Libraries Offences Act 1898

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The Libraries Offences Act 1898
Long titleAn Act to provide for the Punishment of Offences in Libraries
Citation61 & 62 Vict c 52
Territorial extentEngland and Wales
Royal assent12 August 1898
Status: Amended
Text of statute as originally enacted
Text of the Libraries Offences Act 1898 as in force today (including any amendments) within the United Kingdom, from

The Libraries Offences Act 1898 (61 & 62 Vict c 52) was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, applying in England and Wales.

It provided that certain behaviour in libraries and reading-rooms were considered an offence, liable on summary conviction to a fine of up to forty shillings. The Act extended to any public library established under the Public Libraries Act 1892, as well as to a library or reading-room maintained by any Industrial or Provident Society, any Friendly Society, or any registered trades union. The Act prohibited, where it was "to the annoyance or disturbance" of any other user - disorderly behaviour, the use of obscene or abusive language, gambling or betting, and persistently remaining within the library beyond its stated closing hours. It applied only to England and Wales.[1]

The Act is still in force, though to a limited degree; it no longer extends to public libraries, which are dealt with under the Public Libraries and Museums Act 1964, and as such it only applies to libraries maintained by trade unions or industrial, provident or friendly societies. The forty-shilling fine has now been replaced by a fine of up to level 1 on the standard scale.


  1. ^ The public general acts passed in the sixty-first & sixty-second years of the reign of her majesty Queen Victoria. London: printed for Her Majesty's Stationery Office. 1898.

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