Do you have any books in this library?

Working in a library sometimes has its advantages.

For instance, yesterday I spotted an interesting looking book on the shelves.  It wasn’t the type of book I would think to look for.  Nor was it the type of book I would stumble upon accidentally if I was browsing the shelves for something to read – after all  what would I be doing in the comparative psychology section? (not being a student or graduate of psychology, I mean).  Working in the library means that I do have to go to the comparative psychology section from time to time (Dewey Decimal number 156 if you were wondering!) and also the public administration section (351.1), the Celtic languages section (491.6), the geology of Great Britain section (554.1) and the history of Belarus section (947.8).  What this means is that I continuously stumble upon fascinating books I would not otherwise be anywhere near.

Going back to the book I found yesterday – I flicked through the pages, became intrigued so I issued it out to myself.  I took it home and began to read.

Today I rushed out of the house for work forgetting to take this book with me (I usually read a book during my breaks).   Here is the second reason working in the library is great: WE HAVE MORE COPIES!  Being an academic library for a university, we have multiple copies of any title on reading lists, or titles that are recommended for students in general (such as Writing your Dissertation: How to Plan, Prepare and Present Successful Work – 808.066).  So come break time I simply wandered up to the comparative psychology section and continued to read. Marvelous!

(We couldn’t have done it without the use of mechanical reproduction  – so thank you modernity!)

Not the actual book title!! No, this is not part of the library stock 😉

10 Haunted Libraries Around the World

link to original blog post

10 Haunted Libraries Around the World

October 12th, 2012

by Ellyssa Kroski

Since the first post, 10 Haunted Libraries of the US was so popular, I thought an international edition was in order.

Here are 10 more haunted libraries throughout the world.

The Marsh Library, Dublin

  1. Raby Castle, Durham, England.

    Sir Henry Vane the Younger, who was beheaded for treason in 1662 haunts this castle library. His headless torso has been reported to appear on the library’s desks! More coverage here.

  2. Marsh’s Library, Dublin Ireland

    The first public library in Ireland was founded in 1701 by Archbishop Narcissus Marsh (1638–1713)
    who is said to haunt the building to this day. He has been seen wandering among the shelves and rummaging through volumes looking for a lost letter from his niece. More coverage here.

  3. Felbrigg Hall, Norfolk, England

    The gothic library of the National Trust Hall of Felbrigg in Norfolk, England is said to be haunted by William Windham III, an 18th-century scholar and close friend of lexicographer Samuel Johnson. More coverage here.

  4. State Library of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia

    Security guards at this State Library have reported many ghostly haunts including a children’s librarian named Grace, a mustachioed gentleman who wanders the music stacks, as well as glowing balls of light and various poltergeist phenomena. More coverage here.

  5. Kimberley Africana Library, Northern Cape South Africa.

    The first librarian, Bertrand Dyer committed suicide by swallowing arsenic and is said to remain here, haunting the special collection. Footsteps of the former librarian can be heard pacing from room to room. More coverage here.

  6. Morelia Public Library, Michoacán Mexico

    A ghostly nun wearing blue has been reportedly seen by library staff in this 16th century building. the restless spirt’s footsteps can be heard throughout the library. More coverage here.

  7. Rammerscales House, Lockerbie, Dumfries, Scotland

    James Mounsey, the former owner of this 18th century estate is said to haunt the library within. The ghostly apparition was so active during World War II that stendents who lived there at the time preferred to sleep in the stables. More coverage here.

  8. Bristol Central Library, Bristol, England

    This reference library is said to be haunted by a gray-robed monk who haunts Bristol Cathedral next door. He is said to visit the adjacent library to consult theological books. More coverage here.

  9. McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

    The ghost of a man in an old-fashioned coat haunts the sixth floor of this university library. He is said to meet the gaze of those who speak to him and then promptly disappear. More coverage here.

  10. Blackheath Library, St. John’s Park, London England

    The library in this former vicarage haunted by the spirit of Elsie Marshall (1869–1895), the woman who lived and grew up in the house. It’s been reported that lights go on when there’s no one inside the building and people have felt her presence brush past them when they enter. More coverage here.

Henry VIII and his books

Henry VIII at Warwick castle. Photo (c) Hannah Meiklejohn 2011

While some people believe that to mark a book with ink, or to crease a corner of a page, break a spine or any other casual treatment is like book – cruelty; others see nothing wrong with making notes, underlining or marking passages.

Henry VIII was one of these people.  The British Library holds a collection of books which had belonged to the King, famous for having six wives, and creating the Anglican protestant church in England.  The books have his notes and markings all over them, showing us his thoughts about certain topics.   Whenever he came across something he thought was important or noteworthy, he drew little hands alongside the text.  As well as marking lines he thought were interesting, he also wrote love notes in the margin of a prayer-book.

Treating a book this way is not acceptable to everyone.  But what would come of these books if Henry VIII hadn’t scrawled over them?  The British Library would not have this fascinating, and a part of our understanding of his character would be lost.

The commentary of The British Library:
The King has annotated the right-hand page in two places.

‘O Lord, save the king: and hear us in the day that we shall call upon thee’ as ‘an appropriate prayer for kings’ (pro rege oratio).

With his pencil annotation ‘concerning kings’ (nota de regibus), Henry draws attention to Psalm 20: which instructs him that, as king, he is called to ‘rejoice in the Lord’s strength and delight in His salvation.

A page of Marulić's Evangelistarium annotated ...
A page of Marulić’s Evangelistarium annotated personnaly by the English King Henry VIII, kept in the British Library (843 K 13) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)