Open Access book collections

The Open Access collections at the Special Collections ServiceThe open access book collections at the University of Reading Special Collections Service can be found in the reading room and in the rooms on the open access library corridor, which is accessible via the door next to the current periodicals shelves in the reading room. Please ask a member of reading room staff if you require any assistance.

Most of the books in these areas are catalogued on the Enterprise online catalogue, which can be consulted in the reading room. Books and other printed items from these collections are not available for loan, but are available for readers to browse and study in the reading room during their visit. Please return any books from these collections to the wooden trolley next to the photocopier after use. 

Reading Room reference books

This collection is located at the end of the reading room, and includes general key reference works such as dictionaries, encyclopaedias, glossaries, Who's Who and a selected number of books relating to the University Special Collections and the collections of the Museum of English Rural Life (MERL).

The library of the Museum of English Rural Life

This library holds about 50,000 books, pamphlets and periodical volumes. It is mainly located in the rooms on the open access corridor, which is accessible via the door next to the current periodicals shelves in the reading room. There are also a number of closed access books and periodicals, which have different catalogue locations and need to be requested from reading room staff.

The collections embrace farming through the ages, the development of agricultural technology, the history of food and diet, perceptions of the countryside, the social history of the countryside, garden and landscape design and history, the politics of land use, conservation issues, local history, estate management, and rural crafts and industries. 

Books

Books are arranged according to the MERL library classification scheme, which was specially created for this library (typical catalogue location: MERL LIBRAR--2030--PEO). A copy of the scheme is kept in the reading room, and may be helpful for readers who would benefit from browsing particular sections. The book shelves are marked with the subject areas to aid browsing. The majority of the MERL books are catalogued on the Enterprise catalogue.

Periodicals

The library also holds extensive runs of farming and countryside journals from the nineteenth century onwards, including Farmers Weekly, The Field, Country Life and Farmer and Stockbreeder. Most of the current journals are kept in the reading room in alphabetical order (typical catalogue location: MERL LIBRARY PER READING ROOM--COU/LIF), with other journal titles located at the end of the open access library corridor (typical catalogue location: MERL LIBRARY PER OPEN ACCESS--COU/LIF), also arranged in alphabetical order. Country Life, Farmers Weekly and The Field are different, in that the issues for the last few years are in the reading room and the earlier issues are in the open access corridor sequence. Lesser-used periodicals are stored in closed access storage (typical catalogue location: MERL LIBRARY PER CLOSED ACCESS--RET/EXP) and in our off-site store (typical catalogue location: MERL LIBRARY PERS--WEL). Please ask a member of reading room staff if you wish to see any periodicals from these locations.

Pamphlets

The pamphlet boxes are housed in room G09-G11. Each pamphlet has a classification number, as for the books. We are in the process of cataloguing and re-numbering the pamphlets with unique call numbers (typical new catalogue location: MERL LIBRARY PAMPHLET-5820--BOX 1/02). Please ask a member of reading room staff if you require any assistance in locating pamphlet material.

Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAFF) pamphlets

These bound volumes contain collections of pamphlets on broad themes (Agricultural Economics, Agricultural Education, Poultry, etc.) and each volume has a contents list of the pamphlets it contains. They are classified according to the MERL library classification scheme, and individual pamphlets are being catalogued selectively. These form a separate collection in rooms G09-G11 in the open access corridor (typical catalogue location: MERL LIBRARY MAFFP --2920--LAN).

Classified information files

This collection is a cuttings file which contains articles from periodicals and newspapers. The cuttings are kept in cabinets in the reading room and are placed in folders organised by the MERL classification scheme.

Evacuee collection

A collection of books on evacuation and wartime studies which forms part of the Evacuee and War Child Archive. The collection includes copies of journals, including Children in War. This collection is catalogued on the Enterprise catalogue, and is stored in room G8 on the open access library corridor. Children in War is stored on the current periodicals shelves in the reading room.

Museum studies books

Books relating to museum studies to support University of Reading courses on this subject are classified in the 1400s sequence at the beginning of the main MERL library sequence.

Beckett Collection open access book collection

The Samuel Beckett Collection contains books by and about the Nobel Prize-winning writer, dramatist and poet, Samuel Beckett (1906-1989), and is located in room G7 on the open access library corridor. The collection contains nearly 500 editions of Beckett's work in more than 20 languages, together with nearly 1,000 critical and biographical works and journals. This collection is catalogued on the Enterprise catalogue.

Knowlson Beckett open access book collection

This collection is the working library of James Knowlson, the author of Samuel Beckett's biography Damned to fame : the life of Samuel Beckett (1996). The collection includes editions of Beckett's works, critical works, journals and books on art, literature, theatre, poetry and other subjects that relate to the study of Beckett. The collection is located next to the Beckett Collection open access book collection in room G6 on the open access corridor, and is currently being catalogued on the Enterprise catalogue.

Mark Longman Library

The Mark Longman Library consists of around 4,000 books, pamphlets and journals on subjects relating to the history of the book, including bibliography, book production, publishing history and practice, readers, reading and librarianship. Formerly the "Books about books" collection donated to the National Book League by Maurice Marston, its first secretary, the collection was expanded following the launch of an appeal in 1972 in memory of Mark Longman, Chairman of the National Book League 1967-1971.
The collection is catalogued on the Enterprise catalogue, and is stored in Rooms G9-10.

University Special Collections open access reference books

This collection includes books and periodicals on subjects relating to the University archive and rare book collections, including University of Reading journals and calendars, and is stored in room G8 on the open access library corridor. This collection is catalogued on the Enterprise catalogue.

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