CULIB - Cambridge University Libraries Information Bulletin

ISSN 0307 7284    Edited by Kathryn McKee, Aidan Baker, Mary Kattuman and Kate Arhel

Issue 62, Lent 2008: Communication



Communication is essential to the provision of information, and there are many and varied mechanisms by which we can communicate with our users and professionally within the library world. Kate Arhel reports on Cambridge librarians' discussions of "Library 2.0" at the Libraries@Cambridge day in January, while we investigate how students and librarians of the future are using "Web 2.0" communication. CILIP's Communities provide forums, blogs, etc. for the professional community: Lyndsay Rees-Jones tells us more. We still communicate by means other than computers though; Aidan Baker proposes a useful protocol for coordinating simultaneous telephone and non-telephone conversations. The words we say are only part of face-to-face communication, and Robert Marshall gives expert insight into the importance of body language.

As promised in the last issue, we review two important new publications. Alison Wilson gives us a fascinating account of how the book Furtherance of academic excellence : a review of new library buildings in Cambridge came into being. We also welcome the arrival of a monumental work: The Cambridge history of libraries in Britain and Ireland reviewed for us by Jonathan Harrison.

In our regular feature on what librarians do in their spare time, Alice Hinkins reveals that librarians are not as quiet as you might expect...

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One of the hot topics at this year's Libraries@Cambridge conference, held on 10th January, was "Web 2.0" and its impact on library services, known as "Library 2.0". Informative and thought-provoking presentations on this subject were received from Jane Secker (Centre for Learning Technology, London School of Economics), Libby Tilley (English Faculty, Cambridge University), Yvonne Nobis (Cambridge University Library) and Lyn Parker (University of Sheffield Library) as part of the session entitled "It's all about connections".

For those of you, like me, whose reaction to the phrase "Web 2.0" is "I never even knew there was a Web 1.0", a brief explanation is in order. The term "Web 2.0" was coined by media publisher Dale Dougherty to describe the second generation of web technologies which emerged in the wake of the dot-com crash in 20001. Jane Secker's presentation at the libraries@cambridge conference defined "Web 2.0" technologies through these characteristics:

"Library 2.0" is a concept model devised by Michael Habib2 and can be thought of as a library-world incarnation of Web 2.0. Michael Habib argues that academic libraries have always provided a unique physical space which combines the academic and the social; Web 2.0 technologies allow libraries to provide a similar virtual space:

From the presentations given at the libraries@cambridge conference, it appears that many UK academic institutions are exploring ways of exploiting these new technologies to add value to their library services. The University of London is one such pioneering institution. Jane Secker reported on their recent LASSIE project which aimed to assess the value of Web 2.0 technologies for meeting the needs of their distance learners by field-testing several different types of social software3. Jane acknowledged that some librarians see Library 2.0 as just another technological bandwagon, but she warned that if libraries do not adapt to their users' changing needs and expectations, they could be bypassed by other information providers. The full findings of the LASSIE project can be found online at

Libby Tilley gave a fascinating interactive presentation which aimed to find out – via Web 2.0 technology – just how much librarians know about Web 2.0. Each delegate received an electronic polling device upon which we registered our responses to Libby's questions. We were able to view the results in real-time on the power point screen à la "Ask the audience" from Who Wants to be a Millionaire? We learned that 79% of the delegates agreed that social networking gives users more ways to be involved and participate in the library. 43% were regular users (or even addicts) of the Facebook website. Although most delegates agreed that Web 2.0 technologies could help libraries be better friends with students, the most popular response to the statement "We should go where the users are" was: "Yes, but not if we sacrifice our standards". The general feeling among delegates seemed to be that while Library 2.0 has its advantages, Cambridge librarians are not yet ready to plunge in head first. Libby's presentation and the results from the survey are available online at

Yvonne Nobis's presentation "Get out of my face(book): Facebook, social networking and the Web 2.0 generation" looked at the other side of the equation: do library users really want librarians to get involved in their social websites? Yvonne suggested that students may see websites such as Facebook and MySpace as belonging to a purely social online arena in which academic librarians are not expected – or even welcome. She pointed to the findings of two recent pieces of research: the JISC Learner Experience Project ( and Cambridge University's own study into students' opinions on information and communication technologies, the "Learning Landscape Project", which was carried out during Easter term 2007. More information about the project can be found at

Parker in Second LifeLyn Parker finished the session with a description of her experiences of "Second Life", an online 3-D virtual world which allows its users to interact and communicate via digital alter egos called "avatars". Lyn, academic services development librarian at Sheffield University, made her foray into Second Life as part of a desire to discover how librarians can use technology to support library services.

Although Second Life is better known for its social and business activities, Lyn argued that it also represents a powerful educational tool. In Second Life it is possible to perform many kinds of tasks which have a bearing on education, including hosting debates, carrying out surveys, giving powerpoint presentations and making podcasts. Lyn Parker and Sheila Webber have created an "Infolit iSchool" in Second Life, a virtual classroom where students from the Centre for Information Literacy Research at Sheffield University can participate in academic discussions relating to information literacy. Lyn's conclusion was that Second Life can be useful for hosting educational activities but she was not convinced about its ability to replicate library functions.

The emergence of Web 2.0 has given academic libraries a lot to think about. While both librarians and library users seem to be wary of blurring the distinction between academic and social spheres, social networking software may provide libraries with opportunities to reach their users in new and creative ways. If you are interested in experimenting with Web 2.0 technologies for yourself, try some of these websites:

You might also be interested in attending the East of England Information Services Group's upcoming day conference on libraries and social software, entitled "It's a Virtual Life: exploring social networks". More information is available at:

Kate Arhel
Pendlebury Library

1. O'Reilly, Tim. "What is Web 2.0?"
2. Habib, Michael. "Academic library 2.0 concept models (Basic v2 and detailed)"
3. Secker, Jane. "LASSIE - libraries and social software in education"

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Librarians have heard a great deal about "Web 2.0" in recent months. Workshops and articles abound on new technologies and their applications in libraries (see above!). We are warned that our libraries' services may be ignored if we do not engage in these new communication mechanisms which our users are using so eagerly. CILIP has opened an office in Second Life. The media bombard us with stories of the latest social networking sites. Even the Queen broadcast her 2007 Christmas message to the nation on YouTube.

Amongst this bewildering array of different mechanisms for communication what are students actually using, and for what purposes? Librarians are in general enthusiastic adopters of new technology, but which should we use? Can one predict which of the many new services are merely a passing fashion and which reflect a fundamental shift in behaviour? We asked a virtual focus group of library school students which communication methods they found most useful as students, and which they expected to continue to use as professionals within the library and information sector.

The uptake of social networking sites was not universal, though one student surveyed did claim that almost everyone she knew was on Facebook. One respondent expressed reluctance to register for any of the leading social networking sites, citing both natural reserve and concerns about identity theft. Another felt that Facebook was "becoming a haven for attention and money seekers", and while invitations from such could be refused, was tempted to leave, despite the site's usefulness for keeping in touch with people. A third had initially resisted, before being persuaded at a BIALL conference that it would aid professional communication. A fourth signed up only last summer when asked to do so in advance of a "web 2.0" workshop , though was now "totally gripped" and had formed a friendship with an American librarian whose research had been inspirational for her own MA. Choice of site was dictated mostly (and entirely predictably) by which one's friends or colleagues used. The majority of students who responded used Facebook in preference to MySpace, largely for this reason, though more than one commented that the comparative ease of use of Facebook and presence of unwelcome advertising on MySpace contributed to their choice. Just one person had a profile on both sites, though the sample may not be typical. Facebook was used for keeping in touch with friends and family, particularly for those with family scattered around the world, for leisure pursuits, and for professional networking. Groups of law librarians and chartership candidates communicated via Facebook. None of those questioned listed Second Life as a site that they used, and one who did engage extensively in "web 2.0" communication, dismissed it with the comment that she was too busy with her first life to waste time on it. This was only a small sample, but one wonders if many young librarians will drop into CILIP's Second Life office.

Take-up of blogs was far more varied. One person had been blogging since 1999! Another expressed surprise when friends or family sent email updates to multiple recipients: "when it's so much easier to blog". Both Livejournal and Blogger were cited as useful tools, though people's use of blogs tended to fluctuate with their particular interests and activities. Respondents mentioned keeping a blog "for a while" or that "use faded" as interests changed. Several students regularly visited library blogs or blogs relating to leisure interests though. RSS feeds were another popular means of keeping up with news and current affairs. prompted many positive comments. The advantages of being able to access one's personal bookmarks, for both leisure and professional use, from any computer at work, home, or elsewhere were obvious. Tagging bookmarks, and sharing them with friends or members of groups with common interests was of clear benefit.

Use of institutional Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) or community spaces was surprisingly varied. Some students found them invaluable and used a range of facilities on and through their VLE on a daily basis. However, universities should perhaps take note of one student's comment: "It's probably a great communication tool, but there's something about remembering to visit yet another site, with yet another username and password – not self-assigned, significantly – that means it's lucky if I check it once every other week."

All students planned to continue using "web 2.0" communication in their professional lives. Blogging among professional librarians, and between libraries and users could be valuable. RSS feeds could update a law librarian on essential news. Flickr could be used to record public library events. Social networking sites could maintain contact between a youth librarian and teenage users, and amongst groups of librarians. "Twittering" via mobile phone was mentioned as a means of updating colleagues unable to attend professional conferences. and iGoogle applied equally to library and personal interests.

In conclusion, we choose the tools that best fit the job. Librarians need to maintain a broad awareness of the potential afforded by "web 2.0" technologies, but remain critical and selective about which of them could provide practical means to meet real needs.

I would like to thank Dr Toni Weller of City University and Dr Nicola Smith of Brighton University for encouraging the participation of their students. I am extremely grateful for the contributions of Wendy Clark, Andrei Franklin, Sarah Ison, Meghan Jones, Dimitra Kitridou, and Chris Paul, who together provided far more information and ideas than could possibly be included in this article.

Kathryn McKee
St. John's College

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Googling "telephone etiquette" brings up much about how to use the telephone, but mainly about how to talk to the other party in the call. There's a small amount – especially with mobile phones in mind – on how to conduct yourself towards people around you. There's next to nothing about what to do if you're one of the people around the caller. This article offers some modest suggestions for etiquette in that situation. The underlying principle is the idea that phone conversations and non-phone conversations are almost impossible to mix – but can, with care, be more or less well co-ordinated.

P is the phone user. P2 is the phone user at the other end of the line. N is anybody within earshot of P. If P is a library staff member, N might be another member of staff, or a library user.

Etiquette for P, the phone user
You should be aware of the presence of N. If the content of the call is likely to offend or embarrass them, or give them information that they ought not to have, then it's the wrong time or place for the call. Will the call keep N waiting for something? Will it make them feel excluded?

If you have to speak to N while on the phone, then that needs to be made obvious – change your tone of voice, hold the phone away from you, use N's name.

If you hear a "Call Waiting" signal and know that N is expecting a call, end your call as quickly as possible. That doesn't have to mean putting the phone down on P2!

Responding to interruptions from N is a matter for judgment. Basic general rule is that the phone call has priority, for two reasons:

  • Someone is paying for the call
  • Communication in the call is limited to the small amount of information that can be squeezed along the line, whereas the interruption can draw on a whole range of body language and other channels. The phone call needs nurturing.

If you decide to accept N's interruption, make it clear to P2 that this is happening: "Excuse me, somebody wants a word." This also makes it clear to N that interruption is not something to be undertaken lightly.

Things are slightly different if the call is being taken at a service point, with P as a library staff member and N as a reader. N should be kept politely in their place and need only be spoken to if the call is likely to go on for more than a minute. But perhaps the service point during opening hours is not the best time and place for the call anyway.

If N's interruptions are a violation of the etiquette described below, then you can signal the fact by covering an ear, looking the other way, and talking to P2 in a determined manner.

Etiquette for N, the person not using the phone
For the duration of the call, think of P as incommunicado. Most things you might want to say to P can probably wait until the end of the call. However, there are some exceptions:

  • An emergency: fire, injury, arrival of an important person
  • Scheduled demands: meetings, shifts at the enquiry desk
  • Evidence that P is working from incorrect information, where this matters. If P says a colleague went to Aberystwyth and you know they went to Robert Gordon's Institute of Technology, it can wait. But if P is arranging to meet someone in Aberystwyth at a time when P will be in Aberdeen, speak.
  • Evidence that P is likely to omit some important point from the phone conversation

If you have to interrupt, there are good ways and bad ways of doing it. Good ways include:

  • A gesture – make sure P can see it
  • A written note held under P's nose
  • Something spoken or yelled – just a word or two ("Readers waiting!" "Library Committee!" "Aberdeen!" "Security system!")

Most other methods are likely to be bad.

If P accepts the interruption, that doesn't mean P is available for further conversation. P should be allowed back to the phone call, or else the phone call needs to end there and then. Otherwise P has to be in two conversations at once, which is often not a good idea.

Or did I miss all this on Google because it was too obvious for anyone to write?

Aidan Baker
Haddon Library

Thanks to John Pickles for some suggestions used in this article.

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On-off switchIn an age of electronic communications, do we really need to meet each other face-to-face any more?

Some would argue that the age of the live meeting is now past: we can work effectively with colleagues all over the World, without ever needing to see them. But others would say that the common hallmark of technological approaches to communication is that they encourage the participants to be more focused on "broadcasting" than on "receiving".

It's almost too easy nowadays to send off an email when you want someone to do something, or just to tell them how you feel, and it's equally easy to ignore or misunderstand their disembodied response. We've all had emails that include a "winking eye" or other emoticons: annoyingly blunt instruments, and no substitute for the subtlety of a live emotional signal. Similarly, a text message is nothing more than a hasty, one-way communication – or at best a series of them.

Trouble is, communication between people isn't really as simple as that. In conversation, we (hopefully!) listen to and understand the words that are being said, we gauge the way they are being said – timidly, angrily, with concern, or whatever – and we also gather up lots of non-verbal information too, from the way people are sitting or standing, their facial expressions, and the movements of their hands and eyes. According to behavioural psychologists, this last category – the "non-verbal cues" – accounts for 65% of all the communication that is going on in a face-to-face conversation, yet this is the bit that electronic technologies, from Alexander Graham Bell's telephone onwards, have yet to successfully replicate. Professional mediators and those who work in Conflict Resolution all seem to agree that text-based communication (and the attendant technologies) don't have much of a part to play in their work. Anthropologists like Ray Birdwhistell (to whom much of the best work on non-verbal communication is attributed) estimated that humans are capable of about 250,000 different facial expressions, but on average use only about 2,500 different words on a regular basis.

Video conferencing promised a solution of sorts, yet its take-up has been strangely slow. It seems that the nuances and complexity of human interaction are such that there really is no substitute for actually being there. I can recall interviewing quite a few job applicants via videoconference over the years, but can't think of one occasion where the candidate and interviewers were clearly as relaxed and "natural" as they might have been if we'd all been in the same room. Perhaps it's to do with the effect of cameras, and the fact that most of us are a lot more self conscious if we think we're being recorded.

The idea of "body language" as a discipline is surprisingly new, and the first book on the subject was probably Charles Darwin's The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals, published in 1872. There isn't room here to do anything more than scratch the surface, but there are certainly a few non-verbal cues that we should all look out for:

Palm down  
gesturePalm down is a gesture used to denote dominance, and to indicate that other people's ideas, needs and concerns are probably not of interest.
Palm up gesturePalm up means "Friend, not foe". This is a very ancient tribal gesture used almost universally to indicate an absence of threat or hostility. Literally, to show the palms of both hands confirms that you are not concealing a stone or other weapon.
Pointing gesturePointing: in many societies, pointing at people, especially at close quarters, is seen as ill-mannered and unacceptable. Again, it is a controlling and domineering behaviour that is nearly always badly-received. Do you know anyone who likes being pointed at?
Gazing down  
gestureGazing down: people who are gazing downwards rather than maintaining a higher degree of eye contact are often feeling guilty or ashamed. Perhaps they are concealing something, or just feeling bad about having let you or themselves down.

It's important to understand that body language is just one more technique for improving our understanding of each other, albeit a potentially valuable one for those who are willing to make some investment in studying and practising it. There are plenty of good and very readable books on body language and other non-verbal cues nowadays, and "brilliant NLP" by David Molden and Pat Hutchinson is perhaps as good a place to start as any.

It seems ironic to me that in our ever more complex and technologically-driven World, the skills that employers most frequently bemoan as being in short supply are the human ones: empathy, listening, problem-solving, and clear, articulate communication. Could it be that people with this kind of "emotional intelligence" – those who are properly attuned to the non-verbal elements of face-to-face communication – will be increasingly advantaged in the workplace (and elsewhere) as our supposedly "clever" technologies become mainstream and ubiquitous?

Robert Marshall

Robert Marshall provides training, guidance and support in negotiation, conflict resolution and communications for a range of public and private sector clients in the UK and overseas. He has worked as Head of Technology Transfer at the University of Cambridge, Director of Research and Business Services at the University of East Anglia, and before that in Manufacturing Management and as a Quality Manager. You can contact Robert at or on 01359 242685.

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Book launch  
at HeffersAs the applause broke out at the end of my presentation, I stepped down from the platform to be met by the Chairman. "Alison, that was so interesting – shall we do a book?" Still high on adrenaline, I replied without reflection, "Yes, of course, if you like". And so I committed myself to the fairly time-consuming task of compiling information about new buildings, extensions and renovations in Cambridge libraries, which appeared a year later in a little blue paperback entitled Furtherance of academic excellence1.

The LIBER2 Architecture Group, an Expert Committee set up under the LIBER Library and Administration Division, holds conferences every two years in venues where the delegates can see examples of new libraries, most recently in Leipzig, Bolzano and Venice, and Utrecht. My talk in Utrecht in March 2006 had to fit the slot on refurbished buildings in the conference "Changing needs, changing libraries", consequently I decided to choose four Cambridge college libraries that had recently been extended or moved and draw some conclusions about the aims and challenges of the projects. Research for the talk relied heavily on the goodwill of colleagues at Corpus, Newnham, Peterhouse and Pembroke and their respective architects (and in the case of Corpus, the site manager, who took me round in a hard hat and borrowed boots). I was given permission to use their photographs, and to take my own, ending up with over sixty images in the presentation, which I am sure was part of the reason for its appeal to a multi-lingual audience. However, when it came to translating the talk into an article for the LIBER Quarterly3, I had to make it rather more descriptive, because I was only allowed a few photographs.

The book that the Chairman, Professor Elmar Mittler, was proposing was in a series sponsored by LIBER and published by Göttingen University Library recording the documentation of new library buildings in Europe. These volumes rely on librarians to report new libraries by filling in a structured questionnaire, written in the five languages of the European Union4. It covers the state of the library before the project, aims and features of the new building, technical information, schedule of work, costs, and publications, and should be accompanied by plans and photographs. The Cambridge book was a departure from the norm in three respects: covering the new buildings of a single city, including buildings more than five years old and dealing mainly with smaller libraries.

The call for contributions went out from Peter Fox as General Secretary of LIBER. Unfortunately the timescale was short, because Professor Mittler was due to retire as Director of Göttingen's Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek (SUB) and was anxious to see the book through while still in post. Nevertheless, a good number of Cambridge librarians responded to the challenge and began to send in the completed forms, plans and images. It was my job to check these and make suggestions, liaising with the contributors on the interpretation of the questions or in some cases supplying extra information myself. The most time-consuming work was with the images, some of which had to be obtained from the photographers or architects. It was important to make sure that they were cleared for copyright and to check captions. Fortunately the formatting was done in Germany. Professor Mittler directed the production of the book, delegating the technical side to library assistant Michael Kakuschke. When I received the first draft I had, reluctantly, to ask Michael to change the order of the contributions and regularise the names of the libraries, because they appeared in an alphabetical jumble of institutional and library titles. His patience must have been further tried by lists of errors and alterations thrown up by proofreading. However, he did a splendid job and became so interested in the subject matter that he later visited Cambridge to see some of the libraries he had first come across in the text.

Both Peter Fox and Elmar Mittler wrote introductions to the book. The title and the cover were devised in Germany, and I subsequently gained permission to use the University crest alongside the logos of Göttingen SUB and LIBER. Nineteen libraries are featured: twelve colleges, four departments, the University Library and its dependents, the Moore and Squire Law. Of course this is only a selection of the new libraries and extensions constructed recently in Cambridge, and it was disappointing that several buildings of great architectural merit could not be included. Anyone who would like to fill in the questionnaire can still submit details of their library to appear in one of the forthcoming volumes in the series, and there is even a faint chance of a second edition of the Cambridge documentation. Please let me know if you would like to be included.

I am pleased to acknowledge the support of Heffers5, and in particular Richard Osborne, who organised a launch for the contributors, their architects and colleagues. Peter Fox was the main speaker and he took the opportunity to explain LIBER's activities. For a short time the book was on Heffers' "local interest" display, and I believe they sold over 50 copies (mainly to librarians and architects). The University Library in Göttingen uses 43 copies for journal exchange with other libraries. Apart from that, I doubt if it has made much impact, because no effort has been made to market it. LIBER LAG rely on selling publications at their conferences and I fully expect to see the book displayed at the next one in Budapest. The compliments I've received must be shared with all those who produced the documentation. It was a joint effort, showing once again what a team of Cambridge librarians can achieve.

Alison Wilson
New Hall

1. Furtherance of academic excellence : documentation of new library buildings in Cambridge / compiled by Alison Wilson ; edited by lmar Mittler. Göttingen, Niedersächsische Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek, 2006. (Göttinger Bibliotheksschriften, 37).
2. LIBER, the Ligue des Bibliothèques Européennes de Recherche Association of European Research Libraries, represents and promotes the interests of research libraries in Europe and publishes the journal LIBER Quarterly. The Library Architecture Group is known as LIBER LAG.
3. Recent developments in Cambridge College libraries in LIBER Quarterly 16 (2006) No.2.
4. The questionnaire is available at http ://
5. Heffers can obtain copies of the book to order.

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The Cambridge History of Libraries in Britain and Ireland Ed. by Peter Hoare
Vol. I: To 1640. Ed. by Elisabeth Leedham-Green and Teresa Webber
Vol. II: 1640-1850. Ed. By Giles Mandelbrote and K.A. Manley
Vol. III: 1850-2000. Ed. by Alistair Black and Peter Hoare
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006. xx, 688 p.; xii, 575 p.; xxiv, 737 p.
ISBN 0521858089 £300

These three excellent and entertaining volumes constitute the first full-scale survey of the history of libraries in Britain and Ireland. Comprising 106 chapters (covering over 2000 pages) by no less than 95 individual contributors – academics and librarians alike – CHLBI represents a wonderful collaborative effort, and a great achievement by the overall editor Peter Hoare. That all three volumes appeared in 2006 is impressive given the slower progress of other similar collaborative projects such as the Cambridge History of the Book in Britain.

Volume I (the sixth century up to the Civil War) covers the impact of the coming of the friars and the rise of the universities, the move from cloister, cupboard and chest to the library room, the impact of printing and the burgeoning book trade, the dispersal of monastic collections in the mid-sixteenth century, the growth in private book ownership, and how the collections amassed by scholar collectors and antiquaries came to transform institutional libraries, particularly at Oxford and Cambridge, into great repositories. Volume I shows a not unexpected bias towards England, given surviving evidence and existing scholarship, but contains many useful asides on parallel developments in continental libraries.

Volume II (1640-1850) takes the reader from the damage and disruption of the Civil War, through the evolution of libraries "for the people" (such as circulating, parish, and mechanics' institute libraries), for the privileged (such as subscription libraries and gentlemen's clubs), and for the specialist and professional (including medical and scientific libraries), to the consolidation of national collections, most notably the British Museum Library, which incorporated the riches of earlier private collectors. We witness a shift in library design from projecting stalls to wall shelving, and the "bibliomania" of the early nineteenth century, which set many trends still evident in book collecting today. The two centuries covered by volume II saw significant population and economic growth, social change, and the expansion of literature and publishing, so that by 1850 books were more widely, easily and cheaply available in Britain than ever before, spreading even to ships, prisons and army barracks. This volume gives better coverage of Scotland, Wales and Ireland, and includes a whole chapter on the colonies.

Volume III (1850-2000) covers the unprecedented expansion and diversification of library activity over the past 150 years, and the professionalisation of librarianship. Divided into eight parts the volume tackles public libraries (established by the Public Libraries Act of 1850), including questions of stock, outreach, their leisure function, and provision for younger readers; circulating and subscription libraries (such as Mudie's Select Library and the London Library), working-class libraries (including Co-operative Society libraries), and private libraries (noting the rise of American collectors and the trend towards specialised collecting); the national and other libraries of Wales, Scotland and Ireland; the history of the British Library (created in 1973); university libraries; specialist and professional libraries (including those for scientists, medical professionals, lawyers, civil servants and MPs) and rare books collections; the development of librarianship (including professional training, women in libraries, library cooperation, cataloguing and classification); and the coming of automation and the "information age". Volume III also takes account of changes in library architecture over the period.

Within its overall chronological framework, CHLBI takes a thematic approach. Thus all three volumes contain, for example, chapters on library architecture, on ecclesiastical, university, and medical libraries, on private collectors, and on librarians and librarianship. A reader interested in tracing the developing role of the librarian, for example, can therefore jump from chapters 8 ("The medieval librarian") and 12 ("Library administration c.1475 to 1640") in volume I, to chapters 14 ("Baroque librarianship") and 29 ("Library management in the pre-professional age") of volume II, to Part Seven ("Librarians and libraries in action") and chapter 50 ("Libraries and librarians in the information age") of volume III. While it leads at times to some overlap between chapters, this approach works well, allowing the reader to focus on particular historical periods or themes of interest, or to skim through chapter by chapter to get an overview of library evolution over time. All three volumes include useful footnotes to the chapters, and good bibliographies and indexes.

It is difficult to pick highlights from such a rich and extensive collection as CHLBI, but here are a few personal choices: John Bale's heart-rending complaint that many post-Dissolution owners of medieval manuscripts used them "to rube their bootes", or sold them to grocers, soap sellers, and bookbinders on the continent; Thomas Bodley advocated celibate librarians lest they should be distracted from their duties by "domestic impeachments"; in 1684 Thomas Tenison, vicar of St Martin-in-the-fields, set up a public library to keep young men in orders out of taverns and coffee-houses; the seventeenth-century Presbyterian minister Richard Baxter was almost killed by his passion for books when the shelves in his study collapsed upon him, leading him to remark "it was a wonder that they had not beaten out my brains"; George III spent about a fifth of his annual disposable income on building up the King's Library – an astonishing sum – which became the foundation collection of the British Museum Library; the library architect Robert Adam envisaged the country-house library as a place where "people spend their time with pleasure who like neither to drink or be with the ladies"; the most effective working-class library system in the United Kingdom at the end of the nineteenth century was in South Wales, where miners acquired a reputation as great readers; Andrew Carnegie gave £1.75m to 295 public libraries between 1897 and 1913; and to illustrate the perennial problem of space, spare a thought for nineteenth-century readers in the Patent Office Library who had "to manage matters by resting books on our knees [and] making notes on paper placed on top of our hats".

The review of CHLBI by Robin Alston (one of the instigators of the project and an expert in the field) for The Library (Sep. 2007) is well worth a read but strikes me as overcritical – of omissions, of a lack of original research, and of insufficient usage of web resources, especially his Library History Database – only going so far as to concede that the whole work is a "convenient publication". I think that the majority would agree that CHLBI is more than this. The chapters are uniformly excellent and are packed with a wealth of information to educate and amuse. CHLBI will surely stand for many years to come as the first port of call to those interested in library history, and the price tag is not bad for three volumes of such uniform quality. I highly recommend it. Dive in and enjoy – you will reap rich rewards.

Jonathan Harrison
St John's College

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I have been a member of the CUMS Chorus (the chorus of the Cambridge University Musical Society) since October 2006. Having received an email at work inviting new members to come along and join an open rehearsal at the start of term I thought "Why not?" and decided to give it a go. I'd been heavily involved in music at school and university and this seemed like a great opportunity to get back into it. The email had explained that the idea of the open rehearsal was to join in with the singing for one week, and then decide if you would like to audition. So I was rather daunted to find myself standing in a queue waiting to audition within about forty minutes of arriving! Despite feeling a bit terrified at the prospect of singing in front of a stranger in a large room having not sung much since school, I was delighted to get through the audition (which turned out to be a very friendly and relaxed experience) and join the first alto section.

The CUMS Chorus is the largest, most ambitious and most successful chorus in Cambridge. There are over 150 singers including students, academics, University staff and local residents. When I first joined I assumed that members would mainly be students, but this isn't the case at all. Many people are involved with the University in some way, but it really is a "town and gown" experience! The chorus is run by a friendly group of volunteers, and we are conducted by Stephen Cleobury, the Director of Music at King's College.

We tackle major choral works, performing at least four full-scale concerts each year in venues such as King's College Chapel, Ely Cathedral and the Royal Albert Hall. We often perform with the CUMS 1 symphony orchestra, and sometimes with professional orchestras such as the Philharmonia. This year's repertoire includes works by Elgar, Poulenc, Messiaen, Duruflé, Vaughan Williams and Rachmaninov. Since I have been a member of the chorus we have also performed works by Handel, Stanford, Verdi and Mahler.

Rehearsals take place once a week during Full Term, at the St Andrews Street Baptist Church from 19.30 until 21.45. They can be hard work, but are really enjoyable and I find that singing is a very relaxing pastime after a busy day at work. It's also great to be able to meet so many people from around Cambridge. We are expected to be very familiar with the music in time for the concerts, so we are expected to put in a bit of extra work. I try to learn it either by looking over the score throughout the week or by listening to a recording if I can.

Before a concert we usually have an extra long rehearsal on the Thursday evening in the concert venue, and then another rehearsal on the day of the concert. These final rehearsals are usually when we first perform the music with the orchestra and any soloists. Performing in a venue like King's College Chapel is a real treat, and I find it very uplifting singing with s uch a big group of people. It's really rewarding when all the hard work pays off!

If you are interested in joining the chorus, come along to one of the open rehearsals which take place on the first Thursday of every term. You will need to be able to sight-read music in order to audition. More information on the chorus, including audition information and details of forthcoming concerts is available at:

Alice Hinkins
Divinity Faculty Library

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At the University Library, Electronic Services and Systems appointed several new people in the autumn. Elin Stangeland came from the University of Bergen Library in Norway where she managed the Bergen Open Research Archive (BORA). She is now responsible for the management of DSpace@Cambridge, the University of Cambridge's institutional repository, facilitating further development and increased use of this service. (Here are some links: http://en.wikipedia. org/wiki/Institutional_repository ; ;

Deputy Head of Periodicals Sonja van Montfort left in October to move with her family to Surrey. Her replacement from 1 April will be James Caudwell. James currently holds the post of Head of Serials and Electronic Resources Cataloguing at the Bodleian Library in Oxford. John Cardwell left the Tower retrospective cataloguing project to become Archivist of the Royal Commonwealth Society Collections as part of a seven year exercise to catalogue and promote appreciation of its manuscripts, photographs and objects, while Susannah Crockford transferred from English Collections and Cataloguing to the Tower project. Agnieszka Drabek was appointed to the post vacated by Susannah, and Claire Sewell is filling the temporary vacancy created by Mary Kattuman's leave of absence in New England. Apologies to Rhonda Arnold who was omitted from the last "People" page; Rhonda from the US began in Manuscripts in August.

Oliver Yates, Tom Turner and Starlit Harris joined the West Room staff and Amy Purkiss was appointed to the Entrance Hall. Teresa Sanchez Ravina and Michael Taylor began working part-time in the Map Department. Both continued with their other jobs in European Collections and Cataloguing and in the Entrance Hall respectively. Teresa left the Library on 21 December to take up an NGO Coordinator post in Madrid and on 14 January her place in the Map Department was taken by Richard Turnbull, who also works as a book mover in Rare Books. Also in the New Year, Yvonne Nobis moved from the Reading Room to join the Central Science Library and the Moore Library to cover for Michael Wilson who has been seconded to Collection Management.

Darwin Correspondence Project staff were sad to learn of the death at 95 of Fred Burkhardt, the Project's founder, who, with his wife Anne was until two and a half years ago a regular summer visitor to the Manuscripts Room. Fred died at his home in Bennington, Vermont, on 23rd September. He had continued working on behalf of the Project until only weeks before his death and will be much missed in Cambridge. The sudden death in November of Professor Peter Lipton, Chairman of the Library Syndicate, was also a great shock to staff in West Road.

Congratulations to Yasmin Faghihi of the Near and Middle Eastern Department, whose second daughter, Shadi, was born on 23 January, and also to Joanne Wood of Legal Deposit, whose son Simon appeared a few days later on January 28.

Judith Brown has left Sidney Sussex to become school librarian at the Friends School in Saffron Walden. Her replacement as library assistant is Rachael Graves, who is in her gap year before going to Southampton University to study English. Rachael works during the mornings managing the circulation system and she has a phenomenal memory for the items she has shelved! Sidney Sussex also has a new Cataloguing Library Assistant. Samantha Bailey, who has been working at Kings on various cataloguing projects joins Sidney to work three afternoons a week. Samantha is a music graduate who hopes to study for a masters in LIS in due course.

Charlotte Smith has moved on from a temporary post at the Judge Business School Library to be library assistant at Newnham College, gaining further varied experience whilst studying by distance learning at Aberystwyth.

St John's College Library's team has expanded with the transfer of the College's Biographical Office staff into the Library. Fiona Colbert, formerly the College's Biographical Assistant, has the new job title of Biographical Librarian, and Paul Everest has been appointed as Register Project Assistant to work on the second volume of the Register of Twentieth Century Johnians. With the support of a Heritage Lottery Fund grant, St John's has also appointed Katie Birkwood as Hoyle Project Associate, a three year post to catalogue the papers of the astronomer Sir Fred Hoyle and develop outreach initiatives to bring his work to a wider audience. Katie joins John's from the Theological Federation libraries.

Katie Turner has moved from the Faculty of Education to join Selwyn College Library as Library Assistant. She replaces Hazel Sanderson, who left to work at a doctor's surgery after five years at Selwyn.

At Trinity Hall, Diane Fitzmaurice has been promoted to Deputy Librarian from Library Assistant in recognition of the high quality of her contribution to the library and the changes in the responsibilities of her post.

There are two new faces at Clare College. Christine Patel takes on the role of Term-Time Library/Archive Assistant (part-time). Chris was formerly Deputy Headmistress at the Grove School in Cambridge. She is now enjoying working at the other end of the educational spectrum! Ann Francis has been appointed as the Edgar Bowring Archivist (part-time). Ann is to work at Clare for a year as maternity cover for Elizabeth Stratton, who is expecting a baby in March. Ann is a qualified librarian, but is looking forward to the challenge of having the responsibility for archives for a year.

We congratulate Joanna Ball, Sub-Librarian of Trinity, and her partner, Mike Nielsen, on the birth of their daughter. Amalia Ball Nielsen arrived on 4 January, weighing in at 7lbs 11oz.

We also congratulate Anna Pensaert (Pendlebury Librarian) and husband Tim Eggington (Whipple Librarian) on the birth of their daughter, Sophie, in November. During Anna's maternity leave from the Pendlebury Library, CULIB editor Kate Arhel is acting librarian and Anna Thompson (former graduate trainee at the Rosemary Murray Library at New Hall) has been appointed as temporary library assistant.

Libby Tilley, whose Information Commons recreation of the Earth Sciences Library we featured last issue, has moved to the English Faculty Library. She told CULIB she was looking to build on the excellent service that already exists at English. Libby's innovations already include a regular newsletter – see http :// df.

Meanwhile, at Libby's former Earth Sciences patch, the new Librarian is Sarah Humbert. Sarah had been Deputy Librarian since 2005. For the Information Commons project, Sarah played a supporting role and produced the technical know-how for Libby's vision – and she hopes she'll do as much as Libby in her time. Earth Sciences' new Deputy Librarian is Tanya Zhimbiev, in a move over from the Faculty of Oriental Studies. Or, as we should now be calling it, the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies – FAMES indeed.

Following Mariella Pellegrino's move to Pasadena, the Casimir Lewy Library of Philosophy now has Jenni Lecky-Thompson at the helm. Readers who have been involved at all with CILIP qualifications will know Jenni as the Candidate Support Officer for the East of England. She has moved from Cambridge Regional College, where she spent four and a half years. Plans for the Casimir Lewy include a greater emphasis on digital content and digital source packs.

James Raymond has left Modern and Medieval Languages to devote himself to an Open University course full time. Taking James' place at MML is Leanne Wheeldon, a history graduate from Lampeter.

And CULIB can update you on the story of the shelves at the Physiology, Development and Neuroscience Library. Readers who get lib-list emails may remember this. The shelves were suspected, in September, of having disappeared up the back of a lorry. They have now been found safe and well in the basement. Homerton Library made a generous donation of shelves while those were missing, and now both sets of shelving are in use.

Finally, some changes at the Haddon Library of Archaeology and Anthropology. The team has rebuilt itself, following the loss of the much-lamented Barbara Murray. Helen Snelling has taken Barbara's place as Assistant Librarian, and the Library Assistants are Tom Hawthorn and Alex Saunders.

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