Minutes of the meeting of Friends of the Launceston Mechanics’ Institute
held in the Phil Leonard Room, Launceston LINC, at 4 pm. on Tuesday 11 November 2014.
Present: Jenny Gill, Andrew Parsons, Bob McKinnon, Lucille Gee, Mary Dent, Helen Stuart, Angela Prosser-Green, Gus Green, Keith Adkins, Mike McCausland, Prue McCausland, Peter Richardson, Sarah Katarzynski, Richard Pickup, Sue McClarron, Emily McClarron, John Dent, Nella Pickup
Apologies: Stefan Petrow, Julieanne Richards, Pam Baragwanath, Dorothy Rosemann, Gill Morris, Lorraine Scales, Anna Lynde.
Minutes of the last ordinary meeting of FOLMI on the 2 May 2014 had been distributed by email shortly afterwards; there was no business arising from them to be dealt with.
Correspondence: The secretary summarised, rather than read out, the main matters occurring in written and emailed correspondence since the last meeting. They consisted of exchanges with LINC Tasmania and QVMAG concerning the distribution of parts of the LMI Collection between the three agencies, and applications for grants from the Community Heritage Grants scheme (for a significance assessment of the Collection) and Arts Tasmania (for a display case under the Lynne Stacpoole Caring for your Collection Grant Program). Moved Mike McCausland, seconded Bob McKinnon that the report be endorsed.
Finances: The treasurer reported that the current balance was $2406. An account of $467.88 was presented for the purchase of a plane ticket for Dr Susan Marsden to come to Launceston from Adelaide to conduct a significance assessment. Moved Richard Pickup, seconded Gus Green that the report be received and the account paid. Carried.
Community Heritage Grant Award: The president reported on FOLMI’s success in winning an award to have a significance assessment conducted on the LMI Collection, on his trip to Canberra to receive the award and attend a three-day workshop, and on the securing of Dr Susan Marsden to undertake the assessment.
Progress of work on the LMI Collection: Peter Richardson reported on several projects – listed in the President's report below – including: comparison of the holdings in the Collection with those listed in TROVE and those at the Ballaarat Mechanics’ Institute; a survey of printed catalogues of the LMI; photographing of the four accession registers available; recording all LMI books in the Launceston Local Studies collections; separating out books from other institutions and libraries and transferring them to the QVMAG; and investigating interesting aspects of the Collection such as the 100+ volumes of Dr Lardner’s Cabinet Cyclopaedia, books by and about lady travellers and explorers, and publishing on the FOLMI blogspot and Flickr website galleries of bookplates, binders tickets, invitations and members’ tickets.
Housing the Collection: the president reported that although a variety of avenues to find a permanent home had been pursued, none had been successful as yet. Discussion of further possibilities followed, and a resolution was passed to follow several of these up.
Call for volunteers for projects: The secretary outlined two possible larger projects that would entail participation by numbers of members. One, already begun by Sue and Emily McClarron, is the digitising of entries in the accession registers. This would be most efficiently conducted in pairs, and would create a spreadsheet recording the accession number, author, short title and other details from what was essentially a stock record of all items once held by the LMI. By experience Sue and Emily found that each page takes more than half an hour to type up, and as there are over 1200 pages in the registers, this is a very long-term task. The second project is to make an inventory of the nonfiction books now shelved in D007 at UTAS. This involves people working in pairs, one to read out the identification and publication details of each book in order on the shelf and the other to handwrite the details onto a form. Several pairs could work at the same time, and record sheets organised in a filing cabinet in D007. It is important to complete this task while books are openly accessible; there is uncertainty whether they may need to be reboxed in March 2015. Mary Dent pointed out that she and another staff member had made a card catalogue of all books in the Stack at Launceston Library , which covered the nonfiction. It was agreed that a thorough search would be made for the card catalogue, and if it was not found the project to make the inventory would begin immediately. Members present indicated their willingness to be involved, and an invitation to all members is to be circulated.
Significance assessment: Peter Richardson outlined arrangements for Dr Marsden’s visit to conduct the significance assessment. She will be in Launceston 7-11 December, and spend some time at QVMAG and Launceston LINC, but will mostly be based at D007. She will be given access to all parts of the Collection and supplied with as much information about the Collection as FOLMI and existing records can provide. It was suggested that members be invited to meet her on the afternoon of Wednesday to learn about the assessment process and outcome to that stage.
“What the Mechanics’ Institute means to me”: In order to extend the scope of oral history accounts of the LMI members are asked to jot down their memories of the Institute, even if these are only of passing by the building or seeing it demolished, but ideally would be about using the library or attending events there. Members are also asked to gather stories from friends and relatives who may have frequented the building or heard accounts from parents or others. Attached is a notice outlining the idea. It would be particularly useful to have these stories available to pass on to Dr Marsden as assessor by 8 December.
General discussion of issues raised during the meeting followed, and the meeting concluded at 5:15pm.