It’s not really secret, but Cambridge University’s Library tower has over one-million books in its collection that haven’t been seen by readers for years. The library is seventeen floors of many Victorian books, titles that were considered not very important. Any tomes that were mainstream, ephemeral, or considered risqué were hidden away in the 157 foot tall library tower.
The library has now opened the doors to this eclectic collection of books in a free exhibition called: Tall Tales: Secrets of the tower.
These books were not cataloged by the usual Dewey decimal system, instead they were shelved in the order of arrival at the library. As the librarian there states; “Today, this makes for quite surreal bedfellows with, say, an edition of War and Peace elbowing for position next to a Dull Thud (a long-and-probably-best-forgotten murder mystery). But in terms of social history, it’s fantastic.”
Readers can pick a shelf of any year, and see what was published. A long standing myth has surrounded the Cambridge library collection–that it housed Victorian porn. Works considered sexual were deposited at the library in a collection known as the “Arc” or ‘secret things’ in Latin. And yes, the library does host a collection of these scandalous books, but the extensive collection also contains titles from cooking, to children’s literature, to the classics.
Tall Tales: Secrets of the Tower is open until 28 October 2018.
For more details follow this link.