GIG visit to Tate Britain Library & Archive GIG visit to Tate Britain Library & Archive...

GIG visit to Tate Britain Library & Archive GIG visit to Tate Britain Library & Archive Friday 3rd August,
GIG visit to Tate Britain Library & Archive GIG visit to Tate Britain Library & Archive Friday 3rd August,
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Transcript of GIG visit to Tate Britain Library & Archive GIG visit to Tate Britain Library & Archive...

  • GIG visit to Tate Britain Library & Archive Friday 3rd August, by Naomi Lees (Photos by Amy Carroll)

    Introduction On a hot August day, the Government Information Group went on a visit to the Tate Library & Archive, located in Tate Britain (ah, thank goodness for climate controlled libraries!). We were shown around this fascinating collection relating to British and international art by library and archive staff. We were shown artefacts from the collection, which is made up of the library collection, the Archive of British Art, and the Tate's Public Records. These are described below.

    Tate Library The main collection of the Tate Library contains:

    Around 150,000 exhibition catalogues from around the world

    Books on artists, art theory, art history, and artistic practice

    Journals and e-resources

    Tate Publications, including Tate exhibition catalogues and other publications by Tate publishing

    Printed ephemera, including private view invitations, flyers etc.

    Audio visual material, including documentary audio and video recordings and press cuttings relating to artists

    Maxine Miller, the librarian at the Tate was particularly keen to show us the special collections that reside in the library, this includes:

    Approximately 6,500 artist books dating from the 1960s onwards. We got to see some examples of flip books and other wonders created by artists. The collection also includes zines, demonstrating the DIY nature of production. The library has a budget of £2000 a year to buy artist books, with funds being raised for more expensive items.

    The David King Collection: A collection covering Russian history from the revolutions of 1905 and 1917 to the death of Joseph Stalin in 1953, assembled by the collector David King. It contains examples of Soviet propaganda and Russian communist history.

    Martin Parr Photobook collection: A new library acquisition including many of the most iconic volumes in the history of photography, as well as work by amateur or anonymous photographers.

    The Panchayat collection: Panchayat was a project based arts organisation whose focus was to create an archive of work by contemporary artists who were involved in producing issue-based work and work in multicultural environments. The collection contains ephemera illustrating an important link between modern art and activism.

  • Staffing The library is staffed by five librarians, whose work is split between British and international art, and a serials and e resources librarian, who has a liaison role with gallery conservation and collection care staff.

    Acquisitions Most library acquisitions come as donations. Policy stipulates that any book item given to Tate staff worth over £25 must be given to the library. This is great for the library collection, but can result in extra work where duplication occurs.

    Curatorial acquisitions, such as the David King and Martin Parr collections require extra staffing to catalogue items. The library is able to obtain contract posts to do this work, however, this does result in specialist knowledge about these collections being lost when staff leave.

    There is also the issue of more and more content being published online, especially relating to Tate exhibitions, and the need to capture and record this.

    Archive of British Art The Tate Library and Archive also contains The Archive of British Art, an important collection of over a million items relating to artists and art works from 1900, and includes materials such as letters, diaries and financial records etc. Due to the value of this collection, it is kept in a separate caged area, which we could glimpse as we wandered around the rest of the collection.

    Tate's Public Records The Tate also maintains a record of its own activities. As a non- Departmental public body, The Tate has to make records publically available, for example, via freedom of information requests.

    The archive achieved Archive Service Accreditation from the National Archive in 2018. The Library and Archive currently have a print to paper policy, with plans to look into EDRMS.

    They are currently appraising records from 1987/88, and had some examples for us to see, such as items from Peter Blake exhibition, including Peter Blake’s hand written exhibition notes.

    This was a really fascinating visit, and though the subject matter may differ from many government libraries, there remains a cross over in work around public records, freedom of information requests, and data protection. Many thanks to Maxine and Lisa for showing us the collection.

    Find out more If you are interested in finding out more, details of how to access the library can be found here: visit/tate-britain/library-archive-reading-rooms If you are visiting Tate Britain, look out for the Digital Archive Corridor, where you can flick through digitised versions of sketch- books, scrapbooks, photograph albums and other volumes from Tate's Archive. The library also runs a Show and Tell Programme, using material from Tate’s Library, Archive and Public Records’ collections to support the Tate’s main exhibition programme.