Welcome to our third monthly(ish) round-up, giving you an idea of what we have been getting up to.
First, an important notice: We have changed our opening day to fit our schedules a bit better. We are now open without prior notice on Tuesdays, 11.00am-2.00pm. But most visitors come having arranged a time in advance, and we perfectly happy to open in the evenings and weekends for you. So do let us know when you would like to come.
At the London Anarchist bookfair we introduced our Digital Libraries project during an afternoon session (thanks a lot for coming so late in the day!) and meet loads of lovely people, for instance some of those involved with the great ‘Spirit of Revolt – Archives of dissent’ project in Glasgow. The session was attended by about fifteen persons, most of whom we met for the first time. It went very well (we thought!) with people contributing specialist knowledge regarding a number of documents presented. This was great as our databases do need to evolve in a collaborate effort. We need to tap into your knowledge regarding certain campaigns, publications, struggles, groups etc. in order not only to make the documents available, but also to provide extensive contextual information (keywords etc.). So thanks a lot for the input on the day and please let us know if you spot errors in our databases or can contribute extra information regarding the sources in our Digital Library. If you want to see our website for the presentation slides.
Anarchist texts by ex-Black Panthers: The Nest website is currently hosting materials relating to the national tour by ex-Black Panthers JoNina Abron Ervin and Lorenzo Kom’boa Ervin. Lorenzo is an anarchist of some 40 years standing and his writings are amongst some of the most significant that we hold in terms of considering the past and future development of anarchism in practice. We can’t wait to get hold of his new edition of Anarchism and the Black Revolution and JoNina’s new book Driven by the Movement: Activists of the Black Power Era.
The historian and trade unionist Sarah Browne has used the paper Nottingham Voice (1970s) from our archive as part of her work with in the project Women’s Liberation and After in Nottingham. She is also using the archive in her on-going research on women in the trade union movement. We are looking forward to the imminent publication of her book,
Pinch of Salt Archive (POSA): A few months ago we were entrusted with digitising materials collected by the founders of A Pinch of Salt, a Christian anarchist magazine that ran in the second half of the 1980s and was reissued in the late 2000s. Researchers at the University of Loughborough will be using the collection. Christian Anarchism, or religiously/spiritually motivated libertarians, have a long history as a minority current of anarchism. Some anarchists associate them with radical seventeenth-century groups such as the Diggers. They were also influential within twentieth-century pacifism and were heavily involved in direct action against nuclear weaponry (and still are). We preserved and digitised the documents (papers, leaflets, pamphlets, posters, etc.), thereby adding another 1,000 pages of source materials to the Digital Library.
We also added another thousand pages of materials to the ‘Public Archive’ section in the Digital Library. These are rare and fascinating Solidarity group publications from the 1960s and 70s, but only a teaser as there is loads more in the box those came in…
We have also re-organised some of our collections. This is to help us cope with their size, and so that they reflect how people use them. The ‘General Left’ category no longer exists and has been replaced by the new category ‘History and Economics’. The best of these will be on open shelves in the main library area, with others accessible upstairs, whilst the remainder will find new homes via our friends at Ex-Libris. The ‘History and Economics’ collection also includes the majority of the ‘Local Studies’ materials, but now also contains academic and more general history books, to help researchers to contextualise working class and ordinary folks’ struggles down the centuries. The Local Studies section has now tightened its focus to materials relating to the East Midlands, South Yorkshire and, of course, mining history, about which we have a bit of a thing...