Friday, 15 January 2021

A Fonds Farewell

The archives gang are breaking up! (sob)

The Fonds is leaving! Having selfishly allowed himself to age into retirement, he shall exit the building at 5pm today, an archivist no longer. No more cataloguing photos of women spinning and making cheese, no more family history research, no more chasing rowdy teens from the building and no more getting called in the middle of the night when the fire alarm goes off.

The old library building.

the old archives

This is a big loss to the Orkney Library and Archive. The Fonds first came to work at the Laing Street building as the photo archivist in 1986 and was promoted to head archivist in 2010. He takes with him a wealth of knowledge, information and unflappable calmness which are irreplaceable. More importantly, he was the only one of us who could work out the duty rota without being reduced to tears and, not having much of a sweet tooth, he left the buns alone.

The Fonds has contributed posts for this blog over the years and many of them can be seen here. The brighter ones among you will notice that keen music fan Fonds has included many songs titles in the blog headings, a fact which escaped the notice of Dusty and myself for some years.

Covid restrictions mean that there will be no boozy send off and we won't be able to cling to his ankles as he leaves the building for the last time begging him to check the fuse box one last time or at the very least to show us how to scan negatives as we were too busy thinking about Strictly the last time he showed us.

Our plan is to form a (socially distant) choir and warble this out the library and archive windows at him at 5pm GMT. Do join in if you feel like it:

Farewell Fonds! (Although we reserve the right to pester you by phone with all the stuff we can't find/remember/know over the next decade.)


  1. Great working with you David - all the best for your retirement. I know you'll be missed at the Orkney Library/Archive and further afield!

  2. David, thank you very much for all your help, especially your prompt replies when the archive was closed last year.

  3. Wishing you a Fonds farewell, David. Having worked in the Archives at Michigan State University when I was a student there, and the leader retired, I know what your co-workers are feeling. They wish you well, of course, and will miss you for a long time to come. But here's to a happy retirement, and many years of fun new things for you to find out about!

  4. David has been remarkably helpful to me during visits to the Orkney Library as I worked on my George Mackay Brown website. He has been unfailingly generous and thoughtful. And this past year, when I preparing an edition of GMB's Christmas stories, he even went into the library to find a few stories that I no longer had access to because of the pandemic. Thank you, thank you, David.

    Bill Peterson
    (Washington, D.C.)

  5. What a lovely blog. Wishing you a lovely retirement, David. As a student with summer jobs in the archive (yes, I recognise that picture of the old archive!), David was unfailingly helpful and supportive. I still remember those summers very fondly - Alison, David, Colin and everyone else in the Laing Street building. Susan


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