The Sparrows’ Nest anarchist library and archive was launched in Nottingham in December 2008. Ten years later, we look after tens of thousands of documents focussing on the history of anarchist groups and individuals in the UK and beyond as well as the history of other social movements in Nottingham and the wider area. Our work aims to preserve such records and to make them available to interested audiences, furthering an understanding of past struggles and aiding struggles fought today.
The Nest’s collections continue to grow and have been built up by many kind donations over ten years. They include runs (including some full sets) of well-known publications and many one-off or short-run papers, magazines and pamphlets, as well as posters, stickers and also some other ephemera such as t-shirts, badges and banners.
The collections are being incrementally catalogued. We have also built up a large Digital Library (see below), meaning that not only document records but whole publications can be readily accessed online.
The Nest is open to visitors and over the years we have supported many personal, academic and art projects. We have also hosted talks and displays either at the Nest or other venues. Some of the events we have organised or have been associated with in 2018 are:
· Talks at the Nest by Iain McKay about the relevance of 1848 revolutions to anarchism (speaker’s write up here) and Rosemary Muge about historical poaching in the East Midlands.
· A major event on the 50th anniversary of the 1968 Revolts at the Broadway Cinema, supporting People’s Histreh, who have recently published a pamphlet ‘Remembering the 1968 Revolts’ with associated audio recordings by the speakers.
· Display of various Nest materials on anarcho-feminism at the Nottingham Contemporary exhibition Still I Rise: Feminisms, Gender, Resistance which still runs until 27th January 2019.
· Interview for a University of Edinburgh oral history research project on claimant unions and UK workfare policies, drawing on our local experience and archival material of the Nottingham Campaign Against the Jobseekers Allowance and the Groundswell network.
· Held a stall at the Second Nottingham Radical Bookfair.
We have also contributed articles to Freedom and Organise! about our activities and plans.
Digital Library and Document of the Month
Every month we let our followers (on Twitter and email mailing list) know about new material added to the Digital Library. We also maintain a Document of the Month feature which is blogged and tweeted about.
New additions in the latter half of 2018 (many more links and details of digitised articles can be found online):
- Nov/Dec extending our digitised collections of first edition Anarchy journals and Black Flag.
- Oct including Kick It Over & Bad Attitude.
- Sept including the ACF’s Virus & Liberation, and Black Flag.
- Aug including the DAM’s Direct Action, Libertarian Communist, Libertarian Struggle and Anarchist Worker.
- July including Libertarian Communist and Anarchist Worker.
The Sparrows’ Nest is an active and ongoing project. We are committed to the ongoing cataloguing and digitising efforts and happily accept new material – so please don’t throw stuff away if you are moving house or clearing out your loft!
We also gratefully accept any financial contributions donations, one-off or regular, to help us with the running of the Nest (see donations page on our website). We are incorporated as a non-profit company, using all donations to further the aims of extending, preserving, displaying and promoting the collections.
In 2019 we are looking forward to new collaborations including one with the Nottingham Zine Library, putting on a joint event.
We are always pleased to welcome new visitors. Either drop-in at our regular opening hours (best to let us know beforehand) or get in touch and arrange an alternative time.
We very much like our work to be user-led. So please get in touch if you have any ideas, be it to improve user-friendly access to our digital or physical collections, preferences on what to prioritise in our digitisation efforts etc.