Thursday, 16 December 2010

Friend or foe?

You could be forgiven for thinking this picture is from a Dr Who set. In fact, it is from a book published in 1947, The Metropolitan Police at War

The book records the work of the Metropolitan Police during the years 1939-45.
They lent a hand at any job from helping, encouraging and rescuing the public.
The book describes their new duties and how they tackled everything from the day-to-day police work to the strange new tasks, including black out duties, bomb reconnaissance, crashed aircraft, straying barrage balloons, dealing with pigeons and fireworks.
There are small chapters that highlight the work of the police; one is about the mounted branch that explains how the horses were trained: "the police horse has to be proof against suprise," he is taught to ride through fire and to stand quietly no matter what the noise level is.
Another chapter concentrates on women police: "London's small force of women police had a strenuous war. The number of jobs which can be better done by women than by men is greater even in war than in peace."
How did I come across this book? At present we are doing an audit check of the Official Publications collection and are cataloguing all those that are not already in our database.

Monday, 13 December 2010

Books in art

As the Official Publications Unit of the National Library of Scotland, we collect art publications from the major National Museums and Galleries in the UK, Ireland and the United States. With the aim of opening the collection to our new and regular readers, we are now presenting a “library” themed display of art catalogues, exploring the theme of the book in history of art. The display will be on from today until the 17th of January at the National Library in George IV Bridge. From the Visitor Centre and Café area take the main stairs to the floor above.

Image credit: Sir William Fettes Douglas, "David Laing 1793-1878. Antiquary", 1862, National Galleries of Scotland