I've written before about some of the discoveries one can make while wandering around the ERC Library at Melbourne. (Which used to be the 'Education Resource Centre Library' but, after the renovations are complete, will be backronymed into the 'Eastern Resource Centre'.) I'm sure lots of university libraries have a section like this -- at least where they haven't been moved offsite or worse -- a ghetto full of old books that nobody is interested in any more, except historians. I've found about 50 books in the ERC relevant to my research, from The Great War of 189-- (1893) to Civil Defence in War (1941). I can get most of them at the SLV (or the BL, if I happen to be in London), but the nice thing about them being in the ERC is that I can borrow them, take them home, and read them at my leisure instead of having to pore over them in a reading room.
I thought I'd mined the ERC pretty thoroughly, but now I'm not so sure! This evening I swung by after work to pick up a couple of books. I found one with no trouble, but the other one wasn't there. Instead, a different book with the same author and call number was there, so I think the catalogue is incorrect here. In fact, I know it's incorrect, because on a shelf nearby I stumbled across a cache of books on air raid precautions which aren't even in the catalogue! And I know this because only a couple of weeks ago I spent about $50 photocopying chunks of two of them, one at the SLV and the other at the Ballieau special collections. If they'd been listed in the catalogue I could have just borrowed them, and directed that money elsewhere!
I wonder what other uncatalogued treasures are hidden in the ERC? The only way to find out would be a call number-to-call number search, starting with the usual suspects ...
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