RNS/BNS Library

by Brad Shepherd, BNS/RNS Librarian

It’s an exciting time at the RNS/BNS Numismatic Library as we prepare for major changes at the Warburg Institute.  In case you have not heard, the Warburg is going to close for a period while the building undergoes a complete refurbishment. No firm date for this been set but we need to prepare for work to start in 2019.

When the Warburg Institute reopens, the RNS/BNS Numismatic Library will no longer be housed where it is now. Anyone who has visited our library in the Winter when it is near freezing will consider this an improvement.

The plan is that the books from the RNS/BNS Library will be kept together on open shelves within the main Warburg Institute Library. Once this transition is complete our members will be able to access the books any time the Warburg is open rather than just the Tuesday afternoons that the RNS/BNS Library is currently open. While the books will sit in the Warburg Institute Library, the books from the RNS/BNS Library will remain the property of their respective society.

The Warburg Library is a reference library (i.e. books cannot be taken out of the library or borrowed), so before our library moves we have a lot to do. The books need to be added to the same online catalogue as the rest of the Warburg (called COPAC) so that users can find them. COPAC is a free online merged library catalogue where you can search the catalogues of the UK national libraries, alongside many University libraries, and specialist libraries such as the Warburg Library and the National Art Library at the V&A. Once the RNS/BNS Library is on COPAC you can search our online library catalogue from anywhere in the world and also see other libraries that have numismatic books that we don’t hold.

The RNS/BNS Numismatic Library holds over 9,000 items. Our current electronic library catalogue is incomplete and is only accessible using an old computer in the RNS/BNS Library. So, over the past month I’ve been making sure that all books are catalogued and that we have as much information about each book as possible.

I have also been busy accessioning new publications and items from the Robert Thompson bequest of over 350 books to the BNS. Most of Robert’s books cover tokens and this addition makes the RNS/BNS Library one of the most important collections covering this topic. A full list of new accessions will be made available next week in the first of regular updates to the library holdings. 

Once our records are complete and up to date I will send our catalogue off to a specialist service who will enrich our records, with as much information as possible about each book, to create a “super catalogue.” Where books in the RNS/BNS Numismatic Library cannot be matched we will need to conduct a second round of work to manually add information to the “super catalogue.”

When complete, this “super catalogue” will then be used to add our library records to COPAC.


What are the next steps and how you can help

  1. The next step is to conduct a full stock take of all the books we hold.  To prepare for stock taking, please can members return all borrowed books to the RNS/BNS Numismatic library by 30 June 2018.

IMPORTANT: From the 01 June 2018 the RNS/BNS Numismatic Library will be a reference library only and it will not be possible to remove/borrow books from the library.

  1. We are looking for volunteers to help with the stock take, planned for Saturday 14 July 2018, between 10:00 and 16:00 at the RNS/BNS Numismatic Library.  If you can volunteer please email Librarian@britnumsoc.org by 30 June 2018.
  1. The library is a valuable resource for our members. We need some additional volunteers to help keep the library open every Tuesday from noon to 17:00. If you can volunteer one Tuesday afternoon every 6-8 weeks at the library please email Librarian@britnumsoc.org

I’ll keep you up to date on how the library work is progressing and regular lists of newly accessioned books.  If you would like to: donate books to the BNS/RNS Library; to recommend a book to the library; volunteer; or to ask any other RNS/BNS Numismatic Library question please email Librarian@britnumsoc.org

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