Extensive records of what readers consulted in libraries during the early-modern period rarely survive. This paper approaches the question of what readers read obliquely, by examining a rare survival of internal audits of 'missing books' conducted by Marsh's Library in Dublin (established. 1707) during the eighteenth century.
The audits will be examined to determine the types of books that went missing, and whether it is possible to suggest that books were taken for the personal use of readers, or to be sold on the second-hand market in Dublin or further afield. Is it also possible to suggest whether thefts were carried out by visitors to the Library, or members of staff? In the context of this paper, particular attention will be paid to the theft of books produced in The Netherlands.
Dr Jason McElligott is the Keeper of Marsh's Library, Dublin and an Adjunct Professor in the School of History and Archives at University College Dublin (UCD). He was educated at UCD and St John's College, Cambridge. He is a former Fellow of Merton College, Oxford. His primary research interests are in early-modern British book history. His most recent publications are an edited collection (with Prof Eve Patten) entitled The Perils of Print Culture (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014) and 'The Royal Shambles (1816): Hiding Republicanism in Plain Sight', in Geoff Kemp (ed.) Censorship Moments (Bloomsbury Academic, 2015).