Posts Tagged ‘Volunteering’

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Readers mine, I live in Scotland once again! Life since May began has been decidedly hectic, when I handed in my notice to Sotheby’s Institute of Art, where I have been the Assistant Librarian since January 2008, within a week of returning from France (the two events are not causally related, merely temporally adjacent). Since leaving work at the end of June, I was packing up and saying “Cheerio, not goodbye!” to the six and half years of my London life, and for just over a week now I have since been living in Scotland once again. I didn’t leave the Institute to work elsewhere in London; I left it as part of a larger change in lifestyle. Having been asking myself the question “where do I want my life to be, in the main?”, for a couple of years now, and the obvious follow-up question, “what then must I do to achieve that?”, moving to Scotland was the first part of the answer. It’s about life, not just about work. London was never a permanent move, I always knew that, and I cannot express how strongly I disagree with Samuel Johnson’s famous quote as given below

when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.

There is a significant difference between not wanting to live in London and being tired of it. It’s always accessible, always there, and I’ll never stop visiting it. I’ll never stop missing my friends who live there. But there is so much to do, so much to see, here in Scotland. Besides, I needed to get back before September 18, after which the borders will of course be closed :). I jest, of course, but it’s definitely an interesting year to be in Scotland, and I want to be able to have a say in the future of my country. (more…)

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Given this post is more an announcement of future regular posts resuming, as opposed to an actual post in itself, I thought I’d post some of my favourite pictures of medieval angels – on the basis that they act as heralds, and so tie into the theme of announcing. (more…)

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As a follow-up to yesterday’s post on the Medieval Feminist Wikipedia Write-in event at Kalamazoo, here’s an interesting post from the Hack Library School blog on librarians using, and actively editing, Wikipedia. My becoming a Wikibrarian is looking more and more likely by the day. Who’s with me?


Are you a Wikibrarian? I recently became one—a librarian who edits Wikipedia (“the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit”)—and I have found the experience rewarding in the extreme. I have even stumbled into a role as an embedded consultant, helping faculty teach undergrads how to write Wikipedia articles on gender history, on which improvements are urgently needed. So what are the benefits to becoming a Wikibrarian while in library school?

Wikipedia is legit

My role as a Wikibrarian is possible because Wikipedia has become increasingly “legit” among the more open-minded educators and information professionals. Wikipedia’s rigor and quality have come a long way from Steve Carell’s classic deadpan in The Office a few years ago. Now Harvard University’s rare books library is recruiting a Wikipedian in Residence! Best uses of Wikipedia are to find background information, bibliographies, topic ideas, quick facts, and keywords. Selective editing, conflict of interest, copied and pasted text, and other…

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A portable shrine in the form of a tabernacle – a painted wooden box, (alabaster, polychrome, gilt, wire, Nottingham, 15th Century – Burrell Collection, Glasgow Museums, accession number 1.34)

I came up with the idea of building my own virtual museum two weeks ago today. The actual museum opening has had to wait until today because I was mightily conferencing last week. You can find out more about my intentions behind and aims for the Mid-Week Museum from its inaugural post. (more…)

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Amsterdam, Biblioteca Philosophica Hermetica MS 1, f. 118, detail:
His castle falls on the duke who killed King Lancelot.
(© Amsterdam, Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica, via the Lancelot-Graal Project.)

Who remembers all the excitement over the auction of the Rochefoucauld Grail in December 2010? It’s a beautiful set of three volumes of the Estoire del Saint Graal. Although it is privately owned, you can see digital images of some of the illuminations and illustrations on the Lancelot-Graal website. Perhaps what you don’t know about items going up for auction is that for some days in advance of the auction, it is possible to visit the auction house to view such items close at hand, often closer than would be possible in a museum. In the case of books such as the Rochefoucauld Grail volumes, you can be lucky enough to have a rare opportunity to sit at a table in the auction house, to – carefully! – leaf through the pages. I duly went to Sotheby’s on Bond Street one early December lunchtime, to have a look at that manuscript. I had heard nothing of any British public library or museum putting in a bid for the Rochefoucauld Grail, and was beginning to dread that this would be my only opportunity to have a good look at it. Unfortunately, I only had one hour for lunch, and when I arrived, others were already looking at the various volumes. (more…)

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I was a volunteer exhibition steward at the first Lambeth Palace Library exhibition in 2010, The Treasures of Lambeth Palace Library, celebrating the Library’s 400th anniversary. It’s a beautiful place, and its collections are befitting of such a place. So it’s wonderful to find out that one of the original collections has found its way back home.

A Monument of Fame

The latest issue of The Spectator (13 April 2013) contains a long article by Professor James Carley about a remarkable group of books which has miraculously found its way back to Lambeth Palace Library after many decades.

Early in 1975 the Lambeth Palace Librarian noticed a troubling gap on the shelves where some important books had been kept. The books could not be found and a search of the rest of the Library showed that this gap was not unique. On examining the card catalogue it was discovered that the catalogue cards for the missing items had also been removed. This made it difficult to ascertain exactly what was missing but it was thought that around sixty items had been removed from the Library. The police were informed and the bookselling community notified. None of the books was recovered, however, and the trail went cold.

Over thirty-five years later, in February 2011, the newly appointed Librarian, Giles Mandelbrote, was contacted by…

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Giving something back, and/or taking something away?

Giving something back, and/or taking something away?

Volunteering nowadays is much more complicated than it used to be, thanks to our current government trying to convince us that volunteering can replace working. Before the attempted launch of the Big Society, I would have said that volunteering was undeniably a good thing, both for the volunteers and the institutions for whom they volunteered. But I would never have accepted, or envisaged, that volunteering could replace paid employment of fully-trained and experienced individuals. Deprofessionalisation of sectors is never the answer. (more…)

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