Devon Libraries ensure traditional county folklore is not forgotten

Traditional Devon folklore is stored in county libraries through a new partnership.

The Folklore Library & Archive has announced that it will work with Devon Libraries to provide a physical site for its extensive reference library and document archive at the Crediton Library.

Formed earlier this year, The Folklore Library & Archive’s mission is to collect and preserve for future generations material related to folklore – our traditions, customs and beliefs.

The organization is purely voluntary and depends on donations for its operation, but already holds many collections of international importance.

Recent fundraising was undertaken through a day of online discussions with speakers from institutions such as the British Museum and the British Library.

The folk library

These collections include the documentary archives of the late Anglo-American folklorist Venetia Newall, whose unique collection of decorated eggs of which she was a world expert is kept at the British Museum, digitized copies of the only surviving handwritten notebooks of Charlotte Sophia Burne, the first female president of the Folklore Society, and the UK’s largest archive of records relating to ghostly black dogs – the legend that inspired ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’.

The patron of The Folklore Library & Archive is popular British children’s writer Michael Rosen, who takes an interest in the subject through his own heritage, and the curator is author and folklore researcher Mark Norman.

The project was born out of the success of Mark’s internet program “The Folklore Podcast,” which has been airing for six seasons now and is in the top percent of podcasts of its kind globally, with over 1.3 million downloads.

Mark said: “This exciting partnership with Devon Libraries allows us to provide an appropriate physical basis for our important collections, allowing researchers to come and work with the material in a supportive library environment.

“Many of our collections are slowly becoming available in digital form on our website, but there are many more that can only be processed in person and researchers will now be able to come to Crediton to do so.

“We are also looking forward to being able to carry out projects with the local community to collect more valuable information in this area. We are able to digitize video material and audio recordings and can also digitize photos of people for collection.

“We will look in the future to work with local groups to enable them to record interviews and other material in the community as part of reminiscence projects as well. This partnership offers many great collaboration opportunities. “

Crediton Library Supervisor Sue Lee added: “We are very pleased to be able to collaborate with the Folklore Library & Archive on this fascinating project.

“There is a lot of interest in our local history collection and our monthly local history lectures, so this new collection will be a great extension of that. We look forward to seeing the Folklore Library & Archive grow and welcome anyone wishing to view this reference collection in the library.

The Folklore Library & Archive would love to hear from anyone interested in getting involved in this project, for which there are volunteering opportunities, as well as anyone with material that may be of interest and can be added to the collection – either physically or by digitization.

You can inquire at Crediton Library or email Folklore Library & Archive at [email protected]

The Folklore Library and Archives website can be found at

The transition of material to the shelves of the Crediton Library is underway and the website is constantly updated.

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