Trustees require that all branch and region publications, including magazines, newsletters and press releases*, must be checked and approved by a trustee of the Association, usually the chairman of the relevant region. Editors and others involved in the publication should ensure that they have allowed sufficient time in the process for this to happen and that an appropriate trustee is to be available to undertake the check at the required time.
(*Press releases, programme cards and similar notices relating to routine activities are excluded from the necessity for the region chairman to vet and approve them).
The purpose of the check is ensure factual correctness, that the content is not libellous or otherwise contrary to the law, and that it correctly reflects the policy of the Association as determined by trustees. Local officers should take care not to give the impression of improperly using their positions to advance their own opinions, and where the opinion of local members is to be published it should clearly be shown as such and published as a ‘letter to the editor’, or similar, and not as editorial purporting to reflect the policy or view of the Association or any part of it. This aspect is particularly relevant to consultations set up by third parties where it is known that a national or regional response will be made (or would be appropriate) then branches (or regions) should refrain from making independent responses in such situations and should ensure that their opinions are made available to whoever is coordinating the higher level response.
In 2007, the British Library issued a reminder of the legal requirement to deposit with it copies of all newsletters, books and other publications. Publishers and distributors in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland have a legal obligation to send one copy of each of their publications to the Legal Deposit Office of the British Library within one month of publication. This includes books, magazines, newsletters and any other publications, with a number of minor exceptions covering internal reports, diaries, transport timetables, calendars, posters and the like. Although sending a copy of each publication to the Library may seem a chore, it has the benefit of ensuring that a copy is always available for public research in the future. There are also voluntary arrangements for the submission of electronic publications.
The deposit regulations of the Copyright Acts 1911 and 1963, with slightly different conditions, apply also to the other five legal deposit libraries: the Bodleian Library, Oxford; the University Library, Cambridge; the National Library of Scotland; the Library of Trinity College, Dublin; the National Library of Wales. To save multiple mailings, there is an agent in London to which copies can be sent for all the libraries. If the libraries detect non-receipt of copies, they will usually send reminders, and have the legal power to insist on receipt of a copy – even if this necessitates a reprint. Full details of the regulations and relevant addresses are available here.
Branch and region newsletters may be considered by the British Library to be internal communications where they are not made publicly available, and therefore the legal requirement to submit copies is probably questionable. Branches and regions are, however, encouraged to submit copies of publications that may be of historic interest in the future, and a label to assist this is provided in sets of mailing labels provided from Head Office.