A contact has alerted us to E. SAXEY’S description of a very unlikely special collection in ‘The Librarian’s Dilemma’, where books definitely do not come to be free:

“So photographs aren’t allowed at all?” Later, in the pub, Jas was still keeping his voice down.

“Nothing’s allowed.” Fred pulled out a sheet of crumpled paper. “Here’s the contract researchers sign. Check which ones you’ve already broken.”

No stealing, no smoking. Fair enough. No photocopying, no scanning. Well, it might damage the books. But for every three reasonable requests, there was a big ask.

The researcher will not discuss the Harrad Collection in person or on social media.

Texts from the Collection will not be added to referencing apps or software including (but not limited to) Zotero, EndNote, RefMe…

Modernity isn’t inevitable, the librarian had said. She knew about social media and referencing software, but had decided to ban them. She wasn’t an aging dusty stereotype. She was well informed, and gatekeeping.

Could Lady Harrad have found the codex from which the new Prophecy fragment comes? Is that why only a page has surfaced? Is the rest still waiting to be smuggled out of St Simon’s?

Our contact adds that E. SAXEY may be able to put us on the trail of other likely libraries:

Also, I was keen to see Heythrop’s incredible collection of incunabula – early printed books – as I knew that Lord Peter Wimsey, my favourite fictional detective, collected them. They’re very rare and highly prized. Having seen the collection, I can say: they’re also dull as hell! Visually speaking. Pages of cramped black text and no pics. Illuminated manuscripts still have my heart.

We recommend that everyone should follow the trail at ‘Great libraries and my part in their downfall’!


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