International Archives Week
Today is the last day of International Archives Week, a bit late to be blogging about it but I’ve only just discovered it. As a professional association the International Council on Archives is hardly mass entertainment, but as a lover of libraries and bookshops and all such bookish collections I find its existence interesting.
And in some ways comforting – someone is taking care of our collective memories.
There are lists and maps of events worldwide.
They cover various activities like talks, guided tours, open house, seminars, exhibitions and even parties.
I assume (and hope I’m right) that their work includes archives from the online world. If not our age is going to be very thinly represented.
I went to the Arts Council England website to have a look at what they say about literature.
Instead I got sidetracked by the discovery that they’ve taken over responsibility for libraries (and museums). Until this autumn there has been a government department called Museums, Libraries and Archives (MLA). Now the Arts Council looks after the museums and libraries and the National Archives the archives.
I suppose it’s sort of silly to be saddened by the loss of a set-up I didn’t know existed, but I’ve been through these reorganisations myself and I know they’re generally unpleasant for the staff involved. I also know that programmes, funding and ideas can easily slip through the cracks between organisations.
I’m not convinced that the move is completely logical (except in its design of saving money). The Arts Council is involved in the creative side of culture, while museums and libraries both preserve rather than create.
(I know! I know! there’s creativity in the presentation of museum displays and library services, but they’re of a different sort and can’t be defined as ‘arts’.)
But the Arts Council has many years experience in developing, encouraging and paying for culture. Logical or not I expect the new arrangement will be successful. Whether it’ll save money, only time will tell.