Kurzer Aufenthalt

Kurzer Aufenthalt. Streifzüge durch literarische Orte, hrsg. von Ute Harbusch/Gregory Wittkop, Göttingen: Wallstein-Verlag 2007. 360 S., 29,90 Euro.

Inhalt:
http://www.ulb.tu-darmstadt.de/tocs/185379443.pdf
Rezension:
http://www.sandammeer.at/rezensionen/literort-harbusch.htm

Eine originelle Festschrift für den langjährigen Leiter der Marbacher Arbeitsstelle für literarische Museen, Archive und Gedenkstätten in Baden-Württemberg, Thomas Scheuffelen. Rund 60 Autoren haben kurze Texte über die Beziehung von Literaten zu Örtlichkeiten abgeliefert, meist gelungene Miniaturen über Lebens-Spuren.

Gut vertreten ist der deutsche Südwesten: Gewürdigt wird die Reichenau, die Biberacher Wieland-Verehrung, das Nürtinger „Höfle“ (von Peter Härtling), der Lichtenstein als „Sehnsuchtsort des 19. Jahrhunderts“ und der in einem enigmatischen Hölderlin-Gedicht literarisch verarbeitete Winkel von Hardt bei Nürtingen – um nur einige der einschlägigen Beiträge herauszugreifen.

Fazit: Ein Band, an dem nicht nur Literatur-ArchivarInnen ihre Freude haben.

Better News from Cardiff

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/south_east/7659957.stm

Organisations involved in plans to sell some of Wales‘ oldest and rarest books say they have „agreed a way ahead“.
Cardiff council proposals to sell up to 18,000 items eventually have provoked calls by one group to halt the sale „of some of Wales‘ greatest treasures“.
After a „positive meeting“ several organisations have now agreed to identify which should be kept in Wales.
The heritage minister said it would mean „important cultural and historical items are not lost to Wales“.
The council had earlier removed 32 books from the auction it is planning, and has said all the money the sale generates will go back into the city’s library service.
But the group which opposes it, Cardiff Heritage Friends, has claimed the council should be „exploiting“ its assets rather than selling them, to „enhance Cardiff’s prestige as a city of culture and learning“.
The organisations which met to discuss the sale are Cardiff council, Cardiff University, the National Library of Wales and Glamorgan Record Office.
In a statement, they said they had „agreed that they would work together to identify which items from the collection should be recommended to be retained in Wales.
„Specialist expert support will be provided, including specialist advice from the National Library of Wales and Glamorgan Record Office.
„All parties recognised Cardiff council’s desire to invest in an improved library.“
Alun Ffred Jones, the Welsh Assembly Government heritage minister, said: „I’m pleased that the parties involved have been able to agree a way forward and I look forward to the establishment of a partnership which can provide advice to Cardiff council so that important cultural and historical items are not lost to Wales.“
Nigel Howells, the council’s executive member for sport, leisure and culture, said: „The key outcome we wanted was to find a way forward that allowed us to invest in the public library service through the auction of some items.
„It is doubly pleasing that we have agreed a way forward in partnership that allows for important items to be retained in Wales“.
The organisations will meet again for more discussion in greater detail.

See also

http://www.writersguild.org.uk/public/003_WritersGuil/268_WGGBNewsBre.html

The Association of Breton Writers [l’Association des Écrivains Bretons] has condemned in the strongest terms Cardiff City Council’s intention to sell a substantial part of the City Library’s collection of antique books. The Welsh capital is twinned with Nantes, the ancient capital of the Dukes of Brittany.

While voicing deep concern at the actions of Cardiff Council the Breton writers have written to their colleagues in Wales [the Welsh branch of the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain] expressing their solidarity with their colleagues, the writers of Wales, and the Welsh academic community, in opposing an action that would deprive Cardiff and the whole of Wales from an important part of their heritage.

Bonhams, London, is preparing a list of more than 100 books to be sold at auction in November. It is possible, if Cardiff City is allowed to proceed with its plans, that as many as 18,000 books could eventually be sold, including books from the 15th, 16th, 17th and 18th centuries some of which were donated in 1902 to the Cardiff Library by one of the city’s benefactors, John Cory. This includes a collection of rare pre-1500 books, printed in Venice, Florence, Strasbourg, Basle and other European centres of learning. […]

The Writers’ Guild Welsh Branch has welcomed the interest and support of the Breton writers. “The issue of breaking up and dispersing library and museum collections is one that has concerned the citizens of Cardiff for some time – we recall how the Welsh Industrial and Maritime Museum was closed and its collections dispersed a decade ago,” said a spokesperson.

“It appears that there are moves in France to follow this unfortunate precedent to sell collections, many of which were donated by individual benefactors in the past. As well as breaking up priceless collections this practice will not help to attract future donations from individual collectors and wealthy benefactors. It is good to know that writers and intellectuals in Brittany – indeed in Europe – are watching with concern what is happening in Cardiff.”

Akt-Fotos in der Sonderausstellung «nackt und natürlich»


(Foto: dpa)

„Günter Rössler gilt als der Alt-Vater der Aktfotografie in der DDR, seine Aufnahmen machten die Zeitschrift «Das Magazin» zur Bückware. Im Jahr 1984 veröffentlichte der Playboy unter dem Titel «Mädchen der DDR» eine zehnseitige Fotostrecke mit Bildern von Günter Rössler. Vor zwei Jahren – aus Anlass seines 80. Geburtstages – wurde Rössler in seiner Heimatstadt Leipzig mit einer großen Retrospekive geehrt. Rössler ist also ausstellungserfahren -doch mit der Exposition im Pommerschen Landesmuseum in Greifswald betritt er Neuland. «Ich bin aufgeregt», bekennt Rössler. …..
Vieles geriet über die Jahre in Vergessenheit, gesteht Rössler. Dankbar ist er deshalb Mario Scarabis, Ausstellungskurator und Mitarbeiter des Pommerschen Landesmuseums, der nach der Leipziger Retrospektive auf Rössler zuging und ihn mit der Idee dieser ungewöhnlichen Schau konfrontierte. Gemeinsam durchforsteten sie das Archiv Rösslers. Längst vergessene Negative und alte Abzüge kamen dabei zutage. In einer alten Ausgabe der «Sybille» fanden sich Briefe von Susanne Kandt-Horn an den Fotografen, die von einem herzlichen Verhältnis zeugen . «Ich war wie berauscht», erinnert sich Mario Scarabis. Die Original-Aufnahmen, ergänzt um neue Abzüge alter Negative, geben der Ausstellung eine weitere – private – Facette. …..

Quelle: Link

Archive im Fernsehen: "24"

Eine FAZ-Besprechung (Link) der erfolgreichen Fernsehserie gerät zum Fernsehtipp für Archivierende:
“ ….. In einer Szene der sechsten Staffel vernichtet eine Anwältin im Datenzentrum einer islamisch-amerikanischen Organisation das Archiv, um den Zugriff der Behörden auf persönliche Daten zu verhindern. Das Anliegen der Behörden erweist sich als unbegründet, und der Präsident wird darauf hingewiesen, dass einer seiner Berater gezielt die Aushöhlung der Bürgerrechte betreibe. …..“

Staatsarchiv Meiningen bleibt länger im Schloss

“ …… Den aufgestellten Wunschzeitplan bis 2020 durchkreuzt bereits das Land Thüringen. Bislang ging die Kommune davon aus, dass 2014/2015 das Staatsarchiv den Bibrasbau verlässt und in den seit langem geplanten Neubau in der Marienstraße zieht. Nach dem Umzug sollte die Sanierung der leer stehenden Schlossräume beginnen, die die Stadt danach Museum und Musikschule zur Verfügung stellen will. Inzwischen klingen die Signale so, dass das Staatsarchiv noch weit länger an seinem jetzigen Platz bleiben wird. Kölsche: „Ein hochrangiger Ministeriumsmitarbeiter hat uns jegliche Illusion genommen: Der Neubau für das Staatsarchiv wird in absehbarer Zeit nicht in Erwägung gezogen.“
Neben dem Staatsarchiv, dem Museum und der Musikschule sind im Schloss die Stadtverwaltung, das Stadtarchiv sowie ein Café und eine Gaststätte untergebracht. ….“

Quelle:
http://www.freies-wort.de/nachrichten/regional/meiningen/art2799,883686

Archiv und Theater: "MEIN ERSTER SONY" von Stéphane im LOFFT Leipzig

Tel Aviv 1992. Der 10 jährige Jotam bekommt von seinem Vater einen Kassettenrekorder geschenkt, um seine vielen Ideen festzuhalten. Stattdessen aber beginnt Jotam, alles um sich herum aufzunehmen, einfach alles: Den nächtlichen Streit der Eltern, den ersten Sex der Cousine, den Clash der Generationen auf Familienfeiern oder die Stille am Toten Meer.
Ein riesiges Kassettenarchiv entsteht, das Jotam als Archivar seiner persönlichen Erinnerungen und zugleich als Chronist eines kollektiven Gedächtnisses anlegt.Er hält das Leben fest: im Kleinen das der Familie und im Großen das Leben in Israel…
Inzwischen erwachsen beginnt Jotam, anhand der alten Aufnahmen seine Geschichte zu erzählen. Alle und alles sind in Bewegung: in einer atemlosen Reise durch Jotams Erinnerungen, durch seine Kindheit und durch Israel ? durch das Land wie durch seine Geschichte. Auf mehreren medialen Ebenen von Theater über Hörspiel zu Filmprojektionen. Sprachlich, emotional und choreografisch. Das hohe Tempo und der Rhythmus des Abends sind die konsequente Entsprechung zu den schier endlosen Sätzen des Romans und den beeindruckenden Erinnerungs- und Assoziationsketten Jotams.“

Noch heute und morgen im Programm.
Quelle:
http://www.kulturkurier.de/veranstaltung_140055.html
Homepage:
http://www.lofft.de

Die Wissenschaften des Archivs

Das Max-Planck-Institut für Wissenschaftsgeschichte, Berlin

(Abteilung II; Direktorin: Prof. Lorraine Daston) sucht eine/n herausragende/n Nachwuchswissenschaftler/in für eine

3-jährige Forschungsposition

(Beginn spätestens ab September 2009) als Wissenschaftliche/n Mitarbeiter/in für das Forschungsprojekt Die Wissenschaften des Archivs (ausführliche Informationen über das Projekt sind zu finden unter:

http://www.mpiwg-berlin.mpg.de/en/research/projects/department2/index_html?showArchive=yes).

Bewerber/innen sollten zum Zeitpunkt des Stellenantritts über eine Promotion in Wissenschaftsgeschichte oder verwandten Bereichen verfügen und ihr wissenschaftliches Potential in Form von Publikationen oder anderen relevanten Leistungen nachgewiesen haben.
Eine vorausgegangene Postdoc-Position ist wünschenswert, aber nicht erforderlich.

Die projektspezifischen Forschungsvorhaben können sich auf alle Kulturen oder historische Epochen (inklusive der Gegenwart) beziehen. Das Projekt sollte eine wissenschaftshistorische Komponente beinhalten; diese Kategorie bezieht jedoch alle Geistes- und Naturwissenschaften mit ein, und zusätzliche relevante Perspektiven anderer Disziplinen sind willkommen. Mögliche Themen wären z.B.:

– Die materielle Kultur des Auswählens, Sammelns, Konservierens, Klassifizierens und des Vermittelns von Wissen (d. h. Bibliotheken, Museen und Datenbanken, aber auch Sammlungen von Materialien astronomischer Beobachtung, Herbarien und Dokumentarfilme).

– Die Geschichte zentraler Gedanken und Begriffe die Wissenschaften des Archivs betreffend (d. h. “Daten”, “Information”, “Tradition”, “Kulturerbe” etc.)

– Die Praxis, Archivdaten selektiv in Wissen zu transformieren (d. h. Klassifizierungen, Suchtechniken, Kataloge, Synopsen, Atlanten).

Das Max-Planck-Institut für Wissenschaftsgeschichte ist ein internationales und interdisziplinäres Forschungsinstitut (http://www.mpiwg-berlin.mpg.de/en/index.html).
Die Kolloquiumssprache ist Englisch; es wird erwartet, dass die Bewerber/innen in der Lage sind, ihr eigenes Werk in dieser Sprache mündlich und schriftlich fließend zu präsentieren sowie die Arbeit anderer zu diskutieren. Bewerbungen können in deutscher, englischer oder französischer Sprache eingereicht werden.

Die Position ist vorrangig der Forschung gewidmet, es besteht keine Lehrverpflichtung und administrative Tätigkeiten sind nur in geringem Maße zu erfüllen.
Die Vergütung erfolgt analog TVöD E13; die Eingruppierung betreffende Fragen richten Sie bitte an Frau Claudia Paass (paass@mpiwg-berlin.mpg.de).

Interessierte Wissenschaftler/innen senden bitte einen Lebenslauf inklusive Publikationsliste, ein Exposé ihres projektbezogenen Forschungsvorhabens (max. 750 Wörter) sowie Namen und Adressen (bevorzugt unter Angabe der email-Adressen) von 3 Referenzpersonen, die ggf. bis zum 22. Dezember 2008 gebeten werden, Gutachten einzureichen),

bis spätestens zum 17. November 2008 an das

Max-Planck-Institut für Wissenschaftsgeschichte
Abt. Personal/WiMi II Archives
Boltzmannstr. 22
14195 Berlin

(alternativ per email:: paass@mpiwg-berlin.mpg.de).

Bewerber/innen, die die Endauswahl für die Position erreichen, werden hierüber bis zum 1. Dezember 2008 informiert und zu einem Vorstellungsgespräch in der Woche vom
5.–9. Januar 2009 eingeladen (Reisekosten trägt das Institut).

Das Projekt und die Abteilung des Instituts betreffende Fragen richten Sie bitte an Frau Prof. Dr. Lorraine Daston (ldaston@mpiwg-berlin.mpg.de) oder Herrn Dr. Fernando Vidal (vidal@mpiwg-berlin.mpg.de); für verwaltungstechnische Fragen über die Position oder das Institut kontaktieren Sie bitte Herrn Jochen Schneider (jsr@mpiwg-berlin.mpg.de).
Bewerbungen von Wissenschaftlern aller Nationalitäten sind willkommen; Bewerbungen von Frauen sind besonders erwünscht. Die Max-Planck-Gesellschaft ist bemüht, mehr schwerbehinderte Menschen zu beschäftigen und fordert diese ausdrücklich zur Bewerbung auf.

Kontakt:
Max-Planck-Institut für Wissenschaftsgeschichte
Abt. Personal/WiMi II Archives
Boltzmannstr. 22
14195 Berlin

URL zur Zitation dieses Beitrages
http://hsozkult.geschichte.hu-berlin.de/chancen/id=3163&type=stellen

News from the Cardiff Library Case (2)

The Truth about Cardiff Central Library’s

Special Collections
SUMMARY: This document demonstrates the following:

Cardiff over a period of some 100 years built up a major, comprehensive reference library, which by 1932 ranked fifth among the municipal reference libraries of Great Britain.

In common with any other library of substance, Cardiff Central Library has a number of special collections. It is such collections that mark out a library and give it its unique ‘flavour’. They are, in other words, the ‘jewels in the crown’.

These ‘jewels’, with their great historical significance and educational / economic / visitor-attraction potential, are the very books Cardiff Council now proposes to sell as ‘surplus library stock’.

These special collections have not been used extensively during the past twenty years because they have not been catalogued and promoted during that period. To counter this argument, Council spokespersons state that ‘many of these items are listed in standard reference catalogues’. In fact only 180 out of the 18,000 items in these special collections – one per cent! – are listed in the standard reference catalogues named by the Council.

Cardiff Council claims that, following the decision at the beginning of the twentieth century to locate the National Library at Aberystwyth, ‘Cardiff was left with a major collection but inadequate resources to maintain it’. On the contrary, it can be shown conclusively that Cardiff continued to develop its special collections, and the facilities for their use, well into the 20th century.

All the books in the Central Library’s special collections, whatever their language or content, are of ‘Welsh or local interest’ because of the history of those collections and their provenance. Is not the collection of Impressionist paintings in the National Museum of Wales a ‘Welsh’ collection, despite the artists being French? Selling the ‘non-Welsh’ books in Cardiff’s special collections will destroy important national heritage collections and demote Cardiff City’s library provision to being little more than a provincial, ‘local studies’ collection rather than one fit for a European capital.

As the Appendix to this document shows, nearly all the books in Cardiff Central Library’s special collections were presented/bequeathed by benefactors, or placed there on deposit, or purchased by public subscription. Even if no formal covenants are attached to some of these items, the clear intent of the benefactors was that these books be retained long-term in Cardiff for the educational and cultural benefit of its citizens and the nation, and not be treated as ‘windfall’ revenue. Given the high proportion of donated and deposited items in the special collections, it is quite likely that the Council has no legal right to sell a significant number of the books it intends to auction at Bonhams.

A COMPREHENSIVE COLLECTION?
In his written reply to one of the three public questions at the Cardiff Council meeting of 25 September 2008 regarding the disposal of the special collections at Cardiff Central Library, Cllr Nigel Howells (the Executive Member for Sport, Leisure and Culture), made the following, rather disparaging remarks, regarding those special collections:

“It should be noted that these are not items that make up a valuable or important collection in their own right (such as those held by other institutions such as the British Library or the Bodleian Library); they are, in fact, an ad hoc collection of printed works. They are by no means a comprehensive collection in any sense of the word.”

This a very disturbing and misleading statement which shows a remarkable ignorance on the part of Cllr Howells and his advisors regarding research and reference libraries such as the British Library, the Bodleian Library, and – dare one say! – Cardiff Central Library. It also displays a particularly breathtaking ignorance of the nature and significance of such special collections, and of the history and holdings of the library which has been entrusted to their care.

To begin with, it is not appropriate to compare Cardiff Central Library with the British Library and Oxford’s Bodleian Library, since the latter are both ‘legal deposit’ libraries, two of a small handful of libraries in Britain which receive free copies of all books published in the UK – the other ‘legal deposit’ libraries in Britain are the National Libraries of Wales and Scotland and Cambridge University Library,

The true comparison for Cardiff Central Library is with the large municipal libraries of Britain, such as those of Glasgow, Liverpool, Manchester and Birmingham. In addition to their lending libraries of more ‘popular’ materials, these public libraries – not to mention the libraries of much smaller county towns – have substantial numbers of books that may only be consulted in the library. Such reference libraries divide into two main sections:
1. General Reference Library

Firstly there is the general reference library, built up gradually over the years as a comprehensive collection of works on a wide range of subjects. Admittedly, the reference library at Cardiff Central Library is not as large as that of Glasgow, say, but it was (and hopefully still is!) one of the most significant and comprehensive municipal reference libraries, not only in Wales but in the whole of Britain.

Cardiff was the first town in Wales to open a public lending library. That was in 1862. Within two years a reference library had been established, with a nucleus of 49 books. By 1932 that reference library had grown to 160,000 volumes, and was by then ranked fifth among the municipal reference libraries of Great Britain. Regular acquisitions were made over the following half century, which meant that at the time of the move from the Old Library in the Hayes in the late 1980s, Cardiff Central Library was still regarded as a major and comprehensive reference library.
When the Central Library moved twenty years ago (to the building which has just been demolished!), the disastrous decision was taken to dispose of the card catalogue which indexed the library’s collections, in order to make everyone use the new electronic catalogue. It was a disastrous step because a significant number of items in the reference library were not included on that electronic catalogue at the time and for many years afterward – indeed many thousands of such items remain uncatalogued in stores to this day.
It is a well-known fact among librarians and antiquarian booksellers that there has been a quiet ‘downgrading’ of Cardiff Central Library as a reference library since the move in the late 1980s. Some of the less ‘lucrative’ collections have been deposited in other libraries and many items have found their way into the hands of booksellers. However, unless there has been a large-scale secretive disposal of stock since the move from the Old Library in the Hayes, the majority of that great and comprehensive reference library should still remain somewhere in the Central Library!
2. Special Collections

The second feature of all libraries of substance and standing is that they have a number of special collections, which are kept as distinct units within the reference library. Many of these originated as the private libraries of prominent individuals; other such collections began life as the libraries of institutions or learned societies; others are thematic collections, often created because of some particular local interest on the part of an individual or group.
Because of the piecemeal way in which such special collections are acquired, they are by their very nature ‘ad hoc’. In that sense the special collections of the British Library and the Bodleian Library are as ‘ad hoc’ as those of Cardiff Central Library! However each individual special collection is usually far from being ‘ad hoc’, since most were put together very deliberately – this again is as true of those in Cardiff Central Library as it is of those in the British Library or the Bodleian.
Whereas many of the volumes found in a ‘general’ reference library will be common to any number of other libraries, it is these ‘special collections’ (as the term suggests) which help mark out a library and give it its rank. They allow specialist and often unique research to take place in that library. In addition, these special collections frequently reflect aspects of local identity because they have been formed by particular citizens, and as such are a crucial part of each city’s heritage. They are, in other words, the ‘jewels in the crown’ of that library.
Cardiff Central Library has a number of special collections, many of them either donated by individuals or purchased by public subscription. The most important of these is its collection of Welsh books, pamphlets, prints and maps, which is second only to that of the National Library of Wales – or at least that was the case until the late 1980s, since it is difficult to assess the extent of the Central Library’s current holdings of Welsh material, as so much is still not on the library’s electronic catalogue.
However there are also at the Central Library a number of special collections of ‘non-Welsh’ materials, which contribute significantly to its status as a major research library. Among these are its major collections of early printed books, of rare Bibles, of atlases and of early English drama texts, together with its extensive collections of books renowned for their fine bindings and/or illustrations. It is these ‘jewels in the crown’ which are to be sold by auction at Bonhams over the next few years as ‘surplus library stock’. In 1932, this ‘surplus stock’ was described as follows:
“[In addition to the Welsh collection,] there are a number of other special collections, nearly all of which have originated from gifts made from time to time. Amongst them are a collection of incunabula from the early printing presses of Germany, Italy, Switzerland, France, and the Low Countries; early editions of the classics; a collection of English books printed before the year 1640, and later seventeenth century English literature; an English Drama Collection; sixteenth and seventeenth century Italian, French, Spanish, and Dutch books, Emblem books, and other Early Illustrated books; books illustrated by Cruikshank, and other nineteenth century English illustrated books; books printed at the Kelmscott, Doves, and other modern presses; a collection of early children’s books and early educational literature; contemporary French Revolutionary literature; a collection of seventeenth and eighteenth century music, which it is hoped to develop into a comprehensive music reference collection; a theatre collection, a collection of Quaker literature, and other smaller collections.”

These are the so-called ‘ad hoc collection of printed works’ referred to by Cllr Howells. Far from being a ‘lame-duck’, miscellaneous collection of books, these special collections are in fact culturally coherent and well-designed, many of them acquired very deliberately, through gifts and public subscription, by enlightened librarians, businessmen, academics and councillors. It is rather ironic to see the present custodians of Cardiff Central Library describing in such disparaging terms those very collections which contributed significantly to that library being described in the mid-twentieth century as ‘one of the great cultural institutions of Wales’.
Special collections of this kind are by their very nature little used by the public at large. Cllr Howells says that these special collections ‘have seldom been consulted over the last 20 years and are not considered to be “popular” stock by Cardiff library users’. The same could be said of the Book of Aneirin! Rare books are not kept to be borrowed by the general public as holiday reading! For reasons of conservation and security, their use in libraries is restricted and closely monitored.

The ‘popular’ aspect of such books is their educational value, promoted through public exhibitions and increasingly through websites, together with the marketing and prestige value they afford the library and the city in which there are found. The way other great city libraries market their heritage collections of rare books stands in stark contrast to the disdainful and neglectful way Cardiff Council seems to regard the treasures of its library. See for example the website of Glasgow’s public library:

http://www.glasgow.gov.uk/en/Residents/Library_Services/The_Mitchell
It is also worth emphasising, that even if a rare book is held in other libraries or has been digitised and made available electronically, there is still an intrinsic value in the individual copy held in each library. It is important to remember that all copies of pre-1800 books are ‘unique’ copies in various ways, because of the nature of printing and binding in that early period. Therefore, each copy of an edition may need to be consulted from time to time by specialists engaged in detailed research work on the text of that book or its binding. Furthermore, however many digital or facsimile copies are available, there is still great prestige gained from owning an ‘original’. There are plenty of facsimile copies of the Book of Aneirin available for ‘popular’ use: is it owning the original which gives prestige to Cardiff Central Library.

FOUR FURTHER CONSIDERATIONS
Four further points should be emphasised in the light of various comments by Cllr Howells and other Council spokespersons:

1. Cataloguing and access

In response to claims that problems of cataloguing and access have led to the decline in the use of Cardiff’s special collections, Cllr Howells states that ‘many of these items are listed in standard reference catalogues (for example Wing and Pollard and Redgrave’s short title catalogue which are well known research tools for academics and researchers)’. It is true that Cardiff is noted as a location for certain items that are included in such standard reference catalogues – which, of course, draws attention to Cardiff as an important repository for rare books. However, the British Library’s on-line ‘English Short Title Catalogue’ of books published pre-1801 (a catalogue which incorporates the Wing and Pollard & Redgrave catalogues) only lists 180 items as being at Cardiff – in other words only 180 of the 18,000 rare books in question are included in the standard catalogues referred to by Cllr Howells. It is hard to describe this number as ‘many of these items’ by any stretch of the imagination!

2. ‘Inadequate resources’

It is implied in the Executive report of January 2007 that Cardiff Central Library’s special collections were acquired as a result of Cardiff’s aspiration to become the home of the National Library of Wales, and that when the decision was made at the beginning of the twentieth century to locate the National Library at Aberystwyth, ‘Cardiff was left with a major collection but inadequate resources to maintain it’. This is very misleading. Cardiff was a pioneer of the public library movement long before the campaign for a Welsh national library began in earnest; and as the Appendix to this document clearly demonstrates, Cardiff Central Library continued its vigorous policy of adding to its reference library and special collections well into the twentieth century, because of its desire to be a major city library in a key demographic location for much of the Welsh populace. Indeed, far from the collections being inadequately resourced during the first half of the twentieth century, 1923 saw a special ‘Research Room’ opened at the Central Library, 1925 saw a bindery established for the repair and restoration of rare books and manuscripts, and in 1931 the library was recognised by the Master of the Rolls as an official repository for public records.

3. ‘Welsh/local interest’ v. European city of learning

Much has been made of the fact that the library’s Welsh-language books and those books judged to be of Welsh or local interest are to be retained. This is obviously to be welcomed. However, one matter of great concern is that the Council’s definition of ‘Welsh/local interest’ appears to be very narrow, since it seems to be rejecting ‘provenance’ as one of the criteria for a book being of ‘Welsh/local interest’. As will be seen in the Appendix to this document, very many of the books in the Central Library’s special collections were owned and donated by significant figures in the public life of Cardiff/Wales. In addition, by selling the ‘non-Welsh’ books in its special collections, the Council is actually splitting up important Welsh collections: for example, at least two of the early editions of Shakespeare plays to be sold in the first auction at Bonhams come from the ‘Wooding Collection’, the library of a major Welsh book collector of the late nineteenth century, whose manuscripts and Welsh-language books will be retained, but whose English books will be sold – thus destroying irreparably a significant collection in the history of Welsh culture. Ironically, of course, although Cardiff Central Library has a very important collection of Welsh books, copies of many of them are to be found in other libraries in Cardiff and in other parts of Wales, whereas many of the English and European rare books the Council intends selling are the only copies of that book in Wales, and sometimes in Britain. If the capital city of Wales wishes to be an international city of learning and culture, it is imperative, therefore, that these rare English and European books remain in Cardiff. By selling off its significant collections of early atlases, its seventeeth century Civil War tracts, its substantial collection of Restoration drama, etc., etc., the Council is selling part of the cultural heritage of Wales and the very collections which make Cardiff Central Library a library of European stature. Without them, it will be reduced to being little better than a ‘local studies’ library in a provincial town.

4. Donations, deposits and ownership

Cllr Howells has repeatedly said that no books gifted to Cardiff Central Library will be sold, although he sometimes adds the caveat, ‘no items with gift covenants’. As will be seen in the Appendix to this document, the vast majority of the books to be sold were donated to the library, or deposited there, either by individuals or by public subscription. There may not be formal covenants attached to some of these items; however the spirit and context in which they were given implies that the donors’ intentions were that these books be retained in the Central Library for the long-term educational and cultural benefit of Cardiff, its citizens and the nation, and not sold off as ‘windfall’ revenue. The Council certainly has no moral right to sell such donations. Can it demonstrate in black and white that it has the legal right to sell these special collections; that there are no covenants attached to the books that are to be sold; and that none of the deposited books are being sent to auction?

CARDIFF HERITAGE FRIENDS

c/o 13 Wyndham St., Tongwynlais, Cardiff, CF15 7LN

4 October 2008

APPENDIX

Cardiff Central Library: Details of the Acquisition of Special Collections

A booklet published by Cardiff Public Libraries Committee in 1932 contains a long list of important items and special collections obtained by donation, deposit and purchase, together with the dates of acquisition. The following list is shortened version of that original list, which omits most of the references to the acquisition of manuscripts, prints, photographs, etc. Prefacing the original list was the following paragraph:

“The extent to which the library is indebted to a long succession of benefactors is shown in the following list. Generous gifts of books and manuscripts, or liberal subscriptions to funds, have enabled the Committee to acquire, from time to time, important collections, with the result that the library now possesses large collections of Welsh manuscripts, deeds, and documents, rare books, maps, and prints, and other special groups made up largely from private sources.”

It is not difficult to imagine the reaction of the benefactors listed below, and their descendants, to the act of cultural vandalism currently being perpetrated by Cardiff Council!

1875

A collection of works on agriculture, numbering 210 volumes, presented by Mr C. W. David. Some of the books formed part of the library of the Cardiff Farmers’ Club in 1842.
1882

Judge Falconer, of Usk, presented 2,000 volumes.

1884

Publications to the value of about £160 received from the Trustees of the British Museum.
A series of books and maps relating to the Survey of Western Palestine, presented by the Marquess of Bute.

1891

The “Tonn” library was acquired, consisting of 7,000 printed volumes and 100 manuscripts. £350 was subscribed towards defraying the cost.

Mr H. M. Thompson presented a number of scientific works from the library of Professor Kitchen Parker.
1896

The whole of the Welsh manuscripts in the collection of Sir Thomas Phillipps were purchased. Subscriptions towards the purchase amounted to £1,897, including £1,000 given by the Marquess of Bute and £500 by Mr John Cory.

1898

An autograph sonnet by William Wordsworth, written in connection with the re-building of St Mary’s Church, Cardiff, 1842, purchased and presented by Lord Tredegar.
1901

The Scott Collection, comprising over 2,000 items in Welsh or relating to Wales, given by Mr William Scott.

185 volumes of Record Office Publications received from H. M. Stationery Office.

1902

67 examples of books printed before the year 1500, purchased and presented by Mr John Cory.
A collection of emblem books, examples of rare continental presses, and early editions of Italian classical writers, purchased from a fund contributed by a body of subscribers.
The Wooding Library, containing over 5,000 volumes, including many rare Welsh books, purchased.
855 duplicates from the Ashbee and other collections, presented by the Trustees of the British Museum.
1903

A copy of the first Welsh Testament, 1567, bequeathed by the Very Rev. David Howell., Dean of St Davids.
1905

2,000 volumes in Welsh, and relating to Wales, collected by “Dafydd Morganwg” (D. Watkin Jones), purchased for the library by Sir W. T. Lewis (Lord Merthyr).
1907

Books and MSS. of David Williams, founder of the Royal Literary Fund, acquired.

1911

In connection with the Bible Tercentenary Exhibition, a fund was set up, and with the subscriptions a number of rare and valuable editions of the Bible purchased.
1912

A collection (consisting of eight manuscripts […], 189 volumes and pamphlets, and 22 maps, plans, and charts) was presented by Mr Illtyd Nichol, of the Ham.
Mr T. H. Thomas presented 509 volumes, mainly from the library of his father, the Rev. Thomas Thomas, D.D., of Pontypool College.

Mr H. Jenkins Davies, of Totton, Hants., presented 34 manuscripts, 209 volumes, and 454 pamphlets, mainly Welsh, from the library of his father, the Rev. D. H. Davies, Vicar of Cenarth.

46 volumes relating to Ireland, and 42 relating to Gujarati and other Oriental languages, were received from Professor Littledale.

A set of the publications of the International Chalcographical Society, with other works on early engraving, were presented by Professor Claude Thompson.
1915

644 volumes and 423 pamphlets received from the trustees of the British Museum, from duplicates in that institution.

1916

For the purchase of rare items in the collection made by Mr Robert Drane, of Cardiff, the sum of £124 5s. 0d. was subscribed. Included in the books purchased were some rare Marprelate Tracts.

1918

A series of eight early Cardiff Theatre Bills, dated 1818 to 1869, were received from Mr F. Milnes, of Cardiff,

The famous collection of Welsh manuscripts made by Thomas Johnes of Hafod, known as the Hafod Collection, was purchased for the Library. The cost was defrayed by Mr Edgar Edwards, of Highmead, Ely.

A Cruikshank collection, consisting of 400 volumes and 300 prints, made by Mr Henry G. C. Allgood, was purchased by Sir William Seager and presented.

760 items from the library of Miss Metford, of Dinas Powis, including a number of works relating to the Society of Friends, were presented by Alderman H. M. Thompson.
From Mr T. Francis Howell, on behalf of the executors of Mr James Howell, was received eight editions of the English Bible, dating from 1540 to 1738, and a Tyndale New Testament, 1552.

1919

Mr Bonner Morgan presented a collection of seventeenth and eighteenth century music, numbering 52 MS. volumes, 160 printed works, and 200 songs. The music was collected by Sir Herbert Mackworth, of Gnoll Castle, Neath, and among the manuscripts are 10 scores of early Italian operas.

From the sale of Singleton Abbey, Swansea, some important items were acquired, including a sixteenth century manuscript in the hand of Llewellyn Sion of Llangewydd. […] Other important items are The Book of Simwnt Vychan, with armorial bearings in colour, two Civil War tracts – “The Welsh Foot Post” and “A Declaration by Sir Thomas Middleton in 1644,” – three volumes of ecclesiastical seals made by Miss B. Hewlett in 1826-7, and eleven volumes of music, supplementing the gift of early music by Mr Bonner Morgan.
1920

Mrs Treharne, of Pentre, gave 220 volumes, of which over 100 were early law books.
A further collection of 300 volumes from the library of Miss Metford, supplementing the gift made by Alderman H. M. Thompson, were received from Mr R. E. Reynolds.
1921

A Theological library, 484 volumes, collected by a clergyman of the Church of England, was presented by Captain and Mrs Griffiths.

1922

A number of manuscripts and early printed books, formerly at the Hertfordshire County Museum, were acquired.

1923

Sir Henry Webb, Llwynarthan, presented 100 volumes illustrating English and foreign bookbinding from the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries.

200 volumes and three local manuscripts, registers under the Turnpike Acts, dated 1764 to 1843, given by Mr Edgar David, Fairwater.

1924

A further collection numbering 210 volumes, including examples of incunabula, early sixteenth century works, and series of early and modern bindings, from Sir Henry Webb, Llwynarthan.

The bequest under the will of Mr T. H. Thomas, “Arlunydd Pengarn,” of manuscripts, correspondence, books, and prints received.

The Aylward collection of music, which formed a valuable nucleus for a musical reference library, purchased.
1927

Mrs H. M. Thompson gave 73 items for the special collection of Children’s Books, and a further 42 items received from Mr E. S. Tregelles.

The number of separate issues of the “Eikon Basilike” (The King’s Book), made up to 39 by the gift of Mr F. F. Madan, of seven issues.

1928

Dr Katherine R. Drinkwater presented 112 volumes of the publications of the New Sydenham Society.
80 items added to the early educational works and children’s books by gift from Mrs G. Carslake Thompson.

1931

Dr Erie Evans gave 263 volumes, medical works, and contemporary books.

170 volumes received from the Dean and Chapter of Llandaff Cathedral.

1932

Mr Lloyd Richards placed on deposit his drama collection, including some rare Craig items and two theatrical masks.

***

Part One see http://archiv.twoday.net/stories/5245082

News from the Cardiff Library Case (1)

‘Disposal of Surplus Library Stock’:

A Rebuttal of the Report presented to
Cardiff Council Executive Meeting on 11 January 2007

There follows a copy of the Corporate Director’s Report to the Cardiff Council Executive Business Meeting of 11 January entitled ‘Disposal of Surplus Library Stock’, together with a detailed rebuttal of every main point of that report.
The rebuttal is included in square brackets after each section of the report.

We wish to make three initial statements:
1. It should be obvious, not only from the title, but also from its many questionable statements and omissions, that this report is a most misleading document. As the report itself admits, the books it recommends for disposal are in no way ‘surplus library stock’ in the normal understanding of the term, but rather extremely valuable special collections of rare books.
2. A key omission in the report is that it makes only very general assessments of the costs of retaining these special collections and no mention whatsoever of the considerable benefits to the city – economic, cultural and educational – of retaining these books in Cardiff.

3. A very significant omission is that there is no mention in the report of a prior offer by Cardiff University Library to house such special collections on long-term loan and to take full responsibility (financial and otherwise) for them, thus ensuring that these books would remain in Cardiff, in public ownership, at no cost to the Council.

It is also worth noting, that the report is coming under strong criticism from many quarters, and has brought considerable disrepute to Cardiff on the international scene. One website in Germany, for example, quotes extracts from the report, describing it thus: ‘I can’t remember to have ever read a text dealing as callously with cultural heritage matters and scholarly interests.’ A September 2008 issue of Private Eye describes it as ‘extraordinary’.
It should be obvious to any reasonable person that Cardiff Council Executive made the decision to sell these prestigious collections of rare books based on a misleading document and without being in possession of the full facts.
We would argue, therefore, that the Council Executive has a moral duty, and possibly a legal one, to reconsider its original decision.

CARDIFF HERITAGE FRIENDS

c/o 13 Wyndham St., Tongwynlais, Cardiff, CF15 7LN

September 2008

CARDIFF COUNCIL – CYNGOR CAERDYDD

EXECUTIVE BUSINESS MEETING: 11 JANUARY 2007

DISPOSAL OF SURPLUS LIBRARY STOCK

REPORT OF CORPORATE DIRECTOR AGENDA ITEM: 15

PORTFOLIO: SPORT, LEISURE & CULTURE
[Rebuttal below by Cardiff Heritage Friends of every main point; in [ ] brackets].

[“Surplus Library Stock” is totally misleading. They are widely acknowledged as internationally important historical research collections of rare books.

“We are concerned about the sale of these important books” – Heritage Minister spokesperson, South Wales Echo, 05/09/08.

Also, the Council admits in a Freedom of Information answer that there is no full listing of these collections, so how can they know if they are ‘surplus’!]

Reason for this Report
1. To obtain authority for the disposal of certain collections that are held in

the library service.
[‘Disposal’ could have meant placing them in the care of an academic library in the city. Selling these books by auction, as proposed, means that the collections will be scattered, probably worldwide, and with a high proportion probably going into private hands. The Council Executive have opted therefore to deny the people of Cardiff, the general public elsewhere, and the academic community, access to these important historical collections, built up over many decades by gifts and purchases. It is morally wrong and totally irresponsible to transfer public resources in this way into the hands of private collectors.]

Background

2. Central Library houses a large number of volumes in the stacks area. The

main run of books and periodicals is a standard collection of library books,

and as such can be housed in a warehouse environment and used by the

general public.

[A ‘warehouse environment’! Is this the new iconic public library being built for Cardiff for over £15m. Do they understand what a modern library is: a hub for information, inspiration, study, IT access, leisure, education and social activities, such as the public libraries in Glasgow and Birmingham for example. ‘Modern’ libraries are a hybrid of the best of old and new; rich historical collections and wide access to IT resources.]
3. There are some small special collections which, despite their age and

condition, are extremely valuable, but which require special storage

conditions if they are to be preserved. They are unsuitable for use by

anyone other than academics and specialists. The anticipated move to the

Library for Cardiff requires decisions to be made about these smaller,

valuable and potentially lucrative individual collections.

[‘Unsuitable for use by anyone other than academics and specialists’: why is this group excluded from the Public Library’s remit? This is a very strange statement for a Council in a capital city with a high percentage of graduates among its population and with three universities, one of which is a major international research university. The general public are actually very interested in history and heritage, whether via original research in historical library collections, visiting ancient monuments or museums, or family/local history research. In the past the public benefited significantly from major exhibitions of these very collections. The Council is being condescending (and is incorrect) in assuming the public are not interested in these magnificent rare books collections.]

4. The major part of the stacks collection was gathered by Cardiff Libraries in

the latter half of the 19th century when Cardiff aspired to house the

National Library of Wales. When the decision was made in the early 20th

century to house the National Library in Aberystwyth Cardiff was left with a

major collection but inadequate resources to maintain it.

[This is an extremely misleading statement. The entry of the Cardiff Librarian, Harry Farr, in the Dictionary of Welsh Biography, provides a full rebuttal of this paragraph (http://yba.llgc.org.uk/en/s2-FARR-HAR-1874.html). Cardiff developed a pioneer reference library (the first in Wales) long before the campaign to establish the National Library of Wales. Although the National Library went to Aberystwyth in 1907, Cardiff City Library continued a vigorous policy of acquiring and exhibiting rare books and manuscripts, because of its desire to be a great city library and because of its key demographic location. In the mid twentieth century Cardiff was being described a ‘one of the great municipal libraries of Great Britain’, on account of its excellent public services and its great research collections. It is true that in recent decades Cardiff Council has failed to fund the library service adequately. In the 1970s/80s the old Central Library became dilapidated and this caused a major controversy; in November 1997 the South Wales Echo had to run a campaign to keep open branch libraries across Cardiff; and now in 2008 another campaign is required to keep major research collections available to the public in the city.]

5. The collections are made up of the following:

_ Private press editions of books

_ Early printed bibles

_ Rare atlases

_ Historical government publications

_ Some incunabula (books published before 1501)

_ Civil War tracts (early propaganda)

_ Bute and Scott manuscript collections

_ Early printed Welsh language materials (to be retained)
[Together, these materials form one of Wales’s great historical collections of rare books, of which there are only a few across the whole country. For example, Cardiff holds one third of Wales’ total incunabula – Cardiff’s collection of these pre-1501 books was gifted to the Central Library by John Cory in 1902 and is designed to show a good cross-section of early European printing. It is said that Welsh language books, and those of Welsh and local interest, will be retained. What is the rationale behind that rather parochial decision, and what criteria determine ‘Welsh interest’? The truth is that these collections are all ‘Welsh interest’, since they form part of a great Welsh national library collection. Indeed many of the books proposed for sale are not in the National Library in Aberystwyth, and are probably the only copies in Wales. Many of them also belonged to significant persons in Cardiff and Welsh history before arriving at the City Library. Major new trails of Welsh-related research will ensue from studying these collections in detail. They contain the first printed map of Wales, Welsh-related Shakespeare volumes, the original works of the Cardiff Farmers Club collections, and a great deal more. Again, if Glasgow and Birmingham can have access to major historical collections, consisting of much more than local Scottish or English works, why not Cardiff?]

6. Initial work carried out by Auctioneers and Valuers suggests these

collections have significant value even when manuscripts and items of

Welsh interest are excluded
[They are talking here only of ‘monetary value’; they ignore totally the educational, cultural, and heritage value to the nation of these works. If they sell these collections for the estimated £3m, they will need to give about £600K of that to the auctioneers. Their supposed ‘windfall’ from these assets will be wiped out within ten years. They will also lose at least £150K per year from potential student/academic spending in the city, not to mention the visitor-attraction value of regular exhibitions of these treasures.]

7. Experts have also indicated that “Overall they are dirty and in poor

condition, and… the cost of re-housing these books in state-of-the-art

conditions (which long-term conservation requires), combined with repairs

to bindings and other remedial work, could easily match the commercial

value of the books”.
[What experts were consulted? There seems to have been no meaningful consultation and discussion with stakeholders and relevant professional bodies and institutions prior to the preparation of this report. In June 2006, six months before this report was prepared, Cardiff University had presented the Council with a detailed offer to house the City Library’s special collections, to catalogue them, and make them available to the public in Cardiff and beyond – and that at no cost to the Council; all the other costs the Council suggest are purely speculative and unsubstantiated.]
8. The majority of the collections outlined in paragraph 5 have not been

catalogued and as a result are not (or very rarely) accessed by members

of the public. They also contain duplicate and, in some cases, triplicate

copies of the same item. Items of local or national interest would be

retained.

[Many of these books were catalogued, but the old card catalogue was discarded when the Public Library moved buildings two decades ago; and disgracefully these important collections have never been listed on the Library’s online catalogue. As the report points out, since the public and academics have not been able to discover most of what rare books the Public Library holds, it is not surprising that they do not make use of the collections! However, a number of the titles are listed in various standard catalogues (both print and electronic), noting the fact that there is a copy in Cardiff. These catalogues are regularly consulted by academics world-wide, who can at present see and appreciate (to some extent, at least) the wealth of material in Cardiff Central Library. Cardiff would disappear from such lists if these sales proceed, with the resulting loss of prestige. Mention is made of ‘duplicat’e copies. This demonstrates a basic ignorance of the nature of early rare books, since not only may different editions of books have different contents, but because of the nature of printing and binding in that period, all copies of the same edition of pre-1800 books are unique in various ways. These may therefore need to be consulted by specialists from time to time even if other copies of the same edition are available in other libraries or in digitised form. As under Section 5, what criteria will be used to determine items of ‘local or national interest’?]

Issues

9. The main issue is whether the Council should invest approximately £2-3

million to save the collections, which would only ever be used by a very

narrow group of interested parties, or free the resource tied up in these

items by selling them through auction to individuals or institutions that can

afford the upkeep.
[This is not true, it is also not the main issue, since Cardiff University had already offered to house the collections for free, and can afford their upkeep. There is NO NEED for this sale. The main issue is what sort of public library service policy should be followed in the capital city of Wales – should it be a narrow, ‘popular’ policy, or a comprehensive one which truly embraces all sections of society. Note that the ‘very narrow group of interested parties’ really includes all Cardiff residents with an interest in history, a shamefully misleading comment from the Council. The question of use by a ‘very narrow group’ also belies ignorance of the purpose of special library collections. By definition, rare books are only accessed infrequently – indeed there are usually restrictions on their use, partly for reasons of conservation. Rare books collections are important in order, among other things:

(a) to allow academics and others to consult them whenever it is really necessary to inspect the original volume in order to carry out detailed, specialist research;

(b) to give prestige to a library – especially to a library in a capital city which is home to a leading international research university;

(c) to provide regular public exhibitions of these special collections, in order to educate and instil pride in the citizens of the city and to act as visitor attractions.

(d) to attract more students and fees to the city, and to attract grants for cataloguing, digitising etc., to open up the collections world wide.
How did the report reach the very imprecise figure of £2-3 million? And why is there no assessment in the report of the long-term economic and cultural benefits of retaining these collections in Cardiff? Furthermore, since the Council intends keeping its Welsh rare books and its manuscript collections, what investment is envisaged in order for them to be kept appropriately? The fact that the Council has at present no archivist or rare-books specialist at the Central Library shows its serious neglect of valuable assets. Does the Council intend employing such people to care for the Welsh rare books and manuscripts? In other words, will not much of that £2-3 million have to be incurred in order to give proper care to the special collections remaining in the Central Library?]
10. If these collections are retained a commitment must be made for

investment in their conservation as without this the collections will be

worthless in another 50 years.
[‘Worthless in another 50 years’: this is not true and is a ridiculous statement, made by someone who knows little about historical book collections. Many of the books have survived for 500, 400, and 300 years; they would survive another 100 years in ordinary conditions, even without conservation. Also they become more useful as they get older, being one of the few historical sources we have for the 1400s, 1500s, and 1600s. If the Council employed a professionally qualified Chief Librarian with responsibility for managing the Library, or a rare books specialist, it would have received this advice a long time ago. The city has not employed a Chief Librarian for a decade. How many other major library authorities are there in Wales where the libraries are managed by non-librarians?]

11. Council policy would normally pool receipts from land or property sales.

However, in this case it is proposed that proceeds should remain within the

Library Service and be used to increase access to present libraries by a

much wider community – 19th century investments paying dividends in

terms of 21st century service delivery. Priority projects which could be at

least part-funded over the next 3 years include:

_ RFID across all libraries in Cardiff allowing self service and a

refocus of libraries
[It was interesting to note that when the South Wales Echo reported this new self-service development (10.09.08), it could find no popular support for the development. Indeed, to the contrary, it was pointed out that ‘one of the great advantages of visiting a library is the personal advice and assistance from staff’. Compare that ‘muted reaction’ to the purchase of this RFID computer system with the petitions being signed the very same week by hundreds of ‘lay’ people in various parts of Cardiff, expressing their outrage at the sale of Cardiff Library’s rare books collections!]
_ Virtual library provision in areas without static library provision
[‘Land or property sales’: this is how they perceive one of the major heritage collections in Wales, just as property to be traded! Any computer book loans system will need replacing in 5-10 years, and how will they fund the next computer system, since the rare books collections will be gone forever. Yet elsewhere the Council says it has sufficient funds for the new Cardiff Library building; so why this sale at all, one wonders, especially at the time of economic slump, when prices will be at their lowest? ‘19th and 20th century long-term investments being sold off for short-term gain’ is a more accurate description of what is happening! ]

12. The process proposed is to approach at least 3 expert auctioneers and

seek tenders from them for the disposal. Fees of approximately 15-20%of

the proceeds could be payable with auctions staggered over 2-3 years in

order to maximise possible sale value. Items of special interest to Cardiff

and Wales would be retained.
[No liaison, consultation, or agreement has been sought from the relevant stakeholders in Cardiff about this sale; no surveys of public opinion, no consultation with experts in the academic field. No agreement was sought with specialist libraries in Wales who could provide the public and academics with a first-rate library service based on these research collections. The fees for depositing the collection with Cardiff University Library would be zero, the auctioneers fees could amount to £600K of public money. These British and international rare books ARE items of interest to Wales, as they help to understand Wales in the wider historical and social context and give international prestige to our capital city. This was a collection developed FOR Cardiff and Wales by the City’s benefactors and enlightened councillors in the 19th and early 20th centuries. It belongs in Wales, in Cardiff!]

Reasons for Recommendations
13. The disposal of the proposed items represents the best course of action in

dealing with these collections.
[Not one other course of action has been properly explored. The professional librarians’ organization, CILIP, has guidelines on disposal of historical collections, these have all been broken: see, http://www.cilip.org.uk/specialinterestgroups/bysubject/rarebooks/policy/policy_sales.htm. The best course of action would have been to pursue the offer made by Cardiff University in June 2006, which would have meant that these valuable assets would have remained in Cardiff, the property of Cardiff Council and in the public domain, at no cost to the Council. Why was this offer not explored fully and mentioned in the report of January 2007?]

Legal Implications
14. The Council as library authority is under a statutory duty to provide a

comprehensive and efficient library service for all persons desiring to make

use of it and whose residence or place of work is within the authority’s area

or who are in full-time education within the area (section 7 of the Public

Libraries and Museums Act 1964). Subject to this duty, there is no

general statutory restriction over disposals of library stock (save for

‚manorial documents‘ transferred to the library authority under the Manorial

Documents Rules 1959; and subject to public lending rights which may be

applicable to books loaned out from the library). Assuming there are

no applicable statutory restrictions, the Council may dispose of the stock in

question provided it has first verified that it holds legal and beneficial

ownership of the same. If any stock is held on trust, then the provisions of

the governing trust will need to be observed and complied with.

[“Provided it has first verified that it holds legal and beneficial ownership”: In a Freedom of Information reply of June 2008 the Council could not confirm it held legal title to all the books proposed for sale. There is published evidence to suggest that the Council does NOT own some of the books intended for sale, e.g. rare Bibles loaned by the Bute family. No sale should proceed unless the Council can prove it has legal title to the books it proposes to sell. We have already seen that the Council is not providing a ‘comprehensive’ service, because it omits ‘academics and specialists’ from its services (see Section 3 above); this is especially serious in view of the specific statutory duty to provide for ‘those in full-time education’. It has also failed to provide an ‘efficient’ service, by not contracting for free Cardiff University to hold and make the collections accessible, to and on behalf of Cardiff residents.]
15. It is noted that the proposed method of disposal is by the engagement of

specialist auctioneers, and that it is estimated that such auctioneers may

charge fees of approximately 15-20% of the sale proceeds. The

appointment of auctioneers will need to be undertaken in accordance with

the Contract Procedure Rules, and depending upon the value of the

contract to be awarded, potentially also in compliance with the EU

Procurement Rules. Under the Contract Procedure Rules the procurement

process must be managed in accordance with guidance issued by the

Operational Manager – Procurement and Supplies and must be referred to

him to determine in consultation with the relevant Chief Officer, the

process to be followed. The Scheme of Delegations contained in Part 3 of

the Constitution sets out in detail the persons who are authorised to make

decisions on the invitation of tenders, and the tender evaluation criteria,

depending on the value of the proposed contract. In considering the

selection of auctioneers, the authority must have regard to its duty of best

value. Legal advice can be provided on the form of the proposed contract

and the procurement process, if required. The decision maker must be

satisfied that the proposal is within the Policy and Budget Framework, and

if it is not then the matter must be referred to the Council.

[“The decision maker must be satisfied…”: Clearly this matter should have been referred to the full Council, and the decision not to do that has led a major, and now international, embarrassment for Cardiff Council. No mention is made of any ‘losses’ if the sale proceeds, such as the £150K per year from potential research student income, lost future grant funds for work on the collections (such as Cardiff University Library obtains for online cataloguing, conservation work, and digitisation projects), lost cultural benefits, loss of heritage tourism revenue, etc., etc.].

Financial Implications
16. Council policy is to pool capital receipts to assist in the general funding of

the Council’s capital programme. The windfall nature of this particular

capital receipt has provided the opportunity for the resource to be, as

an exception, set aside for specific capital library projects.

[This totally ignores the ‘windfall’ that can be obtained by keeping the collections in Cardiff. For example, it is estimated that Cardiff University could attract an additional 15 extra research students per annum to work on these collections if they were retained in Cardiff and readily accessible – or in monetary terms, £150,000 per annum, or £1.5m each decade brought into Cardiff’s coffers. It also totally ignores the other benefits of retaining the collections in the city; the cultural boost, the research and grants that will flow from academic use of the collections, the international prestige, etc.]

Consequences

16 [sic]. If these items are not disposed of considerable investment will need to be made by the Council for their conservation.

[This is false. If Cardiff University’s offer of 2006 to house them and catalogue them for free had been explored by the Council, no further investment by Cardiff Council would have been required. If the sale proceeds, Cardiff Council will reap huge, worldwide bad publicity; it will struggle to obtain any future grants for heritage projects due to its reputation for selling off collections, it will stifle scholarship in the city’s world-class university; it will lose millions of pounds over the new few decades, and these magnificent collections will be lost to the Cardiff public for ever.]

RECOMMENDATIONS

The Executive is recommended to agree that :

(1) at least 3 specialist auctioneers are asked to tender to conduct staggered

sales of specific items based on a fee calculated as a percentage of sale

proceeds

(2) the proceeds from the sales are re-invested in specific library projects

which would be a departure from the Council’s policies to the extent

detailed in paragraph 11 above
[These contradict the Council Policy, as outlined in their publication: ‘Cardiff: a Proud Capital’ strategy 2007-2017. This states:

“Cardiff needs to take advantage of the benefits of scale (big is beautiful)”, p.12;

Support a “First Rate University”, p.12;

“New measures to strengthen Cardiff’s position as a centre of culture”, p.15;

“Creation of alliances between schools, colleges, and other providers”, p.20.

The Council seems determined to sell these rich collections for short-term gain, rather than consider retaining them cost-free on long-term loan in Cardiff University. It is rather ironic that in 1905 Cardiff University reported to Cardiff Council that “in the event of the National Library being located in Cardiff, they [the University] will…transfer to the [Cardiff] National Library the collection consisting of over 16,000 volumes…known as the Salisbury Library.” A century later sees the City Council intent on selling their collection of 18,000 British and European rare books rather than co-operating with Cardiff University to retain these books in Cardiff. These collections are of international significance. Through disposing of them in this manner, the Council will not only bring Cardiff into great disrepute but will demote the Welsh capital irreparably as an international centre of learning and culture.]

[Concluding quotation: Barry Bloomfield, ‘Where Are They Now’, Rare Books Newsletter (CILIP),

Spring 1998, pp. 37-50.

“There is as yet no national coordination or policy for the research library collections in this country…The general picture is of a steadily shrinking reservoir of rare books available for research.”]

***

Part Two see http://archiv.twoday.net/stories/5245091

Images of Medieval Manuscripts from Leeds University Library

Some 685 digital images from our medieval illuminated manuscripts are now
available online: http://ludos.leeds.ac.uk/collection/medmss . Twenty-seven
different manuscripts have been drawn on for the project, including four from
Ripon Cathedral Library (held at Leeds University Library). Apart from the Hours
associated with the Bedford Master Workshop (Brotherton Collection MS 1),
the Genealogical History Roll (Brotherton Collection MS 100) and one small
fragment, which have been photographed in full, the manuscripts are
represented selectively, but all miniatures and all significant illuminated borders
and initials have been included.