Annual Report 2010-2011
The year under review has been one of outstanding growth and achievement for the Library despite the shadow of impending cuts hanging over it. The continuing excellent contribution of staff and volunteers has resulted in the highest recorded number of users and visitors, wider links with other organisations and the local community, meeting the key parts of our 2010 Development Plan and the successful completion of the Heritage Lottery Fund project.
We can again report that the Library's finances have been carefully managed. Total core expenditure at £90,000 was a little above last year but within budget.
Income from donations at £41,000 was slightly above both last year and budget. In past years donations have accounted for approximately 40% of income, with the grant from Salford City Council providing over 50% and the shortfall being met from sales, services and reserves. This year's grant from Salford at £37,000 has been affected by the loss of the M.P.'s rent since November. However, over the next three years the grant will be cut progressively so that by 2013-14 it will have fallen by £10,000. If we add the loss of rental income, this will constitute a 41% fall.
The Heritage Lottery Fund ‘Past Meets the Present' Project grant is now complete. Final figures are not yet available but the Trust's contribution towards the cost of the project will not fall far short of the £30,000 agreed with HLF at the beginning of the project. In addition we received a Business Security Grant of £780 for CCTV cameras, a Museums, Libraries and Archives Council grant of £837 for the joint ‘Green Bananas' Project with Ordsall Community Arts and a donation of £7,000 from Stock Solicitors to cover the excellent graphic design services of Mike Carter.
HERITAGE LOTTERY FUND PROJECT - ‘The Past Meets the Present'
The focus of the project was to make our collections more accessible to new audiences, particularly local people - an aim it has definitely achieved.
Project Staff: Kate Hart, Project Archivist (until 3.12.10); Jane Taylor, Project Librarian (until 31.3.11); Caroline Hunt (until 25.8.10), Marie-Therese Widger (11.8.10-31.3.11), Community Learning Co-ordinators.
Over the course of the project just over 30,000 new catalogue records have been created for books, pamphlets and serials, either by direct entry or by bulk imports. Of those, around 20,000 are full records. To put this in context, since 2008 we have nearly doubled the number of books and pamphlets which our users can see that we hold, and therefore can come in and ask for.
Large collections that have been fully catalogued include the Communist Party of Great Britain (26 boxes); the Independent Labour Party (28 boxes); Ireland (42 boxes); the Labour Party (35 boxes); the Trades Union Congress (30 boxes): and Women (24 boxes).
Other significant collections that have been fully catalogued include several small socialist/communist parties such as the Socialist Party of Great Britain, the Socialist Labour Party (1903) and the Socialist League (1885), as well as such subjects as the Spanish Civil War, Songs, Workers' Educational Association, Mining and the Miners' Strike.
A library cataloguing manual has been produced, along with a new subject index and several volunteers have been involved in using Adlib to add detail to existing records, and to create new records.
An archives management system and Adlib software has been developed and implemented. This included an accessions system and classification scheme, which the Library did not previously have.
The large priority archive collections that were identified using the logjam methodology before the HLF project have been catalogued. Many of the larger collections that had been listed on spreadsheets have been amended and imported into the catalogue. The completed catalogues are also being put on to the Archives Hub, the national gateway to over 180 archive collections across the UK, and sent to The National Archives, National Register of Archives, to increase accessibility.
A preservation strategy and action plan has been written, which should ensure the sustainability of the work started by the project.
The learning role involved a lot of research into a wide range of library materials, meeting teachers and children, film making and wig wearing, audio recording and banner designing, encouraging artists in their responses to the Library and creating poems with Michael Rosen. It wasn't just about formal learning and education, but promoting the importance of access and discovery more generally. The core learning work has been with local schools and Unison NW, developing online learning resources using items in our collection.
The Co-ordinator, in partnership with teachers and LEA Curriculum Support officers, created 9 downloadable resource packs for the Web site, covering Key Stages 2 to 4 and adult learning, with links to the History and Citizenship curricula and potential for cross-curricular literacy at both primary and secondary level. These resources were downloaded well over 4,000 times in 2010, with other learning resources downloaded 1,000 times.
Caroline's professional experience was key to the reshaping of the hall and the displays, helping people consider how the library can use its collection to inspire first time visitors.
Online Cataloguing System/Web site: The Adlib system has continued to present some problems, and we are using project underspend money to customise it in ways which will be helpful to those searching the catalogue. We have also spent money on enhancing the ‘Galleries' feature of the Web site, which enables better presentation of visual material there.
Ceramics Room/Annexe: HLF agreed that we could use project underspend to decorate and rewire the small room off the hall which became available after the M.P. moved out, and to purchase three display cases to enable us to exhibit there some of our outstanding ceramics collection. They similarly agreed to fund carpeting/new kitchen for the newly-decorated Annexe.
Evaluation: Rosie Crook has written an extremely positive evaluation of the project for HLF, in particular highlighting the notable increase in local visitors, and the social function the Library fulfils for that audience. She has made a number of interesting recommendations for future development.
Publications - An illustrated booklet, ‘Symbolism in Trade Union Emblems' by Hazel Bowden, one of our volunteers, highlighting emblems in the Library's collection has been printed. An anti-fascist ‘Use Your Vote' poster was produced at the time of the general election. A joint flyer with the People's History Museum and the Co-operative Archive, ‘Radical Manchester' was produced by Marketing Manchester in time for the TUC Congress in September, and the Library was also included in the ‘Arts and Crafts Movement' flyer linked to the William Morris Exhibition at Blackwell.
Badges - The Library now has its own ‘Knowledge is Power' badge on sale.
Amiel and Melburn Trust - Kevin Morgan obtained a grant of £6,000 from the Amiel and Melburn Trust to organise and put on our online catalogue the many boxes of papers in our Frow Archive. The work is being undertaken by Constantin Davidescu under Kevin's supervision.
Reorganisation of the Reading Room - The staff have reorganised the Reading Room and new chairs have been purchased to create a comfortable sitting area with a selection of books and journals. The old cushions on readers' chairs have been replaced with more comfortable ones.
Security of the Collection, Staff and Users - A CCTV system has been installed at the rear of the building with 2 cameras covering the back yard and windows.
The number of volunteers has risen to over 50 and we are currently operating a ‘waiting list'. Every effort continues to be made to match volunteers' interests and enthusiasms to the Library's needs.
In October Jen Morgan began her Arts and Humanities Research Council-funded PhD at Salford University on the transmission and reception of Shelley in working class journals. This is a joint appointment between the Library and the University, and Jen will spend a day a week in her second year as a Library volunteer. The AHRC funding will cover two more PhD students in subsequent years.
The monthly volunteers' lunches followed by talks on aspects of our collection by staff and volunteers continue to be well supported.
There have been a number of changes this year. Lynette Cawthra, our valued Library Manager, remains in the same post. Mike Weaver, Library Assistant, left for Cambridge in March after 17 years with the Library. He will continue to give us the benefit of his extensive knowledge of the collection via e-mail. Tara Sutton has been appointed a part-time Library Assistant for 12 months from 11 April.
The HLF Project staff have completed their contracts. Caroline Hunt, Community Learning Co-ordinator, left in August to start a PGCE course and her part-time successor, Marie-Therese Widger finished on 31 March. Kate Hart, Project Archivist, left in December and is now an archivist with Barclays Bank. Jane Taylor, Project Librarian, after some time off work following an operation had her funding extended to 31 March. She will remain with the Library for the next 12 months, in a post funded from our reserves in order to maintain the increased activity levels visible in the Library thanks to the HLF work.
Two stalwarts continued unchanged - Alain Kahan, our "retired" Librarian, who worked for two half days a week and Jan Walker, our much valued cleaner.
RAISING THE PROFILE OF THE LIBRARY
Exhibitions - The Salford ‘Invisible Histories: Salford's Working Lives' exhibition which opened in January 2010 continued with a short break for Refugee Week until September. The Refugee Week Exhibition in June consisted of young people's art, a collaboration between the University and a local school which we were pleased to be asked to host.
In September, as the Library's contribution to the Manchester Peace Festival, an exhibition celebrating the life of Michael Foot was opened by Kate Hudson.
In October an exhibition inspired by items in the Library's archive was created by Caroline/Marie and Kate working with artists at Islington Mill. The Mill's artists' responses to our material, entitled ‘Object Lessons' were displayed in the Library in December and January.
The first two exhibitions of 2011 have been mounted by Manchester TUC and the Manchester and Salford Film Society. The first celebrated Robert Tressell's centenary and the second the 80th anniversary of the country's oldest film society which traces its origins back to the Salford Workers' Film Society.
Events - In May the Inaugural Frow Memorial Lecture on Chartist Poetry was given by Dr Mike Sanders with Chartist poems read by Maxine Peake and songs sung by Corista. It was held in the Conference Room at the Old Fire Station, courtesy of the University of Salford, and 100 people attended.
In August a successful evening of films was held at the King's Arms, Salford.
The Mikron Theatre Company performed ‘Striking the Balance', on the struggle for equal pay, at Islington Mill in October. 80 people attended.
The series of ‘Invisible histories' talks were originally planned to finish in August but due to their popularity a second series was successfully run in the autumn. Many new faces were seen in the Library with a talk on Engels having the highest attendance of 46.
To mark National Poetry Day in October former Children's Laureate Michael Rosen did a workshop with children from two Salford primary schools based on Library materials. This was filmed for our Web site for use by other teachers.
Also in the autumn, the Library hosted an evening class of the women's writing group run by Manchester WEA in association with Unison. They used a wide range of the Library's materials for their research.
In February ‘Liberation', an event with songs, cartoons, readings and discussion was held to mark Lesbian Gay Bisexual Trans History Month and in March a talk by Louise Raw reassessing the Match Girls' Strike and by Lynn Collins on current trade union activities celebrated the centenary of International Women's Day.
The Library's centenary tribute to painter and decorator Robert Tressell was a practical one: volunteers engaged in a much-needed redecorating of the Library annexe in February.
World Book Day was marked with an event for local children in the Salford Museum and Art Gallery led by author, and Library Friend, Berlie Doherty.
We also continue to be invited by the Mayor of Salford to host a formal annual visit by Mayors from across Greater Manchester.
Social Media - 670 people have signed up to the excellent e-newsletter developed by Lynette. The Library now has 750 fans on Facebook and 115 followers on Twitter. The ‘blog', developed by Jane, is used by volunteers and staff on an occasional basis to celebrate cataloguing milestones, to muse on parallels between today and events and campaigns of former times, and so on.
Stalls - The Library has had stalls at Salford's University's Human Rights Conference, Ordsall Community Festival, the Salford Local History Day, TUC Congress, the NW TUC Women's Conference and PCS Youth Conference.
Publicity - Features on the Library appeared in the Aslef Journal, May 2010, In the Octagon Theatre Bolton ‘Love on the Dole' programme, October 2010, and on the Manchester Confidential Web site, February 2011. A review of the Michael Foot exhibition was in Socialism Today, November 2010.
The Library featured regularly in the Salford Advertiser and Manchester Evening News, and on Salford Online and the Salford Star Web site. Other press mentions included The Guardian and The Yorkshire Post.
The Trustees wish to record their gratitude to the staff, volunteers, friends and other supporters for their contribution to another outstanding year. We wish the staff who have left every success in their future careers. In particular we thank Mike Weaver for the 17 years of unstinting service he gave to the Library - he will be much missed.
We now know the extent of the cuts we face. By appointing 2 staff on 12 month contracts we have ensured the continued provision of services whilst we introduce new strategies and make difficult decisions to ensure the long-term future of our unique Library.
Margaret Cohen, Chair of Trustees, April 2011