Autumn maintenance: weeding the open shelves

Pendlebury Library shelves with opened volume.

For the past fortnight, Flora has joined us at the Pendlebury on a work experience placement from a local school.  She has been helping out with a project to relocate older material within the Library.  Happily, her enthusiasm hasn’t been dented by trolley-loads of books that have covered her in various vintages of dust, and we have enjoyed uncovering illustrated Victorian volumes such as ‘Auld Scotch Sangs’ (heavily emblazoned with tartan) and some Australian folk songs with questionable lyrics from the turn of the century.  She has also lent her hand to contributing to the blog, so we have made our MusiCB3 debut in collaboration.

Pile of pre-1900 scores with “Songs of Childhood” on top (Pendlebury: current classmark Pb.297.18B.S2)

The Pendlebury is currently undergoing changes to redevelop the library space.  There are around 60 000 books and scores on the open shelves here, some of which were published over 100 years ago.

It is these books that are now being removed from the open access library and transferred to the closed access section in an attempt to address the ongoing problem of overcrowded shelves. This will help to make way for more contemporary publications.

“Hänsel and Gretel”, E. Humperdinck (Pendlebury: current classmark Pb.262.85H.H1)

However it is not simply because of lack of room that they are being moved; many of these books are of an obscure nature and may only attract the interest of people who specialise in a particular area – they are therefore not in huge demand and need not be accessible at all times.

The process of removing the ‘pre-1900s’ material has proved to be sometimes rather challenging- some of the books are difficult to date. This is because a relatively high number of publishers did not give a year of publication in their C19 books and scores, and sometimes “plate numbers” in printed music are misleading or not very helpful in narrowing down in which decade something was printed. For this reason, identifying material as pre-1900s on this scale involves some personal judgement, as there is rarely time in a busy Faculty Library to research each volume in depth.

These changes are reflected in the catalogue records, and Library users will still be able to view the material as required.

Flora (work experience student 24 September – 7 October 2012) and HH

About hb281

Library assistant at the Pendlebury Library of Music
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2 Responses to Autumn maintenance: weeding the open shelves

  1. Pingback: Aging gracefully? An update on the Pre-1900s material at the Pendlebury | MusiCB3 Blog

  2. Pingback: Reference liberation front | MusiCB3 Blog

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