Readers' Newsletter

University Library’s Strategic Plan 2005-2010

The Library Syndicate has recently approved the University Library’s Strategic Plan for the period 2005 to 2010. The plan reaffirms the Library’s mission to deliver world-class library and information services to meet the needs of the local, national and international scholarly community and to support the University’s mission to contribute to society through the pursuit of education, learning and research at the highest international levels of excellence.

The UL plans to achieve this through the acquisition, organisation and dissemination of library materials, support for the exploitation by users of the rich and diverse collections, the development of a highly motivated, knowledgeable and skilled staff, the preservation and housing of the collection for future generations, and the cost-effective management of resources. During this period it is expected that there will be increasing co-ordination between the libraries of the University.

As one of the six legal deposit libraries of Britain and Ireland, the University Library will continue to play its part in the maintenance of the national published archive, and this will increasingly encompass not only print but also electronic publications, as permitted by legislation and insofar as they fall within the Library’s collection development policy.

Over the next five years, library services will be provided in a more complex and challenging environment. The Library will have to meet the challenge of providing an integrated infrastructure for research, by expanding the digital library and at the same time safeguarding the paper-based collections that still underpin research in many subjects. Planning will be needed for a potential move to electronic-only provision of journals in some of the sciences.

Developments in information and communications technology will allow more sophisticated services to be offered, and the growth in computer literacy and widespread use of PCs and laptops by all groups of user will lead to expectations for more and more library services to be delivered directly to the desktop.

The Library will continue to offer a ‘hybrid library’ service, combining paper and electronic resources as appropriate in each subject area. There is at present no evidence that the growth of electronic resources will be matched by an equivalent decline in the publication or use of traditional paper-based library resources, except in some of the sciences. There will be no significant reduction in the output of traditional paper-based publishing, and so there will continue to be a need for additional storage space. The Phase 5 extension is almost complete. It contains half the planned additional bookstack and will meet our requirements until about 2010. An active campaign of fundraising for the last phase (the second half of the bookstack) is under way.

Specific plans include the provision of improved access to the collections via the online catalogue. The Greensleeves Project, to convert the records in the green guardbook volumes, is on target for completion at the end of 2005, and well over half a million records from the guardbook have already been added to ‘Newton’. Plans are in hand for continuing this project to other catalogues not currently accessible online. A range of web-based services is also planned, including improved access to the growing collection of electronic journals (now approaching 9,000 titles), and the DSpace digital repository (see Readers’ Newsletter Number 23) will move from a project to a University-wide service at the beginning of 2006.

The full text of the Strategic Plan is on the Library’s website at:

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‘The development of a highly motivated, knowledgeable and skilled staff’

Over the centuries the University Library has developed, and continues to develop, magnificent collections. However, if readers are to make the best use of these collections, then, as the Strategic Plan for 2005 to 2010 states, another vital resource must also be developed: the staff.

In addition to on-the-job training and attendance at professional meetings and conferences, an extensive programme of in-house events is organised under the aegis of the Staff Development Steering Group, chaired by the Deputy Librarian, and of the Training Officer, including orientation sessions for new staff, induction courses, courses on specific subjects (such as copyright law or customer care) and lunchtime presentations.

Members of staff participate regularly in relevant courses offered by other University departments, for example the Staff Development Office, the University Computing Service and the Disability Resource Centre. Many individuals also study for a wide range of external qualifications: postgraduate degrees in librarianship or information science, part-time or by distance learning; National Vocational Qualifications in accounting, administration, or cleaning and support services; Open University degrees; City and Guilds awards in librarianship or photography; St John Ambulance first-aid certificates; the Institute of Leadership and Management introductory certificate or diploma in management.

Our photograph shows just some of those who have recently achieved, or are currently working towards, such qualifications. In this way we aim to develop and enhance the service provided to users of the Library.

Library staff who have recently achieved, or are currently working towards, further qualifications

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The Dreyfus bequest

John Dreyfus (1918-2002) was a noted British typographer of the second half of the twentieth century. He joined Cambridge University Press in 1939 and was involved in organizing the 1940 exhibition celebrating 500 years of printing in Europe. After war service he returned to Cambridge, becoming Assistant University Printer in 1949. In 1955 he succeeded Stanley Morison as typographical adviser to the Monotype Corporation, a post he held until retirement in 1982. His years with Monotype coincided with the shift away from hot-metal typography, first to photocomposition and then to digital character generation.

He was by upbringing a cosmopolitan figure, and his library reveals his close contacts with typography and fine printing in the United States, France, Germany and elsewhere. He was in close contact with many of the great typographers of his time: Hermann Zapf, Maximilien Vox, Adrien Frutiger, Jan van Krimpen, Jan Tschichold, René Ponot, Max Caflisch, Raymond Gid, Harold Berliner, W.A. Dwiggins and others. Many of the books from Dreyfus's library contain personal inscriptions from the authors.

His fondness for Cambridge remained after his retirement, and in a letter to the printer Morris Gelfand dated 5 August 1993 he stated his intention ‘to ensure that my own collection eventually goes to the Cambridge University Library, where I learnt so much about typography while I was an undergraduate.’ The collection includes many private press books from limited print runs, printed on hand-made paper with hand presses. It also includes modern guides for printers and works on typography and book-design, as well as a few early works by such printers as Baskerville. The University Library has taken those items from his collection that were not already held elsewhere in the Library, with other material going to the Library of Trinity College and elsewhere. Dreyfus’s papers and correspondence will be found in the Manuscripts Department, and the printed material is in Rare Books.

Cover of: Rappaccini’s daughter

Cover of: Rappaccini’s daughter: reflections on Hawthorne by Edgar Allen Poe, Anthony Trollope and Henry James. Wood engravings by John de Pol. Made by hand at the Allen Press, Greenbrae, California [1991?]. One of an edition limited to 115 copies. (CCB.52.318.)

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SUNCAT rises

Cambridge University Library is one of 22 major UK research libraries to contribute data to the pilot service of a new national Serials UNion CATalogue launched on 15 February. SUNCAT, funded by the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC), is intended to meet the challenge of providing greatly improved access to information about the holdings of journals and other serials in British libraries. Traditionally, the quality of description of journals in library catalogues and the comprehensiveness of records of the extent of holdings have failed to match the importance of this material to research. By amalgamating the holdings information from its contributors with bibliographic records of a high quality both from those contributors and such sources as the Library of Congress’s CONSER database, SUNCAT allows researchers to search for known titles or to discover relevant material by subject, keyword or even place of publication and to locate the results in a library. Even if a journal is not held in this country, data such as that from CONSER could confirm its existence and facilitate acquisition or inter-library loan. Contributing libraries can also benefit by using any fuller records to upgrade their local ones.

Cambridge, like other contributing libraries, is committed to updating its records on a monthly basis. The pilot service, which comprises over 4 million records, is intended to develop into a full service with wider coverage and increased functionality by 2007. Links have been provided to the pilot service from the University Library’s web pages. For more information and to try out the new service go to

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The Footlights archive

In February 2004, the archives of the Footlights Dramatic Club were presented to the University Archives as a gift under the will of Dr Harry Porter, Senior Archivist 1978-2003. They are proving as popular with students of theatre and comedy history as with TV production companies sourcing visual records of the many actors, satirists and comedians who cut their teeth in Club productions.

The first production of the Footlights Dramatic Club was in May Week 1883, when a group of undergraduates put on a musical comedy - a burlesque - called Orlando Furioso by William Barnes Rhodes. The early shows were productions of existing musical comedies and farces, but, from 1892, the Club began the unbroken tradition of presenting an original show for May Week, composed thereafter of any combination of burlesque, comedy sketches, satire, songs and instrumental music. Performers down the decades have included Jonathan Miller, David Frost, Peter Cook, Clive James, John Bird and John Fortune (of Bremner, Bird and Fortune on Channel 4), ‘Pythons’ John Cleese, Graham Chapman and Eric Idle, ‘Goodies’ Graeme Garden, Tim Brooke-Taylor and Bill Oddie, Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie and Emma Thompson. Recent graduates include Matthew Holness (star/creator of Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace on Channel 4) and Robert Webb (of Peep Show on Channel 4 and The Smoking Room on BBC).

Since the mid 1980s, the Club has in addition produced a Spring revue. In between revues, Club members have experimented with new material at informal performances called Smokers. The May Week revue first transferred to London in 1910. Since the 1950s, it has been usual to follow the Cambridge run with performances in London, the South East and the Midlands, at the Edinburgh Festival and occasionally overseas. Revues have also been recorded for radio and television. In 1970, the Footlights put on the first of what have become annual pantomimes.

Women first appeared in a production in 1932 and again in 1957. From 1959 they were regular players, and were accorded full Club membership in 1964. Eleanor Bron, Miriam Margolyes and Germaine Greer all featured in 1960s productions. In Cambridge, May Week performances were given at the New Theatre from 1883 until the opening of the Arts Theatre in 1936. They continued at the Arts until 1992 when the ADC Theatre became their regular home.

The Footlights archives are extensive from the start, thanks to the efforts of Harry Porter. Records of Club administration survive, along with material relating to productions and performances, such as scripts, photographs, posters and programmes. Dr Porter added to the primary sources with his own and others' historical research material. This ranges from photocopies and notes of related records elsewhere to news cuttings tracing celebrated members’ careers after Cambridge. Harry Porter’s successors continue to add to the archives as the Footlights go from strength to strength.

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Catherine Cooke Collection

The Library has recently acquired a substantial collection of Russian books, journals, posters and other items from the estate of the late Dr Catherine Cooke. Dr Cooke, a member of Clare Hall who had a world-wide reputation as an expert on Russian and Soviet architecture and design, was tragically killed in a car accident early in 2004 at the height of her powers as a researcher and teacher in her fields. She bequeathed the bulk of her estate to the University Library, making provision in her will for the costs of cataloguing those of her books which the Library acquired, and specifying that these should be kept together as the Cooke Collection.

The Cooke bequest includes a number of rare books published in Russia in the early years of the twentieth century and particularly the period just after the Revolution of 1917, when debate about theories of art and architecture in Russia had yet to be stifled. At the time of her death Dr Cooke had just mounted an exhibition on Russian graphic design, entirely composed of items of her own, at the St Bride Printing Library in London - a fascinating assemblage of design examples ranging from book covers and posters to the packages used for tea and matches and encompassing developments from late tsarist times to the age of perestroika.

Now that the process of transferring the collection to the University Library is complete it is planned to appoint a cataloguer to work on the material in order to make it available to as wide a readership as possible, something Dr Cooke would undoubtedly have wished for. Her extensive collection of photographs of Russian architecture has been passed to the University’s Department of Slavonic Studies, and the bulk of her academic papers will be housed in the Department of Russian Studies at the University of Sheffield, with which she had close research links. Further information on the collection is available from Ray Scrivens (, (3)33114).

Front cover of P.Lopatin's book Pervyi sovetskii metropoliten ('The first Soviet Metro'), 1934

Front cover of P.Lopatin's book Pervyi sovetskii metropoliten ('The first Soviet Metro'), 1934. Photographed at the 'Russian graphic design' exhibition, St Bride Printing Library, London, February 2004.

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The Friends of Cambridge University Library

Forthcoming event, to be held in the Morison Room, University Library:

Saturday 14 May, at 11.30
Bernard Nurse
‘The Library of the Society of Antiquaries of London: three centuries of collecting’

Members pay at a special rate of £2.50 a head. Non-members are welcome; the admission charge is £3.50. All talks are free to junior members of the University of Cambridge.

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William Alwyn

William Alwyn, whose music manuscripts and papers have been presented to the University Library, was one of the leading composers of film music in this country in the 1940s and 50s. Born in 1905, his early musical promise was encouraged and he gained a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music where he studied flute and composition. The early death of his father prevented the completion of his studies, and he spent several years teaching and playing in orchestras before his first opportunity to compose came in the flourishing documentary film industry of the mid 1930s. Alwyn’s fluent technique was well suited to the speed with which film music had to be composed and performed, and in the twenty-five years from 1936 to 1961 he wrote the music for over 120 documentaries and nearly 100 feature films. He worked with several of the best-known directors of the day, including Anthony Asquith, Carol Reed, Sidney Gilliat, Anthony Pelissier, David Lean, and Roy Boulting. He declined invitations to move to Hollywood, but worked on three films for Walt Disney. Many of these scores survive in the Library’s archive.

While he made a living writing for films, he preferred to think of himself as a classical composer for the concert hall. His style was romantically melodic and harmonic, which became increasingly regarded as old fashioned after the war, and even more so in the William Glock era at the BBC. However, Sir John Barbirolli championed his symphonies, of which he wrote five, and he knew and wrote for many leading performers of the time, such as Clifford Curzon (piano concerto), Sidonie Goossens (several works for harp), and the percussionist James Blades (Fanfare for a joyous occasion).

His interests encompassed both literature and the visual arts. He wrote poetry, several autobiographical books or articles, and for a time owned one of the largest private collections of Pre-Raphaelite art in the country. Art was to be a constant inspiration to him, and in later life he took up painting as a serious hobby.

His wife, Doreen Carwithen, was also a composer. She was the first student from the Royal Academy of Music to be chosen for a J. Arthur Rank Apprenticeship, and composed for a number of films as well as concert works. Her manuscripts are also in the archive.

The archive includes letters, both professional and private, photographs, including several taken in film studios, and a collection of sound recordings, including several of unpublished important performances. For more information about the archive and for access to it, contact Richard Andrewes (; (3)33072) or the Alwyn Archivist, Margaret Jones (; (3)33079), in the Music Department .

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Exhibitions current and to come

‘All Good Friends’, the display in the Exhibition Centre celebrating the contribution made to the Library’s collections by the Friends of the Library, continues until 4 June. It is open between 9.00 and 18.00, Mondays to Fridays, and from 9.00 to 16.30 on Saturdays. Admission is free and it is open to all.

Between 26 July and 11 December 2005, the University Library will be joint host with the Fitzwilliam Museum to a major exhibition of mediaeval illuminated manuscripts. ‘The Cambridge Illuminations’ will, between the two sites, give unprecedented public access to the treasures to be found in Cambridge, from the University Library, the Fitzwilliam and the colleges. The exhibition will span ten centuries, represent all major centres of learning and cover the full range of religious and secular texts in Latin and vernacular languages. Over 200 manuscripts and illuminated leaves will be shown, making this the second largest manuscript exhibition, after that organised by Sydney Cockerell at Burlington Fine Arts in 1908. The University Library’s component will comprise three thematic sections: The mediaeval encyclopaedia: science and practice; The humanistic manuscript; and Manuscripts in mediaeval Cambridge and the University curriculum. Full details will be on the websites of the University Library and the Fitzwilliam Museum from July and a full article will appear in the October Readers’ Newsletter.

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Editor: Stephen Hills ISSN:1360-9033