National Chess Library closure

Debate directly related to English Chess Federation matters.
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Christopher Kreuzer
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Re: National Chess Library closure

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Thu Mar 09, 2017 11:26 am

Angus French wrote:
Mike Truran wrote:Current office costs: £7,408
Current storage costs: £3,526
Total current costs: £10,934

First floor office costs: £15,606

Additional cost: £4,672.
Additional cost from time before storage agreement entered into: £3,526 + £4,672 = £8,198
Angus, you appear to be comparing to a cost of zero (i.e. if the chess library were sold off completely). Isn't the correct comparison to the cost of continued storage? Isn't another way to look at it to think that the cost of storing the chess library is the same (just a different location), but the office cost is going up? You are getting more office space as well.

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Re: National Chess Library closure

Post by Angus French » Thu Mar 09, 2017 11:30 am

Christopher Kreuzer wrote:
Angus French wrote:
Mike Truran wrote:Current office costs: £7,408
Current storage costs: £3,526
Total current costs: £10,934

First floor office costs: £15,606

Additional cost: £4,672.
Additional cost from time before storage agreement entered into: £3,526 + £4,672 = £8,198
Angus, you appear to be comparing to a cost of zero (i.e. if the chess library were sold off completely). Isn't the correct comparison to the cost of continued storage?
I'm looking at the total costs associated with the Library (when this was hosted, for the most part, at Hasting University - but also, if I recall, partly at David Anderton's home - the cost was £0).

I certainly don't think the current storage cost should be accepted as a given. In my view the library needs to be catalogued and then rationalised (while I appreciate this is difficult to do I don't think it should be beyond the wit of the Board to organise).
Last edited by Angus French on Thu Mar 09, 2017 11:34 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Christopher Kreuzer
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Re: National Chess Library closure

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Thu Mar 09, 2017 11:32 am

Roger de Coverly wrote:Surely it must be possible to defray part of the cost of maintaining a library by selling parts off to collectors. You could even save space by dumping the worthless. But that's not going to happen until it's stored in a manner that facilitates cataloguing and review.
True, but once you take on the additional office space to store the library, and then catalogue and review the library, and save space by selling or otherwise disposing of, you are left with empty storage space that you are still paying for in rent (as opposed to storage space you can stop paying for). The office might end up with empty loft space, it might not. There is no way to know until a proper review of the collection is done.

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Re: National Chess Library closure

Post by Roger de Coverly » Thu Mar 09, 2017 11:49 am

Christopher Kreuzer wrote: you are left with empty storage space that you are still paying for in rent
With rented accommodation, you can always downsize. I think the ECF did this as part of cost cutting following the loss of the DCMS grant.

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Re: National Chess Library closure

Post by Angus French » Thu Mar 09, 2017 12:28 pm

Roger de Coverly wrote:
Christopher Kreuzer wrote: you are left with empty storage space that you are still paying for in rent
With rented accommodation, you can always downsize. I think the ECF did this as part of cost cutting following the loss of the DCMS grant.
The proposal is to take out a ten-year lease. How easy would it be to downsize from a contractual agreement?

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Re: National Chess Library closure

Post by Mike Truran » Thu Mar 09, 2017 12:38 pm

Break points would be built in, as is customary with leases like this.

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Re: National Chess Library closure

Post by Angus French » Thu Mar 09, 2017 12:51 pm

Links to documents sent by David Anderton to the Board in October 2014:
- a report on the Library; and
- a catalogue (presumably of the part of the library previously housed at Hastings University). Note the quantity of duplicates.

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Re: National Chess Library closure

Post by Roger de Coverly » Thu Mar 09, 2017 1:08 pm

Angus French wrote: Note the quantity of duplicates.
Is there a good reason for not attempting to either sell or dump the duplicates? That applies particularly to books that everyone of a certain age has on their bookshelves where there's no obvious reason to retain the only known copies.

Unless there are legacy conditions that preclude it, selling books previously owned by someone well known might get a better price.

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Re: National Chess Library closure

Post by Mike Truran » Thu Mar 09, 2017 1:27 pm

No there isn't, and that is what we will probably do when time and resource permit (and once we can get decent access to the books).

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Re: National Chess Library closure

Post by Roger Lancaster » Thu Mar 09, 2017 1:59 pm

Identifying duplicates which might be sold off is just the first stage before getting to actually sell them. And, in case anyone believes selling off surplus books and magazines would result in a financial bonanza to the ECF, I’ll just counsel (as someone who sells a fair amount of material on eBay) that selling off low-value items is not a particularly lucrative business. It takes, by and large, almost as much time to list or catalogue a low-value item as a high-value item and – by the time you factor in the cost of the worker’s time – you can easily find yourself left with a negative number.

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Re: National Chess Library closure

Post by Roger de Coverly » Thu Mar 09, 2017 2:06 pm

Roger Lancaster wrote:Identifying duplicates which might be sold off is just the first stage before getting to actually sell them.
I would hope the ECF would be sufficiently hard headed that it would file duplicate books that were unlikely to sell with the waste paper collection. But is there added value in a widely available second hand book if it had been previously owned by, say, Golombek ? They've got multiple copies of Golombek authored books flagged as having been part of the "Golombek" collection.

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Re: National Chess Library closure

Post by Roger Lancaster » Thu Mar 09, 2017 2:26 pm

Take it from me, Roger, it's hard to predict what is going to sell and what isn't. I've listed (maybe I shouldn't confess this!) items I've considered junk on eBay and they've sold - occasionally, with two or three bidders competing at a price I thought totally unrealistic. Conversely, what I've considered worthwhile has been ignored by others.

You make a fair point about books with well-known previous owners although books formerly owned by non-chess celebrities would probably command much higher prices than by those who were widely known and respected only within chess circles. I suspect the former category won't be much represented in the ECF collection.

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Re: National Chess Library closure

Post by NickFaulks » Thu Mar 09, 2017 2:26 pm

Roger Lancaster wrote: by the time you factor in the cost of the worker’s time
I would be very surprised if you couldn't find volunteers keen to do the job.

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Re: National Chess Library closure

Post by Roger Lancaster » Thu Mar 09, 2017 2:29 pm

Maybe, Nick, although they also need to be reasonably knowledgeable - to state the obvious, any item needs to be fairly and reasonably accurately described in any sales document.

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Re: National Chess Library closure

Post by Roger de Coverly » Thu Mar 09, 2017 6:21 pm

Roger Lancaster wrote: any item needs to be fairly and reasonably accurately described in any sales document.
Much of it is the books some of which have been on player's bookshelves for the last fifty or sixty years.

The listing that Angus made available contains an indicator to mark duplicates. Counting this gives 2526 duplicates out of 6587 items, so the collection could potentially be reduced in size by 38%.

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