Keeping Scottish social enterprise stories

It has been a memorable year and one that we will remember for the rest of our lives.  But although we have been living through the same pandemic, everybody’s experience of life under COVID-19 has been different.  Like many, the social enterprise sector has struggled with lock-down, businesses closed, staff furloughed, often relying on additional funding to keep their heads above the water.  But it has also been a time where social enterprises have come to the fore, stepping in to meet local needs and provide vital services for their communities.  Social enterprises have demonstrated their value by providing services like food for vulnerable and needy people, bikes for frontline workers, activities for children, and shown how business motivated by serving the public good, rather than self-profit, has helped strengthen communities. Continue reading

Archive Centre update on our Scottish Government funded social enterprise project

The first phase of the Scottish Government funded project, ‘Future Development of the Social Enterprise Collection (Scotland)’, has now come to an end.  The University’s Archive Centre and Yunus Centre for Social Business and Health have been working on the project since November 2018 to preserve and catalogue existing social enterprise collections and carry out research and outreach work to showcase and build on the collections. Although the Archive Centre reading room is closed at the moment and there is no access to the physical collections, we are able to share digital outputs of the project with you. Continue reading

Sir Alex Ferguson: my story in objects

Sir Alexander Chapman Ferguson CBE has enjoyed a spectacular career in football, both as a player and manager. He was born in Govan on Hogmanay 1941 to parents Alexander, a plater’s helper in the shipbuilding industry, and Elizabeth (née Hardie). After obtaining his Secondary School Certificate he completed an apprenticeship as a toolmaker with Remington Rand. His senior football playing career lasted from 1958 to 1974, when he entered management with East Stirlingshire, St Mirren and Aberdeen, before joining Manchester United in 1986. Continue reading

What we do

My brother is getting married this weekend, and along with revising my best man speech (gulp), I’m also anticipating a lot of relatives and newly minted in-laws asking the perennial question; what is it you do again?

sign for GCU Archive Centre in foreground. Behind can see red lockers

GCU Archive Centre reading room

As ever, I’ll smile and reply that I work as an archive assistant. They’ll nod, pause and then ask, but what do you do? And that’s where it gets tricky.

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Getting social in the archives

The life of a project archivist can sometimes be quite isolated.  You can spend hours on your own in the archives arranging and cataloguing records. But sometimes a project comes along where you get to interact more with people, as I have discovered working on the Social Enterprise Collection (Scotland).

Colour photograph of Project Archivist working at a desk with bundles of papers with Archive Centre banner in the background.

Working on records in the Archive Centre

Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) Archive Centre holds the Social Enterprise Collection (Scotland) which is a national archive of records from organisations and individuals involved in the social enterprise movement across Scotland.  Continue reading

Summer shelving project

Big changes are coming to the library this summer, making it easier for our students and staff to find the books and journals they’re looking for.

In response to student feedback, the mobile shelving on levels two, three and four of the Saltire Centre will be converted to static shelving. The books and journals currently held on the mobile and existing static shelves will also be integrated, meaning library users will no longer have to go to different sets of shelves to see all of the material on any one subject.

Robert Ruthven, Director of Library Services, said: “Our students have told us that they find the mobile shelving off-putting and difficult to use. This is also reflected in the low usage of the material that’s held in this shelving.

“We’re, therefore, moving these books and journals to static shelving, meaning the material that’s currently ‘hidden’ in the mobile shelving will be easy to find by users as they browse.

“This is a huge project for the library, which involves moving almost every book and journal in our collection.”

The work will be carried out over the summer months, which is typically a quieter period for the library.

To keep disruption to a minimum, work will be carried out on one floor at a time, starting on level four in May, after the exams have ended. Each floor will be closed and the material held on that floor will be unavailable to users for about four weeks while the work progresses. The work is due to be complete by early August.

Robert said: “To give our users as much access to our physical collection as possible, we’re encouraging them to borrow early in advance of the floor closures. We will not charge fines on items borrowed over the summer period and we’re investing in additional e-books. Our inter-library loan service is also available to all students and staff.”

The mobile shelving on Level 0 of the Saltire Centre will not be converted to static shelving. Instead, its electronic-management system will be upgraded and it will be used to house low-use items that have not been borrowed for more than ten years. At the end of the project this material will be available on request and will be fetched by library staff.

The mobile shelving in our Archives Centre, which holds the University’s archives and special collections, is also being upgraded to securely house these resources for many years to come.

Gifts that keep on giving

To meet someone gifting to the Archive Centre is (at least for this writer) in parts agreeable, humbling, and slightly nerve-inducing – exacerbated manifold if the materials are of personal or sentimental value.

The neatly folded and dry-cleaned blazer which Doreen Blanche brought to the reading room had belonged to her late mother and was the first of its kind received to Glasgow Caledonian University Archive Centre. Pale blue with purple stripes, it was worn by students of the Glasgow and West of Scotland College of Domestic Science – colloquially and affectionately referred to as the ‘Dough School’. Later renamed The Queen’s College, Glasgow, it is a founding institution of GCU.

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