A milestone for Heythrop Library

June 7, 2024

The Heythrop Library recently finished cataloguing all uncatalogued books in the Mayfair reading room (in the basement of the London Jesuit Centre). This is a remarkable achievement.

Blog by Clemens Gresser, Heythrop Librarian

When the Library moved into the LJC, following the closure of the Heythrop College in 2019, most books moved here were not catalogued. Also, over several months many boxes of unwanted books from other Jesuit libraries in the Province arrived, and the librarians then unpacked them, shelved those books which were wanted in roughly the right sections, and discarded the unwanted volumes.

Clemens Gresser, Heythrop Librarian, explained:

'The new yet old mass', by Joseph M. Champlin (1977)

'When I arrived in September 2021 there were only 1,300ish books catalogued. So, every time someone asked whether we had a book, I first searched the catalogue, and then had to go to the shelf in the reading room, to check whether a copy of a book wasn’t lurking there, uncatalogued. With the help of temporary colleagues (Emily, Tanya, and Kevin), and since September 2022, Naomi, we catalogued over 6,000 books in the last 3 years in our reading room alone! Now we can find anything in our catalogue. And so can you, anywhere in the world! There are some unique and interesting editions in there, including some important books about the liturgy, two of which are pictured."

'The Mass in a world of change', by Joseph M. Champlin (1973)

Naomi Hart, Assistant Librarian points to further practical issues with having so many books uncatalogued:

‘Having a reading room of catalogued books has made a significant improvement to our workflows. Previously, if a reader wanted to borrow an uncatalogued book, we had to record its details in a spreadsheet, catalogue it 'blind', and then improve the catalogue record once the book was returned. In addition, our book-buying process has become far more streamlined. The Library avoids duplicating its holdings, so in the past, when wanting to buy a new book, we had to search the uncatalogued shelves to check whether a copy was already held. Now, we can search the catalogue reliably. This means fewer mistakes and happier librarians!’

For the link to the Heythrop Library’s catalogue please click here.

To find out more about the London Jesuit Centre please click here.

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