About me

I believe that the wonderful special collections of archives, rare books and other materials held by universities etc have incredible potential for education and enjoyment. This blog brings together my ideas and experiences in working with and writing about this rewarding and challenging work.  I explain a bit more about the blog title here.  All views entirely my own.

My main job is Special Collections Librarian at the University of Bradford, home to the J.B. Priestley Archive and over 100 other collections of archives and rare books on history, politics, literature, Yorkshire and lots more.  Find out more about what I do at Bradford via my personal profile page.

I recently wrote The Special Collections Handbook (Facet, 2012), a practical overview of all aspects of managing collections, from preservation to fundraising.  I’ve also just finished a year working part-time with the RLUK Unique and Distinctive Collections Project, which aims to help institutions make the most of their collections.  I’m writing a proposal for another book – of which more news soon.

If you’re looking for consultancy, presentations or writing in my areas of expertise, do get in touch.  I’m always interested in opportunities of this kind.

I’m also hoping to apply for CILIP Fellowship, so expect musings on that too.

Contacting me

And a couple more things …

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Unless otherwise stated, content on this website licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.

CILIP Blogger


2 thoughts on “About me”

  1. Thank you for this interesting blog. The Law Society claims that the Mendham collection was an outright gift by Mrs Sophia Mendham to the Society in 1869, but it was deposited by her Solicitor (Mr Collette) who worked near to the Law Society, in Lincoln’s Inn, and he proposed as an alternative to deposit the books at King’s College, which was also a short walk away. This was probably done for practical reasons, as Mr Collette did not want the books cluttering up his office any longer.
    Mr Collette wrote to the Law Society that Mrs Mendham very anxious that the collection be kept together. The Law Society was I think regarded as a charitable and learned institution, and it already had a collection of religious books – some of the books were returned to Mrs Mendham as the Law Society already had copies fo them. The Attorney General has refused to intervene to stop the sale as he agrees with the Law Society. There may be further sales unless he changes his mind and decides to intervene. He says that the Law Society could have sold the collection in 1869 and kept the proceeds if it had wanted to. However if Mr Collette had sold the collection and kept the proceeds, I am sure he would have been struck off the roll of solicitors and put in prison, so I cannot see what difference it makes that he had taken the books into the Law Society’s Library to get them out of his office. It was either a loan or a charitable gift on condition that the collection was kept together. It cannot have been an outright gift any more than Mr Collette could have claimed it was an outright gift to him when his client handed the books over.

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