Library News



Well, it's been a busy year so far for the Croydon Caving Club library! It all started back on 1st February, when Sarah and I were elected club librarians. We're still not sure if there are any major repercussions of having two people in one post, but as it stands, you've got someone with experience of all sorts of things caving, together with someone with (wait for it ...) library skills!

Anyway, things moved on, and a sunny day at the end of March saw us down at Simon and Tania's new old house in Tetbury to take delivery of 1 club library (sic). It was removed in a Ford Fiesta (remarkably all but the surveys), which had to grind along the 70 odd miles to Wokingham in a most unroadworthy state, with about half an inch to spare between the chassis and road! The old filing cabinets were left at S&T's, and we'll have to decide what to do with them in due course. They could be used to keep all the archived library material when the new library is built at Godre Pentre, but read on ...

Unfortunately the next exciting part of the club library changeover wasn't at all exciting. For some absurd reason, we decided to do a complete stock take of the library, and it took us nearly 4 months! This consisted of reclassifying some of the library, and going through every single accession.

Perhaps this is a good moment to explain the way the library is organised into sections. It was decided back in the year dot that the library should be split up into major sections, such as areas, bibliographies, international journals, journals at the club level, etc. Each of these sections was then subdivided into minor sections (for areas, these included Derbyshire, Devon and the South West, Mendips, etc.). Major sections had letters A, B, I, M etc. (actually they all spell ABIMNRT - I'm sure there is some hidden caving meaning to this, anyone like to guess?), whilst minor sections had numbers 1A, 2A, 3A etc.

We decided to alter the list of minor sections slightly, so that for example, all countries in the world now come under some category (it is rather awkward creating a whole new section for the Maldive Islands when all we have is one newspaper article, and we don't even have that yet!). This means that you have the usual British sections up to 7A, then run around Europe in a sort of south-north-south scan gradually going from west to east, and finally end up with other continents, as defined in the Cave Atlas by Middleton & Waltham A few now defunct minor sections have also been changed for use with something else (for example, some international journal sections had only 1 item). For the bibliophiles amongst you (and I know who you are!), they are fully listed at the end of this article.

We discovered a bizarre numbering system for each of the accessions in these sections. For example, you might find 1A/001, 1A/002, 1A/003, 1A/018, 1A/019, 1A/020, 1A/025 etc. To simplify life, all the numbering is now sequential, which means we can tell how many accessions are currently in the library with relative ease (2412 at end of play, 11th July 1997).

The next thing was journals. We found a card for every journal in the library, which means an awful lot of cards. The card index has now been considerably reduced by just writing on details of the volume and part numbers, several years' worth to a card.

We also found (remarkably?) only 17 items to be missing, mainly maps of County Clare. If you do have one of these accessions, please, please let us know. We can arrange for you to keep it for a few more months, but at some time, we would like these items back in the library. The missing items are (together with their old library numbers):

1. Geological Survey of Ireland Sheet 114 Ballyvaughan (1882) (7A/004, rolled)
2. Geological Survey of Ireland Sheet 132 Ennis (1882) (7A/032, rolled)
3. Ordnance Survey of Ireland Sheet 114 Ballyvaughan (1900) (7A/044, rolled)
4. Ordnance Survey of Ireland Sheets 3&3A (1915) (7A/053, rolled)
5. Ordnance Survey of Ireland Sheet 4 (1915) (7A/054, rolled)
6. Ordnance Survey of Ireland Sheet 5 (1916) (7A/055, rolled)
7. Ordnance Survey of Ireland Sheet 6 (1916) (7A/056, rolled)
8. Ordnance Survey of Ireland Sheet 8 (1916) (7A/058, rolled)
9. Ordnance Survey of Ireland Sheet 33 (1921) (7A/069, rolled)
10. 1 inch to 12 mile map of Ireland (7A/085)
11. Cave Science (Cantabrian Mountains), BSA (9A/090)
12. Show Caves in Austria (14A/100)
13. Caves & Caving no. 15 (February 1982) (2N/...)
14. The British Caver volume 57 (Autumn 1971) (3N/...)
15. The British Caver volume 70 (Autumn 1978) (3N/...)
16. The British Caver volume 79 (Winter 1980) (3N/...)
17. Descent no. 83 (August/September 1988) (10N/...)

The next plan of attack was to put the library into something. At present, it resides in two 6 foot high bookcases, in order from 1A to 16T. Books (marked on the index cards with a "B") are placed as you'd expect, but papers and thin volumes are kept in banker's boxes (cut down A4 cardboard boxes, just over 3 inches wide - you may have seen these used in your public library). The boxes are interleaved throughout the books, so that the library can be viewed as a consistent whole from top left to bottom right. Everything has been kept on display except for journals and new letters pre-1990. These have been kept in folders and are currently tucked away in our loft. However, references to them are all in the card index, and are marked "archived" as necessary (complete sections that have been archived are marked in the list at the end of this article). It is a simple matter to retrieve something if you need it.

So the big day dawned. What day, I hear you ask? Well, in case you didn't read the last Pelobates or newsletter, the Library Open Day, held on 12th July, at our house in Wokingham. It was planned to hold a committee meeting at the same time, which was fortunately held outside in splendid weather, with the sound of a light luncheon of fresh bread and cheese being prepared by the catering elite inside. Gradually, non-committee folk started to appear (as well as more committee folk!), so that on the stroke of 3:00, we were ready for the croquet tournament. (Well, the idea was for people to use the library, but we thought there should be a few minor diversions!) Two rounds of croquet were played per person in mixed teams, with a small bottle of home-made sloe gin being awarded to the winner. The competition was rather racy, so those all important items of tea, iced coffee, lemon cake and fudge brownies became available to slow down the pace a little (thanks to our professional caterer, Geraldine Liddy).

By half past six, the results were known, and perhaps it wasn't surprising that the lady who won was the one who gave us the sloe gin recipe in the first place (although she didn't know). Scores were (so you know who came):

Vicky Stratton 73
Geraldine Liddy 52
Clare Pond 51
Simon Davies 49
Sarah 49
Chris Fry 48
Chris Crowley 48
Steve Wray 48
Eric Downer 47
George 44
Carl Gibbs 43
Tania Davies 42

The object was to get the minimum number of strikes for both rounds, as you may appreciate. (Helen Wray arrived but had to go to work during the croquet, and Adrian Paniwynk, Fiona Howard and Andy Todd put their bit in, but not in time for the tournament, alas. Richard Vidler just phoned in with some excuse about being in bed, poor soul.)

So on to the barbecue time, and people were even starting to take books out of the library (we have a new loans book, the idea being that you can have an item for 3 months, then we send reminders, threats, bombs etc.). Chris Crowley brought along some sort of flat luncheon meat looking thing, whilst people like Simon brought along great hunks of meat to take up the whole of the barbecue. Polypins of Fullers' London Pride and ESB were laid on, with a small charge of course. This seemed to have the desired effect (Chris C said that ESB made you go very silly), when our illustrious chairman suddenly appeared later on during a slide show with a flower behind his ear, coconuts down his t-shirt, and gave us a rather fine little twirl!

Fun and frolics continued into the night, with a neighbour being brought in to watch slides of Peru (thanks Carl), and some leech-infested slides of Vietnam (thanks Simon - you read all about it in Pelobates 73!). We provided some titillating slides of Yugoslavia '86/'87, with a long-haired Eric and some old members to reminisce over (the meat tenderiser, for instance).

And so to bed with people in bedrooms, on the floor, in the shed, under the pavilion, and out under the stars. For those under the stars, the night was a little wetter than the day, so they moved elsewhere. Bacon sarnies were the order of the morning and people slowly drifted off, happy with their new loans of "On Station", "1000 Metres Under the Earth", "The Darkness Beckons" or "Peru '82" (now who could have borrowed that one?). All in all, a successful event, with people actually using the library (well, it is there for YOU).

So don't be afraid! Come out, come out wherever you are, and pay the library a visit. You might be surprised with the contents.

List of Major and Minor Library Sections

A - Areas & Countries

1A Derbyshire/Nottinghamshire
2A Devon & the South West
3A Mendip
4A South East England
5A Wales
6A Yorkshire & the North West
7A Rest of UK and N. Ireland
8A Republic of Ireland
9A Iberia
10A France
11A Belgium
12A Scandinavia
13A Germany
14A Slavonic Countries (Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland ...)
15A Switzerland
16A Austria
17A Italy
18A Balkan Countries (Slovenia, Croatia, Romania ...)
19A Greece
20A Asia
21A Africa
22A Americas
23A Australasia

B - Bibliographies, Catalogues & Handbooks

1B Speleological Abstracts
2B Current Titles in Speleology
3B Library Catalogues
4B Cavers' Handbooks

I - International Journals (Country of Origin)

1I International Caver (UK)
2I Caving in the Rockies (USA) - archived
3I SPES (Spain) - archived
4I Resurgence (France) - archived
5I Speleologia Emiliana (Italy) - archived
6I Speleo Scientia Informatie (Netherlands) - archived
7I Der Schlaz (Germany)
8I UIS Bulletin (France) - archived
9I Irish Speleology (Guess!)
10I GIPS Info (Belgium) - archived
11I Speleo Flash (Belgium) - archived
12I Quaderni del Museo di Speleologia "V.Rivera" (Italy) - archived
13I NSS News (USA) - archived
14I Clair-Obscur (Belgium) - archived
15I Mondo Sotterraneo (Italy) - archived
16I Caving International (Canada) - archived

M - Club Journals

1M Border Caving Group - archived
2M Cave Diving Group - archived
3M Cerberus Spelaeological Society - archived
4M Chelsea Speleological Society
5M Cotham Caving Group - archived
6M Craven Pothole Club - archived
7M Crawley Caving Club - archived
8M Croydon Caving Club - fully on display from 1965!
9M Exeter University Speleological Society - archived
10M London University Caving Clubs - archived
11M Mendip Caving Group
12M Orpheus Caving Club - archived
13M Plymouth Caving Group
14M South Wales Caving Club
15M South West Essex Technical College Caving Club - archived
16M University of Bristol Speleological Society
17M Westminster Speleological Society
18M Wessex Cave Club - archived
19M Axbridge Caving Group - archived
20M Bradford Pothole Club - archived
21M Bristol Exploration Club
22M Cambridge University Caving Club - archived
23M Eldon Pothole Club - archived
24M University of Leeds Speleological Association - archived
25M Northern Cave Club - archived
26M Rugby Scout Caving Group - archived
27M Shepton Mallet Caving Club - archived
28M Sheffield Technical College Students Union Speleological Society - archived
29M Wealden Cave & Mine Society
30M White Rose Pothole Club - archived
31M Exploration Group of North Somerset - archived
32M Royal Forest of Dean Caving Club - archived
33M University College Wales Aberystwyth Caving Club - archived
34M Cwmbran Caving Club - archived
35M Northern Pennine Club - archived
36M Devon Speleological Society - archived
37M Kent Underground Research Group - archived
38M Elsan Cave Club (ahem ...) - archived
39M Hereford Caving Club - archived
40M Rubber Duck Caving Club - archived

(Club journals not shown as archived are currently in the exchange scheme, in which Croydon donate copies of Pelobates in exchange for their own organs. If you think there is a club journal we should be exchanging, please do contact us to see if this can be arranged; not however that some clubs do require payment for their organs).

N - National Journals & Magazines

1N British Speleological Association - archived
2N British Cave Research Association
3N The British Caver - archived
4N National Caving Association
5N William Pengelly Cave Studies Trust Limited - archived
6N Association of Independent Speleologists - archived
7N British Association of Caving Instructors - archived
8N The Speleologist - archived
9N The Great Outdoors - archived
10N Descent
11N Subterranea Britannica - archived

R - Regional Journals & Newsletters

1R Cambrian Caving Council
2R Derbyshire Caving Association - archived
3R The Mendip Caver - archived
4R Council of Northern Caving Clubs
5R South Wales Cave Rescue Organisation
6R Council of Southern Caving Clubs
7R Sports Council for Wales

T - Technical, Scientific & Introductory

1T General Caving Literature Including Introductions (books only)
2T Rope Techniques
3T Surveying
4T Photography
5T Plans & Designs of Equipment
6T Cells
7T Diving
8T Cinematography
9T Scientific & Conservation
10T Rescue
11T Health & Safety
12T Hydrology & Water Tracing
13T Archaeology
14T Mining, Quarrying & Tunnels
15T Cave Atlases
16T Legal Aspects

George Pankiewicz