Category Archives: apml

10 things you might want to remember when you have to move your library

Getting ready

1. Calculating what will fit isn’t hard – just decide on an average number of books to a linear metre or however long your shelves are, and do the maths.  However, books are generally expanding – new books are bigger, fatter and annoyingly taller than older books so adjust accordingly

2. Keep the faith! If you have counted all your books and journals at least 4 times and done the space calculations they WILL all fit.

3. Putting sticky dots on books is not a good idea. Especially if you are likely to move again – there are only so many different colour combinations. Coloured paper tags worked well for us with a pencil mark on the label and a note on the catalogue.

4. Relax all your rules about loan numbers (if you loan them) before the move. The more books your patrons take out, the less you have to pack and move.

5. Anticipate filling all your shelves to a maximum of 75%, probably less. You will always have books which mysteriously reappear, and you will also have growth. And if you have neither of these, you will at least have a nice face-on display option.


6. Companies who call themselves ‘library moves specialists’ generally aren’t and rarely understand sequencing, especially if you need to interfile. They will probably be ok at packing but you might as well do the unpacking/reshelving yourself. If so, make sure you have someone hefty around to help you shift crates.

7. Number all your crates 1,2,3 etc. Don’t bother with Class numbers. Remember, if crates are in stacks numbered 1-4 when packed, they will be loaded on to the van 4-1, then unloaded 1-4 again with the first crate you need at the bottom of the pile. (Hence point 6). Or start from the end.

Your new library

8. Don’t believe everything you are told about the design. No matter how many times you’ve discussed it, when the design is completed it will not reflect everything you asked for. They will have put the shelves in the wrong place, blocked up the wrong door or built your desk the wrong way round. Get in early to inspect while they are working if you can to check what’s happening, even if it means donning a hard hat.

9. Nobody understands about library security. Initial designs will almost certainly include your secure entrance/exit and a variety of other unsecured ways in and out of the building.

And finally……

10. Don’t believe anything anyone tells you about dates. I joined the RHS in December 2014 with a specific brief to plan for a move at Easter 2015. That soon became September, then Christmas, Jan 16, then Easter again. We eventually publicised our move for March 6th 2017 and it was still delayed for a week – we finally moved on 16.3.17.

New training course: how to apply for HLF funding

If you’ve ever considered applying for HLF funding in your library, this course may be of interest to you!

Knowing and Growing Your Audiences to Achieve HLF Funding
Thursday 10th August 2017, 10.30am – 4.30pm
Royal Astronomical Society, Burlington House, Piccadilly
Trainer: Claire Adler

The course will cover the following areas, and will consist largely of workshop activities:

  • Knowing your current audience – techniques for finding out more about your current audiences.
  • Finding out who your potential audiences are – interest groups and local communities etc.
  • Developing projects to target these new audiences.
  • An outline of the different HLF grant programmes.
  • How to apply to HLF for funding – what HLF are looking for in a successful application.

About the trainer: Claire Adler is a Museum and Heritage Consultant who specialises in researching, writing and delivering HLF applications and projects; and mentoring and monitoring projects as an HLF-appointed Expert Advisor on Learning and Community.

The fee for the course will be between £65 and £80 per person, depending on numbers. Lunch is not included.

Please contact Kay Walters to book a place.

About the APML

APML logoFounded in 2004 the Association of Pall Mall Libraries grew out of an informal gathering of librarians working in the gentlemen’s clubs of London, but has grown to incorporate other club libraries, and also a number of independent and subscription-based professional libraries, both at home and abroad.

The APML aims to promote the sharing of skills, knowledge and resources between members, and to increase knowledge of the collections held by their respective institutions and, in doing so, to develop its potential as a lively, multi-talented and innovative group.

You can join in discussions of a professional nature, by applying to join our JISCMail group.

Upcoming meetings

Meeting dates for 2018

Thursday 19 July at the Society of Genealogists
Time: 10.30 – 12.00
Talk on The future of CILIP and the profession by Nicholas Poole, CEO of CILIP

Thursday 18 October at RUSI
Time: 10.30 – 12.00
Talk: Buildings, Books & Battles – the Library, heritage and legacy at RUSI by Jacqui Granger

Previous meetings

RDA: an introduction [Presentation to Association of Pall Mall Libraries, 25th April 2016 at Royal Astronomical Society, by Alan Danskin]


Guest blog by Danny Smith, Royal Automobile Club

Firstly, for those unfamiliar with the Association of Pall Mall Libraries (APML), here is a brief explanation of its history and purpose as it appears on the organisation’s website. Founded in 2004, APML “grew out of an informal gathering of librarians working in the gentlemen’s clubs of London, but has grown to incorporate other club libraries, and also a number of independent and subscription-based professional libraries, both at home and abroad. The APML aims to promote the sharing of skills, knowledge and resources between members, and to increase knowledge of the collections held by their respective institutions and, in doing so, to develop its potential as a lively, multi-talented and innovative group.” For further information please see

A key aspect of APML’s work is in its organisation of training for its constituent members, co-ordinated by the Training Subgroup. Such sessions cover a broad range of subjects reflecting the broad range of issues that librarians of APML institutions, often solo librarians or members of small teams, are faced with. These circumstances typically require librarians to be all-rounders rather than experts in one field such as cataloguing, and so training sessions delivered by those who are experts, such as Alan Danksin, are very helpful.

Sian Prosser, Librarian and Archivist at the Royal Astronomical Society (RAS), kindly organised and hosted this session. For those who have not visited, RAS is situated in Burlington House, Piccadilly, alongside institutions such as the Royal Academy, the Geological Society and the Linnean Society. On this occasion we were stationed in a lecture theatre on the ground floor, though we were lucky enough to be able to take tea in the Council Room and also pop in to the Library itself before we began, where there was a small but interesting display featuring books, photographs and models of the moon. Highlights included the map of the moon in Giovanni Battista Riccioli’s Almagestum novum (1653) and Johannes Hevelius’ Selenographiaof 1674.

Thirty people filled the lecture theatre for Alan’s session, mainly members of APML and/or the London Learned & Professional Societies Librarians’ Group (LLPSLG – similar in purpose to APML and with some cross-membership), with CIG contributing eight attendees. In an afternoon, three hours to be precise, Alan covered a great deal of ground.

As I found whilst studying for my library qualification at UCL, an understanding of the theory and background to the technical skills of our profession such as cataloguing are extremely helpful when later attempting to put said skills into practice, and so Alan’s initial points regarding the origins of RDA, it’s governance, purpose and FRBR origins were all very useful. The working through of examples to show the practical implications of FRBR and concepts such as attributes, entities, the distinction between Works, Expressions, Manifestations and Items and so on, was particularly welcomed. In order to be able to adequately apply ‘cataloguer judgement’ an understanding of this information is essential.

The next section covered the implementation of RDA, beginning, inevitably, with cost. Alan spoke here from personal experience at the British Library, and so it was difficult to imagine how implementation of RDA in a library such as my own or a similar institution within APML or LLPSLG might be achieved.  Naturally the ambitions, collections and resources of the BL are vastly different from our own and so the potential benefits and pitfalls of RDA implementation are equally different. However, as indicated in his title Alan’s intention was to provide an introduction to RDA rather than a targeted analysis of its suitability for APML and LLPSLG libraries, so this is not a criticism. The business case benefits of RDA listed by Alan, increased discovery, interoperability within and outside of the library community, embracing web technologies etc., are more universally applicable.

A significant undertaking in an implementation would be the necessary training and re-training of staff. A demonstration of the RDA toolkit was given which was perhaps the first time that some attendees had seen it, and it was interesting to note the possibilities that such a toolkit provides in comparison with traditional documentation. Translations, workflows, policy statements and full examples were all appealing, and there is interest among some attendees in trying the month-long free trial and subsequently comparing notes. Sadly, there appears to be little hands-on RDA training available in the UK, and so users are reliant on interpretation of the materials provided by the Library of Congress and the toolkit itself.

Alan’s third section dealt with ‘Application’, in essence, actually cataloguing in RDA. He provided a quick primer to act as a guide to the terminology and concepts used in RDA, before moving on to the core elements, pointing out that “core is the floor, not the ceiling.” Two key points delivered here were firstly, the absence of the ‘Rule of Three’ that appears in AACR2 regarding iteration (i.e. one or more instances of an attribute), as RDA allows the cataloguer to record all, some, the first or none of the instances (unless core).  The second point was the concept in RDA of ‘preferred sources’ rather than the ‘chief source’ outlined in AACR2. Though RDA’s preferred source of information is still the source containing the title proper it allows the cataloguer to consult other sources as dictated by an order of priority outlined in instructions (not rules) – These were what I considered to be the two key points, though Alan also covered transcription choices (language, script, capitalization) and authorized access points.

It is over fifteen years since it was first declared that ‘MARC Must Die’ ( and yet it still remains. In the final section, ‘Future Developments and Strategy’, Alan covered the problems of accommodating RDA records in MARC, such as the conflation of information related to a work, expression, manifestation and item, before discussing the future. Bibframe was proffered as a possible replacement for MARC, with ‘possible’ emphasized, and a demonstration of an RDA record without MARC was given as we were shown an RDA record in RIMMF (RDA in Many Metadata Formats). Alan also explained the potential application of RDA in the semantic web as linked data, but due to time constraints there wasn’t an option to fully investigate these aspects, which was unfortunate given their fundamental importance. They are of course all works in progress also.

In sum, in a three hour session a lot was covered and certainly a good introduction to RDA provided. I left with lots of questions which I consider to be a good sign, and Alan provided some links at the end for further research. Many thanks to Alan for his talk, and to Sian for organising.

Originally published on the CILIP Cataloguing and Index Group blog.

Ten Years of the APML

kath5Last night (Thursday 20th November) we were lucky enough to be able to celebrate our Tenth Anniversary with a lecture from James Campbell, author of the wonderful tome of ‘library porn’ known as The Library : a World History (Thames & Hudson, should you feel tempted…and frankly you should!) Campbell’s talk was both illuminating and entertaining – his assertion that Roman Librarians were basically ‘highly educated slaves’ had most of the Librarians in fits of giggles (of self recognition?).

10yrsWe also learned that- contrary to the image we have thanks to books like The Name of The Rose,western monastic collections only contained a couple of hundred volumes owing to the fact that each page of parchment was basically a whole sheep and therefore your average bible contained 100 sheep (he never mentioned goats funnily enough)As an Architect himself, he pointed out the design failings of Michelangelo’s library in Florence, citing it as a ‘triumph of aesthetics over practicality’. He noted that the original Wren design for Trinity College was a round building featuring a ‘throne for the Librarian’ and added that actually, round libraries are ‘useless for putting books in’.

In addition to this we learned that Bats were used in Rome to keep insects off books. This pleased the public as they never saw them – their activities being at night – but not, presumably the staff of the libraries who had to clear the bat dung every morning!

Oh and in case you wondered why your photos don’t look as good as those in the book: each shot is an amalgamation of around 100 images taken at different exposures and overlaid so that every area of the photo is equally well exposed.

All in all, it was a great evening (and I know what I want for Christmas).

Forthcoming events from Kath Posner, APML Chair



Back from my holidays with loads of news of events organised by members of APML



Firstly via CILIP’s Library and Information History Group:
Lonely hearts, wedding bells and illicit pleasures: a far from sentimental journey of how London loved in print
When: Friday 19 September 2014, 18.00-19.30
Meeting point: Wellcome Trust, Gibbs Building, 215 Euston Road, London NW1 2BE

This walk will carry you back through time to learn how the printing press often played a crucial role in the varying experiences of romance, love and relationships. Singletons and couples are invited to spend ninety minutes discovering how Londoners of the past might set about finding their match and hearing from the literature that recorded such journeys.

In the company of Alice Ford-Smith (Bernard Quaritch Ltd), Lonely Hearts, Wedding Bells and Illicit Pleasures will uncover tales across the relationship spectrum. From Bloomsbury to the streets around Covent Garden, you will hear accounts of loneliness, friendship, love, passion, scandal, jealousy and exploitation. Books are behind them all, accompanied by the occasional librarian and many a person of business.

The walk’s meeting point will be the Wellcome Trust’s headquarters on Euston Road and we will begin with viewing a display of related material from the Wellcome Library collections. After which, we will set out to explore the streets of London. The walk ends at approximately 7.30pm not far from Charing Cross. Please be ready for no breaks and the occasional saucy storyline!

Numbers are limited to 20 people, and pre-booking is essential. Tickets, which are non-refundable, are £10 each. Please email Renae Satterley ( to reserve your place. This event is open to all, so early booking is recommended.

Secondly – from the Westminster History Club

The new season of talks begins on Tuesday 23rd September at 7pm, in The Lord Mayor’s Parlour, Westminster City Hall and you are warmly invited to join us for the fourth season of the Westminster History Club – doors open at 6.30 pm £10 to be paid on arrival.

The Club was set up to raise funds for scholarly research into the history of Westminster by the Victoria County History.  This is as much a social event, held four times a year, with a glass of wine and a talk on some aspect of the history of Westminster by a guest speaker and on 23rd September we welcome  Dr. Paula Henderson to give her talk on:-

“Location, Location, Location – William Cecil’s House in the Strand”..

In 1560 William Cecil, the first Lord Burghley, moved to a new house in the Strand, amongst eminent aristocrats and courtiers who the favoured the location for its connections by river and road between Court, Parliament, the City and Inns of Court. In her illustrated talk, Dr Henderson will tell the important story of how the ambitious Cecil developed his house as a seat of power, designed for the large household needed for running royal business, and his garden for pleasure and entertainment, an escape from the relentless pressure of work.

Paula Henderson is a lecturer and writer on British architecture and garden history.  She has degrees in art history (University of Wisconsin, B.A.; University of Chicago, M.A.) and a Ph.D. in architectural history from the Courtauld Institute of Art (University of London).  Her first book,The Tudor House and Garden: architecture and landscape in the 16th and early 17th centuries (published by Yale University Press).

And last, but not least from CILIP’s Local Studies South Group:

In the picture: getting the most out of images inside and outside your collection.
Wednesday, 24 September 2014 from 10:30 to 16:30
Held at CILIP 7 Ridgmount Street, London WC1E 7AE
Cost: CILIP/ARA members £35 + VAT, non-members £45 + VAT.

The 2014 Local Studies Group South Study Day will be looking at how to use images inside and outside your collection.

Sessions include:
·English Heritage on their purchase of the Aerofilms Aerial Photographic Archive and the creation of the Britain from the Air website.
·The Wellcome Library will be talking about the nuts and bolts of digitisation.
·Librarians from Bracknell Forest will be talking about putting their community’s images onto Flickr.
·An optional tour of either the Camden Local Studies and Archive Centre or the digitisation studios at the Wellcome Library.

Cost: £35 for CILIP/ARA members and £45 for non-members. Lunch, tea and coffee will be provided.
To book, please visit:
For more information please contact Tony Pilmer via

Hope there is something here to tempt you. 
Best wishes

A day in the life at the Naval & Military Club (In & Out) by Kath Posner, current APML Chair

kath3So it’s a typical Wednesday here at the In & Out (is there such a thing?)

First thing I do when I arrive at my desk is check my emails. As I only work here two days a week, there are obviously a few to deal with, and a quick scan through determines the urgency.

Most pressing, today was a missive from the Club Historian – an author who is writing a history of the In & Out for which I have been doing some of the research.

I should add at this point that I have been doing a lot of work on the Archives over the past year, sorting out around twenty boxes of random documents stretching back 150 years, some tied with ribbons and others loose, storing them in labelled acid-free files and cateloguing them in an easily-searchable Excel spreadsheet.

Having dealt with this, I went on to answer enquiries from Club Members and members of the General Public about their relatives. This year has seen a marked increase in queries from the Public about relatives: people seem to have developed a huge appetite for genealogy research, whether because of programmes like Who do you think you are, or the centenary of the First World War I do not know, but it is a part of my role which, owing to my Research background, I relish.

After dealing with these I went on to normal Library duties: cataloguing the latest acquisitions, photographing them for the Facebook page and weeding the collection. The In & Out’s collection is almost exclusively Military History, with an emphasis on personal stories and biographies and, as much of it is donated by Members, it requires a great deal of tact when deciding what to accept into the collection.

As well as my In & Out duties, I found time to deal with APML tasks: coordinating the next meeting, which includes a lunch means chasing up guests and ascertaining any special dietary requirements as well as seeing if there are any pressing issues members want to talk about and checking on the needs/availability of speakers. We have an antiquarian books expert from Christie’s coming to speak at the next meeting, which will be great fun. I am also recruiting speakers on Resource Discovery, Genealogy and Conservation, so I am kept busy!

So – that’s been my day so far…..enjoy yours.

Introducing the new Chair

kath1So this is the first of what I hope will be many posts – including guest posts from APML members.

I have been Librarian at the Naval & Military Club (In & Out) and the East India Club for two years now and was recently delighted to be asked to chair the APML.

My first act as Chairman has been to liaise with James Campbell, author of the wonderful tome of ‘Library Porn’ known as The Library, a World History (see picture) re a forthcoming talk. Needless to say this has been a pleasure and I tried my best not to sound like a complete fangirl.

Looking at the membership it seems to be divided between Gentlemen’s Clubs and Institutes, which means that some approaches are quite different: the Clubs tend to be much more inwardly focused, whereas the Institutes are more concerned with promoting their activities, which makes for an interesting combination and many lively discussions.

Following on from our last meeting, during which we were given an excellent presentation on Social Networking by Sarah Day from the Geological Society, I thought I’d share an idea I spotted on Twitter with you. Did you know that you could link images from your Pinterest account to your online catalogue? Something worth exploring if you enjoy pinning.

Anyway, as I am at work at in the East India Club library, I must get back to my curatorial duties, which today include cleaning several 19th Century travelogues. Looking forward to more speculation on the superhighway…..