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SAULCAT - St Andrews University Library Catalogue

King James Library lectures

Book cover, The Meaning of the Library, by Alice Crawford 



The King James Library lectures are now published as a book, The Meaning of the Library, edited by Alice Crawford.  (Princeton University Press, 2015).  Further information available here

 As part of the University of St Andrews' 600th anniversary celebrations, the University Library offered a series of public lectures on 'The Meaning of the Library'.  Delivered by internationally renowned figures from the academic and library worlds, the King James Library Lectures articulated what the library as an institution has meant to civilization in different historical periods.  The lectures also set out visions of what the library might mean in our own time and beyond. 

King James Libray

The King James Library Lectures were delivered over the years 2009 - 2013 and were associated with the 400th anniversary of the establishment of the King James Library at the University of St Andrews.  Lectures were held where possible in Parliament Hall, with receptions afterwards in the King James Library itself, allowing audiences to enjoy what Dr Samuel Johnson in the eighteenth century described as this 'elegant and luminous' bookroom.  Situated immediately below the King James Library, Parliament Hall is where members of the Scottish Parliament met in the late seventeenth century, when plague in Edinburgh led them to seek sanctuary in St Andrews.

Lecture programme
Tuesday June 9, 2009 Dr James Billington, Librarian of Congress 'The Modern Library and Global Democracy' 2pm, School III
Tuesday October 27, 2009 Professor Andrew Pettegree, University of St Andrews 'The Renaissance Library and the Challenge of Print" 5.15pm, Parliament Hall
Wednesday March 24, 2010 Dr Stephen Enniss, Eric Weinmann Librarian, Folger Shakespeare Library 'Casting and Gathering: Libraries, Archives, and the Modern Writer'


School III

Wednesday, June 23, 2010 Professor Robert Darnton, Harvard University Library 'A Literary Tour de France, 1778: How Books Were Made for Enlightenment Libraries' 2.30pm, King James Library
Wednesday April 20, 2011 Professor Laura Marcus, University of Oxford 'The Library in Film' 5.15pm, School III
Tuesday October 18, 2011 Professor Richard Gameson, University of Durham 'The Image of the Medieval Library' 5.15pm, School III
Monday March 19, 2012 Professor Marina Warner, University of Essex 'The Library in Fiction' 5.15pm School II
Wednesday, October 24, 2012 Professor Edith Hall, King's College London 'Adventures in the Libraries of the  Ancient Greek and Roman Worlds' 5.15pm, School III

Thursday, November 14, 2013


Dr David Allan, University of St Andrews 'The Advantages of Literature: the Subscription Library in Georgian Britain'

5.15pm,Upper College Hall (in conjunction with RLUK Members' Meeting)

Friday, November 15, 2013

Emeritus Professor John Sutherland, University College London 'Libraries and Nineteenth-Century Learning'

10am, Upper College Hall (in conjunction with RLUK Members' Meeting)

Friday, November 15, 2013

John P. Wilkin, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 'The Meaning of the Library Today'

3.15pm, Upper College Hall (in conjunction with RLUK Members' Meeting)