Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Balfour Library Conservation Project - the volunteers have now cleaned 2,000 books!

There are around 6,000 books in our special collections that require cleaning, so this is a real milestone!

The 2,000th book to be cleaned was a volume of Descrizione e notomia degli animali invertebrati della Sicilia citeriore : osservati vivi negli anni 1822-1830, by Stefano delle Chiaje. Tome 1-8. Published in Naples, 1841-44. Balfour Library shelfmark: qHL (3). 

Susan and Diane removing the 2,000th book from the shelves for cleaning!

Title page of the book.

Lovely book bindings.

The volume is from the collection donated by Alfred Merle Norman (1831-1918), a clergyman in Co. Durham. He began studying marine biology during the early 1850s and during the 1860s was an important participant in John Gwyn Jefferys' expeditions to the Shetland Islands. 

Norman collected specimens from all over the British Isles and also dredged in Norwegian fjords. He published major work on Protozoa, Porifera, Coelenterata, Mollusca, Crustacea, and other invertebrates. His collection was acquired by the British Museum (Natural History). 

Norman's library, which incorporated John Gwyn Jefferys' library on molluscs, is now part of the special collections here at the Balfour & Newton Libraries. 

An article on Norman can be found in the Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, v. 68, pp. 69-98 (1980), which includes a bibliography of his publications. 

A short biography of John Gwyn Jeffreys, 1809-1885, can be found on the Royal Conchological Society website at: http://www.conchsoc.org/ (click on the Molluscan Interests tab, then click on History, then on Eminent Conchologists).

Alfred Merle Norman's impressive bookplate.

Me with the 2,000th book - the volunteers got their own back for all the photos I've published of them!

Well done and thank you very much to all of the volunteers for their hard work so far.