I am currently working on a “mission statement”. This will outline my public library “theory of mind” – something, as per the previous blog, I feel is necessary before beginning any other CPD. However, I visited the Marks and Spencer Archive at the Leeds Unviersity yesterday and have written up something for my ACLIP portfolio. I reproduce it here for future reference.
VISIT TO THE MARKS AND SPENCER ARCHIVE
The Michael Marks Building, Leeds University
PURPOSE OF THE VISIT
This visit was organized by my mentor and was an opportunity to see the recently opened Marks and Spencer Archive held at LeedsUniversity. The visit consisted of two parts: first, a guided tour around the intimate museum space, where artifacts from the entire history of the M&S company were attractively displayed; second, we were allowed to view the staff-only library area where additional archived materials – and items donated by the public – are held.
REFLECTIONS ON THE VISIT
The entire building has been purpose-built for holding this archive and its particular set of materials – especially old clothing. This is especially evident in the library section – temperature controlled, with a room below freezing temperatures for preserving moth-eaten material and has items held within electronically-operated “stacks”. Clearly, budgetary matters within the Local Government sector probably mean the Leeds Library Service cannot hope to emulate some of these innovations for its own special collections, but this visit brought home to me the importance of correctly preserving valuable items. I will be pressing this issue at future team meetings.
I was also struck by the usefulness of allowing staff from other library/museum/archival institutions to view the Museum and Library. This could be something that could be replicated at the Leeds Central Library – my department houses a range of interesting and relatively rare journals/books and it may be worthwhile inviting staff from other local institutions for guided tours of our holdings. This sort of community engagement could have beneficial effect in terms of sharing knowledge across the sector.