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Unbelievable discovery in the stacks!

February 15, 2012 | Louis | Comments (19) Facebook Twitter More...

[Feb 17, 2012 Update: As those who have read Borges know, he delighted in blurring the line between fact and fiction. The following honours his style and spirit and, while not a true account, is a very good story. So much so that it had some of us here fooled as well! Apologies if this has created some misunderstanding.]

I'm still in shock. If I've found what I think I've found...truly, there are hidden gems out there among the Agincourt stacks!

Let me explain: one day last week a patron asked for a book on Greek philosophy. I took them to the right section and while pointing out the general philosophy texts, I saw an older-looking version of Plato's Symposium. Curious about that specific edition, I came back later to fetch it off the shelf.

As I flipped through the pages, a battered greeting card fell out of the book.

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The card, handwritten, is in Spanish. Luckily a colleague of mine understands Spanish, and they were able to loosely translate the text for me. It turns out that this is a thank you card, thanks being expressed for a welcome reception held in 1978 and expressing good wishes for the library and the collection.

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The Agincourt Library?

Back in 1978, the branch was located in the Agincourt Mall. What reception would they have held in the mall?

And then the signature caught my attention.

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This is just one major coincidence, but I happen to be a huge fan of Jorge Luis Borges, the monumental Argentinean writer.

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In a book of his writings that I have at home, an image of his signature is reproduced in the appendices.

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I have often gazed at that signature, and I knew right away when I saw the signature on the card that they were eerily similar.

But...that would mean...

Borges at Agincourt Library?!

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I find nothing in our archival records mentioning his visit. Surely a writer of his stature would have warranted more fuss and pomp! Could he have visited anonymously? What reason would he have had to be in the Agincourt area?

As for the numbers located below his signature, they look a lot like Dewey call numbers. Puzzlingly, a search for the matching titles reveals the following:

  • 193 SCH - books about the German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer Index.aspx

  • 824 C - Sartor resartus by Thomas Carlyle Resartus

  • 511.3 S - books on axiomatic set theory Set theory

What does this mean? What message was Borges sending? What was he alluding to?

Is it even from Borges?!

I don't know, but I plan to find out more about this enigmatic writer by reading a lot more of his works!

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