National Chess Library closure

Debate directly related to English Chess Federation matters.
Julie Denning
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Re: National Chess Library closure

Post by Julie Denning » Fri Mar 10, 2017 5:48 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Julie Denning wrote: Just noticed this topic has got hyper-active again.
The reason being that the ECF is proposing to increase its expenditure on the library to at least £ 8,000 a year without, it would appear, any firm plans on the library's future and what it's for.
Roger, thank you, but rest assured I was well aware of the proposal. It was just that having been pre-occupied on other non-chess matters (it does happen occasionally!) I hadn't spotted that this thread on the forum had come back to life after a gap of 20 months.

Mike Truran
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Re: National Chess Library closure

Post by Mike Truran » Fri Mar 10, 2017 6:08 pm

If the ECF has a plan to deal with the library, then what is it?
The high-level plan is contained in the documents. Hence my question as to whether you had read the supporting documents. I think you should be able to trust us to get the implementation right without having to share a detailed action plan with you for you to pick the bones out of.

But in your case, of course, any sort of trust in "the ECF" (whatever you mean by "the ECF" - presumably in this particular case the Board and the office staff) seems to be in lamentably short supply.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: National Chess Library closure

Post by Roger de Coverly » Fri Mar 10, 2017 6:17 pm

Mike Truran wrote:

But in your case, of course, any sort of trust in "the ECF" (whatever you mean by "the ECF" - presumably in this particular case the Board and the office staff) seems to be in lamentably short supply.

How many years ago was it that Harry Golombek and the other donors died? It's taken a awfully long time to get it into public knowledge that there's a lot of duplication and commonplace material in the various inherited collections. In its way it's like the Chess Sets for Schools fiasco, the ECF doesn't want to turn away a free gift, but isn't awfully good at thinking through the consequences to its expenditures.

Mike Truran
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Re: National Chess Library closure

Post by Mike Truran » Fri Mar 10, 2017 7:37 pm

Well, that may be so, but the present Board can only try to fix things as it finds them. Moreover, we're all volunteers (with other lives, both chess and non-chess related, outside ECF-related matters), and there are only so many things we can try to fix at the same time with limited resources.

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David Shepherd
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Re: National Chess Library closure

Post by David Shepherd » Fri Mar 10, 2017 9:14 pm

Gold plus membership (membership plus free book from list)?

David Robertson
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Re: National Chess Library closure

Post by David Robertson » Fri Mar 10, 2017 10:04 pm

David Shepherd wrote:Gold plus membership (membership plus free book from list)?
In the event of which, may I reserve the Report of the Rochdale Congress, 1991. It's likely already priceless. But with the passing of the years, its scarcity value can only increase. All I need now is to generate some demand for it.

Mick Norris
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Re: National Chess Library closure

Post by Mick Norris » Fri Mar 10, 2017 10:34 pm

David Robertson wrote:
David Shepherd wrote:Gold plus membership (membership plus free book from list)?
In the event of which, may I reserve the Report of the Rochdale Congress, 1991. It's likely already priceless. But with the passing of the years, its scarcity value can only increase. All I need now is to generate some demand for it.
Fantastic venue, Rochdale Town Hall :D
Any postings on here represent my personal views and should not be taken as representative of the Manchester Chess Federation www.manchesterchess.co.uk

NickFaulks
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Re: National Chess Library closure

Post by NickFaulks » Sat Mar 11, 2017 11:44 am

It is difficult to say anything sensible about value for ( quite a lot of ) money in the library without understanding its perceived purpose.

As I understand it, these volumes will be presented in a building in a corner of the country that is not terribly easy to reach, and the books will not be lent out. On that basis, they will be of interest only to serious researchers.

I see the value in keeping books which are rare and/or of historical significance ( without duplicates, and in some cases only one edition ). I suspect only a few hundred of the works in the catalogue would qualify, and they can be kept in a couple of bookcases. The rest, with apologies to their generous donors, should probably be sold, failing that given away to good homes, failing that thrown away.

Brian Towers
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Re: National Chess Library closure

Post by Brian Towers » Sat Mar 11, 2017 3:42 pm

NickFaulks wrote:I see the value in keeping books which are rare and/or of historical significance ( without duplicates, and in some cases only one edition ). I suspect only a few hundred of the works in the catalogue would qualify, and they can be kept in a couple of bookcases. The rest, with apologies to their generous donors, should probably be sold, failing that given away to good homes, failing that thrown away.
As a refinement I would suggest the following:

After the historically significant books and the few worth selling have been identified and saved the rest should be sent along to the next British in a large van and displayed in a room where chess fans can come and help themselves. Perhaps interested chess clubs could reserve books which they could collect on the first day or two before being available for general chess fans. For instance, if there are still active members of the Appleby Frodingham chess club they might be interested in the bulletins of their 9th and 10th Whit Congresses. The remainder at the end of the fortnight could then be dumped.

That, I think, would minimize the number which are thrown away as it would maximize the number of people who might give some of the books a good home for a few more years.
Ah, but I was so much older then. I'm younger than that now.

Gordon Cadden
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Re: National Chess Library closure

Post by Gordon Cadden » Sat Mar 11, 2017 5:01 pm

Julie Denning wrote:
Roger de Coverly wrote:
Julie Denning wrote: Just noticed this topic has got hyper-active again.
The reason being that the ECF is proposing to increase its expenditure on the library to at least £ 8,000 a year without, it would appear, any firm plans on the library's future and what it's for.
Roger, thank you, but rest assured I was well aware of the proposal. It was just that having been pre-occupied on other non-chess matters (it does happen occasionally!) I hadn't spotted that this thread on the forum had come back to life after a gap of 20 months.
With only around 10 visits a year to the National Chess Library, the Annual £8,000 a year expenditure on books, cannot possibly be justified. Many collectors left their books to the National Library, in good faith. Golombek left a large collection of Tournament Books in many languages: useful reference works, but few have any serious value. Clarke left some scarce French volumes, and 18th,century books. If the National Library cannot be lodged at a London University, making them more accessible to the general public, then the library should be sold to collectors who would appreciate the books.
About six years ago, I travelled from South Wales to Hastings, and visited the National Chess Library. The Staff were very helpful, and did their best to find specific books. The Visitors Book indicated that the Library had very few visits.

Kevin Thurlow
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Re: National Chess Library closure

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Sat Mar 11, 2017 11:53 pm

"About six years ago, I travelled from South Wales to Hastings, and visited the National Chess Library. The Staff were very helpful, and did their best to find specific books. The Visitors Book indicated that the Library had very few visits."

I visited more recently (although the journey was less arduous) and concur. Apparently, I managed about 33 % of the annual visits... There is no need to keep duplicates.

IanCalvert
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Re: National Chess Library closure: Cunning Plan

Post by IanCalvert » Sun Mar 12, 2017 6:50 pm

Maybe, a possible good home for much of the Library , and a cost-effective ECF approach, is to donate it to the Dutch collection in the Hague . :( :)

Roger de Coverly
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Re: National Chess Library closure: Cunning Plan

Post by Roger de Coverly » Mon Mar 13, 2017 10:35 am

IanCalvert wrote:Maybe, a possible good home for much of the Library , and a cost-effective ECF approach, is to donate it to the Dutch collection in the Hague .
All the "donation" solutions run into the same problem, that the ECF or earlier custodians haven't really tackled. The collection is full of books that are both duplicates and books which are either still being published or commonly available on second hand markets.

Mike Gunn
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Re: National Chess Library closure

Post by Mike Gunn » Mon Mar 13, 2017 10:53 am

I would like to support the Board's proposal. The maintenance a national library/ archive is just the sort of thing the ECF should be doing and is entirely in line with our objects: "To encourage the study and practice of chess in England ...". Of course we should dispose of duplicate copies and catalogue the collection properly (and also digitise interesting items to make them more accessible). Selling the lot to private collectors or sending it to Amsterdam is a truly appalling thought. The annual cost of housing the books is reasonable and while the cataloging etc is all going to require a significant amount of voluntary effort I would be surprised if this will not be forthcoming..

Incidentally, does anyone know what happened to Bob Wade's library?

David Sedgwick
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Re: National Chess Library closure

Post by David Sedgwick » Mon Mar 13, 2017 11:05 am

Mike Gunn wrote:Incidentally, does anyone know what happened to Bob Wade's library?
My recollection is that at the time of his death he had sold it, with remainder for his lifetime. That would suggest that it reverted to the owner.

Try asking one of David Anderton, Les Blackstock and Jonathan Speelman

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