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The Roots of the Modern Library System

The original University of Toronto library collection was housed in University College, which officially opened in 1858. Thirty-three thousand volumes were tragically destroyed in the fire of 1890, including James Audubon’s Birds of America – a rare book valued at approximately $10 million today. Generous benefactors, including Queen Victoria and Alfred Tennyson helped to rebuild and expand the collections, contributing 40,000 volumes. 


The library’s accession register of new books, displaying books which were presented (given) to the library following the fire of 1890

The Roots of the Modern Library System