Value of Bolton’s museums, archives and libraries

Another thing mentioned by Simon Matty was the monetary value placed by the inhabitants of Bolton on the museum, library and archive services provided by the Metropolitan Borough Council. The full report of the consultants is available from MLA North West. I was amazed to discover that the archive service only costs the citizens of Bolton 17 pence a month each. The average price that non-users were willing to pay to maintain the service was a respectable 68 pence. Those who actually used the service would be willing to pay a whopping

‘Public Value’

Simon Matty of MLA gave a talk about the concept of Public Value at the NCA event. The impression he gave was that it is now being seen as increasingly important to get the public to speak on behalf of service providers about the value they attach to organisations such as archives, libraries and museums. This seems to represent a move away from measuring the number of visitors and towards trying to demonstrate the quality of the users’ experience.

Simon noted that 6.2% of adults (according to the Taking Part survey undertaken by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport) have visited an archive. We thought this was actually quite a high figure, although as Rebecca Simor of the BBC pointed out, it doesn’t include any measure of online use, which is something that interests us particularly.

Evidence of our Value – our Value as Evidence

Jane and I went to the National Council on Archives’ one-day conference in Birmingham yesterday. There were some excellent talks by users of archives, particularly that by Dr Dennis Wheeler of the University of Sunderland. He was describing the CLIWOC project, which is using naval logbooks to chart weather conditions in the world’s oceans between 1750 and 1850.


This is the first posting of the Archives Hub team’s blog. We plan to use this to post news about the activities and interests of the members of the Archives Hub team.