Another lesson from a year in a historic library

There was one lesson I did forget to write about during my last post on this subject – the importance of other librarians! As I said last time, I was the only member of staff at the RUSI Library so I found meeting other librarians invaluable. As well as all of the usual reasons why you should network, it also acted as a support group. You quickly realised that life was not only greener on the other side, but it was also browner!

I know, this is not new. After all, it was the reason why I turned up at the first meeting of LSG South and why LSG South started the London & South East Local Studies Forum.  

It is also a great link into the rest of this blog. I asked the Kath Posner, chair of one of the librarian groups I joined at RUSI, to talk about APML and what they do….

The Association of Pall Mall Libraries – APML was started ten years ago as an informal group of librarians working in Gentlemen’s Clubs. It has since grown to incorporate a few Institutions and private subscription libraries, but maintains its informal and independent status. The majority of these libraries are solely for the use of their members and staffed by very small numbers of library professionals, typically just one members of staff. Their collections are diverse. Many have excellent rare book collections, some are 21st century information services, others contain a few thousand recent books on the clubs theme and many also care for archives and art collections.

It is currently chaired by myself: Kath Posner, Librarian at the East India and Naval & Military Clubs for a two-year term.

As the  website states:

‘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.’

As such, the group exists as something between a self-help and self-promotion organisation, holding regular meetings where members discuss common problems and share solutions and where guest speakers frequently present on topics of interest to the members. In addition to this, regular training sessions are organised by a Training sub-group, often in collaboration with other organisations. 

The website is regularly updated and includes guest blogs from members of participating organisations and we also have a Twitter account: @apmlibraries 

More information can be gathered by contacting the group via the web site:

I did say in the earlier part of this blog that everybody knows the reasons why fellow librarians should meet and share/copy ideas. However, I’m sad to see that many authorities cannot or will not release their staff for these activities. Surely any opportunity to enthuse staff and cross-pollinate ideas is worth one day every year or so?