Friday, February 10, 2012

Book sniffer

Things at the LNFU have been going swimmingly, something I like to say mainly because I work with and for people who study fish.Yesterday I took a little break to visit the special collections room of one of the LNFU libraries. They'd advertised a display of old, interesting-looking books, and for a limited time only! - so I decided to check it out.

Little did I know that I would actually get to hold in my bare hands a small book published in 1553. And flip through the pages of a big book published in 1554. Its cover had small metal hinges on it, fastened with tiny nails. Without even bothering to see if anyone was looking -- because, to be honest, I was in a room full of fellow oddballs -- I bent down and sniffed the big book. It didn't really smell like anything, which when you think about it makes sense because it's been kept safe from anything that would make it stinky.

Once I'd finished examining the books, I looked at some correspondence the librarians had laid out on a counter nearby. One of the letters was from Charles Darwin, and was written in in his own hand. It wasn't a photocopy. This one I didn't touch. Or sniff. I just bent over it while holding my hair back so I wouldn't shed on Chuck.