Since we got the good news at the end of September that our bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund had been successful a great deal has been happening.
There are two main planks to our proposal, both with the same aim of opening the wealth of our Library collections to the public. First, we are organising the digitisation of most of our pamphlet collection. These booklets which have been collected methodically since the opening of the Athenaeum in 1797 cover a huge range of topics and are the equivalent of Twitter and Facebook. These were places individuals express their views, concerns aspirations and plans. They are the authentic voice of the people and our collection is rare, covering a wide range of topics including economic, political, religious and plain bizarre – such as the plan for eliminating drunkenness in Liverpool! The pamphlets are an invaluable source for historians and we are making them available to the world.
The second major part of our plan is to appoint a Community Engagement officer who will visit schools, colleges and universities demonstrating the wealth of material which we can make available, inviting visits and, hopefully, setting up projects like those undertaken by Alsop High Scholl where the teaching staff and the library co-operate to open up lost worlds to the students. We also intend to appoint a part time professional archivist to help with the organisation of our collection. We have received applications for both these posts and interviews will be held shortly. Watch for further details.
On 19 November the exhibition ‘Knowledge is Power, Private Libraries in Liverpool 1770 – 1850’ which is largely concerned with our collection and is supported by Investec opened at the Victoria gallery and museum of the University of Liverpool. Open daily Tue – Sat free admission.