Plan of the Transylvania Library (1795)

S1.  The funds for procuring a Library are from the sale of Shares, from half yearly Subscriptions and from Fines.

There are to be no more than two hundred Shares.  The price of a Share is Five Dollars; it is transferable.

Every holder of a Share pays three quarters of a dollar, on the first Saturday in every June and December – and after the money is due; he can take no book from the Library till it is paid.  By two successive neglects of payments, his share is forfeited.

Any Student at the Transylvania Seminary is entitled to the use of the Books, like another Subscriber, by paying merely the three quarters of a Dollar half-yearly.

S2.  The subscribers meet on the first Saturday in every January, or whenever called together by the Committee which they annually appoint.

Any questions proposed at a meeting of the Subscribers, and determined by a majority of those present; except, that in consideration of the use of a Library room, granted by the Trustees of the Seminary, and the attendance of the Students to the Librarian; the subscribers covenant and agree with the said Trustees, that the Library shall not be dissolved nor removed without the consent of the Board.

Every Subscriber is entitled to as many votes as he hath shares.

Every subscriber may direct the Librarian to procure whatever books he pleases, to the amount of his share.  But if he does not avail himself of this privilege;  the Committee <shall> appropriate his subscription in the purchase of such books as they shall judge proper.

The Committee likewise appoint a Librarian, and shall enact subordinate regulations.

S3.  The Library is kept in a room provided by the Trustees of the Seminary.

A Librarian, attended by two of the Students, attends from half past two to five o’clock on the first Saturday in every month, to receive and deliver out books.

Each Subscriber is then entitled to take out two volumes for every share he holds, which must be returned before three o’clock on the first Saturday of the following month.  If it be not returned he can take out no more Books, and must pay 2 d. per volume, for those he has.  If he neglects it twice successively, the fine is 6d. per volume.

                  If 3 times      10d.

                  If 4 times 1s. 4d.

                  If 5 times 2s.

                  If 6 times he forfeits his share.

The Librarian is at liberty to change a book for a subscriber whenever he wishes it – but it must be returned on the succeeding first Saturday.

If a subscriber loses a book; he is to pay one half more than the value of it.

If a book be damaged while in his possession; he is to make an equitable compensation.

If he lend a book to a non-subscriber out of his family; he shall forfeit one sixth of the value of the book.

January 24, 1795[1]

[1] Kentucky Gazette, February 13, 1796, page 2, column 3, May 23, 1799, page 3, column 3 and July 4, 1799, page 6, column 3.


William M. Ambrose, Lexington Public Library - Founded 1795 / Free 1898, Limestone Press, Lexington, 2012.

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