Hoarding is not collection development

Librarian’s Choice

This is Mary and Holly’s catch-all category. Here we feature posts about librarians and libraries as well as just some cool stuff we find. This also where you will find more serious discussions of collection management.

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Another ALA Special: Future Libraries

Future Libraries: Dreams Madness & Reality
Crawford and Gorman

What does the future hold in libraries? Well, pretty much what the authors suggested. This book was written in 1995, so we are now their future. (Woah! That was deep!) Libraries still have staff, walls, and collections. Sure, sure, sure…there are libraries without books, but they’re not the norm. Back in 1995, the authors spoke out against virtual libraries. It’s not that they didn’t like technology or didn’t see technology as part of the future of libraries. It’s that they did not believe that technology would – or should – replace physical libraries. People need the “complementing values” that print, buildings, and librarians-in-the-flesh provide.  I really like the thesis of this book, and they were really onto something. What’s hot in libraries these days? Community spaces, technology training opportunities, and librarians as trainers and facilitators of information in all of its formats.

Why, then is this an awful library book? Because it’s no longer the future! It’s the present! It needs to be revised and updated to be relevant again. There are some old-fashioned ideas, like “Men appear to be more prone to [technolust] than women” (pg 36) and examples of CD-ROMs, microfiche, diskettes, and cassettes (pg 39).  They even discuss at what point LCD will really exceed CRT. (Answer: When a 15-inch 800-by-600 LCD able to display at least 64,000 simultaneous colors costs less than $500.) These were reasonable examples in 1995, but must be updated to be relevant today.

So, weed away! Mr. Gorman is a past ALA president, and both he and Mr. Crawford are still active in librarianship. Publish an update, please!

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An ALA Special

ALA Satellite Seminar on Copyright
American Library Association

Submitter: I work in an academic library in a developing country. In the days before the Internet, we had a lot of distance learning programs that used audiotapes and videotapes to supplement what people used to call “correspondence courses.” A bunch of this stuff is still on an a/v cataloguing backlog shelf because even if it’s not being used anymore, there’s the feeling that it’s part of the university’s history and ought to be kept. No one is in any hurry to catalog this stuff, but there’s a fair amount of it. I was looking through a shelf of these videotapes and found this.

This is some old video format that would have only been used by tv stations, video production studios or university media centres (a VHS tape that a normal consumer machine could play is next to it for size comparison) back in the day. It is possible that at some point, the university had a machine to play this, but the library sure doesn’t have one now. Even if the topic of the videotape was still relevant to our collection, the format isn’t and this should be weeded. But let’s note the topic: a 1978 ALA lecture on (American) copyright law. Obsolete in 2014 even if we were in the US, which we aren’t.

The best thing about this weed? There were TWO copies of this beast, both in plastic cases. I just cleared 3 inches of space off my cataloguing backlog shelf without actually having to make anyone catalog anything. I highly recommend “pre-weeding” stuff like this from your cataloging backlog/”problem items” area (most academic libraries seem to have one) every few years- you’ll be surprised what’s in there that can go if you’ve waited this long to deal with it.

Holly: In honor of the ALA Annual Conference (#alaac14) we have an ALA special. I’ve never seen a tape like this. I agree – if it’s been waiting for cataloging for 35 years, you can probably dump it. It’s clearly not part of your university’s history. Unless one of your library’s goals is to collect “stuff,” this is just an unusable artifact that doesn’t meet your library’s mission.

Mary: Since I am stuck at home maintaining the library (you’re welcome) while others take in Las Vegas, I felt I should relink to this post:   A Wild and Crazy Librarian 

Our wild librarian protagonist has a bit too much Las Vegas and ends up MARRIED! So my fellow librarians, let’s be careful out there!

More Romance for the librarians:

Something Unexpected

Romance in the Stacks!

Naughty Librarian


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Setting Up a Library – NLW 2014

Setting Up a Library: How to Begin or Begin Again

Submitter: I showed this book to my co-worker and she said, “Where did you find that?” I hated to tell her it was in 027. Worse, it circ’d in 2011. Here are the totally incomprehensible instructions. To be clear, these are the complete instructions, not the table of contents. 8 pages of this stuff. Then there is the up-to-the-minute bibliography. Even keeping in mind this is a publication of the Church and Synagogue Library Association, it’s not the most professional thing I ever saw.

Holly: So, this is an 8-page booklet on how to set up a library. As in, start-to-finish, eight (8) pages. Granted, it only promises to tell you “How to Begin,” not how to run the thing. You’ll get a few pages of how to set it up and a list of books about how to be a librarian and run the place. My only real gripe is that it dumbs down the behemoth project that is setting up a library. Step one is “Analyze information requirements of the congregation,” but we all know how detailed a project a true needs analysis is. Each piece of Step 6 (shown below) is a library science course in and of itself! A master’s level course. Most of the books listed in the bibliography are too old to be useful (or even available). If all you needed to do (in 1979) was get an idea of what is involved in setting up a church/synagogue library, this was a bare-bones starting point.

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