Visited the new Treasures exhibition at the NLS today, featuring Science Fiction from Scotland. I think the Curator’s had a lot of fun putting this selection together. On the one hand, examples of the earliest ‘science-fiction’ with Conan Doyle’s the Lost World and Robert Louis Stevenson’s Jekyll and Hyde, on the other the contribution of Scottish authors to modern sci fi phenomenons – I particularly liked the Doctor Who Annual along with mini-statue of a Weeping Angel. A bright spot to retreat to on a cold rainy day. Treasures at the National Library of Scotland.
Spent some time this morning sculling through the New College archives looking for correspondence about some of the New College Special Collections, the Dumfries Presbytery Library and the Longforgan Free Church Ministers’ Library. There’s a fascination to leafing through the thin typewritten sheets that measured out the business of New College Library over the decades. One envelope contains the daily diary notes of the New College Librarian for the autumn term (no semesters then) of 1965 – jottings and tick lists of meetings about the finances, measuring up the space needed for new periodicals, noting library staff who’ve gone home feeling ill. Other letters are handwritten enquiries to the Librarian, and his replies – “Dear Miss Grant, I have very little to tell you about the revival of the use of the saints names as dedications of Church of Scotland Parish Kirks …” this said, the letter went on to give a full page of information. My life as a librarian is measured out in e-mails, with paper letters like these occasionally lurking at the fringes.