Buried Treasure

The Basement Store at Victoria LibraryIf you thought the bounteous shelves of your local library were all that they had to offer, think again. As well as all the help you can get, the classes, the 24/7 Library and so on, don’t forget the wonders that are stored in the bowels of most libraries, just waiting for you to use them once more. While we make as much stock as possible readily available for browsing, the sheer number of new publications each year and the great value of some of our older stock makes ‘store’ collections a necessity.

Rest assured, staff will always retrieve a store item for you with great pleasure – so don’t be afraid to ask.

Here’s a little bit about just one of our stores, at Victoria Library. The store collection here is huge, and a casual search on the catalogue for store items at Victoria Library turns up 35,000 records, which makes for a huge number of books.  We hold the reserve stock books for History, Biography, and Literature (including some foreign language literature) here, with a smattering of Belief books for good measure.

Very little of the store is actually accessible to the public with only the early History and Belief books being open access so everything else has to be specifically requested and gathered up by staff.  Most of the store books are quite old and are effectively irreplaceable.  The stores are organized along the same lines as the rest of the library with each category being subdivided according to Dewey.

We have good books, classic books, obscure books and naughty books. Books with embellished covers, banned books and books which were originally kept ‘under the counter’ and issued in a bag! There is also a huge overspill collection of Graphic Novels and Manga books to be found here too.

The Biography Store on the Mezzanine level offers an unparalleled view of the reading room as well as a great deal of information about the various characters who have affected our world.  Ranging from modern, eg: Susan Boyle, to the slightly more obscure Letters of the Fanny Brawne to Fanny Keats with a wealth of information on notables from our past, for example, Karl Marx.

The Mezzanine Store at Victoria Library

Separately to this you can find the odd bike, wooden puppet show, an odd shoe, empty DVD boxes, and an almost complete collection of Workshop Manuals for nearly every car manufactured since Henry’s Black Ford!

The shelves in the Basement Store run from wall to wall and floor to ceiling. Heavy grey metal shelving with the uppermost shelves so out of reach to the average height person, that a small ladder is required to retrieve anything – but we don’t mind that, nor the inch thick layer of dust…

We hope you have enjoyed your tour of our Stores here at Victoria, and we look forward to going down into that dusty basement yet again to retrieve the odd gem, which may not have seen the light of day since before the war… The Boer War!

[Nick & Georgina]


8 responses to “Buried Treasure

  1. How I miss Westminster Libraries!
    I worked at Westminster Reference Library for two years, and I loved being amongst books all the time! 🙂


  2. Love love love this blog. Love that you call the deepness of libraries “the bowels of the library,” due to my blog name. Love spending hours amongst the stacks.


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