The writing of the Special Collections Handbook is going well, with an enthusiastic response from potential readers. If you have any suggestions about what I should include, or anything else to say, please comment below or contact me.
So, what were people asking me to include?
Specific sectors or types of collections, particularly public libraries, where less experienced staff now, more than ever in light of cuts, may be dealing with historic collections. An interesting mention of music libraries too; I hadn’t thought of that – mea culpa considering I used to work in one (at Nottingham University).
Also advice on getting a job in Special Collections. I’ll touch on careers, training and skills in the book, but there won’t be room for a detailed discussion. However, one of the nice things about blogging is that I can share anything interesting that isn’t right for the book with you, so expect a post about this soon.
Publishers Facet are happy with the draft chapter on the care of collections. I’m now honing it with better referencing and examples. In February, I also intend to complete a detailed overview of the whole book, so I can see what case studies I need, and if there are any areas I need to research. This gives me time to arrange the case studies and any research trips. There’s still quite a few things I need to decide: how best to split the marketing/fundraising/communication/advocacy stuff into chapters; what referencing or bookmarking tools to use etc.
My deadline is May! But I prefer that, I think this book will be most effective written as a whole in a short space of time. If writing drags on too long, the earlier material dates, and the tone becomes uneven. It will mean a lot of work on top of my day job, which certainly doesn’t go away, and I’ve had to put some other writing on hold. However, I’m confident. The subject is what I know. I’ve lived it, talked about it, and taught people about it. I’m also experienced in writing to deadlines and on time – all part of promoting the collections. I certainly would not have taken on this deadline for a book that required extensive academic research. *Shudders*