The current circumstances have left the library empty of visitors, except for the quick socially distanced passing of books at the front door of the department. We do continue to provide some services from afar, from the ‘Click & Collect’ already mentioned to the ‘Scan & Deliver’ for those who are currently away from Cambridge – or only need a chapter from a specific book. Although we all miss our students and scholars very much, this has left plenty of time for the staff to work on other projects.

  • Cleaning and Tidying

The Whipple Museum staff has taken advantage of the empty rooms to check on the instruments on display around the library. Meanwhile, when sitting at the desk becomes too tiring, there are always books to move around! You may find the shelves slightly re-organised by your next visit.

  • Getting our latest acquisitions shelf-ready

Whether requested by a reader or of general interest, books and journals have continued to be delivered to us! Viewers of our Twitter account will have, for example, seen our beautiful new book on Boxes.

  • Caring for our Special Collections

Alongside our usual items, several new Special Collections books have recently made it to the store.

Evening amusements; or the beauty of the heavens displayed: in which several striking appearances, to be observed on various evenings in the heavens, during the year 1817, are described by William Frend [Store 167.32] gives us tables for the major 1817’s astronomical events, month by month. An ‘amusing’ note – “moon & madness” left by a past owner sends us to page 72 – where we can indeed read all about the influence of the Moon on the senses.

From the human mind to the human body, we have Jauffret’s Les merveilles du corps humain: ou notions familières d’anatomie à l’usage des enfans et des adolescens [Store 167:35], a collection of dialogues between a fictional student and teacher pair.

We are not the first library to hold this item, with a bookplate from our Barnstaple colleagues at the North Devon Athenaeum. A past owner, Mr. William Rowe, left a lovely note to his friend: “May you, my dear friend, through reading the wonders of the human body, better fathom the greatness of the famous and incomparable architect of the human machine”.

Lastly, Arendt’s Practical aids to the study of Natural History, Botany, Geology, Mineralogy, and Technology, adapted for the use of schools [Store 220:35] hid quite the surprise. A young botanist had left us some gifts, in the form of pressed flowers and leaves in-between pages.

Post and photographs by Raphaëlle, Library Assistant.