rules is rules (1897)

rules banner

  • NO children allowed and NO drunks, scruffs or smokers
  • ONLY 1 book out at a time
  • NO touching the books without permission
  • Do NOT go into the librarian’s enclosure

AND, damage a book and risk 6 months in prison or, if you’re a man, a WHIPPING, “once twice or thrice”.

See them in full here : Colne Free Library Rules

Over the top ? or just wanting to keep safe something new and valuable ?

Perhaps the most important point is that the “free” library was not available to everyone. It was only the people who paid for it, the ratepayers, who could borrow books, or people who had a ratepayer as a guarantor – a long way from the library services we currently enjoy.

Source: Colne Free Library Catalogue 1897 (Lancashire Archives Reference MBCO Accession 9281)

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