I’ve just added a set of six books to our ‘new items’ shelf in the Library: the winner and shortlisted titles from this year’s Royal Society Insight Investment Science Book Prize.



All the books are available to borrow by Royal Society Fellows and staff, and also by external readers. A quick reminder here that members of the public are very welcome to use the Royal Society Library, and once you’ve come in, registered and been issued with a reader card, you can borrow up to five books at a time from our modern loan collections: biographies, histories of science, a few novels, and items from our Dewey shelves.

Most of the popular science works on the Book Prize shortlists find a permanent home in the Dewey collection, ordered according to the Decimal Classification invented by American librarian Melvil Dewey, a man whose numbers have stood the test of time rather better than his personal reputation. This collection of post-1950 science texts is kept in a behind-the-scenes basement storeroom, and therefore scores lower in terms of browsability (is that a word?) than the histories, novels and biographies on the open shelves. However, you can search through the full range of printed works on our Library catalogue and then put in a fetch request to our reading room staff – retrievals only take us a couple of minutes with the wind behind us.

We have all the books on the past Book Prize shortlists available for loan, as well as this year’s top six. Best be quick with the latter, though – a new member of staff on my most recent Library tour expressed a strong desire to read the whole lot, and I’ve got my eye on the winner, Sarah Jane Blakemore’s Inventing Ourselves. I have one teenage son at home already, and a second who crosses the teen threshold in December, so a book promising to explain ‘what happens inside the adolescent brain’ could be a very useful navigational aid. Wish me luck!


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