A network for new and aspiring library professionals

Very special libraries: #nlpnportico

On Saturday, team NLPN joined forces with the Portico Library to offer a showcase of independent libraries. The event was kindly sponsored by the CILIP North West Member Network and the Association of Independent Libraries.

This was a slight departure from our previous events, which tend to have a cross sectoral focus. Our aim for the day was to put a spotlight on the varied work of information professionals in the special/independent library sector, as well as the hidden gems that exist with archives and special collections. The speakers definitely brought their work to life and provided a fascinating insight to a sector that is often overlooked on library courses. We welcomed a mixed audience from the sector and beyond, at different stages of their library careers who hopefully all learned something new  – the NLPNers all now want to work at one of the libraries we heard about!

The speakers have kindly shared their presentations with us, so if you couldn’t attend you can catch up with the content here.

Kirsten Loach  gave an introduction to both the AIL and the history of the Portico Library.

We were also joined by Louisa Yates from Gladstone’s libraryIMG_3403

Both Kirsten and Louisa explained how independent libraries need to be dynamic in order to fulfil their original aims of contributing to education whilst meeting the needs of funding. This is carried out by becoming more outward looking e.g. inviting the public in to view the collections, offering a residential service and hosting events such as book launches. In addition to these endeavours both see the importance of making the collection more accessible whether it be through digitisation, transcribing collections or through social media platforms.


Kathy Whalen Moss from Cheetham’s Library shared the delights of the Belle Vue archive IMG_3408

Kathy really brought Belle Vue gardens to life with her vivid descriptions and lively retelling of its history interspersed with a number of pictures including a monkey on a bike! Kathy explained that working with volunteers was a key part of why Chetham’s received funding, whether that be students wanting experience or work placements. In addition to this external involvement, Kathy and her team approached Manchester Art School to collaborate on an exhibition and Chetham’s Library also use social media platforms to promote this and other collections. Thisproject has not only created new partnerships but has also strengthened their links in the community.

Our final speaker was Rebekah Taylor, archivist at the University of the Creative ArtsIMG_3412 (1)

Rebekah explained how archives are intrinsic in her institution and not just for History students! Rebekah asserted that collaboration between librarians and archivists is key as academic literacy in teaching blurs with archives and librarianship! Furthermore, as work with the archives is not embedded within courses it is vital to collaborate with librarians in order to find a way to show students how to find collections.

You can catch up with the tweets for the day on Storify. We’d like to thank our hosts at the Portico, and the fantastic speakers for delivering such interesting and enjoyable presentations!

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This entry was posted on November 17, 2014 by in NLPN events and tagged , , , .

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