This post was written by Kate Wilcox (IHR) and Jordan Landes (Senate House Library) during Libraries week 2017.
We are excited that the fifth History Day event will be held on 31 October. The event began in 2014 as a way to bring libraries and archives together in promoting collections and enabling researchers to discover more about them. Information professionals regularly direct researchers to sources in other places, so it seemed a natural progression to bring displays about those collections and the people involved together in one location.
The day includes a history fair where libraries, archives, historical organisations and publishers have stands, a one-stop celebration of history collections. Researchers can browse the materials, chat to staff members and discover more about sources for their research. Librarians and archivists can meet users and colleagues and refresh their knowledge of other collections.
The first History Day was held in conjunction with the Committee of London Research Libraries in History, a group of history librarians from around London, and the number of stands has grown steadily from 22 in 2014 to around 50 this year. Organisations range from the large to the small, and cover both general and specific subjects areas as well as networks of libraries and archives such as the Feminist and Women’s Libraries and Archives Network and the Engineering Institutions’ Librarians Group.
The organisations attending have expanded beyond London. This year, Gladstone’s Library, Historic England Archive & Library, St Peter’s House Library of the University of Brighton, US History collections at the Bodleian Libraries and the University of Cambridge Museums (UCM) Archive Collections are all coming for the first time. Other types of organisations include the History of Parliament and the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, and we will be welcoming our first European organization, Archives Portal Europe. A full list of participating organisations can be found on the History Day 2017 event page.
Alongside the history fair there will be panel sessions on topics useful and interesting to postgraduate and early career researchers. This year’s sessions are on the themes of Public History, Discovery in Libraries and Archives, and Digital History.
Throughout the year we share blog posts on a range of subjects on the related History Collections website. A special theme this year, given the date of History Day, is ‘Magic and the Supernatural’. Recent posts have covered the Harry Price Library of Magical Literature in Senate House Library, records of witchcraft at the London Metropolitan Archives, and vampires at the UCL School of Slavonic and Eastern European Studies.
Free registration is open to everyone. You can also follow and post about the event on twitter using #histday17 and we will be sharing podcasts after the event.