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Exhibition review: Celebrating art and music: the SOAS collections at the Brunei Gallery

Exhibitions are a great way for libraries and organisations to highlight the strength of their collections through a creative narrative and relaxed environment. Exhibitions are also a great way to for librarians to increase public access to the collections. 

In April, the Brunei Gallery opened its Centenary Exhibition, 'Celebrating art and music: the SOAS collections'. This exhibition explores visual arts and music of Asia, Africa and the Middle East through the rich history of collections at SOAS, with a combination of manuscripts, books, painting, photographs, 3D objects and audio-visual display. 

I got my ticket for the official launch of the exhibition and headed of the gallery on May 3rd and I was amazed by what I saw on display. Curator Anna Contadini introduced the exhibition with Nigerian artist Sokari Douglas Camp's modern welded steel sculptures. I loved her sculpture of a woman blowing kisses titled "Kissss Me" because it resembled the colour of a red li…

'Printing and the Mind: Seventeenth-Century Transformations' Archive Evening

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Straight after work on April 24th, I went to the Stationers' Company Annual Archive Evening. This year they held a forum on 'Printing and the Mind: Seventeenth-Century Transformations' in combination with an exhibition in association with Cambridge University Library.
The formal talk of the evening began with Liverymen and President of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain, Gordon Johnson. He emphasised the importance of heritage assets been conserved and accessible and the great expansion of the history of the book in business and intellectual terms. He also made key announcements of the Stationers' Company effects in doing this, including a new digital publication of the Stationers' Company Archive with Adam Matthew Digital. 'Literary Print Culture: The Stationers' Company Archive, 1554-1984" is a valuable resource to explore the history of the book trade from 1554 to the 20th century. Also, a there is new Archives and Library facility due to ope…

Art Librarianship as a Career Option

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On April 19th, I attended my first ARLIS/UK & Ireland event 'Taking the Plunge: Art Librarianship as a Career Option' held at Goldsmiths, University of London. I recently volunteered to give a presentation about working in art libraries and I thought attending this workshop would give me a great introduction to the profession and the different skills needed to progress within my career.

Walking through the vibrant media hub on the ground floor of the Library, I was led to a large but quiet room. There were a variety of speakers from libraries, museums and special collections at different points in their careers. There were also avid listeners from art and creative backgrounds and a few graduate trainees due to start postgraduate courses in Librarianship in Autumn.

Nicholas Brown started off the workshop with a brilliant welcome speech signalling that "the book" is not dead. Despite the growing digital trend in the sector, print is still a dominate format and means …

Copyright or copywrong?

The last time I tried to write this post, I was comfortably sitting in Costa when I tragically lost internet connection and all that I wrote. Over a month later, I am back to reflect on the Association of Pall Mall Libraries Copyright Workshop with Naomi Korn.
The prior knowledge of copyright for some librarians participating in the workshop was the familiarity of photocopying under "fair dealing". For some, this is easily defined as the ability for library users to photocopy a chapter or up to 10% of a book or one article from a periodical, if it is used for non-commercial private study or research and the source is acknowledged. Although this may sound simple, copyright rules are much more complex. 

The impact of library administrative responsibilities

One of the biggest changes since taking on library administrative responsibilities is the reduction in traditional library tasks such as the reference desk. I am still required to supervise and assist library readers, but this is only needed when they have booked an appointment to use the Library and its facilities. The awareness of the libraries within the organisation is growing through object handling and teaching sessions with students. However, requests to use library materials are only a few per month.

This has freed up my time to organise and manage library projects such as the Southeast Asia books move, while continuously cataloguing our retrospective stock. The ability to personally shape the library's collection development through administering library budgets in acquisition, journal subscription and binding, has allowed an overall strategic plan for the library to develop.

For example, my budget management responsibilities have assisted me to effectively resource manage…

Visit to V&A Archives

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Joining mailing lists such a APML is a great way to find out about upcoming events and tour. My most recent tour was of the Victoria & Albert Museum (V&A) Archives at Blythe House located in Olympia. Initially the Head Office of the Post Office Bank in 1900s, the grand building was taken over by the V&A, British Museum and the Science Museum in the 1950s. With the addition of a study room, storage facilities and Textiles Room, Blythe House became known as the building to house the archives and collections of these 3 institutions. 
At the start of the visit, Christopher Marsden, Head Archivist of the V&A Archives printed the picture of the development of the V&A archives. With focus on design education in 1830s, mainly British art and design industry from 1920s and the Great Exhibition of 1982 the importance of archives and record keeping policy came into play. It became necessary to record correspondence to matching objects in the V&A collection in nominal files…

Frustrations and solutions for library outreach

Every so often you find a surprised visitor who enters our study room and says, “Oh! You have library?” to which with a sad sigh I respond, “Yes. We have about 9”.

Specialising in art, archaeology, anthropology, numismatics, conservation and scientific research from around the world, these libraries are available to the public. To be fair, each Museum department with public research facilities require a pre-booked appointment except the Anthropology Library and Research Centre. So, why do stories of readers being told that “there are no libraries at the British Museum. All our books are at the British Library” keep cropping up?