Museums, Archives & Heritage

The Nation, Our Libraries and Archives – and the Cuts

The most recent issue of History Workshop Journal published a feature on ‘Coalition Cuts’, including a piece on threats to archives and their repositories.  This urged academics, in particular, to champion libraries and archives within their own institutions.

Inside New York Public Library: Photo by Thomas Hawk on Flickr – used under a Creative Commons licence

‘The Nation’, a New York based weekly and website,  posted an article towards the end of last year (‘Upheaval at the New York Public Library’) which takes a detailed look at threats to U.S. library provision, especially in New York.

It raises all the questions we should be asking here: how many closures in the name of financial necessity are more than offset by grandiose and extravagant new building schemes?  how can we counter a ‘cultural’ trend that condemns silent and sustained individual study as elitist and out of date?

None of us rejects the creative value of conversation and collaboration – so the implied (and often stated) contradiction between undergraduate study and further research has to be challenged – as must the supposed competition for resources of electronic and traditional media.  Just about everything happening in New York is happening at a library near you.

As a first step, remember:  it’s ‘use it or lose it’.

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