The Committee of London Research Libraries in History was created over a decade ago by history librarians in Senate House Library (SHL) and the Institute of Historical Research (IHR). Here current SHL and IHR librarians Dr Jordan Landes, Kate Wilcox and Siobhan Morris provide some insights into its history and development.
The committee brought together history libraries of various types, from academic to research to national institutions, and exchange among the libraries has resulted in a network that benefits researchers greatly, as well as a guide to London’s history libraries, now available online.
With shared interests in promoting research collections and assisting researchers, Committee members have worked together most recently to create an event to serve both interests – a history libraries and research open day. This year it takes place on 27 November, and is being hosted by SHL and the IHR.
Bringing together more than 30 libraries, archives and research organisations at an open fair, History Day provides a ‘one-stop-shop’ for researchers of multiple disciplines and topics. The British Library and the National Archives have taken part in previous years and are among the organisations that will return to this event. New participants at the 2015 History Day also include the Black Cultural Archives, the Collections at the Royal Society, the Bishopsgate Institute Library and the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
In addition to the open fair, one-on-one clinics will provide researchers with individualised research assistance on building a bibliography, online searching, finding training, using digital resources, and other topics. Also, the event includes four panels providing specific research skills, from navigating catalogued and uncatalogued library collections to making the most of archival research to understanding digital resources.
While the event covers global history of all time periods, the North American Collections Group of the University of London are partnering with the host and the Committee this year to highlight North American collections in London. This strand will be of interest to postgraduate students and early career researchers involved in North American Studies in the widest sense, encompassing subjects as diverse as history, literature, social sciences, gender and disability studies, art and music to broader interdisciplinary research.
Feedback from the second History day attendees was overwhelmingly positive, with one PhD student responding that all first-year research students should attend and another emphasising History day’s opportunities for research students to meet and interact with other researchers.
The event will take place on the ground floor of Senate House, in Beveridge and Macmillan Halls, and attendance is free to all. Drop by for a short time or stay all day, but please register to let us know you are attending. For more information on participants, clinics and panel sessions, please see the event webpage.
The School of Advanced Study, University of London hosts a blog that allows Committee members to write pieces to introduce collections to readers who can seek more information at History Day. News and information will be added to that webpage and will also be announced on Twitter with the hashtag #HistDay15. If you have any questions, feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr Jordan Landes, research librarian – history, Senate House Library
Kate Wilcox, reader and technical services librarian/ acting librarian, Institute of Historical Research
Siobhan Morris, graduate trainee library assistant, Institute of Historical Research