Visit the Archive
The Offline Branch of the Esoteric Archive of Rochester is exactly what it sounds like: a small independent lending library specializing in the occult, the esoteric, and especially that stuff as it pertains to New York State. As of the moment we are offering curbside pickup and drop-off, but we aren't yet offering in-person browsing. Check back here to keep up to date with our growth process!
What is this?
The first phase of the physical lending library operates out of The Archivist's apartment in downtown Rochester, NY. A growing selection of books, tarot decks, and other stuff is available to peruse online and pickup curbside.
To be transparent, I (Nick, The Archivist) don't think I'm anywhere close to having amassed the collection objects, the facility fixtures, or the cash dollars to actually open a library that has no business model. While I'd love to get there in the future, I don't want that dream to stifle progress. Even with a small collection, no public space, and very few dollars, I want to share what I have so far. The goal here is to share my stuff with you in the hopes that doing so helps your research, your spiritual progress, or that you just have a good time reading a new book or using a tarot deck.
How to Browse the Collection, Borrow Materials, and Manage Loans Online
- First, request a membership to the lending library. This is completely free and the only requirement is that you live for most of the time in the Rochester area. Click here to fill out your membership application. The form collects information that allows us to add you as a patron into our library software (LibraryThing/TinyCat).
- To browse the collection, to request to borrow a title, to view your current loans/holds, and to renew a loan, you can use our TinyCat interface. Search the archive or click on one of the scrolling book covers to begin browsing.
- To see the entire collection at once, do an advanced search. Leave all boxes blank, but choose "your library" under "collection." Hit search and you'll see the entire collection.
- To login to your account, click the little person button in the top right. Your login information will be sent to you via email once your membership is approved.
- Here you can see your current loans and holds, you can renew loans, and you can edit your personal information.
- When you find a book you're interested in, click Ask About This to send a message to the library. We will contact you that day to arrange pick-up.
- When you request to borrow a book, you will pick up the materials from the apartment of the Archivist, located in the Susan B Anthony neighborhood near downtown Rochester. Returns will work the same way. (You and I will chat to figure out a time and I'll share my address with you before your pickup)
We have decided to use the Library of Congress Classification System (LCC) to catalog this collection, for the most part. LCC is much more complex than the more widely-known Dewey Decimal System (DDC), but its very specific categories and subheadings in conjunction with its adaptability make it the better choice for our collection.
A deeper knowledge of LCC is not necessary to browse and search the collection (thank you, computers), but if you're interested, here are some resources from the Library of Congress website:
For the most part, our classification numbers start with the canonical LCC number, if one exists. Some titles are classified manually by The Archivist, and some collections are classed with an LCC-style system. For example, instead of categorizing tarot decks with the rest of the collection, they've been put into the subject heading X, an unused LCC subject heading.
For more information about the EAR's collection plans and policies, click here.
For more information about EAR's customizations of the Library of Congress Classification System, please click here.
Support the Archive
If you are interested in supporting the archive, please consider donating money, or materials::
- Venmo: nick_foos
- CashApp: $foos87
Become a Member (fill out to be able to borrow materials from the guerrilla library)
Acquisition Requests (fill this out if you want us to get something specific to add to the library)