New Decade, New Name
A little over 10 years ago a small group of librarians working in seemingly quite disparate museums, covering war to art, nature to maritime history, met up and began to explore what they had in common in managing the services they provided to colleagues and the public. It was soon apparent that whilst the objects in the various museums differed greatly, the opportunities and problems that we each faced, and the documents and policies we needed to generate, to develop our libraries and archives, were all broadly similar. We quickly found that pooling our expertise was both productive and enjoyable. From this small start emerged the London Museums Librarians and Archivists Group.
The group now has well over twenty institutional members and a mailing list of individuals many times that size. We have both a clear mission and a three year strategy to achieve the objectives that underpin that mission. As we have expanded our activities we have attracted a considerable amount of interest from people working in other museums. In particular, our very successful conferences and events have brought the groups existence and purpose to the fore. Also, while initially a gathering of service chiefs, staff from all parts of our teams now participate in planning activities and moving the group forwards.
It has been a debating point within the group for several years now, whether we should drop the London part of the name. At our last meeting we unanimously decided to do this and from now on the group will be known as the Museum Librarians and Archivists Group. This change is not just symbolic. We intend it to be the start of a process whereby we encourage colleagues in other museums and similar institutions to interact with the group via the web and the events that are put on. In practice quite a few people from well outside London have interacted with us since our first conference in 2007.
We hope through our experience and by communicating more widely we will help facilitate others to come together to enjoy the benefits of working more collaboratively, both on a local basis and in sharing good practice and experience with the wider group. We welcome contributions to this blog from anyone connected to the world of museum libraries and archives. Do look at the “about” section to find out more on MLAG and if anyone has any queries I would be pleased to have you contact me at email@example.com
I look forward to MLAG having as successful a first decade as LMLAG has had.
Chair of MLAG
Head of Library, Art and Archives at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew