Thursday, 16 January 2014

ARLG London and South East Visit to the Architectural Association

On Tuesday 15 January I attended the CILIP Academic and Research Libraries Group (London and South East Section) visit to the Architectural Association Library. Located just round the corner from my workplace on Bedford Square, the Library is a hidden gem serving the needs of AA members and students.

Seated in the main Library room with its beautiful ceiling, we were given an introduction to the Library and its history by Librarian Eleanor Gawne. Founded in 1862, a few years after the AA itself was founded by some students dissatisfied with the current state of architectural education, the Library contains more than 45,000 volumes on the history of architecture, architectural theory, contemporary architectural design, building types, interior design, landscape design and supplementary subjects. The Library also holds journals and has a growing collection of e-journals and e-books.

I found the special collections particularly interesting. We were shown several volumes, including a Nuremberg Chronicle from the 15th century, donated by a former AA member. The designs and drawings in the architecture books were beautiful. After a break for tea and biscuits, we were introduced to the archives by Archivist Edward Bottoms. The archives contain material relating to the work of the AA, including architectural drawings and paintings, models and student projects, as well as the culture and history of the Association. Formal cataloguing began in 2010 and an online catalogue is imminent. The collections were fascinating – the highlight being the record of a festival run by AA students in Bedford Square in the Seventies, which involved an elephant, a rock band and fire-eaters in the Library!

I really enjoyed my visit to the Architectural Association. Thanks to all the AA staff and ARLG London and South East for sorting it.

Thursday, 2 January 2014

2014 Resolutions

I probably shouldn't make New Year's Resolutions. They always backfire on me as I end up doing exactly the opposite to what I wanted. For instance, in 2013 I wanted to see fewer plays than in 2012; I actually ended up seeing twice as many. However, I can't seem to stop myself - I like to have something to aim for, even if I end up going in the opposite direction.

My big resolution this year is to register for Chartership. I wanted to wait until the new PKSB was introduced, as well as the VLE and online submission - this has now been done so I've no excuse, really. I have been in my current role for nearly three years and I think this is a good time to charter - I wouldn't want to begin with the additional stress of a new job at the same time.

I would also like to get involved in something else professionally, though I am currently rather vague as to what. For the last couple of years I have been Newsletter Editor for the Career Development Group (London & South East Division). Now that the CDG in London has merged with the London branch, I no longer have this role although I am still involved with the new committee. So I'm going to look around for something else to do.

My last resolution is to get more sleep. I spent much of last year feeling tired (largely for self-inflicted reasons - not going to bed early enough for instance!) and while I don't think it affected my work I definitely didn't feel at my best - and I got through an awful lot of coffee. This resolution isn't just for work - it will hopefully make me feel better in all areas of my life.

So there are my three resolutions for the year - I will check back in 12 months to see how I've done!