The Law School Library has discovered a "loss" of nearly 1500 books after moving a substantial part of the foreign and international law collections into a new wing. "We just don't know where they are," Vaclav Mostecky, assistant librarian, confessed.
He estimated, however, that only five to six hundred of the books could have been lost in the moving operations of the last six months. The others have probably disappeared gradually since 1930, the last time the collection was inventoried, he said.
The moving operations produced some quite unexpected results, according to Mostecky. An entire collection on law in the Vatican City became mixed with one on Turkish law and was only relocated last week. The Philippine collection was accidently shelved with the Israeli one, and a good part of the Roman law collection has disappeared altogether.
"We've found some books too, though," Mostecky said. Only last week the Library staff discovered a complete Hungarian collection they "never knew existed."
Within another few months, Mostecky expects that all the books supposedly transferred to the new International Legal Studies Wing, will have been located and catalogued correctly.
He is more concerned, however, about the gradual loss since 1930 of about 900 books. Until the staff re-inventoried this month, no one realized how many books were steadily disappearing.
Statistically speaking the number is not abnormally high for a research library, but most of the books were either irreplaceable first editions or are now out of print, Mostecky explained.