This summer the Royal Agricultural College Library took part in reciprocal ‘professional development’ visits with Bath University Library.
Four members of Bath staff, all information librarians, visited us here at the College Library on the 5th of August to talk with library staff and to learn how this library operates. They were given a tour of the Library, and were shown some ‘treasures’ from the College Archive and Historical Collections. RAC staff also answered various questions about the library such as its staffing structure, roles and responsibilities etc.
Seven RAC library staff returned the compliment by visiting Bath on the afternoon of 13th August. We all enjoyed the visit, and learned a lot about the similarities and differences between our institutions’ libraries and work practices. Naturally Bath has a much larger library and a greater number of staff, and we noted the advantages and disadvantages of the difference in our relative sizes. We were also fascinated to see a very different approach to the main issue and enquiry desk set up at Bath which worked well for them but would not necessarily be appropriate here at the RAC.
We enjoyed seeing the twenty ‘interesting, beautiful and rather random things’ from Bath University’s archival collections (Pitman, Bowen, and Hockey Collections) where the archivist set us a task to complete. Bath University also houses the collection of Royal Bath and West of England Society, and we were introduced to this by the Honorary Librarian, Katy Jordan. It covers all aspects of agriculture and rural history, and is particularly strong in historic materials from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. We noted that a number of books in the collection are also to be found in our historical collection.
We would like to thank all Bath library staff for taking the time and trouble to make us so welcome.