Helen Williams – Now we are 10!

Helen Williams | May 7, 2024

Now we are 10

Our librarian tells how she came to work at Edinburgh’s Library of Mistakes.

I first heard of the Library of Mistakes in December 2013, when I got a message about ‘a couple of weeks’ work’. This turned out to be organising and cataloguing the initial collection of about 2,000 books. The two weeks have stretched to more than ten years and I am still here.

By the time of our official opening in Wemyss Place Mews at the end of April 2014, we had over 2,000 titles in the catalogue. Ten years on and the collection has more than doubled. Some of this growth has come from large donations, both from institutions and from individuals. We also welcome suggestions from library users especially when they point out gaps in the collection.

Apart from heating up a building that had been unoccupied for 30 years to something approaching comfort, the first task was to find a way of organising the books that would make sense to the likely users. The point of the library was to spark discussion of the ways in which mistakes could be avoided, so bringing the books together in a new way made sense. In any case large-scale classification schemes such as Dewey, don’t usually work very well for smaller ‘niche’ collections such as ours, so we decided to use broad categories: ‘Financial Markets’, ‘Investment’ and so on. One of the smallest sections is ‘Games’ with intriguing titles such as ‘Strike it Rich’ ‘Market Meltdown’ and ‘The Really Nasty Bankers Game’.

Let us know if you’d like to try them out – and maybe explore other parts of the collection at the same time.

The Library of Mistakes Course

The online version of our renowned course, is available for both finance professionals and nonprofessionals.

As featured in the Financial Times

In conjunction with Heriot-Watt University


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