North Devon Athenaeum
Discover & Explore North Devon’s Rich Past

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Library Collection

We have over 15,000 items on our shelves covering the history of North Devon, the Westcountry and beyond.


The Library Collection is the oldest of our collections and has its origins in the foundation of the Barnstaple Literary and Scientific Institution over 170 years ago. In the early days of the institutions many of the items were donated to us by Rock, our Directors & Trustees as well as members of the public.


The oldest item on our shelves was published in 1597 and was donated to us by John Roberts Chanter, one of our original directors.


We have an extensive collections of local books as well as large collection of more general books which made up part of our original library collection from when we were the only free library in Barnstaple.


To find out more about some of the items we have on our shelves visit the Discover…On Our Shelves! series on our blog, Tales From the Archives

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