The Vaughan Williams Memorial Library will be extending its days of opening from 19 July 2021.
At the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library we recognise that our library and archive collections contain items with racist language and/or attitudes, or which depict outdated practices. This is especially true of some of the primary sources held in our archive; such views were common at the time of the first folk revival, and continued to manifest themselves in the decades which followed. We retain such items as we believe that it would be wrong to falsify the historical record. We also believe that in order to bring about meaningful change in the present, we must learn from the wrongs of the past; historical writing and objects are important in this process. We value the input of all current and potential users into our process of reassessing our archives. If you would like to speak to VWML staff about any concerns you may have in using our collections, whether online or physically, please do not hesitate to contact us.
We are working to flag on the Library catalogue any items of stock which include any discriminatory language, views or images. This is a lengthy process and while we engage in it you may still find examples which are unacceptable to modern readers. We are also undertaking an appraisal of our classification scheme and subject headings in an effort to eliminate any reflections of the colonial world in which they were created. We are serious in our commitment to highlighting the wrongs of history and to fostering intelligent debate and positive progress in the present.
VWML is working with a team of volunteers to further populate our unique thematic index of folk song.
The annual conference of the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library will take place on 13 and 14 November 2021 at Cecil Sharp House in London. Its theme will be ‘Diversity in Folk’.
Folk Music Journal (FMJ) is a unique specialist scholarly journal. Published by the English Folk Dance and Song Society, it is the annual publication of the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library. It is edited by David Atkinson.
By Nick Wall, Assistant Librarian at the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library.
Read the full blog article here