Stock Taking Round-Up 2018

“Stock taking” is the name of our game for a 2 week period, usually in the summer months when reader numbers are very low. At this time, Special Collections closes and gets on with large-scale tasks: all hands on deck!!

Stock taking is always a lot of  fun and we look forward to the annual event. And, while we had our set of stock taking objectives to achieve there are definitely some recurring themes:

  • One task always takes longer than you think it will
  • We always discover a preservation nightmare
  • We always get dirty
  • We always find new treasures

Interestingly, this year  all of the above related to one collection: the National Art Slide Library donated by the Victoria & Albert Museum in the 1990s. Since its arrival, before the establishment of Special Collections, the collection was moved around a lot and its original arrangement lost. So this year we were determined to get to grips with it.

The archivists and volunteers get their hands dirty:

Katharine sans mask. Naughty!

Natalie with the slides. Can’t bear to look obviously.

Volunteers Carys and Molly – it appears our other volunteer, Mudge and Assistant David managed to avoid the camera for this one.

Preservation disaster

We were very sad to open this box and discover poorly packaged broken slipping slides. We did manage to salvage 3 boxes worth though.

After reading that the collection possibly contained nitrate film in a cardboard box!! David and I were initially perturbed on opening this box but fortunately it turned out to just be reels of microfilm.

Re-discovered treasures in the slide collection

Images of home: Leicester market c 1900


Other discoveries

As well as “taking stock” one of our main tasks this year was to make our rare books and journals  more accessible – overall we moved a staggering 500 linear metres (mostly David)…

Trainee Archives Assistant, David

as well as organised and listed 700 boxes of slides!! No wonder one of us was dreaming about them:

A tweet that resulted in free cheese for #cheesedreams from @Pilgrims Choice. Win!!

We now have an amazing box list of the whole collection which has increased our understanding of the content enormously, allowing us to develop cataloguing methodologies, not to mention highlighting some of the more urgent re-packaging needs.

A job well done (still doing, ahem)!!




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