October 26, 2021

An Inventory at University of Toronto’s Fisher Rare Book Library Finds Some Lost Treasures

From The Globe and Mail:

Hidden inside a simple brown case at the University of Toronto’s Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library was a rare silver and gold embroidered Roman Missal. The liturgical book was designed in 1716 for the chapel of a wealthy Venetian family, the thread’s silver colour now a dull grey and the pink ribbon markers have yellowed. The book is a rare example of an embroidered binding and yet its significance was never recorded in the library’s catalogue – to the world it had ceased to exist.

The book’s binding was discovered on Monday, the first day of the library’s inventory – the first in 40 years – which aims to go through many of the library’s 800,000 books in two weeks. Home to the rarest books in the country, the library is closed for this period, and librarians and archivists are gently, one by one, removing books and manuscripts off the shelves, organizing and looking for items that may have been misplaced, lost or stolen.


“Sometimes people get shocked that items go missing, but that is just the reality when you are dealing with 800,000 books,” said Loryl MacDonald, interim director of the library. “The expectation is that they have been misshelved and that someone will find them.”

Read the Complete Article

Direct to Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library Website and Catalog

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.