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The Collation

A treasure chest 6.75 meters long

It is not a secret that in most libraries—and I am tempted to write “in all libraries”—treasures are slumbering and waiting for their discovery. This sort of thing may happen when you least expect it, for instance when you call for a book and it turns out to be a completely different one than the one you think you asked for.

In some libraries—and certainly not in all of them—treasuries are tucked away somewhere in remote and gloomy caverns of the building. In many a library, books are tidily waiting on the shelves to be entered in the catalogs. In other institutions, dozens of boxes chock-full of books are piled up against the walls. I know of at least one library where the back-log outnumbers the cataloged holdings of an average institution. In general, library staff shouldn’t fear for a lack of work.