“Spiders and Snakes and Cats…Oh my!”

What do spiders, snakes, and cats have in common? They are all things you would come across at MusiCB3 this Halloween (or at any time, to be honest!). Libraries are home to a surprising number of ‘animals’, and the music collections at the UL are no exception. Read on to discover our spookiest creatures!

Lions and tigers and bears

1939 … Lions and Tigers and Bears! OH MY! / James Vaughan via Flickr. (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)


Meet the rolling stacks, or ‘spiders’ as they are known around these parts. These movable shelves allow for much more efficient use of space than stationary shelving, and are home to a lot of the closed-access music. Turning the spider-like handles will glide the stacks to left or right on their rails.

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Snakes weights are a useful aid to anyone using a delicate or unwieldy book, allowing the pages to be gently held open whilst leaving both one’s hands free. They are shown here in a rather more artistic arrangement than usual…

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Cat Image Clipart 25

Since the word ‘catalogue’, is clearly too long and laborious to say multiple times a day, it will often be affectionately shortened to ‘cat’ in everyday library parlance.  There are therefore numerous cats to be found slinking around the library. The most important musical cats are to be found in the Anderson Room – these are the ‘card cats’ which hold the key to the majority of the printed music in the library. You can read more about these card catalogues, and other music catalogues, here. The Catalogue Hall, in the centre of the UL, is also home to a great number of cats.

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Although they are not quite as spooky as some of the other library animals, we could hardly end this post without mentioning the elephants. Our herd of elephants live happily underneath the Anderson Room, on lovely big roomy shelves, which is the only place they will fit. For these are our oversize scores. From the huge Wagner conducting score to the gigantic Squarcialupi Codex facsimile, moving these beasts requires the combined efforts of at least two of our most muscular staff.

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Happy Halloween from MusiCB3!

SC and KC

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