|Copac National, Academic and Specialist Library Catalogue|
Here is today's announcement:
Copac is pleased to announce that the Library holdings of The National Archives have been added to Copac. The collection serves primarily as a research library for users of the archive and holds approximately 65,000 books and journals as well as online resources. It is open to visitors and staff of The National Archives.This is a library that I know well, because I have the good fortune to work in the building where it is housed. I often think that if it was a standalone library it would be very impressive, but it is somewhat overshadowed by the millions (yes, millions) of documents in The National Archives. The library used to be in its own area of the building at Kew, behind a discreet pair of double doors leading off the old Microfilm Reading Room. I suspect that there were regular users of the archives who never even realised that there was a library. The library is still in pretty much the same location, but the doors have gone and the wall has come down, so it's hard to miss now if you are in the open-plan Research and Enquiries Room.
The Library holds publications from the 17th century onwards and is still growing. Primarily a history library, its collection includes local history record society series, military history especially covering the First and Second World Wars, family history and directories including London Post Office directories. It also houses complete sets of the published State Papers and other calendars of public records, a good collection of Acts and Statutes and a range of academic journals. A growing number of online resources are also available.
To browse, or limit your search to the holdings of The National Archives library, go to the main tab on copac.ac.uk and choose ‘The National Archives Library’ from the list of libraries.
It's still not used as much as it should be, and you could be missing out if you aren't aware of some of the treasures it holds. The books, periodicals and other resources support and complement the archival holdings, and they include many volumes that are effectively finding aids to the documents. There are also many works that are the fruits of authors' research in The National Archives. These books and articles can be really useful; one of my favourite tricks is to consult works in the same general area as my own research and look at the footnotes and references. Good authors always cite their sources comprehensively and accurately, don't they?
So if you are planning a visit to Kew, or any other archive, it's a good idea to check out the library Books are my bag campaign to promote bookshops
catalogue as well as the archive catalogue. It's a good idea to check out library catalogues anyway. It just is. Quite an appropriate piece of news just after the launch of the