Echoes from the vault: a blog from the Special Collections of the University of St Andrews and its 2015 project

Echoes from the Vault, the Special Collections blog of the University of St Andrews, is undertaking 52 weeks of reading in 2015.

The idea behind the year of blog posts is to commit to the oft wrongly cited notion that Librarians spend their days reading books – tossing those pesky reports and user enquiries to one side – and actually spend time reading parts of the collection.

It is a great idea and one, considering the collection involved, full of interest not just to those doing the reading.

The blog explains in the introduction for the project how the contributors will select a book and be allowed some time with the original but then be given either a photocopy or electronic copy to read after hours. So no getting away from the reports and hard work after all.

The weekly posts already show the year ahead is going to be an eclectic list, ranging from a book of floral biology to The 39 Steps to family letters sent to Lt. Thomas Harrott during the Napoleonic Wars. The posts include a personal account of the reading as well as historical insights and each is copiously illustrated from the book.

To view all the posts uploaded as the year goes on, go to the blog and click on the blog tag ‘Reading the collections’.

If not quite the same as reading books all day, the blog is a delightful compromise to spend a little time if you are a librarian.


A sweet Book-ay: perfumes based on books

A selection of perfume based on dead writers from sweet tea apothecary

Unisex perfume based on dead writers from Sweet Tea Apothecary

The next time you think a law librarian smells of just a pile of old books, it’s actually expensive perfume.

The SLLG tweeted news this week of a literary inspired perfume. From the response, it seems that not only is the idea popular to librarians, but is already being mist-sprayed into the air and walked through.

In fact there are a few options available to the discerning librarian who wants to wear a published aroma about town…

Dead Writers Perfume, is blended to evoke the feeling of “paging through yellowed copies of Hemingway, Shakespeare, Fitzgerald, Poe, and more”, and bottled by The Sweet Tea Apothecary.

The “simple scent” of Paperback can be procured from Demeter.

An eau de perfume of an entire library is possible from In The Library, by  CB I Hate Perfume.

Steidl introduced the fragrance, Paper Passion, packaged in a book with an ISBN. Steidl’s website gives little away and so it is left to Fragrantica to explain the high concept behind the creation and packaging of Paper Passion and describe the potpourri:

…Its characteristic chic scent that should relax and reach in each of us a certain amount of concentration and meditation, just like when we read books

Packaging for Paper Passion

Packaging for Paper Passion

Surely, too, there are others out there to be sampled.

I’m no per fumier so I am guessing these perfumes smell better than soaking vellum, rag-paper and leather conditioning wax with a library stock copy of Bravo-Two-Zero in a fermenter jar on a bookshelf for a bit and labelling the result decadently: “Liquid Print”.

Maybe the SLLG could host a perfume party evening and we can blind test the book themed scents against the real things!