Lurking in the Stacks

I recently moved to London to work as a Library Assistant at the British Film Institute's Reuben Library. The library holds a vast collection of material relating to all aspects of cinema and the moving image. Due to spacial limitations, the collection, which includes books, journals, periodicals, magazines, annuals, pamphlets and reports etc., is held across three locations: the library reading room, the closed access stacks beneath Southbank (where the library is located) and at the multimedia vaults at the archive in Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire. Managing the collection, and the circulation of its contents, and ensuring we know where items are and when, really keeps us on our toes!

Much of the library's collection held at the vaults has been collected and stored with care over the years, and there's a lot of really old and super rare material there, including now long out of print publications. It's important to preserve these items as they are part of our cinematic heritage and are perhaps all that physically remain of certain publications no longer in print. It's also important to preserve them so they can be made accessible to the library's users. During a recent visit to the vaults to rehouse annual reports into acid free boxes, a colleague very kindly introduced me to the single issue stacks and some of the treasures lurking therein. The items in this section of the stacks have been collected by or donated to the library but are maybe not part of a complete collection, or are maybe titles which were part of a very limited series that ceased publication, or were at one stage collected by the library before subscriptions were cancelled after one or two issues.

The single issue stacks 
Unless items housed at the vaults, and indeed in the closed access stacks beneath the library, are specifically requested by library users, like little paper vampires, they sadly don't see the light of day very much. I am regularly required to retrieve requested items from the closed access stacks at Southbank and while searching for the requested titles, am frequently distracted by the plethora of other gems lurking within the shelves - especially titles relating to horror cinema. The same thing happens when I visit the vaults to shelve returned stock that had been requested by library users. I thought it'd be nice to share some of the horror related items that I come across. To kick things off, here are some of the beautiful monster magazines and journals of yore I came across in the single issues stacks in the multimedia vaults...

Horror make-up effects for sale from the Monsters Anonymous Club Journal 

If books are your bag, check out my Instagram, Dusty Covers, where I share photos of book covers from the collections of several of the libraries where I've worked (including some from the BFI's library collection).

For more information about the BFI Library and its services, go here.

For more information about the BFI National Archive, go here.

For more info on old monster magazines and journals, many of which are sadly no longer published, check out Monster Magazines. You'll be glad you did.


Dr. Theda said…
cool mags, good Sir... a pleasant 2020 to you and yours

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