administration of the Library; but the fulness of the entries gradually diminishes until the records are little more than lists of members present, and notes of quar