What is wrong with this picture?
Yes, that’s right – no Baby Spice (now I come to think of it, the title of this post might have been something of a giveaway…).
These four tiny Spice Girls ‘In my Pocket’ books arrived at the UL under legal deposit in April 1998. Because of their size, they were put into an MR classmark, which has a size ‘e’ category for volumes that are smaller than 16 cm. They have had quite a few outings over the last few years, as we began including them in the exhibitions we put on as part of our tours of the music department. The reasoning behind this was partly to demonstrate the eclectic nature of our collections (!) and partly because the tiny, brightly-coloured books look rather good as part of an exhibition – especially as a sharp contrast to the huge 16th century choirbook which also makes regular appearances in exhibitions.
Putting out a recent exhibition, somebody noticed the problem with this set – we were missing a Spice Girl! I’m not sure how I’d managed to not notice this up until then, but it was unsettling to know that poor Emma had not arrived safely at the UL with the rest of the group. Looking at other libraries’ collections, and at legal deposit records, showed us that she was also missing from the set in other legal deposit libraries, despite having been published at exactly the same time. She had arrived safely at the British Library, but nowhere else that we could see, despite the other books in the set having arrived in several places under the Legal Deposit Act. Curiouser and curiouser…
This state of affairs was not to be borne, and a quick internet search and a few days waiting eagerly for the post resulted in Baby Spice being happily reunited with the rest of the gang.
If there is a moral to this tale, I suppose it would be never to assume that things have arrived under legal deposit. If anyone has a rational explanation of the Mystery of the Missing Spice Girl, we would be delighted to hear your theory!