Regular readers of our blog will be well aware of how much we prize our special collections. Recently, we decided that some of our Official publications - our collection of government and agency material which ranges from the earliest origins of UK state education to date – needed a little TLC. So began a program of rebinding some of our most endangered volumes.
As you can see from the photos, The ‘Minutes of proceedings of the School Board for London’ volumes were in a very bad way indeed.
Many of them had broken spines or detached covers and in some volumes, the pages were very fragile.
We decided that it was time for some urgently needed intervention; 23 of the 62 volumes held were sent to a specialist bookbinder and conservator who carried out extensive repair and restoration work on the volumes. Spines were re-stitched, pages cleaned, de-acidified and repaired and new bespoke covers made.
We think you’ll agree that the results are very impressive!
If you would like to help us to carry out further specialist preservation of our resources, you may like to make a donation to the Library and Archives; alternatively, you can support our current profiled projects or join the Friends to find out more about our archives and special collections.
The Literature Collection contains a range of books from Africa which encompass the experience of native writers from colonial days through to independence.
The African Child (L’Enfant noir) by Camara Laye (1947)
This book reflects his childhood and schooling in what was then the colony of French Guinea. It has been described as one of the first major works of Francophone African literature.
The Village School by Anezi Okoro (1966)
An exciting description of life in a village primary school in south eastern Nigeria in the 1930s.
The Children of Soweto by Mbulelo Vizikhungo Mzamane (1982)
Part autographical, part reportage, this is an imaginative and committed reconstruction of the Soweto uprising and the effect it had upon a generation of schoolchildren.
Ancient Rites by DialeTlholwe (2008)
Private Eye Thabang Maje is asked to solve the case of a missing schoolteacher, Mamorena Mamo. To do so he will have to enrol as an under-cover primary school teacher in the remote village of Marakong-a-Badimo near Mafikeng. Tlholwe loves to read and identified a lack of black people in books who were not stereotypes. He wanted to write a book that reflected the dramas and confusions of real black people.
Spilt Milk by Kopano Matlwa (2010)
Mohmagadi is the upright principal of the elite Sekolo sa Dithora School for talented black children. She gives a job to Father Bill with whom she had once shared a forbidden love affair. Thus begins a battle of wills for the hearts and minds of the students. Set in post–apartheid South Africa.
Now, this item from the “Reporter” October 1975, an IOE publication, made me chuckle when I first came across it, but seems even more comical since I’ve been reading “The History Man” by Malcolm Bradbury. Anyone who has read the book will remember the descriptions of the campus designed by Kaakinen, a fictional Swedish architect. Kaakinen’s “concept” extends to the minutest details of the interiors of the university building. Unfortunately the glass ash trays in Watermouth university were stolen during student occupations. It is thought that Bradbury based his fictional campus on the University of East Anglia, which was designed by no other than our very own Denys Lasdun, interesting…
If you fancy a quick, fun read, The History Man is available in the Literature Collection (right at the back of the library, in the Teaching Room, next to the group working rooms).
If you like these, then you’re bound to like some of the books currently on display on Level Four of the Library (near the staircase). A variety of novels, picture books and poetry books have been selected to tie in with the Reading Agency’s Summer Reading Challenge.
The Summer Reading Challenge takes place every year during the summer holidays. Children can sign up at their local public library, then read six library books of their choice, collecting stickers and other rewards along the way – all FREE. Happy haunting!
As many of you probably know, the Teachers TV material has appeared on many sites since the Department for Education pulled the funding in 2011, but Teachers Media is building on that material to deliver a continuing service for teachers in the UK.
In addition to a free service available to individual teachers, the Teachers Media company have created a subscription service with enhanced features and new material. For an introduction to the features of Teachers Media Plus watch this short video.
If you are a member of staff and would like to try the service during August please contact me (Antony Daws) for further information.
Man: A Course of Study (commonly referred to by the acronym MACOS or M.A.C.O.S) was the brainchild of the American psychotherapist and the then Harvard academic Jerome Bruner. Bruner believed that it was possible to teach children to be more humane and eliminate racism and ethnocentrism by studying another culture closely. He also believed that you can teach children complicated ideas using the ‘spiral curriculum’ method which introduces the same theme in increasing complexity over a period of time.
The IOE LibGuide on the MACOS collection is at http://libguides.ioe.ac.uk/macos. It provides the context and offers information on the controversy surrounding the project. It also includes useful links to websites and resources on MACOS held at the Newsam Library and links to the teaching resources available to download. The bibliography is a list of articles and reports on the MACOS project published since its implementation and includes current publications via an RSS feed from ERIC.
I have just come back from a week at Kew where I have immersed myself in the historical collections at The National Archives (TNA). I was one of fifteen (MA and PhD students) fortunate enough to be accepted on the fully-funded AHRC ‘Archival Research Skills for Historians: Modern British Programme’ which the Institute of Historical Research advertised. And what an eye-opener it was! We had lectures and some very challenging group exercises which culminated in a group presentation on the last day. The warm up ‘speed dating documents’ game we did on our first morning provided a quick overview of the different types of documents at TNA. I found many collections are relevant not just to the history of education, but also to the sociology, politics and philosophy of education as they undoubtedly extend our understanding of the period of study.
During the course of the week I also found out about the best ways to search the various series/collections using ‘Discovery’, the TNA’s cataloguing system. This is a crucial requirement to make the most of TNA as not all the materials are catalogued to item level (a box may be listed but not the contents, for instance) and the detail of the catalogue records vary – some are incredibly detailed whilst others will have very short entries. Further, since less than 5% of the collection is digitised, you do need to have this know how to unearth the treasures in this unique national resource. The ‘Research Guides’ are essential and provide a good starting point as they refer users to ‘Registers’ (subject and numerical indexes) compiled by clerks working in the various government departments. I hope the information below will highlight the key collections for educationalists.
Rozz Evans (Collection Development Services Librarian and Chief-Food-Supplier) and myself (Research Support & Special Collections Librarian and Chief–Biscuits-Supplier) were joined at Emerald Street on June 26th by three former senior staff of the IOE: Stephen Pickles, the ex-Head of the Newsam Library & Archives, Judy Allsop who worked in Acquisitions and Peter Moss who was in charge of Systems. We had agreed to get together to unpack and sort hundreds of boxes of teaching materials (mainly historical textbooks) which have been recently transferred to Emerald Street from the University of London’s Library Depository at Egham.
I had had the privilege of working with Stephen Pickles for a short time before he retired in 2012 but had only heard about Judy and Peter by reputation. It was therefore a real pleasure to finally meet the people who had worked at the IOE for over 30 years. As you can imagine, lunch time was a real treat – not just because the food was delicious but also because the company was wonderful. I had the privilege of finding out more about Judy and Peter and heard some delightfully funny stories about past times which I hope will be included in the underground version of the History of the Newsam Library & Archives!
Whilst unpacking we found many quirky items, and some the source of great nostalgia such as the Readers we had used to learn to read as children and in my case, ones that I had used to teach my own children to read. One item that caught my eye was a tiny book entitled ‘Swimming for School Boys’ published by The National Association of Schoolmasters.
This little book (13.5 x 10.5 cm) is a duplicate item in the Grenfell Collection which is one of the Newsam Library & Archives’ Special Collections (more about the collection below). Capt. Francis H. Grenfell was the H.M. Inspector of Physical Training for the Board of Education’s new medical department in the early part of the twentieth century. He wanted physical education to have a respected place in the curriculum, with fully trained teachers. His library was donated to the Board of Education in 1934, added to until 1947 and deposited at the IOE in 1992.
The author of this book, W. R. Shimmin who was Principal of the Banks Road Council School in Garston, Liverpool, writes in the section entitled ‘The Crawl Stroke’:
Only one generation ago the world’s leading swimmers were British. Nearly every world’s record was held in the British Isles or our colonies. To-day we do not hold a single men’s record at any distance or in any style… Other nations have been more progressive partly because of greater earnestness, determination and application. But the chief reason is that while we have been content to use the strokes which our fathers developed, swimmers in other lands have experimented with new variations and have evolved strokes which secure greater progress for less expenditure of nergy. Englishmen are swimming as fast as ever … but we are left hopelessly behind because of the wonderful advance in the United States, Sweden, Hungary, Germany and even in far away Japan, the Argentine and the Philippine Islands (p. 7).
The author then goes on about how the English have been slow at adopting the crawl stroke as it was considered to be too exhausting and therefore unsuitable for scholars especially when in earlier times swimmers had their heads under the water for most of the time. Line drawings provide visual instructions on the various strokes and a table on page 75 provides ‘standard times’ for school boys of different ages. It is this kind of very specific and detailed record of and insight into the past that makes working with the special collections so rewarding –and so impossibly distracting!
The day at Emerald Street was delightful and a great success. It goes without saying that we are grateful for the help from the ex-Library team and are already looking forward to a further day together in the near future.
I’m cataloguing the collection of the Pre-school Playgroups Association at the moment. I found this document among some discussing preparations for a conference to take place in 1981. I love the detail provided and found the thought of the branch members and volunteers growing pots of hyacinths to decorate the halls of residence with really sweet. I wonder if anyone goes to this kind of effort for conferences these days?
I’d like to know why “NOT RED” ones though!
It’s the summer and you may be thinking of relaxing with a good book! Have you thought of looking at what’s available in the Library’s Literature Collection? There are light hearted as well as more serious depictions of the educational experience.
Here’re my top 3 suggestions, if you haven’t already tried them;
Skippy Dies by Paul Murray: – a big, sprawling tragicomic novel set in a Dublin boys’ boarding school.
Spud by Paul van de Ruit: – although written for teenagers this romp, about Spud Milton’s adventures at a boys-only boarding school in 1990’s South Africa, can be enjoyed by everyone.
The Little Village School by Gervase Phinn. Written in the same warm, funny style as his memoirs of being a School Inspector in Rural Yorkshire, (Over Hill and Dale and The Other Side of the Dale -available in the Library’s Main Collection), this is the story of Elizabeth Devine, who arrives in Barton-in-the-Dale, to begin working as the head of the Little Village primary school.
Or maybe some old favourites?
Lucky Jim by Kinsley Amis, Changing Places: A Tale of Two Campuses by David Lodge and Porterhouse Blue by Tom Sharpe.
Be careful where you read these books, as laughing aloud on public transport can garner you some strange looks!!!