Seminar on the History of Libraries

Tue, 3rd Oct 2017 - 5:30pm
Professor Matthew Rubery (Queen Mary University): `Britain's First Talking Book Library for Blind People’.   Britain’s first Talking Book Library for blind people was established in 1935 to provide reading material for war-blinded soldiers who could not read braille. Its talking books consisted of specially modified gramophone records containing recitations of the Bible, Shakespeare, popular fiction, and more. Drawing on archives held by the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) and Blind Veterans UK, this presentation traces the library’s development from the initial experiments after the War to its reception among blind civilians, and, soon after, a series of controversies over taste, obscenity, and censorship.  


  A series of research seminars, which are freely open for anyone to attend, has been organized by the Institute of English Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of London.   Most seminars will take place this session in the Warburg Institute, Woburn Square, London, WC1H 0AB, unless otherwise stated. All are welcome. Meetings usually take place monthly during term-time on Tuesdays, commencing at 5.30 p.m.   Seminar convenors: Giles Mandelbrote (Lambeth Palace Library); Dr. Keith A. Manley (National Trust); Dr. Raphaële Mouren (Warburg Institute); Professor Isabel Rivers (Queen Mary).   The seminars are jointly sponsored by the Institute of English Studies, the Institute of Historical Research, the Warburg Institute, and the Library & Information History Group of CILIP.    

Warburg Institute

Woburn Square
WC1H 0AB London

Contact Details

Dr Keith Manley