Tales from Houghton Street: Graham Camfield


Graham Camfield
Clara Cook
Relationship to LSE
1976-present, Academic Support Librarian
Working at LSE; LSE in the 1970s; LSE in the 1980s; LSE in the 1990s; LSE in the 2000s; Campus; LSE Library


Track 1 [26:29] [Session one 2 September 2015] Graham Paul Camfield [GC], born 1952. Academic Support Librarian, British Library of Political and Economic Science. [00:20] GC remembers joining LSE in November 1976 for his first Library cataloguing job; previously studied for a MA in Librarianship at Sheffield and work experience in UCL Law Library. [00:30] GC recalls role in cataloguing department working on Russian and East European languages. [1:09]. GC recalls meeting an elderly colleague Dr Marjorie Plant. [1:27] GC describes the Library in the Old Building and the compact campus. [1:52] GC remembers that Library colleagues were welcoming and that this is an enduring theme. [2:11] GC comments that all his work was carefully checked. [2:34] GC describes the research collections in closed access and staff had to request items for fetching; most in Old Building with strange location names e.g. tennis court and battleship; there were reading rooms on ground and upper floors. [2:55] GC remembers that undergraduates could not borrow from Main Library; the teaching library was in the East Building. [3:40] GC recalls that all work was checked before went into card catalogue. [3:55] GC describes the Law Library with high shelves and ladders. [4:11] GC compares doing original cataloguing with modern practice of acquiring catalogue records from other libraries and book suppliers. [4:35]. GC remembers there was no information desk or help for readers and no liaison with academic departments; there was some tension between Library and School. [5:25] GC recalls that there were more eccentrics among academics and library staff. [5:53] GC recounts his career starting as a junior cataloguer, moving to Spanish and Latin American book selection, joining a Collection Development within a new department, Information Services focussing on foreign language material selection. [6:23] GC recalls his appointment as head of Collection Development in 2000. [7:20] GC notes the challenge of dealing with the pace of change in technology and social media. [7:45] GC recalls the move to the Lionel Robbins Building in 1976 and change to a mainly open access Library. [9:00]. GC describes the 1999-2001 refurbishment and re- location in Southampton Buildings and storage off the Old Kent Road. [10:07] GC comments that Lionel Robbins Building was closed for 18 months but services closed for a single day. [11:04] GC describes Southampton Buildings and the current Library building. [11:25] GC praises the Library’s important collections, particularly in Russian, the Library’s place in the forefront of developments and his library colleagues. [12:24] GC praises the Library’s Russian collections but notes the Library has many ‘gems’ which deserve to be better known. [13:37] GC talks about the acquisition of the Women’s Library and its links with the Library’s wider collections making it the obvious place for the Women’s Library. [14:24] GC notes that the Library is now closer to the School and improvements in communication. [16:49] GC notes the expansion of the campus. [17:20] GC discusses the likely impact of digital publishing and digitisation on the use of library space and collections and its impact on students. [18:12] GC speculates about changes in student use of the library, noting social use of the Library and the popularity of the bean bags. [20:15] GC discusses the design of the Library and strategies for dealing with noise; compares Library with Maugham Library at King’s College; notes the impact of mobile phones. [23:20]

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