Andrew Pettegree and Arthur der Weduwen

The Library: A Fragile History

Wigtown Parish Church
In person event
Sat 2 Oct
12:00 UK

Famed across the world, jealously guarded by private collectors, built up over centuries, destroyed in a single day, ornamented with gold leaf and frescoes, or replete with bean bags and children’s drawings — the history of the library is rich, varied and stuffed full of incident. This dramatic and contested history, the first of its kind, is filled with stories about antiquarians and philanthropists, changing fashions, rare manuscripts, and avarice leading to crimes and misdemeanours. It reveals that while collections are fragile and easily ruined, the idea of the library itself has been remarkably resilient. 

About the authors: Andrew Pettegree is a historian and an expert on the European Reformation, the history of the book and media transformations. He is a professor at St Andrews University and director of the Universal Short Title Catalogue Project. Arthur der Weduwen is a writer, historian and postdoctoral fellow at the University of St Andrews, whose research focuses on the history of news, books, libraries, politics and communication.

The Library: A Fragile History is available from the Wigtown Book Festival shop HERE

Wigtown Book Festival Events

This year's programme is a combination of physical and digital events. Please ensure you book correctly. Digital events will stream through the homepage of with young adult events streaming through the YA page.

Unless otherwise stated, events will last between 45 minutes - 1 hour.

Full Terms and Conditions for attending this year's Festival in person can be found on our website.

Asking questions
On live-streamed events, questions can be put into the live chat box on YouTube or by clicking the 'ask a question' box below the stream on the homepage of the website and they will be forwarded to the speakers.

Buy the books
Browse our online bookshop, which will stock all our speakers’ latest titles.

If you have any queries about any of the Wigtown Festival Company events, please don’t hesitate to get in touch by emailing