The Insurance Museum is presently in discussion with the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) over the future of the CII Library. The Library has been important for researchers and trainees in the insurance sector for 88 years but, in recent times, the way people use library collections has changed from visiting a physical reading room to using online resources.
The beginnings of the CII Library Collection goes back to 1912, when the then Insurance Institute of Great Britain and Ireland put in its objectives ‘to encourage the study of all subjects bearing on every branch of insurance, and to form a Library for the use of members’. This objective was then written into the 1912 Charter as the obligation for the CII to maintain a library of resources related to insurance for the benefit of its members.
However, it was not until the opening of the Insurance Hall in 1934 that the Chartered Insurance Institute Library was established. Prior to that date, federated Insurance Institutes maintained insurance libraries across the UK and Ireland. The CII Library was initially operated in conjunction with the Insurance Institute of London Library. The intention was to run both libraries side by side, the London Insurance Institute Library as a lending library for members of that institute and the Chartered Insurance Institute Library as a reference library for all members. Both libraries eventually merged into one single Library as a resource for all members.
Today, the library database holds some 50,000 records across different categories. These include 39,626 books and articles, 8,751 periodicals and just under 3,000 other electronic, microform and miscellaneous records. The collection is varied and historic. It includes agents’ records (1822-1955), annual reports, accounts, (1776-1966), deeds or articles of settlement, acts of Parliament and regulations (1699-1845), historical notes, newspaper articles and leaflets (1708-1981). Some of the books date back to the 16th century.
Subject to the successful conclusion of these discussions, the Insurance Museum plans to keep the library for future prosperity, public access, the insurance sector and academic researchers. The storage, upkeep and conservation of the Library will be an ongoing cost for the Insurance Museum.