His greatest pleasure in life, he told us, was trials.
He had come to repair the Haddonís venetian blinds, and we were having tea.
Heíd been called as a witness in a trial some years before; I forget whether this was to a crime against himself. The whole legal process had been engrossing. He was now hooked. Whenever he could, he would be in the public gallery of a court, watching a trial in progress. A bit like watching a comedy programme being recorded - an extreme expression of an appetite that most people must feel to some degree. Charles Duffís Handbook on Hanging suggests that murder trials should be held in the Albert Hall or Wembley Stadium, and that film rights to them would enable the Government to reduce income tax.
Visitors like that are rare. Apart from them, or the odd locker theft, or library staff wearing badges that say "FREE THE CAMBRIDGE TWO" - how does law impinge on libraries?
Quite a lot. Thereís copyright, all the time and in all media; thereís employment legislation; thereís legislation concerning provision for disabled people. Legal constraints over the content of libraries are not, it seems, as important as we thought when we began planning this issue, but that is not to say there are none. And there are members of the profession who - incredibly - have chosen it over law. In this issue, Jane Robinson explains how librarianship has given her most of what she would have wanted from a legal career, and spared her what she would not have liked.
And those are just the things weíve got space for this time! Thereís also legal deposit, and data protection, and the workings of law libraries.... This is a theme weíll have to come back to.
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We havenít got the answers - you have. Send them to Kathryn McKee for the Michaelmas issue of CULIB. You can reach her in the following ways:By post
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(i) A view from Arlington, Virginia
Anarchist librarian Chuck Munson put out this appeal (here slightly edited) in February 2000, for speakers to take part in a discussion at the American Library Association Summer Convention.
Sexy stories and pictures in the stacks? Given that erotica and all types of sexually explicit materials are available now via library computers, isn't it time to address this neglected subject in public libraries? If erotica is widely available in chain bookstores like Towers and Borders, isn't it true that erotic fiction and pictures now fit within the "community values" of at least some communities?
As one might imagine, finding speakers for a session like this is not easy, even if you ignore the controversial aspect. Since there few, if any, erotica collections in public libraries, this means there are few public librarians with experience collecting in this subject area. The librarians who do have experience collecting erotica, have gained that experience from working at private and special collections. These collections also tend to be historical, which means that there are even fewer librarians who have experience collecting contemporary erotica.
The Internet has certainly revolutionized what people can read and view at public libraries. This also means that all library patrons have been able to access subject matter that before the Internet was restricted, outlawed, zoned, suppressed, or, most of the time, just not talked about. Public libraries could have collected erotica before the Internet, but chose not to do so for a variety of reasons (the biggest one being the unstated fear of sexuality). Now that the Internet filtering controversy has starkly highlighted this historical rejection of a subject area, perhaps it is time to redress this historical omission.
In this session, we move beyond contentious debates about whether or not libraries should collect erotica, to a critical examination of what erotica a library could collect. The main focus will be on bibliographic selection along a number of different dimensions. Options will be discussed for various levels of explicitness: PG, R, and X. We will also address different genres and formats, including for example poetry, romance, SF, photography, art, graphic novels, and periodicals. Different sexual subject areas will also be covered: "vanilla" heterosexual, lesbian, gay, vampire, sado-masochism, anything goes, as well as factors like literary quality, audience, and trends (such as the current fad for anthologies and classic porn" novels like those of Henry Miller). Finally, panelists will share tips on developing selection criteria, finding reviews, and developing relationships with publishers.
(ii) A view from Cambridgeshire
Nicola Fairweather of Cambridgeshire Library Service takes up the challenge. She is giving her own personal views, which do not necessarily reflect CLS policy.
The decision whether to stock erotic fiction has always been an issue for public libraries. It does of course partly depend on the definition of erotic. The recent trend of publishing erotic fiction as a genre has highlighted the issue. Most, if not all, public libraries will stock Lolita, books by Anais Nin and other titles, which might be considered to be erotic. Fewer will stock the newer genre of erotic fiction. Does any public library have erotic fiction as a separate category, complete with category sticker? It would be interesting to know what was put on the sticker!
Cambridgeshire Library Service is in the process of producing a written stock policy. The aim is to put on record and formalise many of the actual practices involved in the management of stock. We have a de facto policy of buying a copy of all commercially published first novels, but we do not at present buy any erotic fiction as a genre. This is an issue, along with a number of others, which will need to be debated when the policy document is finalised.
It is not a legal issue, which prevents us from stocking these novels. It is the practical - some might say moral - issues, which need to be addressed.
The increase in popularity of this area of stock is reflected in the fact that more bookshops now have a section devoted to it. Information about new fiction titles from our library suppliers now includes titles categorised as erotic from publishers such as Black Lace and Blue Moon.
There has, as far as I am aware, been no overt demand for this type of fiction. A similar argument could be made with our coverage of adult graphic novels and foreign fiction, both areas where the service could improve its stock coverage, but for which there has been little active pressure to do so from borrowers. It does not mean that these areas of stock should not be improved given sufficient impetus to do so.
An argument could be made that, by limiting our selection process, we are censoring the range of stock available to the public. This is true, but given the pressures on the book fund, especially with the increasing number of formats now available, some rationale has to be used when selecting stock.
A few years ago one of the Large Print publishers produced a series called "Black Satin", which was intended to include more explicit titles. These were, on the whole, books that were stocked in libraries in ordinary print. They would probably not be considered erotic, but they were different from the normal range of Large Print titles! The series did not survive for very long, as the demand was not there and libraries did not purchase many copies.
A practical issue is the need to prepare a response to those users of the library who will object to the stocking of such material. If the books do not make their contents clear, libraries are more likely to have complaints from those who pick them up by mistake. If erotic fiction is a clear and identifiable section of stock in the same way as Large Print and Mills and Boon some readers will not want to be seen borrowing and by implication reading such books.
Undoubtedly tastes change over a period of time. The question remains to be tested whether Cambridgeshire Library Service and its users are ready to see erotic fiction on the library shelves.
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As we remember
that fine, brave promise
from a day of December
in the late forties
for a generation
which reckoned the worst
we could do to one
another was past:
if an absolute ruling
that no one may silence
another is fooling
and manifest nonsense
then what censors make
is mistake more than sin
against spaces we stake
to be wise and fools in.
(Article 19 of the UN Universal declaration of Human Rights, adopted 10 December 1948: "Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference to and seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.")
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I have been asked to write a piece on what attracts a lawyer to librarianship. In the interests of strict accuracy, lawyer should read law graduate! Let me say at this stage that this will be an entirely personal piece not a closely argued case.
Early October 1978 saw me embarking on a law degree at the University of Hull. This was partly out of bloody mindedness; that alone should have told me it was not a good idea. Relatively early on I realised that a career in law was not for me - I quite fancied myself as a barrister, but thatís another story - but continued with the degree. Parts of it I enjoyed, parts of it I never really got to grips with. One of the problems with doing a vocational degree and not taking it to its logical conclusion is what on earth one does afterwards. I actually had very little idea as to what I wanted to do; the situation hasnít changed much! Careers advice was patchy and I didnít really know what was available. Both accountancy and the Civil Service, fairly common choices, were unappealing; Iím not a numbers person and was not a fan of rigidly hierarchical organisations even then. You could say that I just fell into the profession. I decided that I wanted to do something book or information related and publishing was almost impossible to get into without the right skills or contacts. Six months running a sub department in Foyleís after graduating convinced me that I was on the right track but not the right area. They gave me an amazing amount of freedom considering the fact that I was completely untrained and straight from university! So, I ended up as a librarian. Even two years as a library assistant in a public library and a year at library school didnít put me off.
In retrospect, I can see the way the various strands come together. Both law and librarianship demand attention to detail. The absolute consequences of failure to pay this may be different, but they can both be serious and result in loss and a reputation for inefficiency. Linked to this demand is the fact that they both require an ability to acquire, analyse and re-present information. This is true for everything from doing a simple on-line search for someone to producing a proposal for major expenditure or large-scale change.
I get great satisfaction from handing a colleague the well presented, appropriately filleted, comprehensive results of an on-line bibliographic search. Equally satisfying is presenting to committee a paper, which results in the acceptance of the acquisition or change it argued for. It may not be earth shattering, headline making stuff but it creates a sense of achievement none-the-less. Both professions require an ability to communicate and convince, verbally as well as on paper. I was going to suggest an ability to write and speak clear, concise English; perhaps that is going a little too far. One invaluable skill my time as a law undergraduate did give me, especially the mock trials or mooting, was an ability to stand up for myself in an argument. I am sure that it has enabled me to deal more effectively with situations than I might otherwise have done. If I donít fight for myself and the library, I canít expect anyone else to do it for me.
One of my greatest sources of satisfaction as a librarian is in providing and developing a service for a reasonably specific group of people. Working closely with them, although some are only around for a year, enables me to get to know them and their needs. How possible this is as a practising lawyer I donít really know, especially if your hours have to be billed to a client. It also allows me to work within a set of rules which permits flexibility. The rules produce a system, which works to the benefit of all; the flexibility enables the individual to be accommodated if the community would not be disadvantaged. This gives one the best of both worlds and is not quite the same as finding ways round the rules.
Librarianship also appeals to this once potential lawyer because of the things it doesnít demand. I donít have to work terrible hours. I donít have to deal dispassionately with some of the more horrific aspects of life. I donít have to make decisions or take actions, which are legally correct but morally questionable. I donít have to look on while others take these decisions. And so on and so on.
Looked at fairly objectively, the change from law to librarianship was not a completely illogical decision to make. It provides plenty of scope for a bossy pedant; gives a reasonable amount of freedom and flexibility; makes me use my brain; and enables me to do something I regard as valuable. Yes, I would have enjoyed the salary, but one canít have everything.
Department of Geography
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Some years ago I was asked by your editor to write about good employment practice, and the University rules and procedures that guarantee good practice. Employment legislation is a taller order!
The law is a tricky and complex beast.
Iíd like to say that if employers follow good practice, they are safe from litigation. Given the complexity of the law, this is not always the case (though generally good practice is not only protective but has other benefits like staff contentment). If you are in breach of employment law you wonít get prosecuted; but you may end up facing an employment tribunal, with the possibility of paying not only a large amount in compensation but also legal fees on a scale which is a significant deterrent.
In the area of recruitment, discrimination legislation is the main issue. You will want, of course, to select the best person for the job; but if you fail to do this, or cannot document your selection process and demonstrate that your chosen candidate best fits your person specification, you may be in trouble - provided your challenger is of a different gender or ethnicity than your successful candidate.
You can also be challenged if you fail to provide appropriate adjustments to enable a disabled candidate to compete, or if you do not consider whether, with relevant reasonable adjustments in the workplace, s/he might be your best candidate in terms of skills.
And finally, beware of the law of contract. Put the wrong information in a job advertisement, fail to mention a limit of tenure in your letter of offer, and you could form an unwanted contract (what we tend to call a Ďcontractí is merely written confirmation of a contract which could have been formed with a word and a handshake).
Your main legal pitfalls will open up in the course of managing performance. Exceptionally hamfisted attempts to manage could result in "constructive dismissal" - which, in law, happens when an employee resigns because the employer has made the situation untenable. Failure to address grievances properly, or to deal with a complaint of bullying, could also result in a constructive dismissal case.
Note in passing that allowing an employee to suffer excessive stress could be a health and safety issue.
All employees with one or more yearsí continuous service are protected against unfair dismissal, which means dismissal for other than a fair reason (e.g. capability, conduct, redundancy) or without a fair procedure. The latter includes the right to hear the Ďchargesí and respond to them, the right of representation at any formal disciplinary hearing, an adequate sequence of warnings giving the employee the chance to improve, and dismissal only at the end of the road when all else has failed.
Again, contract law can impinge in the course of employment. To make changes, other than minor changes, in a job can be a breach of contract. If you have a good reason to make changes, itís worth talking over with your personnel consultant how to vary the contract.
A raft of legislation, and case law, concerns certain special situations.
This has been a quick romp through some aspects of employment law. Donít be too ready to believe it - another thing one can say about this area of the law is that it is subject to change. You can check on the Web: internally we are putting more and more material on procedures and policies onhttp://www.admin.cam.ac.uk/offices/personnel/
You can also find material relating to the legislation, via
- try the DTI website for advice and regulations, the Stationery Office website for the full text of many Acts of Parliament. But you should also check the current state of legislation with your departmentís personnel consultant before contemplating any serious course of action.
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A.J.N. (Anthony) Richards died in November 2000. He was the first Secretary-Librarian of the Centre of South Asian Studies at Cambridge, holding the post between 1964 and 1980.
Anthony was a graduate of Oxford University, and in the late 1930s took up an appointment as a District Officer in Sarawak. At that date Sarawak was still run by the Brooke family, and was probably the only British overseas territory not controlled by the Colonial or India Offices.
Anthony can scarcely have been in Sarawak for more than a year when the Second World War began. After the Japanese invasion in 1942, he was interned. Anthony never spoke at all of his wartime experiences, but it is clear they had a profound effect and one thing that helped to pull him through was an intense interest in everything around him.
After the war, Sarawak was taken over by the Colonial Office. Anthony rose to become a member of the small body of Senior District Officers in the territory. He left the service with the creation of the Federation of Malaysia. However, his expertise on Iban life and customs was much sought after for the rest of his life. He put an immense amount of painstaking research into his Iban-English Dictionary, which was published by the Clarendon Press in 1981.
When he applied for the Cambridge post, Anthony pointed out that he was not a trained librarian but had a great love of books and was methodical. These qualities, together with all his Asian experience, stood him in good stead. By the time of his retirement he had created a major research collection on South Asian social science and history which included a substantial amount of non-book material. He had also begun the nucleus of a collection on Southeast Asia. Many of the items in the library were not available elsewhere in Cambridge, and some were unique in Britain.
Anthony's appointment in Cambridge coincided with moves for greater collaboration and consultation between British libraries with Asian interests. Anthony played a full part in the discussions and one of the outcomes was the creation of SALG and similar area library groups. In the early days Anthony was either Chairman or Secretary of SALG.
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How can you best help disabled students to make full use of your library services? As of October 1999, there have been legal obligations. The Disability Discrimination act requires libraries and their services to:
Here are some suggestions of things you can do to help.
Sources of Information
There are many sources of information promoting the development of an accessible environment. Many publications and fact sheets are available from the University Disability Resource Centre, DAMPT, Silver Street, Cambridge. Tel 01223 (3)32301. Please call in and see us and look at what resources we have available at the Centre.
Judith Jesky, University Disability Adviser
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According to the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, Section 17(2), the act of copying can mean copying by hand or photocopying, but also Ďstoring the work in any medium by electronic means.í Electronic copying is not legally different to any other kind of copying, so the same principles, which apply to photocopying, apply to electronic copying as well.
The difficult thing, of course, is to convert those principles into easily applied practical rules. A very useful set of Guidelines for Fair Dealing in a Electronic Environment was drawn up by the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) and the Publishers Association (PA) in 1988, and it can be seen at http://www.ukoln.ac.uk/services/elib/papers/pa/fair/intro.html They state, for example, that it is fair dealing for an individual, or a librarian on behalf of an individual, to print or download part of an electronic publication, provided the information is needed for one of the normal fair dealing purposes such as research or private study. But it would not be fair dealing to print or download all of an electronic publication, nor to post part or all of an electronic publication on a network or website. It is accepted that an article in an electronic journal constitutes 'part of an electronic publication' for this purpose. Clearly some of these rules will only make sense for as long as electronic publications are structured in the same way as their print equivalents, and will need to be reconsidered as electronic publication develops away from the print model.
When the world-wide web first became popular, a lot of the content was either amateur or academic in nature, and the general feeling was that any material put up on the web was fair game, or to put it more formally, that unless you included a clear statement that you were claiming copyright, there was an implied license for anyone to use the material in any way they wanted. But with the increasing presence of commercial organisations on the web, this is no longer the case. It is now safer to make the opposite assumption: that material is copyright unless there is a statement on the site that it may be freely copied. The JISC/PA guidelines mentioned above provide a framework for deciding what it might be reasonable to copy in this context.
Librarians are likely to be contributing material to their own websites, as well as using material provided by others. Looking at the issue from that perspective, despite what has been said above about assuming the existence of copyright, it is probably a good idea to place a copyright statement on each page, giving the copyright symbol, the name of the institution or individual claiming the copyright and the date. There is also a copyright dimension to be considered when you put links to other sites on your own web pages, following a famous case a few years ago involving the Shetland Times and the Shetland News. The Shetland News had been including links on its website directly to news items on the Shetland Times website, in such a way that readers were not aware that they were looking at the website of a different newspaper. The case was eventually settled out of court. As a result of the case, it has been argued that it is advisable to make links from your own site only to the home pages of other sites, not directly to the information contained at lower levels.
There have been two amendments to the Copyright Act which are relevant to the electronic environment. The first of these concerns the treatment of computer programs. The first of these concerns the treatment of computer programs. The Copyright Act as originally passed in 1988 made no special provision in respect of computer programs, which are classed as literary works like any other. A computer program, from the point of view of copyright law, can be in any physical form, including paper. However, the Act was amended in 1992 (Statutory Instrument 1992 no. 3233: the Copyright [Computer Programs] Regulations 1992) to allow any lawful user of a computer program to make a back-up copy, and to decompile it in order to create a different program. These rights cannot be removed. Any agreement which seeks to impose such restrictions on the lawful user of a computer program is void.
The second was the introduction of the concept of 'Database Right' from 1 January 1988 (Statutory Instrument 1997 no. 3032: Copyright - Rights in Databases). A database need not be electronic. The term applies to any 'collection of independent works, data or other materials which are (a) arranged in a systematic or methodical way and (b) are individually accessible by electronic or other means.' Quite what this will mean in practice it is probably too early to say, but it has been argued, for example, that most reference books would qualify as databases in this sense. Database right lasts for 15 years from the time the database was last substantially changed. It is an infringement of database right to extract or re-utilise 'all or a substantial part' of a database, where 'extract' means to transfer the contents to another medium, and 're-utilise' means to make the contents available to the public. Database right is separate to copyright, though it would be quite possible for a database to enjoy both protections simultaneously. The change was clearly designed to provide the creators of databases with additional protection against their work being pirated for commercial purposes, so its application in academic libraries is likely to be limited.
The whole question of copyright is now the subject of a proposed new directive from the European Union, partly intended to harmonise laws across the Union, but also to respond to lobbying from organizations representing rightsholders, who are concerned that the potential for copying and redistributing information electronically is much greater than by other means. Much of the lobbying has come from large entertainment corporations seeking to prevent unauthorized distribution of music over the Internet, but there is a possibility that the resultant legislation will be so widely drawn that the familiar exceptions for fair dealing and library privilege could be removed or drastically restricted.
So what does all this mean in practical terms for librarians? Although fair dealing and library privilege are in general applicable to the electronic environment, just as to photocopying, there are circumstances in which they are irrelevant. Most obviously, many databases and electronic journals require the subscriber to sign a licence, which may well impose conditions on the use of data, regardless of what copyright legislation might say, and we need to be aware of this. If librarians are asked to sign such licences on behalf of their institutions, model licences such as that developed by NESLI (http://www.nesli.ac.uk/nesli-licence.html) will be useful in assessing the fairness of the terms. Publishers are likely to develop technical means of controlling the copying of their electronic publications, such as electronic watermarking. There is also pressure for a change in the law, partly in response to the greater opportunity for copying and redistributing information, which the electronic environment presents, which might lead in future to tighter restrictions on all types of copying. By the time you read this, the final shape of the EU Directive on Copyright should become clearer, so I should perhaps finish with a warning that some of what I have written might already be out of date.
Stephen Dale, Scientific Periodicals Library
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Alison Sproston has been appointed the Eccles Librarian of the British Museum Library. Joanna Ball, formerly Whipple Librarian, takes over her post as Sub-Librarian at Trinity College.
SPS's new Librarian, starting end of February, is Julia Nicholas, formerly Librarian at the Institute of Astronomy.
Iwona Krasodomska Jones has moved from St John's College Library to become the Library Assistant in charge of the Pathology Department Library. Eda Lesk is the new part time Library Assistant at St John's. Eda has a range of library, museum, editorial and teaching experience, largely in the field of geology, and combines her work at St John's with another part time post as Information Service Co-ordinator for the Cambridge Arctic shelf Project.
Girton's new Assistant Librarian is Jenny Holden, who formerly worked as Assistant Librarian at the Classics Faculty Library.
The Human Nutrition Research Library have appointed Susan Jones as their new part time Library Assistant. Susan has a scientific background, previous posts including work at Anglia Polytechnic University Library and as Information Officer in a scientific company.
The Department of Chemistry's new Library Assistant is Michael Todd-Jones. Michael joined the Library after completing his degree at Newcastle University. He is a Chartered Librarian, who studied librarianship at Ealing College. He has previously worked as a medical librarian at Fulbourn Hospital, and spent a short time as a library assistant at the UL earlier in his career.
Magdalene College have appointed Andrew Ward as Cataloguer on their three-year retrospective conversion project to catalogue their undergraduate library collections. Andrew moves to Magdalene from the UL.
The English Faculty Library has two new Library Assistants. Sally Austin has worked in public and academic libraries in Cambridge and in New Zealand. A mother of three, she recently gained an MA in Museum and Gallery Education at the University of London and is also engaged in part-time museum work. Helen Walker grew up on a tobacco farm in colonial Rhodesia and trained as a physiotherapist. Now living permanently in England she is a mother of two and a practising artist/sculptor. She plays tennis when she has the time.
All change again at the UL's Greensleeves retrospective conversion project. Zoë Brown has emigrated to Melbourne, while Hannah Cox has moved to Churchill College Library, Rachel Bunting has transferred to cataloguing 19th century pamphlets elsewhere in the UL, and Fiona Grant has been appointed to a post in the main Cataloguing Department. Meanwhile, Greensleeves welcomes Sonia Waters, Damiri Knapheide from Braunschweig, Germany, and by the time this issue appears, Margaret Kilmer from Anglia University.
The end of February saw the retirements of two long-serving members of UL staff: Jill Butterworth, Near Eastern languages specialist, and Jill Alexander of Legal Deposit. Robin James has been appointed as Deputy Head of Legal Deposit to replace Jill Alexander.
This year's Munby Fellow, now well into his stride, is Paul Botley, whose research project is 'Learning Greek in Western Europe, 1471-1529.' Shelley Innes and Dr Andrew Sclater have joined the Darwin Letters Project as editors, following the departure of Dr Sarah Wilmot, Acting Head of the project, to the University of East Anglia to take up a research fellowship.
Recent arrivals in the UL's Music Department are Paula Jarman, from the Guildhall Library, and Anne-Marie Jefferson who is working on a Research Support Libraries Programme (RSLP) contract.
Finally, we extend our congratulations to Mhairi Burden, the Haddon's RSLP cataloguer, on the commissioning of a book of poems.
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Linda Keys continues our series about the extraordinary things librarians do in their spare time.
The sport that I participate in is an Olympic discipline, and one in which the United Kingdom has won gold. I am not yet in that class, but it does provide me with a target to aim for. Every week I visit the inside of a road-bridge, and I often find myself in various fields or sports-grounds around the surrounding counties on a Sunday afternoon. Unlike many other sports it does not have a closed season, so lying in a field, on concrete with shelter if you are lucky, or on the grass and exposed to the elements if you are not, is an all-year round experience.
The sport is .22 target rifle shooting. .22 inch is the diameter of the bullets. Distances at which we shoot vary. Twenty-five yards or fifteen yards is the range indoors. One hundred yards (in the UK) or fifty metres (internationally) is the usual distance outdoors. To give you some idea of the accuracy of the sport I will provide some rough measurements. The "bull" - the centre dot of the target - used at twenty-five yards measures about twelve millimetres in diameter. The ammunition makes a hole about five millimetres in diameter. All targets progress in size to account for the margin of error that will be caused by a similar degree of movement at each distance.
The target is made up of concentric circles, with higher scores nearer the centre. The points system used indoors at these distances is known as 'outward scoring', which means that if you shoot a hole that cuts across the edge of a circle, you will get the lower score. Other methods such as graduated scoring are also employed in some competitions, to judge the accuracy even more closely. Basically this amounts to having to hit a tiny white dot in the centre of the target.
Outdoors at the further distances 'inward scoring' is often used. Here, if you shoot a hole that cuts across the edge of a circle, you will get the higher score. This objective is not easily met. So many pieces of equipment are employed, which may turn out to be of help or a hindrance in battling against the impossible weather conditions, the effects of the surrounding area, and your own mind. For the more adventurous competitors there are also three-positional competitions where prone, standing, and kneeling targets are combined.
The year is split into winter and summer seasons. During the winter I shoot mostly indoor league competitions. This is both for club and country teams. Usually the course of fire is ten targets per league. Each target has ten shots and is therefore scored out of one hundred. There are outdoor leagues that are run for both teams and individuals to enter, but in winter I choose not to take part. In the past I have been frozen for twenty minutes at a time, and got all my equipment soaked through. It takes days to dry out. Since then I have seen sense and decided to shoot outdoors only when asked by the county team captain or the club, and not for fun! This does mean that I miss out on the glare caused by the sun on snow, and not knowing if my target will stay fixed to the frame in a gale.
However, in the summer season outdoor shooting takes priority for me. Our club enters teams at fifty metres, and I also have taken part in 100-yard individual leagues. This takes place at our home county range in Peterborough. We shoot under supervision. An accredited person has to verify who shot which target. Then either the targets or the scores are sent to the bodies running the league. I also participate in our shoulder-to-shoulder matches with other counties. These matches involve travelling to other neighbouring counties to shoot on their ranges, as well as our home matches hosted by Cambridgeshire. Course of fire varies, but it is usually either an English Match (sixty shots at 50 metres) or a double-dewer (forty shots at fifty metres and forty shots at one hundred yards).
Travelling around the country can be part of the fun. I therefore try and enter open competitions throughout the summer. This practice is for the national open shoots that take place in June and August each year. The National Small-Bore Rifle Association holds an open event at its permanent site at Bisley every year, and another event is held in Scotland.
The Scottish shoot has no permanent home and this means that competitors get to discover a new area of the country each year. This year saw Fort William as hosts to the shoot. The range was erected on a remote site. The only house on the winding, dusty road was occupied by one man and his goats. He took the trouble to wave as we passed in our cars each morning. The other inhabitants of the valley were the midges. These also made the most of our visit. Many tins, sprays and bottles were used to repel these insects. The fun though was not in the methods that worked, but in those that did not. That is to say, when not being used by you! The most amusing moment during the aggregate competition for me was seeing our University Library van driver returning a card from his detail with his head covered in swollen red bites. Great for laugh with the other competitors. He won the worst facial attack outright, but was beaten on the most bites score by a young lad who braved the hot sunny day without a shirt. (Yes, it was hot in Scotland, for those who cannot believe this.)
I myself had little or no success in the bites competition, but I did manage to gain a promotion from my class. There are five classes: A, B, C, D and X. Shooting in class B, I was the top scoring lady in the aggregate competition. The lady's competition is shot concurrently with the squadded aggregate competition where the men shoot side by side with the women. This allows me to the occasional side bet with the male shooters, which adds interest. B class had about sixty shooters, and with only ten percent eligible for promotion to A class I had to be within the top six. This was my goal for the competition, and being place third I was delighted to have met my aim in my first Scottish meeting as a competitor, and being top lady was a bonus.
On the last day of the shooting I turned up to collect my rifle and was told by a member of the team that I had been picked as a reserve for the England Ladies' Team! The international competition was held that same day. It is unusual for the selectors to choose anyone with a national classification lower than A class. I think perhaps the fact that I had no experience aided their decision to make me reserve. This meant that I would only have to shoot if others picked could not. I was given the job of keeping track of scores through a telescope behind the firing point. I was able to watch the progress in comfort and meet the other shooters. Maybe - with luck - one day I will get to shoot in the international competition.
I am just looking forward to the next meetings with new goals, and practising to improve my scores. The sport does not discriminate against age, and experience is a factor. I still have time to work on my performance!
Linda Keys, Cambridge University Library
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CULIB is edited by Aidan Baker (Haddon Library), Kathryn McKee (St John's College Library) and Sheila Cameron (Cambridge University Library), and is produced and distributed by Sheila Cameron.