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The Folklore Society Library and Archives

Our Library and Archives are held at University College London (UCL) Library

The Folklore Society Library, comprising c.12,000 books and volumes of serials on folklore and traditions from around the world, is a collection of national and heritage importance, held at University College London Library. Most of the collection is in UCL’s closed Stores outside London, and is available as a ‘fetch’ service, usually the next working day. Rare and ephemeral items, as well as our Folklore Society Archives, are held at UCL Special Collections.

Access: Our collections are publicly accessible for reference by visitors, subject to UCL Library access arrangements, and many items may be borrowed by Folklore Society members with a UCL Library membership. Items that cannot be borrowed can be requested and read at UCL Science Library, Stores Issue Desk.

Apply for a UCL Library pass as a Folklore Society member

You’ll need:

Find out more about UCL Library Services and Opening timeshttps://www.ucl.ac.uk/library/using-library

FLS Library at UCL Stores

The majority of our collection is at UCL Library Stores, at Wickford: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/library/finding-resources/stores-service and many items can be borrowed.

Some items are not available for loan but can be ordered and read at UCL Science Library.

Recent Acquisitions: 2020-21; 2019

Finding our books in UCL’s Online Catalogue

Our books are all prefixed FLS and you can do an Advanced search of UCL’s online catalogue by Shelfmark if you want to see what we have in different subject sections. For books on children’s folklore, for example, do an advanced search by shelfmark FLS E 54

Our periodicals are prefixed FLS Pers : use Advanced search to see a list of FLS periodicals

Cataloguing FLS books at UCL

  • We are very grateful to Andrew Watson, Head of UCL Retrospective Cataloguing, and his team, for the sterling work they did for us while working from home during lockdown in 2020, adding 2,591 of our previously unlisted loan collection books to UCL’s online catalogue, and enhancing the records too. Thank you Andrew and the team.
  • Dr Paul Cowdell’s earlier short title list of these now catalogued items was very useful to the Retro-cataloguing team’s work, and can be downloaded here: FLS Library at UCL Wickford retro-catalogued items 2020 and partial ‘FLS Office’ list 2019. The spreadsheet also contains a partial list of books we transferred into the loan collection at Wickford when we moved office in 2019, which are listed on UCL catalogue as FLS Office.
  • Our new accessions are all added to UCL Library online catalogue: here’s a list of our new accessions from January 2020 to September 2021: Library Accessions Jan 2020 to Sept 2021

Requesting and Borrowing items from UCL Stores

Once you’ve got your UCL Library card, you can borrow up to 5 items as a member of The Folklore Society.


FLS Rare Books, Pamphlets, Folios and Special Periodicals at UCL Special Collections

Our FLS rare books, pamphlets (bound and boxed), folios and reserved periodicals (including originals of our journal Folklore up to 2000 and its earlier titles Folk-Lore Record and Folk-Lore Journal) are held at University College London Special Collections, currently in temporary quarters at The National Archives at Kew.

  • Finding Aid: Very few of these items have been added to UCL’s online catalogue and it is likely to be many years before we can raise sufficient funds to pay for all the retrospective cataloguing. In the meantime, we have a very useful short title catalogue spreadsheet created by Dr Paul Cowdell that includes the essential bibliographical details, classmarks and UCL barcodes: FLS Rare Books Pamphlets Folios and Pers FINAL INCL introduction updated 2019
  • Access: These items are not available for loan. To request and arrange to view any of these items, please make a note of the UCL barcode, item number, and brief item information from our short title spreadsheet and contact UCL Special Collections: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/library/collections/special-collections/contact-us

Reference Books: FLS Office B Collection

We keep about 250 reference books on folklore at our FLS Office.  These are listed as FLS Office B in UCL’s online catalogue. They are not available for loan but visitors can browse and read them at our office if you make an appointment: please  contact us

  • NB: c.200 other books are listed as FLS Office in UCL’s online catalogue: these books are now held at UCL Stores at Wickford and are available for loan.

Folklore Society Archives and MS Collections

Our Folklore Society Archives and MS collections are held at University College London Special Collections, who handle orders and arrangements for viewing items in our archives: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/library/special-collections.

  • Cataloguing: Brief details about some of FLS Archives box contents can be found at https://archives.ucl.ac.uk/CalmView/Overview.aspx and search for FLS — NB: Contact thefolkloresociety @ gmail.com to obtain the list of box barcodes and numbers you’ll need to request the boxes at UCL Special Collections
  • Finding Aid: We can supply researchers with a copy of our FLS Archives and MS Collections working spreadsheet which provides more details about box contents, as well as barcodes and box numbers. But please note that the contents of most boxes have not been indexed or catalogued.
  • Permissions: unless specific restrictions apply (eg. membership lists), copying/photography is permitted for private research only. Written permission must be obtained from The Folklore Society prior to any publication, in print or in digital form, of any part of any document in the Folklore Society Archives and MS Collections. A fee may be payable depending on the type of publication.