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Reassessing our Archives

At the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library we recognise that our library and archive collections contain items with racist language and/or attitudes, or which depict outdated practices. This is especially true of some of the primary sources held in our archive; such views were common at the time of the first folk revival, and continued to manifest themselves in the decades which followed. We retain such items as we believe that it would be wrong to falsify the historical record. We also believe that in order to bring about meaningful change in the present, we must learn from the wrongs of the past; historical writing and objects are important in this process. We value the input of all current and potential users into our process of reassessing our archives. If you would like to speak to VWML staff about any concerns you may have in using our collections, whether online or physically, please do not hesitate to contact us.

We are working to flag on the Library catalogue any items of stock which include any discriminatory language, views or images. This is a lengthy process and while we engage in it you may still find examples which are unacceptable to modern readers. We are also undertaking an appraisal of our classification scheme and subject headings in an effort to eliminate any reflections of the colonial world in which they were created. We are serious in our commitment to highlighting the wrongs of history and to fostering intelligent debate and positive progress in the present.