Research Festival Call for Papers: Libraries, Lives and Legacies, April 2023

Date / time: 6 January, 12:00 am

Organised by the AHRC-funded ‘Books and Borrowing, 1750-1830′ and ‘Libraries, Reading Communities and Cultural Formation in the Eighteenth-Century Atlantic’ projects.

Split-Venue Research Festival

13-14 April 2023 – University of Liverpool and online | 17-18 April 2023 – University of Stirling

We are glad to announce a series of events on Libraries, Lives and Legacies in April 2023, and to invite papers for our conference. Registration for all events will be available in the new year.

At the University of Liverpool and Online (hybrid events)

13 April: Subscription Libraries in North America and the British Isles, 1731-1801: Books, Concepts, People, Communities

A one-day symposium featuring pre-circulated work-in-progress papers emerging from the ‘Libraries, Reading Communities and Cultural Formation in the Eighteenth-Century Atlantic’ project. Please contact for further information.

14 April: Old Books, New Media: Digital Humanities Showcase

A one-day workshop showcasing digital humanities projects exploring the history of the book, and featuring the launch and demonstration of two major new AHRC-funded open-access databases on libraries in the long eighteenth century. Please contact for further information.

At the University of Stirling (in-person conference)

17 to 18 April: Reading and Book Circulation, 1650-1850

Keynote Speakers: Deidre Lynch, Ernest Bernbaum Professor of Literature, Harvard University; and Andrew Pettegree, Bishop Wardlaw Professor of History, University of St Andrews

Featuring a round table discussion with librarians and practitioners:

  • Elizabeth Quarmby Lawrence, Rare Books Librarian, Edinburgh University Library
  • Lara Haggerty, Keeper of Books, The Library of Innerpeffray, Crieff
  • Rachel Hart, Senior Archivist & Keeper of Manuscripts and Muniments, University of St Andrews
  • Robert MacLean, Special Collections Librarian, University of Glasgow
  • Robert Betteridge, Eighteenth-Century Printed Collections Curator, National Library of Scotland

Call for Papers, deadline – 6 January 2023

The organisers invite 20-minute papers that approach the topics of reading and book circulation in the (very) long eighteenth century from any methodological perspective. Since Robert Darnton first challenged researchers in the field of book history to consider how to retrieve the history of reading, many new approaches have been pioneered, and much new evidence has come to light. At this conference, we hope to survey the state of the field, facilitating conversations between librarians, archivists, and researchers from a variety of different disciplines, and considering the myriad ways in which understanding book circulation and reading habits can shed new light on our period.

Papers might address (but are not limited to) any of the following topics:

  • Communities of reading
  • Individual readers
  • Relationships between actors in the communications circuit
  • Institutional practices and the history of reading
  • Library history and collection histories
  • Education and pedagogy
  • Theoretical approaches to reading
  • Methodological challenges and solutions
  • Archival materials and other new evidence

Please send abstracts of no more than 300 words for 20-minute papers, or 800 words for pre-formed panels of 3 or 4 speakers, as a Word document attachment to Professor Katie Halsey at,with the subject line ‘Reading and Book Circulation Conference’ by 6 January 2023. Please include a 100-word biography for each speaker.