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UCL Rare-Books Club launch

Helen Biggs30 August 2017

Posted on behalf of Dr Tabitha Tuckett, Rare-Books Librarian.

What: UCL Rare-Books Club
When: 1.15-1.45pm, Tuesday 5 September
Where: Science Library Rm 417 (*meet at library entrance 1.10pm if you don’t have a UCL library card*)

You are warmly invited to a new series of half-hour talks in which researchers will introduce individual items from UCL’s rare-books collections.

These talks will give our researchers an opportunity to share ongoing discoveries and new observations about the selected item, while audiences will be able to share their expertise and find out a bit more about the larger collection to which the item belongs. Booking is not required: just turn up!

The first talk will take place on Tuesday 5 September, 1.15pm–1.45pm, in UCL Science Library Room 417. Cerys Jones, PhD Student in Medical Physics, will present a talk on Seeing Beyond the Visible: Multispectral Imaging applied to Heritage Artefacts.

Detail from a humidity-damaged letter, Karl Pearon Papers.

Detail from a damaged letter, Karl Pearson Papers.

Multispectral imaging consists of capturing images of an object illuminated under ultraviolet, visible and infrared light. This technique enables faded text and pictures on historical artefacts to be recovered and reread. Cerys will be discussing the process of multispectral imaging and image processing, and present results from multispectral imaging applied to artefacts from UCL Special Collections and other heritage institutions.

The next Rare-Books Club speaker will be UCL Honorary Senior Research Associate Jacquie Glomski on Tuesday 12 September. More information on her talk, John Evelyn’s Contribution to Restoration Bibliophily, will be forthcoming.

Taking Stock

Helen Biggs11 August 2017

Posted on behalf of Vicky Price, Special Collections Education Coordinator.

With most people in summer holiday mode, it has been a quiet few weeks for myself and Helen at SCAR but we’ve managed to keep ourselves busy: collecting statistics, tying up loose ends from past projects and putting plans in place for next year.

As I’ve also been  taking stock of where we are with the Outreach Programme and where we want to get to in the forthcoming year, I thought it would be a good time to give an update on where we’re headed, and share some of the programme’s highlights.  If you attended the session Sarah Aitchison and I gave at July’s Library Conference, you’ll already know about some of our plans. But for those of you to whom SCAR’s outreach work is still shrouded in mystery … let me elucidate!

Collaborate, collaborate, collaborate
We’ve been building strong relationships with some exciting partners.  As a result, larger, more ambitious projects are on the horizon (and growing steadily closer):

Pupils, parents and teachers added their memories on leaves.

Pupils, parents and teachers added their memories on leaves.

Edith Neville Primary School and Museum of London Archaeology
We are creating a special year-long project to create a time capsule to be buried on the school’s brand new site.  The photographs below shows a ‘memory tree’ that some of the school’s parents made (thank you Maryam and Joygun!) so that parents, staff and pupils could start to collate favourite memories of their current school building at their summer fair.

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Maryam adds her memories to the tree.

Newham Library and Archives
We are creating a special mobile exhibition that will tour all 10 of the borough’s public libraries, and we’ll be delivering a programme of family and specialist group workshops alongside.  What is most exciting is that the exhibition will marry items featured in the Main Library exhibition East Side Stories: Londoners in transition with Newham Archive items to create one narrative. We’ll also be collecting local people’s oral histories at the workshops (accessioned and made publicly available through UCL SCAR).

Camden Adult Education

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We even used some metallic gold leaf in our work.

We have run several art workshops for a group of adults who meet to colour in while combating social isolation and loneliness (with colouring in sheets derived from our collection of manuscripts!).  Next up for next year are colouring in activities using wood block prints from some of our early rare books. Just one step closer to kickstarting the all-SCAR colouring in book of my dreams…

Colouring in images from UCL SCAR's manuscript collection.

Colouring in images from UCL SCAR’s manuscript collection.

Schools
We are also developing a ‘Spotlight on…’ series for Secondary schools: finding collection items that relate to curriculum subject areas to develop deeper knowledge and contextual understanding.  First on the list are Dickens’ London and Shakespeare in theatres of the time.

Systems, Processes and Training
We’ve taken the time to refashion some procedures, and will have a new, easier system for all of Library Services to report their outreach statistics (lead by Bernard Scaife).  We will send around a spreadsheet once a term that will just require some simple information inputting before sending it back – hopefully the annual statistics-fest (as I hopefully call it) will be a lot smoother this time next year!

It has also been a pleasure to deliver some bitesize training within UCL Library Services on various aspects of delivering outreach. I hope to continue and develop this next year, starting with tours of SCAR and the spaces we use on campus… so keep your eyes peeled for an invitation if you’re interested!

We can’t wait for next year and all the projects it will bring.  I’ll be sure to share stories, photographs and outcomes from workshops like ‘Mystery Archives’ with 5 to 11 year olds or ‘Local Heroes Top Trumps’ with families when I can!