London Colloquium Information

Mark, Kyle and I are looking forward to welcoming you to the third and final meeting of the AHRC-funded Community Libraries Network, taking place 22-24 January 2015 in London. Here is a long email containing crucial logistical information that should address most questions you may have concerning venues, accommodation, travel, and food. Please read the following notes carefully and let either Mark (Towsey@liv.ac.uk) or Nick (nbubak@liv.ac.uk) know if you have any further queries or problems.

REGISTRATION

There is no registration fee for this AHRC-funded network colloquium; however space is limited, so if you plan to attend any of the sessions and you have not already done so, it is vital that you register with Mark via email as soon as possible.

COLLOQUIUM SITES

On Thursday and Friday we will be at Dr Williams’s Library in Gordon Square, Bloomsbury (http://dwlib.co.uk). The final plenary session on Friday at 5.30pm will be held at Senate House as part of the regular Seminar on the History of Libraries hosted by the Institute of English Studies; Senate House is a short walk from Dr Williams’s Library, and we will talk over together following the conclusion of the penultimate session on that day.On Saturday we will be in the Lock-keeper’s Cottage on the Queen Mary (QMUL) Mile End Campus (http://www.qmul.ac.uk/about/howtofindus/mileend/index.html).

TRAVEL

In London, there is very little parking, the city is very congested, and you have to pay to drive in the centre (where Dr Williams’s Library is located). Therefore traveling by London Underground and/or bus is strongly recommended.

To plan journeys within London, use the Transport For London (TLF) service:

http://tfl.gov.uk/plan-a-journey/

And for travel to London (eg from Gatwick, Heathrow and Stansted airports):

www.nationalrail.co.uk

www.thetrainline.com

Those arriving to Heathrow can travel by Underground (the Tube) on the Piccadilly line or by regular train to Paddington Station (£35 return). It is possible to hire a cab (c.£30 one way) or pick up a London taxi (more expensive). See the Heathrow Airport website for details:

http://www.heathrowairport.com/

Gordon Square is located in Bloomsbury, less than ten minutes’ walk from Euston, Euston Square, Kings Cross St Pancras and Tottenham Court Road. It is also possible to walk from Holborn and Russell Square without difficulty.

Queen Mary is in Mile End. To get there, take the Hammersmith and City Line to Mile End (station is served by the Central Line, District Line, and Hammersmith and City Line). To reach the college, exit tube station, turn left down Mile End Road, cross Burdett Road, go under the Mile End Green Bridge (a large yellow bridge), over the canal, and the college is on the left. Enter East Gate, and the Lock-Keeper’s Cottage is the brightly-coloured second building on the right. France House (for residences) is beyond the Lock-Keeper’s Cottage, also overlooking the Regent’s Canal.

It is easy to travel between Dr Williams’s Library and the Queen Mary campus via the Central Line or the Hammersmith and City Line, and between Dr Williams’s Library and the Travelodge accommodation in Bethnal Green on the Central Line. It takes around 15-20 minutes to walk from the Travelodge to Queen Mary, or it is one stop on the Central Line.

FOOD

A buffet sandwich lunch will be provided on Friday and Saturday. Dinner on Thursdayevening is on your own, but for those who would like to experience a typical and famous East End curryhouse, we will go to Zaza’s on Whitechapel Road on a self-pay basis, meeting at 8pm. It is within walking distance of both Queen Mary and the Travelodge. We will finalize the booking on Thursday afternoon, so please let Tessa know if you’d like to join us by 2pm on Thursday. There will be conference dinner for all speakers on the Friday night paid for by the project grant. Further details will follow, but the dinner will take place in the vicinity of Senate House. If you do not plan to join us for dinner on Friday, please do let us know.

If you have any dietary requirements, please let Nick know as soon as possible, and at the latest by Friday 9th January, on nbubak@liverpool.ac.uk.

ACCOMMODATION

Those who have requested accommodation from the grant have been sent booking details by email from one of the accommodation venues, with information on check in times etc. The project will have paid for your accommodation on Thursday and Friday night; if you require additional nights, these will need to be booked on a self-funded basis with the accommodations directly. On the Saturday morning, Tessa will meet those staying in the Travelodge at 9am to walk from Bethnal Green to the Queen Mary Campus. If you have agreed accommodation with Mark but have not received confirmation of the booking by email – or if you have any other questions about accommodation – please let Mark know.

For those not funded by the grant, the Travelodge at Bethnal Green (http://www.travelodge.co.uk/hotels/571/London-Bethnal-Green-hotel) and St Catharine’s at Limehouse (http://www.rfsk.org.uk/stay) are both well located close to Queen Mary.

PAPER FORMATS

This AHRC-funded research network is intended primarily to facilitate discussion and interdisciplinary exchange. To further these aims, we ask that speakers prepare papers of around 15-20 minutes in length that aim to stimulate discussion by scoping out research problems or presenting preliminary findings; those speaking on Roundtable sessions will be given advice about paper lengths etc. separately. AV facilities will be available, and Powerpoint slides can be sent to Nick ahead of the conference by email onnbubak@liverpool.ac.uk.

If you have not yet provided a biographical note, or would like to correct or update your information on the website (www.communitylibraries.net), please send this to Nick onnbubak@liverpool.ac.uk.

ZOTERO

As you may already know, one important and collaborative aspect of the Network is our group Zotero account, which we aim to use to compile a comprehensive and eventually open access list of scholarship on library history and print culture in the Atlantic world. For further details, including information on how to take part, please see the relevant part of our website or contact Kyle on kroberts2@luc.edu.

EXPENSES

If we have agreed to provide funds to support your travel expenses, you will need to fill out and sign the attached form, returning it with receipts/evidence of expenditure to Mark attowsey@liverpool.ac.uk or at the address below. It is very important that you remember to sign by hand the form in the box marked claimant signature. Our finance department will not accept digital signatures, although it is perfectly fine to email us a scanned copy of the hand-signed form.

UK bank details should be entered directly onto the form. If payment is being made to an overseas bank account, please attach a separate sheet to the Payment Request with full bank account details. Full details should include the IBAN, SWIFT/BIC (or ABA/Routing number for USA), bank name, bank address, and name of account holder. If you have any questions about the procedure, Nick will be delighted to help (nbubak@liverpool.ac.uk).

PUBLICATION

As you may know, the project is planning to put together an edited collection arising from the network colloquia in the new year. The CFP is attached to this email; we will talk further about future plans for the network when we meet in London, but we would in the meantime be very grateful to hear of any ideas you have for keeping up the momentum once the grant comes to an end in 2015.

Do let one of us know if you have any further questions or queries. We’re very much looking forward to hearing about your work!

Call for Papers

Deadline for CFP: 1 September 2013

We are delighted to announce the launch of a new AHRC-funded international research network on Community Libraries, which aims to establish a dynamic, interdisciplinary research forum to investigate the role of libraries in shaping communities in the long eighteenth century. Developed by Dr Mark Towsey (University of Liverpool) together with partners at Loyola University Chicago, the Newberry Library, and Dr Williams’s Library (London), the Network will explain the emergence of libraries in the ‘public sphere’ between 1650 and 1850. We will assess the contribution made by libraries to the circulation and reception of print of all kinds, and to the forging of collective identities amongst local, national, and international communities of readers. In addition, the network aims to explore the emergence of libraries in comparative perspective, asking how far models of library provision and administration were disseminated, discussed, imitated, and challenged as they travelled between different social environments and political regimes.

AIMS AND OBJECTIVES:

a)     To explain the emergence of libraries in the ‘public sphere’ between 1650 and 1850;

b)     To examine the emergence of libraries in comparative perspective, testing the explanatory power of the Atlantic paradigm for Library History;

c)     To pool expertise on the use of database software for interrogating library records, discussing the full range of approaches, potential pitfalls, and successful solutions;

d)     To investigate the feasibility of developing a universal ‘virtual library system’, connecting up records relating to different types of library, in different places, and at different times with other large scale digital analyses of historic book production, distribution and reception;

e)     To assess the contribution made by libraries to historical processes of community formation, including questions relating to collective identity, gender, civility, sociability, literary censorship, social exclusion/social mobility, mental health and well being, and the impact of print;

f)      To contribute to current debates about the future of public libraries in the UK and the US, highlighting ways in which historical models of library provision might be adapted to contemporary needs.

PLANNED ACTIVITIES:

The Network will organise three two-day colloquia in the UK and the US. Each colloquium will focus on a specific theme, and will feature methodological workshops, work-in-progress presentations, pre-circulated papers, and roundtables.

Colloquium 1: Libraries in the Atlantic World, to be held in Liverpool on 24-25 January, 2014

Colloquium 2: Digital Approaches to Library History, to be held in Chicago on 30 May-1 June, 2014

Colloquium 3: Libraries in the Community, to be held in London on 23-24 January 2015

CALL FOR PAPERS:

The project team invites initial expressions of interest from scholars interested in any element of the Community Libraries research programme. If you feel you can make a significant contribution to any or all of our colloquia, please send abstracts of 500 words, together with a brief summary of your research interests and career to date, to the Principal Investigator Dr Mark Towsey (towsey@liverpool.ac.uk) by 1 September 2013.

Welcome to the Network!

We are delighted to announce the launch of a new AHRC-funded research network on Community Libraries, which aims to establish a dynamic, multi- and interdisciplinary research forum to investigate the cultural history of libraries at the dawn of the modern age.

In the two centuries before the passage of the Public Libraries Act in the UK in 1850, libraries proliferated across the UK, Europe and North America on a bewildering variety of organizational models. Libraries emerged to serve particular communities, reflecting the specialist demands of military garrisons, emigrant vessels, prisons, schools, churches, mechanics institutes, factories, mills, and informal networks of medical men and lawyers. Libraries were part of the newly emerging leisure industry, with books available for hire from smallscale operators in inns, taverns, banks, railway stations, and coffee houses, and from the sprawling city circulating libraries associated with the rise of the novel. Subscription libraries, library societies, book clubs, and other proprietary institutions provided a forum for conversation, debate and sociability, and made a key contribution to the spread of new political ideas.

These libraries were not ‘public’ in the modern sense, supported by the taxpayer and lending books free of charge to the whole community, but they were a crucial part of an Enlightened ‘public sphere’. They served different communities, providing a space where civic, religious, political, and commercial values converged and overlapped. The Network will examine how different types of library interacted with local, national and international communities of readers. We will assess the contribution made by libraries to the circulation and reception of print of all kinds, and to the forging of collective identities amongst discreet groups of people. The Network has broader implications for social and gender history, encompassing not only the exclusionary tactics employed by libraries of different kinds, but also the potential for social mobility that access to literature opened up for certain sections of society. In the process, the research will inform current debates about the role of public libraries in shaping communities and promoting social mobility through literacy today.

Since they emerged in Britain, North America and continental Europe at around the same time, libraries offer tremendous potential for comparative history that has yet to be fully exploited – with territories adopting distinctive organisational models, yet consuming a remarkably similar canon of international bestsellers. The Network will assess the emergence of libraries in comparative perspective, asking how far models of library provision and administration were disseminated, discussed, imitated, and challenged as they travelled between different social environments and political regimes. In particular, the Network will assess the explanatory power of the Atlantic paradigm for library history, asking how far Atlantic libraries were distinctive from libraries elsewhere in the world, or whether a global perspective is more useful in explaining the emergence of different models of library provision.