National Chess Library closure

Debate directly related to English Chess Federation matters.
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Angus French
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Re: National Chess Library closure

Post by Angus French » Thu Mar 09, 2017 6:59 pm

And then there are different editions of the same book. And do you want to keep one of everything anyway - there must be lots of books which aren't rare or valuable and probably won't be of interest to many if any people?

David Robertson
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Re: National Chess Library closure

Post by David Robertson » Thu Mar 09, 2017 8:04 pm

Good grief. I've only scrolled down a few inches of this 'library' to realise that it's a funeral dump. When I pop my clogs, by all means have mine too. Indeed, as 40% of ECF members die off over the next decade, the 'library' could require a football pitch of space. A bit of quality control might be in order. Who was it a while back - Julie Denning and someone else nearby - who were claiming the importance of a key national resource. Utter bollox

Roger Lancaster
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Re: National Chess Library closure

Post by Roger Lancaster » Thu Mar 09, 2017 8:15 pm

Someone once pointed out to me that there are two types of problem - some which might, over time, resolve themselves and some where the problem can only get worse as time passes. Various people, latterly David R, have pointed out that this clearly falls in the second category as future bequests add to the existing library. At the risk of stating the obvious, finding storage might be absolutely necessary in the short term but it's the sticking-plaster rather than the cure.

(On reflection, my analysis isn't entirely accurate as I suppose an arsonist could find a quick way to solve the library problem. However, that doesn't seem to me the most desirable of solutions).

Alex Holowczak
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Re: National Chess Library closure

Post by Alex Holowczak » Thu Mar 09, 2017 8:32 pm

Roger Lancaster wrote:(On reflection, my analysis isn't entirely accurate as I suppose an arsonist could find a quick way to solve the library problem. However, that doesn't seem to me the most desirable of solutions).
Or alternatively...

E Michael White
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Re: National Chess Library closure

Post by E Michael White » Thu Mar 09, 2017 8:34 pm

Start scanning older books and sell/rent e:versions to recoup some costs later. Arbiters could scan a couple of books per round in events during their quiet times; it would give them an appetite for dinner later.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: National Chess Library closure

Post by Roger de Coverly » Thu Mar 09, 2017 9:00 pm

Hasn't the issue of the library been hanging over the BCF/ECF since at least the death of Harry Golombek twenty years ago? A policy decision at least on duplicates to sell or dump is long overdue.

The catalogue above shows a copy or multiple copies of books available commercially for the last sixty years or more, some of which are still available as reprints. I don't know if any attempt is made to keep the collection up to date. There aren't any of the Kasparov "Predecessors" series for instance.

David Robertson
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Re: National Chess Library closure

Post by David Robertson » Thu Mar 09, 2017 9:12 pm

OK, I've paused to reflect. And alas, I'm yet more incandescent with anger. A while back, absent the catalogue Angus French has posted, I'd assumed the worst. With sight of that catalogue now, I find it's far, very far, worse than I'd feared. I had assumed there'd be some historic material unique to our history. What I find is a 'library' that's 38% duplicate (thanks, RdC); and 90% junk. In fact, a skip or two @ £150 a pair is a far better solution than £4000 to house this rubbish.

But that's not the end of it. I very much support ECF moving, @£4000, to larger premises. The photos I've seen look to make the case in itself. What staggers me is that the Board, in its Olympian foresight, should believe their decision to buy more space was justified by housing a pile of junk. What exactly is the Board for?

Bob Kane
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Re: National Chess Library closure

Post by Bob Kane » Thu Mar 09, 2017 9:32 pm

A shame the the board rejected without proper consideration a possible relocation to subsided offices
which included a facility to house the library
http://www.theclarefoundation.org/chari ... comodation

Roger de Coverly
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Re: National Chess Library closure

Post by Roger de Coverly » Thu Mar 09, 2017 9:36 pm

Bob Kane wrote:A shame the the board rejected without proper consideration a possible relocation to subsided offices
which included a facility to house the library
Many of the books in the collection were interesting to read and study when first published. I still have more than I care to count of them in my bookcases. There's even a case, perhaps, for the ECF to have a library copy. But does it really need multiple copies and the space to house them, particularly long obsolete openings books?

Mike Truran
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Re: National Chess Library closure

Post by Mike Truran » Thu Mar 09, 2017 9:37 pm

A shame the the board rejected without proper consideration a possible relocation to subsided offices
which included a facility to house the library
http://www.theclarefoundation.org/chari ... comodation
Not this Board, Bob.

Mike Truran
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Re: National Chess Library closure

Post by Mike Truran » Thu Mar 09, 2017 9:47 pm

What I find is a 'library' that's 38% duplicate (thanks, RdC); and 90% junk. In fact, a skip or two @ £150 a pair is a far better solution than £4000 to house this rubbish.
For example:

Chess: Twiss, Richard (1747-1821)
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Twiss, Richard (1747-1821)

Published by G G J & J Robinson and T & J Egerton, London (1787)
Used Hardcover First Edition
Quantity Available: 1
From: The Book Collector, Inc. ABAA,IOBA,TxBA (Forth Worth, TX, U.S.A.)
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Item Description: G G J & J Robinson and T & J Egerton, London, 1787. Half-Leather. Book Condition: Very Good. 1st Edition. 2 volume in one. ii+194 pages with plate, index and errata. xvi+272 pages with plates, index and errata. Octavo (8 3/4" x 5 3/4") bound in half leather with brown spine label in gilt and marbled boards. (Whyld and Ravillous: 1787:7; Bibliotheca Van der Linde-Niemeijeriana:4543) First edition. Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) writing an essay called The Morals of Chess first appeared in the American publication Columbian Magazine or Monthly Miscellany in December 1786 (volume 1, No. 4, pages 159-161). It first appearance in book form by Richard Twiss in Chess pages 141-148. As well as Franklin's Morals it includes a complication of all the anecdotes and quotations that could be found relative to the game of chess with an account of all the chess-books which could be procured. According to George Walker, the major part was written by Frances Douce, the antiquarian and Keeper of Manuscripts at the British Museum, a view which finds confirmation in a comment by W J Thomas, who knew Douce well, that he was a large contributor to the work. Condition: Previous owner's stamp and name to title page volume one, some occasional foxing else a very nice copy. Bookseller Inventory # 000515

Michael Flatt
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Re: National Chess Library closure

Post by Michael Flatt » Thu Mar 09, 2017 10:26 pm

Can a library provide a useful service without a librarian or archivist to oversee it?

Does the ECF propose to employ another member of staff to take on that role or will it simply be added to the duties of the current office staff?

Roger Lancaster
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Re: National Chess Library closure

Post by Roger Lancaster » Thu Mar 09, 2017 11:37 pm

Having now read through the catalogue (2011 vintage so presumably a little out-of-date) I found just over 6500 books including, as others have noted, many duplicates. Among the more extreme cases were, for example, the two volumes (1905-30 and 1931-55 respectively) of Tartakower's best games, each with a dozen duplicates! My first inclination, I have to say, was that these could be regarded as junk. However, on checking eBay, I find that sellers are asking anything between £17 and £30 per volume.

That's the problem to which I alluded earlier. You can take an item which 99.9% of us would regard as junk but all it needs is one interested purchaser to put a different complexion on things. Taking the case of the Tartakower books, one could list copies on eBay at £15 each post-free and undercut other sellers. Whether this sort of thing is a worthwhile exercise, taking into account the time and effort involved, would be a decision for others. But I took the Tartakower books more or less at random and it's very likely that other books are listed on eBay at higher prices.

AustinElliott
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Re: National Chess Library closure

Post by AustinElliott » Fri Mar 10, 2017 2:01 am

Roger Lancaster wrote:Having now read through the catalogue (2011 vintage so presumably a little out-of-date) I found just over 6500 books including, as others have noted, many duplicates. Among the more extreme cases were, for example, the two volumes (1905-30 and 1931-55 respectively) of Tartakower's best games, each with a dozen duplicates! My first inclination, I have to say, was that these could be regarded as junk. However, on checking eBay, I find that sellers are asking anything between £17 and £30 per volume.

That's the problem to which I alluded earlier. You can take an item which 99.9% of us would regard as junk but all it needs is one interested purchaser to put a different complexion on things. Taking the case of the Tartakower books, one could list copies on eBay at £15 each post-free and undercut other sellers. Whether this sort of thing is a worthwhile exercise, taking into account the time and effort involved, would be a decision for others. But I took the Tartakower books more or less at random and it's very likely that other books are listed on eBay at higher prices.
The attractive aspect of this idea would presumably be that it could potentially generate some funds for the ECF while simultaneously reducing the size of the collection, especially the unneeded duplicate items. However, as others have pointed out, there is effort involved in listing things online and handling sales and despatch.

An alternative, if the decision were made to dispose of duplicates, would be to sell 'in bulk' to a specialist bookseller / dealer, who would presumably have a good idea what the books could fetch on the market but who would do all the work of selling them. I don't know exactly how far Littlehampton is from Battle, but Tony Peterson in Littlehampton is just such a specialist chess book seller, who I dare say a fair few Forum members will have bought stuff from.

Roger de Coverly
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Re: National Chess Library closure

Post by Roger de Coverly » Fri Mar 10, 2017 2:20 am

AustinElliott wrote: An alternative, if the decision were made to dispose of duplicates, would be to sell 'in bulk' to a specialist bookseller / dealer, who would presumably have a good idea what the books could fetch on the market but who would do all the work of selling them.
I Googled for the original launch of the Library
http://www.englishchess.org.uk/national-chess-library/

There's no concept that duplicates and perhaps the handful of valuable and rare books could and perhaps should be sold at a profit. Indeed the ECF was appealing for additional donations.
I appeal to everyone who can help to do so by donating their own collection of chess books to the National Library. This can be done by individual donations of duplicates, if you are downsizing or by legacy.
– Cynthia Gurney ECF
The recent question over whether the ECF should rent larger premises brings a question to a head, that should have been asked years ago. Just how many books of sometimes questionable quality does the ECF want to accumulate, and if so, why?

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