Hereford Library Users' Group


£4 million grants for English museums

Filed under: Archives,Funding — hlug @ 12:14 pm
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Viewers of this blog might find this link both useful and revealing.

£4 million grants for English museums.




South Ayrshire Public Library launches it’s first eBook….a world first

South Ayrshire Council achieved a world’s first for a public library service with the launch of its very own e-book in November 2011. The e-book, ‘The Record of the Ayrshire Militia 1802-1883′, is now available for sale on Amazon, making South Ayrshire’s local history information accessible to a global audience for generations to come.

Launched by esteemed Scots historian and Director of the Paradox of Medieval Scotland (POMS) project – Professor Dauvit Broun from Glasgow University – the e-book was originally privately printed in 1884 and is based on hand-written records in a notebook kept in Ayr barracks.

The launch of South Ayrshire Council’s e-book means the content is available for purchase and download by anyone, anywhere and anytime and it can be read on laptops, smartphones and all e-readers such as the Kindle. It will also be available on loan – free of charge – to South Ayrshire libraries’ members thanks to the Council’s popular ebooks library service, which launched last year.

Professor Broun said: “In this latest exciting innovation she has taken this to the next level by making a priceless source for local history, of interest to anyone with a serious interest in nineteenth-century British history, available across the world to everyone with access to the internet. It is wonderful now to see local libraries, led by South Ayrshire, find a way to make their own treasures available everywhere.”

Rhona Arthur, Assistant Director of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals in Scotland/Scottish Libraries Information Council, concluded: “South Ayrshire’s libraries service has embraced the advent of e-books, both as a lender and now as a publisher. Publishing local material until now has meant low print runs and high unit costs. This is a great way of publishing books – which may have a global audience as well as a local one – without the costly overheads.”

Records of the Ayrshire Militia from 1802 to 1883 is available from priced £6.99. South Ayrshire Council has also teamed up with a company called Lightning Source who can print copies of the book on demand. Print copies can be ordered from the Carnegie Library in Ayr.

Cataloguing grants to UK Archives ….could Herefordshire Archives benefit?

The National Cataloguing Grants Programme 2011 has awarded £420,000 to archives across the UK. The twelve programmes successful this year are listed below:

• Bowes Museum – ‘Collections for a wider world’: opening up access to the Bowes Museum archive (£27,402)

• Cambridgeshire Archives – ‘The Fen Office Revisited’: the Bedford Level Corporation Archive (£28,000)

• Carmarthenshire Archives – Estate and State in the Cawdor Archive (£35,875)

• Devon Record Office – ‘The Right to Remain Silent?’ The Devon County Quarter Sessions Cataloguing Project (£32,000)

• Dudley Archives – the Earls of Dudley collection (£41,818)

• Hull History Centre – ‘North East Coast Town Revealed’: Hull in WW2 (£29,801)

• Lincolnshire Archives – ‘Rolling the World’ (£44,013)

• Rotherham Archives – ‘From Bunker Hill to Burma’: the York and Lancaster Regimental Archive (£39,171)

• Sheffield Archives – The Rise and Fall of the Socialist Republic of South Yorkshire (£34,167)

• West Lothian Archives – Livingston New Town – From Plan to Community, 1962-2012 (£42,858)

• Wiener Library – ‘Ordering Memory’: the personal document collections (£29,263)

• York City Archives – ‘A City Making History’: the governance of York 1155-1976 (£38,400)


Newspaper Archive includes Hereford Times!

The British Library has recently put more than three million pages of newspapers – national and local – on-line. These date back for over three hundred years and include news items such as the Charge of the Light Brigade, Queen Victoria’s coronation and the reporting from two world wars. There are lots of local news items included too and researchers and browsers alike may be amused to find that climate change is not new. Apparently, the Hereford Times reported in the Saturday edition of October 25th 1856 that an African witch doctor was predicting a whirlwind so severe that “all people, black or white, will be swept off the face of the earth” But only if they were wearing trousers.

To access this wonderful resource, go to: and proceed from there. There is a cost for access but even a years subscription is cheap at the price. Access for a couple of days is minimal.

Previously, this collection could only be accessed at Colindale in North London, which meant a long and draughty trip on the Edgeware branch of the Northern Line and then much huffing and puffing whilst staff retrieved the Newspapers or microfilm required. Now we can access them on a laptop sitting comfortably at home. This really is progress.


HLUG’s Ideas for Improvements to Hereford’s Broad Street Library

For some time now, HLUG has been advocating a wide range of possible improvements to the Broad Street library and museum building. These should be progressed regardless of any medium to long-term decision about an entirely new building elsewhere in the inner city. We have reason to believe that the library management and the cultural services directorate concur in the need for improvements and admit that the present building is inadequate for providing a proper 21st century library service. But they advance this view because they do not foresee any possibility of a new building in these financially constrained times.

Some of the proposals that have been put forward by HLUG, and with which we have reason to believe the management concurs include:-

1. Reorganize the public areas so as to open up more space, that might include expanding the area available to the public on the mezzanine floor i.e., opening up some of the office space, structural considerations allowing. This would be to significantly enhance the local history role of the library (rather than see it transferred elsewhere, i.e. to be combined with archives and records).

2. Relocate the front desk and combine it with the enquiry desk.

3. Improve/change the lighting and redecorate to improve the appearance. Make more use of natural light if at all possible, especially in the entrance hall.

4. With the new boiler now installed capable of offering better use of energy, thought should now be given to other environmental improvements (latterly the government’s encouragement for the use of solar energy suggests the use of solar panels).

5. The children’s library is in need of much improvement – it is to be hoped that changes elsewhere in the library will allow it more space and should provoke a complete makeover in the light of really imaginative children’s library design to be seen elsewhere in the UK.

6. The not inconsiderable space allocated to offices and also left empty at the front of the building on the ground floor should be opened up to allow public access. To improve revenue streams but also to offer a wider range of resources to users, it is suggested that a franchised coffee shop and/or related products shop – books and materials of local interest, artists materials, museum related products are some examples. NB it is worth remembering that a recent MLA survey of what users most wanted of libraries rated cafe/coffee shops as amongst the most important and sought after improvements.

7. Decent toilet facilities remain a high priority.

8. Whilst HLUG has no definite proposal for the use of the basement and recognizes the considerable difficulties it is to be hoped that this valuable space is not wasted and that the services of an architect/civil engineer to investigate its conversion should be employed.

IN SUM, HLUG believes that the library and the museum urgently need a face lift and that this should be a high priority for the Council, given the role that the Broad Street building could play in the life of the city. It is ironic to some users that millions of pounds have been spent on improving the environs of the cathedral opposite without any investment in the library and museum building for decades.

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