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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 41

Public Libraries

Public Libraries.

48. The Melbourne Public Library is open to all classes of persons over 14 years of age without payment, on week days, between ten a.m. and ten p.m. The buildings, up to the end of 1878, had cost £111,604, and are still unfinished. These funds were provided by the Government, as also were further moneys amounting, with the sum just named, to £280,316. The estimated value of the private contributions, consisting of books, pamphlets, maps, &c., is £12,408; and the total number of books in the library 101,035. The institution was visited in 1878 by 256,400 persons. In most of the towns in the colony there are free libraries, athenaeums, or scientific, literary, or mechanics' institutes, some of which receive books on loan from the Melbourne Public Library. One hundred and sixty-seven of these institutions furnished returns for 1878. Their statements show that the total receipts in that year amounted to £25,590, of which £6925 was contributed by Government, and £18,665 by private individuals; that the number of volumes amounted to 221,614; and that the number of visits during the year amounted to 2,600,000.