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London pride in context: Treasures and the library treasures volume in Britain today

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London pride in context: Treasures and the library treasures volume in Britain today


The treasures volume, showcasing rare, beautiful, or significant items, is proliferating in 21st century Britain. This is despite the alternative of the World Wide Web to provide a cheaper, quicker, easier way for libraries to publicize their choicest holdings. But what is the treasures volume really doing, and how indicative are its contents of our most valuable items? This article is based upon the author’s experience of selecting 60 items for the 2012 treasures volume, Senate House Library, University of London. It describes the rationale behind the choices and contextualizes within the genre in the United Kingdom more widely, looking at other treasures volumes and at web displays, to generalize about libraries’ presentations of themselves. It notes emphasis on unique, distinctive, and relevant items and on institutional identity, and interprets the modern treasures volume as a political document to justify libraries’ existence by highlighting their distinguishing features.

Attar, Karen (2014) London pride in context: Treasures and the library treasures volume in Britain today. IFLA Journal, 40 (4). pp. 244-253. ISSN 1745-2651; 0340-0352


Item Type: Article
Subjects: English
Keywords: library treasures, treasures volumes, rare books, Britain
Divisions: Institute of English Studies
Institute of English Studies > Centre for Manuscript and Print Studies
Collections: Book History
Depositing User:
DOI: 10.1177/0340035214553917
URI: http://sas-space.sas.ac.uk/id/eprint/6592
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