Monday, 8 October 2012

Newsletter archive: August 2012

CILIP London branch newsletter - August 2012

Welcome to this month’s newsletter. CILIP in London takes a break from organising talks in August, but this month’s newsletter contains details of our exciting line up of speakers for this autumn, as well as, news about the CILIP in London Christmas social, and a write up of our July event.

We look forward to seeing you all at upcoming events.

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Book now for our September event.

'Find information fast – but where?'

Speaker: Gary Archer, Information Services Librarian, Solihull Central Library
Date: Thursday, 13 September 2012
Time: 6.30pm
Venue: The Square (Wine Bar), Tolmer’s Square, Somers Town, London NW1

Library Reference Services, and professionally-trained staff, are increasingly seen as irrelevant in the digital age; publishers are cancelling long-standing, successful titles to cut costs and meet market changes.

The popularity of shows such as QI, plus Q&A-type newspaper columns and discussion lists, and the use of social media for seeking answers demonstrates people’s need for information. Yet, this is not reflected in library reference services.

Gary will examine the decline in reference publishing and explore the role libraries can play in providing reliable, quality information.

Gary Archer has over 30 years experience as a librarian, mostly running information services. He has been described as one of a dying breed! He has a strong interest in information sources - to the extent of collecting non-traditional reference publications, such as Notes and Queries-type titles. Gary is reviewer for the Information Services Group’s magazine Refer and has been a winner of the Whitakers Almanac annual quiz.

This talk will be of particular value to anyone registered for CILIP Chartership and can contribute towards CPD requirements. Refreshments will be available afterwards.

Please book via the form located at: It would be helpful if you could say how you found out about this event.

CILIP in London evening meetings are free to CILIP members (with a £5 donation invited from non-members) and are open to all with a professional interest in the topic.

We encourage you to blog or tweet about this event (#ciliplndn)

This event has kindly been sponsored by Credo Reference.

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Save the date for our autumn line up at the Square Tavern

8 October

At our second autumn meeting Chris Coates from TUC Library will join us to talk about the unique Trades Union Congress Library Collections, including historical collection of trade unions material plus up to date collections of a range of trade union publications and labour history journals.

20 November

In November, Jon Brassey from Trip will be our guest speaker. Further details to follow shortly.

Follow us on Twitter @ciliplndn for the latest updates from the Events Calendar.

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A date for your diaries – the CILIP in London Christmas social!

CILIP in London warmly invites you to our Christmas social on 5 December. We will take a break from our usual speaker format and host an informal, festive networking event.

We ask that all attendees give a voluntary donation of £5 to cover the cost of a light buffet, with a small surplus going to the CILIP benevolent fund.

As this is such a busy time of year, we ask that you express your interest in attending this event, by 31 October. Please follow this link to book your place-

If you have any questions, please get in touch by emailing Amy at

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Write up of CILIP in London talk by Dianne Shepherd from the Women’s Library, 4 July- Katherine Rose, Subscriptions & Access Officer at KCL.

Dianne Shepherd, the Information Librarian at The Women’s Library since 2001, began her talk by describing the scope and significance of the collection at The Women’s Library. In addition to the printed collection of 60,000 monographs and 3,500 journals, as well as pamphlets dating back to 1592, the Library also holds over 550 archive collections and an 11,000 strong object museum collection of artefacts (such as textiles and badges). The collection has been recognised by UNESCO and the MLA. The Library’s long and fascinating history goes back to 1926 when it was formed from the personal collection of Millicent Garret Fawcett, a pioneer of the women’s suffrage movement. The full history of the library is too long to go into in detail, but I would suggest reading more at In 1977 the Library was taken on by the City Polytechnic (later London Guildhall University, and now London Metropolitan University) in 1977, and was moved to its new, purpose-built premises in 2002. This building (a converted bath-house in Aldgate East) really is special (as I remember from when I visited several years ago) and Dianne discussed how important it is to the Library’s brand and future.

Dianne then gave us an overview of the Library's unique exhibition and events programmes. The diverse exhibitions, which run several times a year, show inaccessible material from the print, archives and museum collections. All staff come together to set up an exhibition and the subject of the exhibitions are reflected in the Library’s collection development policies. The events programme is run by a Learning Co-ordinator, and the events engage various groups, including school children and the local community. The Library also employs a part-time Archivist, two Information Librarians and two Library Assistants, who run the busy reading room and enquiries service, undertake various digitisation and preservation projects, and supervise the many volunteers which The Women’s Library has always relied on.

Unfortunately, in March 2012, London Metropolitan decided that The Women’s Library no longer had a place in their strategic plan and announced that it would withdraw funding in December 2012. If the Library chooses to remain under the auspices of London Met, from January 2013 it would be open one day a week with one member of staff. This is obviously not viable for a collection of national importance, with visit and enquiries statistics to rival a much bigger library (quoting from a 2011 prospectus created by The Women’s Library for new potential custodians, there were 4161 reader visits and 14515 enquires in 2011). Instead of fighting this decision, as the UNISON union are doing, the staff of The Women’s Library decided to support the search for a new custodian for the Library. Currently, the potential custodians have submitted formal bids, detailing how they would run and support the Library. Due to strict confidentiality agreements, no information about individual bids is available but Dianne said there were seven bids, and that she believed most of the potential custodians wanted to keep the collection together. If all goes to plan, the new custodian should be finalised by the end of September. However, there is still a great deal of uncertainty regarding the future of The Women’s Library: will the collection stay together, will the library have to move from its current premises, and ultimately will a suitable custodian be found at all? A great deal of publicity has been generated regarding the possible closure of the Women’s Library, and Dianne emphasised that the Library has been overwhelmed and grateful for the support it has received.

An interesting discussion followed, touching on topics such as The Feminist Library, change management, the role of volunteers in the library sector and the various collaborative projects which staff at The Women’s Library have been involved in.

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The next CILIP in London e-bulletin will be sent out on 4 September - please send comments, suggestions and copy to Amy at by 28 August.

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