Middle Temple Library is unique amongst the four Inns in that we still hold the majority of books that have been collected by the Inn since 1641. As the books have been read and used throughout the centuries, however, they have suffered wear and tear to such a degree that many of them are in urgent need of repair. The Book Sponsorship Programme was started in 2007 in order to help preserve these books for future generations.
The Programme is fairly flexible. Donations can range from £300 to cover the cost of a simple book repair, to £2,000 for a heavily damaged book. Some examples of books in need of repair are:
- a book from 1634 which requires cleaning and rebinding at a cost of £300
- a 1567 book on fever and the plague, which requires rebinding and cleaning at a cost of £400
- a ‘sammelband’ volume composed of four different titles which has extensive mould and water damage, which will cost £2,000 to treat and rebind
Individual sponsors, as well as groups such as a set of chambers, are welcome to contribute. Sponsorship can be on someone's behalf, in memoriam for example, or to commemorate a past pupil master.
The sponsorship is acknowledged in a bookplate placed in the book, with the sponsor's name and personalised inscription. A letter outlining details about the book and some before-and-after photos are sent once it has been restored. Sponsors are welcome to consult the book before and after the restoration.
Books which require restoration range in date from the 16th to 19th centuries, and include a range of subject matter, including early exploration, geography, medicine, science, astronomy, law, religion and history. Sponsors can either choose a book for restoration and contribute the full cost, or contribute towards the general restoration fund, and we will determine a book based on need.
Restoration work is carried out by specialist, off-site conservation studios. All of the conservators we work with are registered on The Institute of Conservation's Conservation Register.
You can sponsor a rare book by visiting our donation page. If you require further information about the Programme, or a full list of titles and their estimated cost of repair, please contact the Senior Librarian on 020 7427 4830, or by email at email@example.com.