Books and Borrowing 1750-1830



KATIE HALSEY (Principal Investigator, University of Stirling)

Katie Halsey is Professor of English Studies at the University of Stirling, and Co-Director of its centre for Eighteenth-Century Studies. Her publications include Jane Austen and her Readers, 1786-1945 (Anthem, 2012) and (with Angus Vine) Shakespeare and Authority (Palgrave, 2018), as well as numerous works on the history of reading.

MATTHEW SANGSTER (Co-Investigator, University of Glasgow)

Matthew Sangster is Professor of Romantic Studies, Fantasy and Cultural History at the University of Glasgow. In the field of Library Studies, he has published on the eighteenth-century records of St Andrews University Library in the Review of English Studies and led the Carnegie-funded ‘Enlightenment Readers in the Scottish Universities’ project (focusing on Glasgow). Alongside working on ‘Books and Borrowing 1750-1830: An Analysis of Scottish Borrowers’ Registers’, he is also contributing to another major AHRC project employing library records: ‘Libraries, Reading Communities and Cultural Formation in the Eighteenth-Century Atlantic’ (PI: Mark Towsey). His other research interests include the Royal Literary Fund, Fantasy literature, Romantic-period London, literary institutions and the media environment of the 1820s. His first monograph, Living as an Author in the Romantic Period, was published by Palgrave in January 2021.

BRIAN AITKEN (Digital Humanities Research Officer, University of Glasgow)

Brian Aitken is the Digital Humanities Research Officer for the School of Critical Studies at Glasgow, and is responsible for developing, implementing and supporting the School’s extensive collection of digital resources, principally those developed through externally and internally funded research projects. He is the website and database manager for The Historical Thesaurus of English and A Thesaurus of Old English, and he also developed the visualisations and interface for the Mapping Metaphor project. He was responsible for developing the online resource for the Dictionary of the Scots Language, the iOS and Android app for the Scots Schools Dictionary and for the redesigned versions of the Scottish Corpus of Texts and Speech and the Corpus of Modern Scottish Writing.

KAREN ‘KIT’ BASTON (Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of Glasgow)

Karen ‘Kit’ Baston’s book Charles Areskines Library: Scottish Lawyers and Book Collecting at the Dawn of the Scottish Enlightenment was published in 2016 and she co-authored The Roman Law Library of Alan Ferguson Rodger (2012). She specialises in Scottish legal history and the material culture of the book. She was project manager for ‘William Hunter’s Library: A Transcription of the Early Catalogues’ and assisted with the University of Glasgow Borrowers’ Register project, both at the University of Glasgow.

MAXINE BRANAGH-MISCAMPBELL (Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of Stirling)

Maxine Branagh-Miscampbell completed her PhD at the University of Stirling in 2021. Her project was titled ‘Childhood Reading and Education: The Royal High School of Edinburgh, 1750-1850’. For this project she drew on the borrowers’ registers and historical records for the Royal High School to analyse the use of the school library in relation to childhood reading practices and the changing school curriculum. She has research interests in the history of reading, school and institutional libraries, childhood reading practices and children’s literature.


Isla Macfarlane is a PhD student researching the Borrowing Records and Visitors’ Books of Innerpeffray Library, supervised by Katie Halsey (Stirling) and Lara Haggerty (Innerpeffray). Isla studied English Language at the University of Glasgow and completed her MSc in Book History and Material Culture at the University of Edinburgh. Her research interests include library history, book history, the history of reading and marginalia.


Josh Smith is an AHRC-funded PhD student working on political readers and reading in early-nineteenth century subscription libraries, with a particular focus on the records of the Bristol Library Society and the Leighton Library in Dunblane. His research interests also include the book publishing and printing networks of anti-Jacobin fiction as well as British politics of the Regency era.


Cleo O’Callaghan Yeoman is an AHRC-funded PhD student, supervised by Katie Halsey, Gerry McKeever, and Matthew Sangster. Her research focuses on novel reading and associated forms of ‘improvement’ within Post-Enlightenment Scotland. She also has a keen interest in eighteenth-century women’s writing and recently published an article in The Burney Journal.

Undergraduate Research Assistants
  • Liv Gardener
  • Jacqueline Kennard
  • Lauren Moffat


  • Jennie Batchelor (University of Kent)
  • Robert Betteridge (National Library of Scotland)
  • John Crawford (Leadhills Heritage Trust)
  • Alex Deans (University of Glasgow)
  • Alexander Dick (University of British Columbia)
  • Jill Dye (National Museum of Scotland)
  • Lara Haggerty (The Library of Innerpeffray)
  • Neil Keeble (University of Stirling)
  • Gerard Lee McKeever (University of Edinburgh)
  • Jon Mee (University of York)
  • Jonathan Rose (Drew University)
  • Jane Slinn (Independent Thinkers Education)
  • Claire Squires (University of Stirling)
  • Bronwen Thomas (Bournemouth University)
  • Mark Towsey (University of Liverpool)