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History and architecture

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In 1884 the Yorkshire College of Science found space in the new buildings in the Baines Memorial Wing for the library: "We have set apart for library purposes... a room capable of holding 10,000 volumes".

A year later, Miss Fanny Passavant was appointed as the first Librarian (overseen by an academic Honorary Librarian) at a salary of 18 shillings per week. The notable Honorary Librarian in 1913 was Professor H. Bragg, who "undertook to carry out the duties of Librarianship until the beginning of next session". In 1915 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics with his son William Lawrence Bragg.

In 1919, Miss Passavant decided to retire, aged 70. A new, professional, Librarian was appointed. Richard Offor was previously the Assistant Librarian at University College, London, and was given £350 per year. His first ambition was "to build a new University Library", as the library had outgrown the space set aside for it.