Cornish Studies Library: facts and figures

Posted: June 15, 2012 by Peter J in feature

Further to my article earlier this week about the Cornish Studies Library and Cornish Book Collection, you might have been left with some unanswered questions about CSL. Fortunately the Cornish Studies Library staff are good at answers, and here they are:

How many books (or pamphlets) does the CBC hold (approximately) ?
Approx. 40,000

How many of these are fiction (novels, anthologies &c) ?
Approx. 3,000 novels and anthologies

How many of these books are poetry ?
Approx. 1,500 poetry publications

How many of these are biographies or other studies of writers ?
Approx. 200 biographies/studies of writers

Could you give some examples please of where people have used the CSL or CBC for previous studies  ?
The collection of John Harris’s poetry has been used by students for dissertations exploring Cornish identity and sense of place. Alan Kent has used the literature collection for research for his publications. EG. ‘The Literature of Cornwall’.

How many works in CSL/CBC are in or are dealing with the Cornish/Kernewek language ?
Approx. 300.

How many different Hocking novels are held – approximately (by any of the 3!) ? 🙂 Slightly tongue in cheek but goes to show depth of material held.
There are approximately 150 titles each by Joseph and Silas and 5 by Salome. Approx. 300 in total.

How is it decided which books to add to the book collection ?
The aim of the Cornish Studies Library is to collect Cornish interest publications and we are always interested to hear about new books about the county and by Cornish authors. The main criteria is the Cornish connection and we are always pleased to accept donations of new publications, but with reducing funds regrettably we have to be more selective in our purchasing!

Can you spot and suggest any noted writers I’ve embarrassingly omitted from the article ?
You might like to include Winston Graham and W.J. Burley as popular modern authors and D.M. Thomas and of course the Hockings. In the piece you noted Les Merton and Nick Darke as authors, but I think it may be better to include Les Merton with the poets and mention Nick Darke as a playwright instead. [CL blog: “oops – right you are – now corrected !” :-)]

Can you mention any other popular CSL features or resources please ?
Other sources held at the CSL include around 160,000 photographs and postcards of Cornwall from the mid nineteenth century to the present day, over 30 Cornish newspaper titles on microfilm including the West Briton which dates back to 1810 and several thousand Cornish interest journals and magazines and newsletters. Family history research is extremely popular and the Library has an extensive collection of genealogical resources including Cornish census returns, transcriptions of some Cornish parish registers and local trade directories, as well as access to many online family history sources.

One of the oldest publications is Richard Carew’s Survey of Cornwall which was published in 1602.

🙂 Many thanks to the helpful (and busy) people at the Cornish Studies Library for straightening out the facts, which is of course what the CSL is good at, and for helping further to elucidate the excellent public facility which they run. The CSL has a couple of exhibitions running right now, and always has easily accessible shelves of books in the reading room, specially selected for interesting study and browsing, so your visiting them would be a great idea (open Mon, Tue, Thurs, Fri 10-5, Wed closed, Sat 10-1).

  1. […] and continued for another fifty years – one hundred and fifty of his novels, or thereabouts, are shelved in the Cornish Studies Library, along with another hundred and fifty by his brother Silas and several by their sister Salome. […]

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