Tag Archives: Marjon library

Digging my Potato

I am back finally. Life gets in the way of archives but the archives are always victorious in the end.:-)
I’ve probably said that before, as a creative writing student I didn’t have any contact with first hand historical sources. And in a way I am still blown away by the sources we have in the archives. I am talking notes and reports that are so old that you can’t say if they were written in a brown ink or it just faded to be that way. It is going page by page minutes of meetings that were held long before you were born. Or chasing the entries in the catalogue that turns out to be defunct. And being a person that is prone to making strange analogies, the archival research seems to me like digging for potatoes.
Sounds crazy I know, but imagine if you will the archives as a field. You know that the ‘potatoes’ are there- the things you want to know, you just need to dig them up. Sometimes you dig and dig and there is nothing. Just random information that you don’t need right now. But just as you are about to give up on this patch- there is a potato. Here is what I dug out recently, all concerning the library/books.

  • The amount that library books cost in 1846, just after St. Marks College was open. It was £60, under ‘extra requirements’.
  • ‘ … books to the value of one pound be presented to college kitchen maid on her departure to Australia, in acknowledgement for her long and faithful services.’
  • In ’45 the library is barely mentioned in the prospectus. I guess it wasn’t deemed as important as it is nowadays.
  • In ‘71-‘72 Librarian Report mentions a significant book donation from British National Book Centre Exchange Scheme and London Institute of Education Library.

All those little potatoes might be used in the project about the history of our library. They may be transformed from loose information into something coherent. In other words, the potatoes are going into a salad.:-)
So next time you read historical book, know that you’re ‘eating potatoes‘ somebody had dug out for you.:-)

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Displaying Our Memory

When I made post about the black history month, I mentioned that I am going to write about our displaying capabilities. Sadly, I have to say that they are very inadequate. When I asked around if people saw the display, the answer was more often ‘no’ than ‘yes’. I can’t really blame them, as the location and the equipment are hardly adequate. Don’t get me wrong. I think that both archives and library staff are doing the best they can with what they got. However, what they got is hardly enough. A glass cabinet displays that is tough to look into and one ‘bible stand’ is all there is to put up a display.

When I was young I went to a school that was located in a city that was very young, less than seventy years. The school was the first to be opened in this young city and was not much more than fifty years old. Even though their history was not very long, they still managed to have a ‘memory hall’- a specially prepared room to house the display of their mementoes. Wouldn’t you agree that as a school with long history and prestige, we deserve to have a ‘memory hall’? I think that it would be a great idea. We could share it of course and use it to display other things, the work of the art students perhaps? The visitors on the Open Days could clearly see that we’re to be treated seriously and that we’re proud of what we are. Our memory deserves better than to be hidden away or relegated to the corner of a busy corridor.

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