Thursday, 18 December 2014

2014 – looking back

J. Hagelberg; photo: D. Ridge
The following is my attempt to look back at 2014, seeing what happened at the Marshall Library, and to say thanks to my colleagues who have worked extremely hard in the last 12 months.

We pick up the J.C. & G.B. Hagelberg collection; not all volumes were suitable to be added to the Marshall Library holdings, but some gems have been kept.
Our colleagues Lisa and Oksana visit some other libraries to get ideas for a possible new Issue Desk at the Marshall.
Introducing up to 50 online renewals, and allowing readers to renew vacation loans (one of the many ideas Simon Frost has had, and which we implemented).

cover of ebook / 31 A 62 Euro
We buy e-credits for ‘Economics of Money, Banking and Financial Markets’, European edition, Matthews/Giuliodori/Mishkin which will become the most-used ebook for 2014-15 in Cambridge.
Marshall Library Survey is launched.

Thanks to Lisa’s design skills, and Alfred Marshall encouraging our readers, our campaign to get more recommendations for new books is launched.
Upgrading our subscription of the UN Comtrade platform to ‘Premium access’ allows virtual unlimited downloads of data sets.

Free photocopies of reading list materials are being made available; some of these former counter items are still available 
Easter Term Sunday Opening Trial - for 6 out of 7 Sundays in term time - is moderately successful.
Further improvements to borrowing are introduced, primarily helping readers to be able to renew overdue books.

New Library Mug, design L. Wilkens
Extra exam support: opening Mon-Fri at 8:30 between 26 May 2014 and 13 June 2014 was a cost-neutral attempt to support our students more (another of Simon Frost’s ideas).
Library Survey Highlights published:; students want an area where they can eat (the 'Social Area' is created in October 2014) and a dedicated group study space (still to do!); see also
A design for a new Marshall Library mug – several designs provided by Lisa – is voted on, and has been available since June 2014:

Social Area, October 2014
Focus Group session of Library users – some very interesting suggestions are made by those students attending (e.g. high tables to sit at and eat; implemented). A lot of food for thought for us.
joining forces with the UL and the Judge Business School we start a subscription to a new eresource: Bankscope.

IT colleagues improve WIFI access in the Library (as requested in the Library survey): 

Alfred Marshall's grave in August 2014
Stock take reports 15 missing books in Open Shelf / Short Loan areas, of which of today (18 December 2014) 10 were found (thank you, Anita, Simon Frost, and Sue!), and 5 are still not accounted for; to be on the safe side we have replaced 2 of the books which are missing. We also use this time to work on converting some of our collection to a new category: Short Loans.
We also visit Alfred Marshall’s grave. Marshall died 90 years ago. For some photographic evidence of our visit see

Old OPAC desk area
MPhil inductions are keeping Simon Frost and myself busy. New carpet tiles arrive and are fitted on a very long Saturday…
With the help of our great Custodians (Nathan and Gordon), almost all of the IT crew, and Simon Morris and Simon Frost we manage to dismantle and dispose of our old Issue Desk and various bits of furniture (after a long search for a new good home for bits of the furniture one or two longer “pieces” end up as a counter for a local catering company!)

Marshall Library, Issue Desks
Social Area, October 2014
New furniture for Issue Desk area and Social area arrives and is installed (see Lisa Wilkens’ post about this at 
Economy of Reality-Maintenance installed; AnnaMaria Kardos (the artist) gives a talk in our library (see
Inductions and tours for undergraduates and Diploma students (Economics) and MPhil & PhD students (Development Studies); almost every member of the team is involved!
More significant changes to borrowing are made: 
Increase in Opening Hours: Mon-Fri 9 am to 9pm (not only 7pm) and Sat, as a trial for Michaelmas Term 2014, from 11 am to 6pm (not only 1-5pm).

Promotional Material re MT 2015 opening hours, L. Wilkens
Annual Careers Event in Library
A member of the Faculty is interviewed for a university podcast in our Archives Room (watch this space for more details in 2015!)

Economy of Reality-Maintenance installation is taken down.
Our Christmas Trees are going up.

Wishing you all a relaxing break, and a good start into 2015!


Thursday, 27 November 2014

Economy of Reality-Maintenance

Economy of Reality-Maintenance

Negotiator, Allocator, Validator, Survivor, Activator, Participator, Dictator, Complicator,
Mediator, Stimulator, Dislocator, Anticipator, Collaborator  (detail)

Economy of Reality-Maintenance, Marshall Library, 2014
Art Language Location invited artists across disciplines to site work across Cambridge which create conversations between artist, artwork and location. Together with Clemens Gresser, Robert Good (ALL organiser) and Lisa Wilkens we discussed my proposal for the Marshall Library of Economics. My work ‘Economy of Reality-Maintenance’ involves applying text to the majority of chairs in the library. The real, twisted and made-up roles and positions reflect on identities we take on in the world of work and the everyday.

Economy of Reality-Maintenance, Marshall Library, 2014
Using Deutsche’s terminology of site-specifity (Deutsche, R.: Evictions. Art and Spatial Politics, Cambridge (Mass.) and London: MIT 1996), this installation is charged with a disruptive rather than a harmonising quality. The library is a public institution as such a regulated educational environment; a place of focused study and minimal verbal exchange. The installed text defamiliarises the library environment and disrupts habitual patterns. Will it make people more self-conscious? There is an underlying humour in the installation whilst being unsettling. Looking across the options makes one think of who am I or wish to become. Will it create hesitation before someone sits down? It triggers a stimulating mind game between the real and the made up. Yet, language is neither straightforward nor transparent. Words are setting up an idea but fail: the label on the chair is not doing what it says, you don’t become that position. Formerly authorised language (Bourdieu P.: Language and Symbolic Power, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1991, p. 129) is undermined. But is it an attempt of audience manipulation? No it’s not; it is rather a joke and contradicting. With the audience in mind, Willath (Willath, S.: Intervention and Audience. London: Coracle Press 1984) endorsed conflict as ‘generative’ for attention. Besides, materiality and aesthetics make a difference to perception and engagement. Here, non-permanent lettering is placed employing the library’s formal aesthetics, almost blending in. Library visitors make a choice of sitting, focus on their reading and may forget the chair’s label. However, looking up one can see others and make assumptions. How does it feel to be labelled? As the text is placed on the back one is not in control. The installation is reflecting on the way we face and take up roles whether unconsciously, taken-for-granted, by choice or pressure. Here, I am drawing reference to Berger & Luckmann’s ‘Social Construction of Reality’ (P.L. Berger and T. Luckman: The Social Construction of Reality – A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge, Doubleday, London 1966, p. 149ff.). We act in a web of relations, and occupy a number of different roles in the personal, social, economic or public arena. By looking beyond the veneer of how we manoeuvre my performative text installation challenges the audience to question their position.

Thank you to Marshall Library of Economics for hosting my text installation.

AnnaMaria Kardos

London based artist AnnaMaria Kardos questions the relationship of power and control that are inherent to language and objects we use in our everyday interactions within public, educational and corporate settings. She graduated from Central St Martins, joined altMFA and is currently undertaking a MFA FA at Goldsmiths University. Working across media and functional spaces her site-related installations and performative works come inseparably with a layer of humour.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

New design for the library entrance area and student social area.

New design for the library entrance area and student social area.

Following the request of many students for an area where they could relax and eat and also a space for group study activities, the Marshall Library team considered the challenges and options responding to this request. In addition, the library reception area of the Marshall Library hadn’t been changed since 1995/96, with a slight improvement for the staff desk area introduced in 2006. Implementing these ideas, the layout of the entrance area of the Marshall Library needed to be reviewed and restructured.

The requests were the following: 
      Make space for an area where students can relax and chat and have a lunch or coffee break. Challenges: This area needs to be outside the book collection area so that books won’t get dirty or stained and other readers aren’t disturbed by chatting or other noise. This area also needs to be separate enough from the library staff area so that noise doesn’t travel and become disruptive.
      Create a group study area which students can book for discussing and working together. Challenges: big enough for at least 6 people to work together, enclosed so that noise can’t travel and become disruptive to other library users and staff. 
Redesign the library staff area with working areas specific to tasks and workloads.
Challenges: in the current layout, some staff would sit far away from each other so that communicating has occasionally been difficult, and some members have felt more isolated, sitting ‘on their own’. Only few staff had easy and direct access to the issue desk, and not all members of staff could actually see if anybody needed help. Storage space was also a major requirement as well as letting as much daylight as possible into both areas. We also wanted to make our issue desk more accessible for wheelchair users.

After much discussion, surveys, consulting committees as well as running the plans past a focus group, the Marshall Library team came up with the following solution:

The area that currently houses the issue desk and staff area will be divided in two halves. One side will become the student social area with sofas and arm chairs as well as a ‘breakfast bar’ area with high tables and high chairs. The other half will be used by the library staff with desks and storage space distributed efficiently with easy access to the issue desk for all members of staff. An important consideration was the need to keep all shelving low so that an open view of the issue desk and the staff area is possible. The staff and student social areas will be seperated by a semi-transparent glass partition to allow light to enter both areas from both window sides while reducing noise disruption.
The issue desk will be located to the left hand side when people enter the library. It will be at desk height (75cm) with a gap at the front to allow wheelchair users to access the desk adequately. A raised part of the desk will provide for library users who need support whilst standing to lean on.
Later in 2014-15 we hope to turn our Archive Room into a group study space (as requested by students; see Library 2014 Survey). The Archive Room, located to the rear of the current staff area, will been cleared off all extra items soon, and a large table will provide enough space for up to 8 students. An AV set will be installed later on and this room will be bookable by students who wish to use it for group discussions or project work.


Monday, 8 September 2014

Significant changes ahead: borrowing after 7 October 2014

From Tuesday 7 October 2014 there will be a number of significant changes to the borrowing and fines system at the Marshall Library. If you are pressed for time, please go to which summarizes the new rules in tabular form.

Books on reading lists will be ‘Short Loan’ books (identified by orange labels, on the spine and on the cover); these can be borrowed for 2 days (and in theory one can renew them 50 times, but other readers can put a hold on such books, and you will need to return it).

The advantage of doing this is that all the non-‘Short Loan’ books (most importantly the rest of the books on open shelves) can now be on 4 weeks loan (as Basement items already had been), and we offer 5 renewals, a potential total borrowing of 20 weeks (unless – of course – someone recalls a book. In that case you have 5 working days to return the book, so please check your emails).

Loan periods for each book are strictly related to the type of item (on reading lists = ‘short loan’), not who is borrowing it. This is done for two reasons:
  1. If we have say 30 or 40 short loan copies of a book for 150-170 undergraduate students, and some of the books are out for 7 days (to Ph.D. students or lecturers), it skews the potential for a copy to become available to students, and they might not believe that putting a hold on a book makes much sense.
  2. These short loan books are on reading list for taught courses, so should not be of much interest to Ph.D. students and academics. 
If you are teaching for the Faculty and feel that you desperately will need us to supply you with a textbook copy for your teaching please contact us stating for which teaching you will need this book (and if applicable whether this is within the College or Faculty).

Changes to fines: 
they will be reduced for most volumes in the Marshall Library! The overdue charge per day for Short Loans will be £1 (so no change from the charge before, or for Open Shelf books in 2013-14), but for Open Shelf books (i.e. any book which is not a Short Loan) and Basement books it will only be 10 pence per day. As we are trialling longer opening hours in Michaelmas term on Saturdays (11:00 to 18:00), it seems to be appropriate for Saturdays to be counted as normal open days. (Before, the four hours we were open on Saturdays did not count as a ‘borrowing day’, and therefore readers were not fined).

Change to Reserve Books borrowing:
Also, following logically from this, it makes sense for Reserve Books issued on Friday afternoon (after 16:00), now to be issued until Saturday 11:00, not already until Monday 10:30. On Saturdays after 16:00, Reserve Books can be taken until Monday 10:30. If in doubt, please check your library account via or [The fines for Reserve Books will remain as they are: 50 pence per book per hour (term time), and £1 per book per day (vacation time).]

No copy of a book available to you? 
Please place a hold (on how to do this see: to make sure that you get a copy as soon as possible if all Short Loan copies are out. We have worked hard over the summer to add more copies of core textbooks at the Marshall Library, to have a better ratio between number of undergraduate students and textbooks; however, your hold will be useful for us to monitor the demand for individual titles. Alternatively, help us by suggesting that more copies of a book should be bought: please do so via
Place a ‘recall’ on Open Shelf & Basement items means that instead of a book being unavailable for up to 4 weeks, the person borrowing it will have 5 days to return the book they have borrowed. After that they will be fined £1 per day!

We hope that you will be able to see that we are trying to improve the borrowing system so that in-demand textbooks are more available to undergraduate students, and books which are of interest to only a small number of students will now be borrowable for longer.

Friday, 13 June 2014

Work experience in June 2014

Although my work experience at the Marshall Library of Economics was not what I had planned, as my previous placement on a children’s petting farm came to nothing, I can honestly say that I have enjoyed my first week in the library- and can say books are a lot different to animals!

Work experience student, June 2014
When I first found out that work experience would be taking place in my school I immediately knew that I wanted to find a placement that involved working with animals, and therefore a library, especially one of Economics (which I had zero knowledge about), would not be on the top of my list. However when I arrived at Marshall Library I was made to feel very welcome and have already completed a variety of tasks in a short time, such as shelving books, issuing books, tidying shelves, processing new stock, and completing projects set such as a Datastream and Bloomberg analysis, as well as a social media project- this was all in my first week! The social media project involved preparing ‘tweets’ and Facebook posts that would alert library users to recent and upcoming news, on the Marshall Library’s Twitter page and the Facebook page. For me, I actually prefer jobs which some may say are boring, such as shelving books or tidying the shelves.

Each day I wake up at around 6:30 to catch a 7:20 bus, which takes an hour or so to get to Cambridge depending on the hold-ups - often I find myself drifting off on the bus only to awake and see that we’ve arrived at Drummer Street. In the morning, I arrive at work at for 9am and complete tasks with other members of the staff, who help me out a lot! Then, I normally have a break between 11 and 12 which gives me an opportunity to speak to the other members of staff in the Faculty of Economics, who are all lovely and ask me how my morning has been and proceed to ask me about how my weekend was, or what stuff was going on at school. After having 20 minutes or so of leisure, I continue with the work I was doing, and then have a lunch break for an hour at 12:30. In the afternoon, I participate in projects, which I find satisfying as at the end of the day you can see what work you have achieved. At 4:00, I leave the library and catch a bus back home.

Being a bookworm myself, working in the library has actually been enjoyable, even though I knew nothing about the subject of Economics. Through my first week of work experience, I’ve already gained knowledge through reading the blurbs of texts books or through listening to other faculty members talk about economics in the common room. One advantage of working at the Marshall Library is that it is not far away from the centre of Cambridge, and is also in the grounds of the Sidgwick site, which is near to many other sites which include departments that I find interesting, such as Science and English.

Work experience has benefited me and taught me a lot about the workplace: I have had to manage my own finances, and find a way to get to work on time. My work experience has definitely given me an insight in to what it’s like to have a job, and has definitely helped to influence me on what career path I want to choose when I’m older.

Rowena (work experience student 9 June – 20 June 2014)

Friday, 6 June 2014

The J.C. & G.B. Hagelberg collection

Most single book donations either fit into our collections’ profile, or we suggest to the donor that we could pass it on to another library in Cambridge. Less frequently we receive a donation which actually is a collection in itself. The recently catalogued J.C. & G.B. Hagelberg Collection comprises almost exclusively what can be broadly labelled as sugar-related publications, or (more specifically) on sugar production in Cuba.

Jerry Hagelberg; photo: David Ridge
John Paul Rathbone called Jerry Hagelberg (in an obituary at “Mr Sugar”. Hagelberg was born in 1925 in Berlin, Germany, and died in 2011 in Canterbury, England. In the 1960s he worked as a consultant and researcher in Cuba, and advised the government there - and later in other countries - on sugar pro- duction. Hagelberg primarily published as a journalist, not only under his own name, but also under the following pen names: Gerardo Bernardo and Charles Wisley. His private library illustrated that Hagelberg’s thinking and writing was conducted by consulting academic scholarship.

The J.C. & G.B. Hagelberg Collection was much more substantial, but for various reasons we could not take all the books of this private collection. So far we have nearly cat- alogued all the books we have accepted, and you can see the 79 results at*&limitTo=none&recCount=25&searchType=1&

Whereas some books are more of a historical nature and interest, such as the 1972 publication titled Sugar without slaves: the political economy of British Guiana, 1838-1904 (Marshall Library classmark: 90 I 139), others, such as the 2005 Reinventing the Cuban sugar agroindustry (Marshall Library classmark: 26 FD 21) is a more recent academic collection of writing about sugar production on a large scale.

Some of these books have already been used, others wait for an eager scholar to consult them. We are hoping to include a couple more books from this private collection, in order to make it available to students and academics in Cambridge, as well as any external scholars (but we might need to ask visitors to consult these books outside term time).