Tag Archives: Libraries

£875 a year! And other Bradford Stories

In 1966, Dr John Horton joined the staff at Bradford University library on a salary of £875 a year.  He stayed at the Uni for the rest of his working life, eventually becoming University Librarian.  John shares his memories of our first Vice-Chancellor, Ted Edwards, and our first Chancellor, Sir Harold Wilson, in the first of a series of videos created by staff and students to celebrate the University’s 50th anniversary.

Commonweal: a library for the good of all

Visitors to the Library at the University of Bradford will often come across references to “Commonweal” and maybe wonder what this means.   Wonder no more!

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Commonweal means “the good of all”.  The Commonweal Library is an independent peace library run by Trustees and volunteers.  Commonweal is located within the main Library of the University of Bradford (handily just outside my office on Floor 1!) and is a treasure trove of books, journals and pamphlets on protest, social change, religions, ideas, and much much more.  Its extraordinary collections of campaign archives are part of Special Collections.

Befriending Commonweal Peace Library“, a feature in the most recent issue of Peace News, is a great introduction to Commonweal’s fascinating story.  The author of the feature, Michael Randle, encourages activists and academics interested in nonviolent protest to make use of Commonweal’s wonderful resources.

Commonweal, like Special Collections, is for everyone.  Unlike Special Collections, however, Commonweal is open access:  you don’t need an appointment and you can explore the shelves to your heart’s content.

Find out more:

Why should universities invest in their archives?

Special collections in universities aren’t just dusty things in basements that are kept because they are nice or old.  They’re part of the story of their institution, highlighting and documenting its distinctive qualities.  For instance, the University of Bradford has peace campaign archives because of the radical history of the University and the City and collections on dyeing and textile industries because we grew from the City’s need for technical education.  If properly cared for and catalogued, such collections are invaluable for research, teaching, community work, art and even student recruitment.

BTC 2_5_22 Textile Department (2)

Classroom in Bradford Technical College Textile Department, circa 1911

Unique and Distinctive Collections, a new report co-authored by Alison Cullingford and published by Research Libraries UK aims to help university senior managers see the potential of their collections and encourage them to invest in making more of them.

Building Works April/May

More detail about the works!  Follow this blog for updates.

1. The Floor 02 toilets are being refurbished from 27 March: work will take about six weeks.  Visitors will need to use alternative toilets on the other floors.  There may be some noise from the building works – we do not yet know how much disturbance to expect so we are encouraging visitors to rearrange their appointments for later dates where possible.

2. We may experience disruption from the GLEE Project, which will transform the upper floors of the Library.  Visitors with an interest in peace/politics should note that Commonweal will be affected: see the Glee Project website for ways to find out more.

Wanted: Graduate Trainee

We’re looking for a new graduate trainee to join the library at Bradford University.  Here’s the advert which includes full info about how to apply: closing date 26 October.  The post is fixed-term and aimed at graduates seeking professional careers in librarianship.

Just so you’re clear, this is not a Special Collections role, it covers the whole library.  You’d get great grounding in all aspects of librarianship (including Special Collections of course) from a friendly team who have really appreciated the help and enthusiasm our many excellent former GTs have brought to the role.   You can see this in the posts by Jen Fox and Maria O’Hara, last year’s graduate trainees, about working on the Untangling the Holdens project.

Anyway, good luck to everyone who applies and I look forward to meeting and working with the successful candidate!

Farewell: A Guest Post by John Brooker

John Brooker, our Special Collections Assistant, leaves us on 11 October for pastures new.  John has contributed hugely to the work of Special Collections and he will be much missed!  John kindly wrote this post on his experiences:

“I started working in Special Collections in 2000, on secondment from the university library counter team. I had previously worked in public libraries in London, so had lots of experience of books, readers and library systems, but not of archives, rare books or other heritage materials.

Initially I worked on book cataloguing, which was fairly familiar. Soon I was working on archives, and wondering what ISAD(G)2 stood for. I began to discover the enchantment of archives while working on the J.B. Priestley Archive. Then it was back to cataloguing Arthur Raistrick’s maps, which meant finding the number of inches in a chain. Meanwhile I was also working on preservation of collections: making phase boxes for books, monitoring the temperature and humidity in our stores, and finding out how to avoid conditions that favour pests and mould. As a member of the library’s disaster team I learned how to salvage water-damaged books, then trained my colleagues.  One of my odder tasks has been to carefully half-submerge books for use in salvage practice.

Supplying copies at first meant photocopying, but I moved on to scanning and then photography to supply images from books and archives, and also pictures of maps, paintings, colleagues, milk-bottles, and cakes.  And recently we have moved on again, to digital video for our online exhibition.

There has been much to learn, in many different areas. I hope that my successor enjoys the learning process and the variety as much I have.”

How tweet it is

Dipper by Jacquetta Hawkes

Cute dipper drawn by Jacquetta Hawkes

Another way to keep up with Special Collections news: our twitter account. http://twitter.com/speccollbrad.

No idea whether this dipper tweets or what, but I think he is very cute.

Title of this post inspired by the Library of Congress, who are to archive twitter!