TitleSigned Minutes
DescriptionMinutes of the Free Public Library Committee.
Includes printed annual reports (Oct 1857 - Oct 1869).

The Public Libraries Sub-Committee was set up on 4 Jan 1855.

On 6 Mar 1855 the Committee approved an advertisement for a 'Librarian for the Free Public Library of the Corporation of Sheffield' at an annual salary of £100. Mr Walter Parsonson was appointed to the post of Librarian.

The Book Sub-Committee was set up on 16 Nov 1855 'for the purpose of ordering the books which shall from time to time be directed to be purchased by [the] Committee and with power to purchase occasionally any books offered for sale in Sheffield which they may consider suitable for the Library'.

The General Reference Sub-Committee was set up on 16 Nov 1855 'for the purpose of assisting and advising the Librarian when needful, attending to the state of the Library, ordering trifling articles of furniture and repairs, and auditing bills and accounts etc'.

The Reference Department of the Library was opened on 1 Feb 1856. An Assistant Librarian, Mr Thomas Hirst, was appointed enabling the Lending Department to open on 2 Jun 1856.

On 11 Apr 1856, a separate room at the Library was opened solely for the use of female readers.

On 28 Sep 1857, the Committee discussed the idea of letting library readers visit the Museum of the Literary and Philosophical Society (located in Surrey Street Music Hall) as an 'experiment' to 'judge whether the working men of Sheffield would be likely to appreciate the advantages of a Public Museum'. The question of establishing a Free Public Museum was raised in response to the offer of Mr F. Ward's collection of Chinese hardware. Committee decided it was too costly.

First printed annual report issued in 1857. The idea of branch libraries was suggested in the 1859 report. Printed annual reports (Oct 1857 - Oct 1869) detail: the number of books issued by subject; popular titles; average number of male and female readers in the library each day; condition of books; number of books in stock; book recommendations; statement of accounts; list of donations; Committee and Officers for the year; (from 1861-1864) an analysis of readers including age, place of residence and occupation.

In 1869, the first branch library - the Upperthorpe Branch of the Sheffield Free Library - was opened in Albert Terrace Road, Upperthorpe. Thereafter the Committee was called the Free Public Libraries Committee.
DateDec 1853 - Apr 1870
Extent1 volume
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