I’m the librarian at the Horniman Museum in Forest Hill. I started as library assistant here in 2009 and became the sole member of library staff in 2010, then the solo librarian in 2011. The library was threatened with closure in 2010, when the museum was affected by budget cuts inflicted by the new government.
Over the course of the winter of 2010/2011, I managed to ensure the library’s future and set it on a new course, focussing on our historic collections and the library collection’s connection, and relevance, to the museum’s object collections.
I now juggle all aspects of library work, from checking in journals, cataloguing, assisting researchers, to working with curators on exhibitions and giving tours of the eco building the library is housed in.
I want to raise the profile of the library here and the significance of our collections. I also enjoy using Twitter as a way to connect to the wider library community, especially as I sit here alone most of the time! Also you don’t often hear much about museum librarians, so I thought it would be nice to give a bit of insight in to our work.
This is a really interesting time for the library and the museum. I am currently carrying out a review of all of the books in the original Horniman bequest (from Frederick Horniman, our founder), with a view to future work and funding bids. The museum is also carrying out two major reviews: one of our Natural History collections and another of our Anthropology collections. All of it is bringing to light fascinating material and stories about our history that are going to be very influential on our future. Although, in many respects, things are worse than ever for museums at the moment, I think the necessity for introspection it has brought about is resulting in some really exciting work.