2012 AGM minutes


(the UK Libraries and Archives Group on Africa)

 Minutes of the 50th Annual General Meeting held at the Rothermere American Institute, Oxford, on Tuesday 26th  June 2012

Present: Sheila Allcock, Shirley Ardener, Mandy Banton, Terry Barringer, David Clover, Gwil Colenso, Ian Cooke, Maria del Rosario, David Easterbrook, Halima Egberongbe, Joseph Essel, Marilyn Glanfield, Kate Haines, Nara Improta, Nicholas Jackson, Diana Jeater, Rose Kgosiemang, Busi Khangala, Tony Kirk-Greene, Pat Larby, Peter Limb, Ian MacQueen, Lucy McCann, John McIlwaine, Stephanie Newell, John Pinfold, Ranka Primorac, Helen Rehin, Sarah Rhodes, Catherine Robertson, Rachel Rowe, Amidu Sanni, Chris Saunders, Juerg Schneider, Barbara Spina, Ilse Sternberg, Guy Thomas, Susan Tschabrun, Marion Wallace, Elizabeth Williams, Clive Wilson, Dawn Wright, Massimo Zaccaria and David Zeitlyn.

Apologies were received from David Blake, Dan Gilfoyle and Alison Metcalfe.


1. Minutes of last meeting

The minutes of the 49th Annual General Meeting were approved as a true and complete record.


2. Report of the Chair

Marion Wallace presented her first report as Chair. She commented in particular on the launch of the new website, the approach from Taylor and Francis to publish African Research and Documentation and the review of ARD which this prompted, and SCOLMA’ s continuing involvement with ELIAS and ASAUK. She particularly thanked our web manager, Marilyn Glanfield; the ARD editorial team of Terry Barringer, John Pinfold and Ian Cooke; our Secretary, Lucy McCann and Treasurer, Ian Cooke; and this year’s conference organising committee, for all their hard work.


3. Financial statement and approval of audited accounts

Ian Cooke presented the audited accounts. 2011 had been a quiet year financially due to the conference being smaller than usual. Membership/subscriptions were slightly down at circa 160.  African Research and Documentation had made a loss as it was the third year since the last subscription rise. No interest is received on our bank account and Ian advised looking again at our investments.

The audited accounts were approved.

It was proposed and agreed to re-appoint Peter Westley as auditor.


4. Appointment of Officers and Committee

The following nominations were put forward:

Chair – Marion Wallace, British Library

Secretary – Lucy McCann, Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford

Treasurer – Ian Cooke, British Library

Editor – Terry Barringer  (individual member)

Development officer – Catherine Robertson, University of Birmingham Library

Web manager – Marilyn Glanfield, Library, Centre of African Studies, University of Cambridge

Programme secretary – Dan Gilfoyle, The National Archives

Ordinary members:

Alison Metcalfe, National Library of Scotland (elected 2011)

Barbara Spina, SOAS Library (elected 2011)

David Clover, Commonwealth Studies Library, University of London (elected 2012, previously co-opted)

Helen Rehin, British Library for Development Studies, IDS, University of Sussex (elected 2012, previously co-opted)

John Pinfold (individual member) (elected 2012)

ASAUK rep: Stephanie Newell, University of Sussex

The above were declared elected.

The following were co-opted onto the Committee: Sarah Rhodes (Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford) and Dawn Wright (SOAS Library).


5. Proposed changes to SCOLMA constitution

The proposed changes were approved. They will be reported to the Charity Commission.


6. Membership fee and African Research and Documentation subscription

 Ian Cooke explained the proposed increases in the membership fee and subscription rate. The aim is to cover costs, not to make a profit. He proposed that the fee and rate be reviewed annually so as to avoid making a loss every three years and advised that the editors’ honorarium be reviewed against similar journals.

The proposed increases and changes were approved.


7. Nomination of David Blake as an honorary member of SCOLMA.

 The nomination was approved.


8. Any Other Business

Chris Saunders asked whether SCOLMA would issue a statement about the threat to manuscripts in Timbuktu. This was supported by John McIlwaine, and agreed by the meeting. Amidu Sanni and Stephanie Newell offered to help compose a statement and it was suggested that this could be sent to UNESCO and IFLA.

John Pinfold expressed concern about the collections at the now closed British Empire and Commonwealth Museum in Bristol and asked what the procedures were to reclaim material which had been loaned. Marion Wallace replied that this had been discussed at the last SCOLMA committee meeting and that she was writing to the Museum on behalf of SCOLMA.

Peter Limb raised the question of online access to journals. Marion Wallace replied that SCOLMA had begun to look at Open Access for African Research and Documentation.




Chair’s Report

 SCOLMA reaches its 50th anniversary this year, and I feel very privileged to be Chair at this important juncture in its history.

The past year has again been a very active and positive one.



I think it’s fair to say that SCOLMA is characterised by a practical, ‘can-do’ and cooperative attitude. We benefit very much from the commitment of committee members and the goodwill of a wide circle of friends and supporters, in this country and around the world. I’d like to start by thanking everyone who has contributed to the organisation, last year and indeed over the last fifty years.

In particular, I would like to thank two very important people: Lucy McCann, SCOLMA Secretary since 2009, who does a magnificent job of keeping the minutes, organising meetings and many other functions without which the role of Chair would be much more difficult; and Ian Cooke, who has been doing sterling work as Treasurer since 2005. I’m pleased to say that both of them will be continuing in these offices for another year. I’d also like to thank my predecessor as Chair, Barbara Spina, for all her hard work in this role.

At this AGM we lose a long-standing committee member and past Chair, David Blake, whose new job means that he can no longer continue with SCOLMA. Many thanks to David for all he has done over the years.



In October we launched SCOLMA’s new website, restructured and redesigned, and for the first time with its own domain (www.scolma.org). The new site, which has received general approval, includes all the information on the old pages (updated) as well as space for news reports, items about our collections and events, the contents of our journal and a good selection of links. You can even now follow us on Twitter – something which, we hope, will help to increase our profile among postgraduates and which we can use to keep them informed about research resources.

Many people worked hard on the new website, and I’d like to thank especially Marilyn Glanfield, who has become our web manager, and Paul Nevard of MPN Electrical Ltd, who designed the site. Thanks are also due to our previous webmaster, Clive Wilson.


Africa Desk

As reported at last year’s AGM, this online directory of UK and European libraries with African collections (http://www.africadesk.ac.uk/directory/viewalllibraries/) is another fruit of SCOLMA’s labours, and replaces the previous print directories. This year the baton has passed to David Clover and Sarah Rhodes, who have kindly taken over from David Blake. More entries for the directory would be very welcome.


African Research and Documentation

This has been another productive year for our journal. We continue to publish a mixture of solicited and unsolicited articles from librarians, academics and others from Africa, North America and Europe. Two of the 2011 issues were produced in the last year, and a third (117) is at the printer, bringing us up-to-date with 2011. We are particularly pleased with no. 116, ‘Africa, Sport and the Archive: The SCOLMA Conference 2011’.

Last year we were approached by Taylor and Francis, who were interested in taking over the publication of ARD. After a special meeting in September and further consideration by a sub-committee, we decided that it our journal should retain its independence – partly because it is a forum for both practitioners and academics. The exercise was productive in helping us to define the journal’s identity and mission more precisely, as well as areas for future work: we decided i.a. to move to selective peer-review, look at pricing, and create an international editorial board. We also decided to clarify our online presence, particularly in Africa, and to look at the possibility of open access publication (although we have concerns about the financial implications).

ARD has been run by a dynamic team of three for several years now, and I would like to thank Terry Barringer (Editor), John Pinfold (Deputy Editor) and Ian Cooke for their hard work this year. Thanks are also due to David Clover and other colleagues for their work on the sub-committee. I would also like to note with gratitude the work of Doppler, who have been our efficient and cooperative printers for many years.


Meetings and seminars

The SCOLMA committee held four meetings this year, on 6.9.11 (London), 9.11.11 (Oxford), 24.1.12 and 24.4.12 (both London). One seminar was held. This very enjoyable and informative talk was given by Dr Lotte Hughes (Open University) on 9.11.11 on the subject of ‘Managing Heritage, Building Peace: A Study of Heritage and Memory Issues in Contemporary Kenya’. Thanks are due to our new and former Seminar Secretaries, Dan Gilfoyle and Marilyn Glanfield, for organising this meeting.



Planning for this year’s conference, ‘Dis/connects: African Studies in the Digital Age’, began well over a year ago, with the intention of holding a two-day event, and a conference dinner, to mark our first fifty years. The conference planning group consists of Terry Barringer, Ian Cooke, Dan Gilfoyle, Lucy McCann, John Pinfold, Sarah Rhodes and Marion Wallace; many thanks are due to all, with a special mention of the huge amount of work involved in sorting out the practicalities in Oxford.

An early decision was that the conference would be analytical in its approach to the digital revolution, and we are delighted that this has proved a popular theme and has attracted speakers from Europe, Africa and the US, and about ninety participants in all.

We have also been fortunate enough to raise some sponsorship for the conference (in particular from the Centre of African Studies, University of London; the African Studies Association (UK) and the Royal African Society; and Taylor and Francis). This has enabled us i.a. to bring over our keynote speaker, Christine Kanyengo, Deputy Librarian of the University of Zambia Library, and to organise a week-long programme for her. I would like to thank all who have contributed financially in a variety of ways, and all the individuals and organisations helping with Christine’s programme.


European Librarians in African Studies (ELIAS)

This year’s very informative meeting was held in Basel, Switzerland, on 11 May, and was attended by three SCOLMA members. The subjects covered included African collections in Basel, as well as current issues in Africana librarianship and archives across Europe.

Barbara Spina stood down this year from the ELIAS steering group, having been a member since the organisation’s inception in 2007. I would like to thank her for her commitment to nurturing this important collaborative venture. I’m pleased to report that SCOLMA member David Clover successfully stood for the steering group in her place.


African Studies Association (UK)

SCOLMA and ASAUK continue to cooperate and share information through representation on each other’s managing bodies. I am now on ASAUK, and SCOLMA is pleased to have the input of ASAUK’s Vice-President, Prof. Stephanie Newell.

With the support of the SCOLMA committee, I nominated Terry Barringer for ASAUK’s biannual Distinguished Africanist Award in March. There was stiff competition and the nomination was unsuccessful (one reason, I understand, being that Terry is too young!), but the exercise allowed us to celebrate Terry’s achievements and to emphasise the importance of Africana librarianship.



During the year we began to review the status of the SCOLMA archive, which is held at SOAS. We decided that the archive should remain there on indefinite loan. Over the coming year we will regularise the paperwork and clarify our records management policy.


Africa links

One of SCOLMA’s strengths, as mentioned earlier, is its networking. In recent years, we have built much stronger relations with European librarians through ELIAS; we also have good links with the Africana Librarians Council in the US. We have also recently begun to develop a stronger informal network of librarians, archivists and researchers working in several African countries, and we are very pleased that several participants in this conference have travelled from Africa. We are nevertheless, aware that there is a lot of scope for developing and maintaining these networks (which have probably been more active at some points in our past history).

The ELIAS meeting addressed the question of keeping in regular contact with librarians and archivists based in Africa. It decided to invite our contacts to join ELIAS as associate members and to subscribe to the ELIAS email list (elias@list.ecompass.nl); there is also the option to follow @SCOLMA on Twitter. ELIAS also plans to use IFLA to advertise its existence and make new contacts.

SCOLMA is also interested in developing some form of partnership working with African libraries and / or archives, as well as being in closer direct contact – for example by attending, if we can, regional library and / or archives meetings. In our fiftieth anniversary year, we will be discussing how to take this forward, and would welcome input from our members and supporters.

It only remains to say that I hope you have enjoyed this 50th anniversary conference, and that you will come back next year as SCOLMA embarks on its second half-century.

Marion Wallace, Chair




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