Abstract

The colonies of European settlement in Australia and New Zealand experienced an extraordinary growth of small public library societies beginning in the mid-nineteenth century. A similar development appeared on the gold fields of California at the same time. Australasian colonists and California miners, conditioned by the reading revolution of the late eighteenth century, were demanding a wide range of materials for extensive reading and in conditions of rapid expansion at frontiers adopted the subscription library society to meet their needs. When the reading climate shifted in midcentury toward reading for entertainment, the library societies quickly moved to meet the new demands and in New Zealand degenerated into user-pay fiction reading clubs.

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Additional Information

ISSN
2166-3033
Print ISSN
2164-8034
Pages
pp. 151-164
Launched on MUSE
2007-06-21
Open Access
No
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