Care for a community care library

The Sir Roy Griffiths Library of Community Care

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The Personal Social Services Research Unit (PSSRU) recently donated their Roy Griffiths Library of Community Care collection to the Templeman Library. The collection consists of printed materials on topics related to community care dating from the 1970’s to present day. If you are interested in social sciences, and in particular community care, this collection will be of relevance to you.

How to access the Sir Roy Griffiths Library of Community Care

All items are available to use and are discoverable by typing “Roy Griffiths Collection” into Library Search, the collection is arranged by Library of Congress classification and available in various locations dependant on dominant subject area.

Staff and students at the University of Kent can consult and borrow materials in the usual way via the borrow and renew terminals throughout the library, using KentOne cards.

Visitors to the library have the option to borrow materials either via the SCONUL Access scheme if staff or researchers affiliated to other educational institutions or by obtaining borrower membership. Regular visitors to the library who just wish to consult materials without borrowing can also obtain a visitor card, to allow access to the library and materials.

A rare and valuable collection

PSSRU’s Sir Roy Griffiths Library of Community Care collection has been developed over 40 years and is half way between being a library and an archive. This is because although most of the material is printed, a lot of it is grey literature which will now be difficult to find elsewhere or will be scattered across different locations. There are very few other catalogued and publicly available collections of this kind relating to community care; the Centre for Policy on Ageing (which also houses materials from the Roy Griffiths Library) and its AgeInfo  Information Service being the only other specialist library for this area of research.

Grey literature – it’s not all on the internet!

It’s easy to think that the papers of government departments, the research reports of commissions, charities and think tanks and the discussion papers of university research centres, are all available via the internet. But this is not always the case. This sort of material is called grey literature

Grey literature has been defined as “that which is produced on all levels of government, academics, business and industry in print and electronic formats, but which is not controlled by commercial publishers, i.e. where publishing is not the primary activity of the producing body” 1

Because grey literature has not been published in a conventional way, it and can be difficult to find and get hold of through the usual routes.

It is particularly difficult to find grey literature for research produced in the 1990s, the period in which the internet gained so much importance. Organisations stopped producing their literature in print form and relied on the internet to disseminate electronic publications, but at the same time insufficient consideration was given to the future identification and preservation of these items.

This means that PSSRU’s Roy Griffiths Library collection is particularly valuable as it contains a lot of grey literature from the 1970s-2000s before and during the emergence of the internet as the predominant means of communication.

History of the Sir Roy Griffiths Library

The Library was established in April 1976 to accommodate books, journals, papers and reports relevant to the PSSRU’s research on personal social services and related topics. Initially the holdings were accommodated in Martin Knapp’s office, catalogued according to a specially designed system of keywords and assigned an acquisition number. Martin was supported by a secretarial colleague who updated the catalogue and circulated regular lists of new acquisitions. By mid-1979, the Library had grown to some 1,400 items.

By the end of the 1980s, the Library had outgrown its accommodation, and plans were made to create a purpose-built library in a larger room, with dedicated library furniture and space for the Librarian, visitors and researchers. Sir Roy Griffiths (8th July 1926-28th March 1994) role in writing the report Community Care: Agenda for Action, led the Founding Director of the PSSRU, Professor Bleddyn Davies, to approach Sir Roy to see whether he would be willing to give his name to the new Library, and Sir Roy graciously agreed.

The Sir Roy Griffiths Library of Community Care was opened by Sir Roy on 28th January 1991, by which time it contained some 10,000 items. Even with a dedicated Library room, the acquisitions outgrew the space available. This pressure was partly eased by the move to electronic journals, managed by the University Library, and the disposal of paper copies. Nonetheless, the Griffiths Library had grown to over 18,000 items by 2016. A large number of PSSRU staff have been involved in running the Library during its 40-year history. Space precludes naming them all.

And now

Most of the collection is in the Templeman Library.
PSSRU’s move to new premises at the University of Kent was a good time for a review of the future of the collection. Happily an agreement was reached for the majority of the collection to be moved into the Templeman library. Once duplicate items were removed, we carried out a project, funded by PSSRU, to catalogue and make available these resources in the Templeman Library. These items are a great addition to our collections and complement our current holdings of journal and series runs and our government publication holdings

About the Personal Social Services Research Unit

The PSSRU was established at the University of Kent at Canterbury in October 1974 by Professor Bleddyn Davies. In 1996, two additional branches of the  PSSRU were established at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and the University of Manchester. The Unit’s research focuses on needs, resources and outcomes in social and health care, with particular emphasis on economic aspects of community care, residential and nursing home provision, social care markets and commissioning, long-term care finance, and mental health policy. The PSSRU has long had close and productive links with policy-makers in the UK and elsewhere and its annual volumes of Unit Costs of Health and Social Care are widely used by policy-makers, providers and the research community.

  1. Schöpfel, J.; Farace, D.J. (2010). “Grey Literature”. In Bates, M.J.; Maack, M.N. Encyclopedia of Library and Information Sciences (3rd ed.). Boca Raton, Fla.: CRC Press. pp. 2029–2039. ISBN 9780849397127.

One response to “Care for a community care library

  1. Congratulations. A splendid decision to organise and keep these materials. Well done Kent. Great imagination and investment.

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