Today we are continuing our series of blog posts written by the wonderful crew of volunteers who work tirelessly on the Library collections. This week it’s the turn of overseas student Courtney, who has been working her magic on the Belle Vue collection for the last few months. Courtney writes:
Before I even stepped through the doors of Chetham’s, I was head over heels for this library. Being a graduate of Library Science specialising in rare books and manuscripts, I was well aware of the importance of this long-lived treasure. I started communicating with the Librarian back in September when I first started looking at volunteering abroad, and he has been more than gracious in allowing me to share my knowledge and eagerness. I arrived soon after the Library had received a grant from the Esmée Fairbairn Collections Fund for its Belle Vue collection. The grant has allowed the Library to create digital images to be accessed globally, while also encouraging local involvement to enrich the collection’s content. The dedication of staff members to this project has developed a strong connection with the community, and it has been exciting to see the enthusiastic response from Manchester people who remember this amazing place.
It has been a great honour to help with the work of digitising. I have especially enjoyed working with the collection of Brian Selby, who has graciously allowed his collection to be digitised. His postcard collection was a delight, as I collect postcards myself (one of the many collections I have accumulated over the years). I have equally enjoyed piecing together the history of Belle Vue through the various scrapbooks of news clippings. I will continue volunteering at Chetham’s until the end of May. I was accepted on the University of Manchester’s Art Gallery and Museum Studies program and will be returning in September to gain more experience. My time at Chetham’s has taught me so much about my future career as a librarian. I have enjoyed learning more about the city I walk through and have come to appreciate the the people and history this city has to offer. I feel unbelievably blessed to have had this opportunity and will always be grateful for the kindness that has been extended to me during my time at Chetham’s.