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.
This book bubbled up from my library’s professional collection, having been tucked away in the Director’s office for a while (and by “a while” I mean a few decades.) It was probably a pretty handy book in its day. There is highlighting throughout, so someone clearly found it useful.
26 years later, it has snippets that are useful, but I would never give it to a trustee. It doesn’t point in the direction libraries are headed today at all, so it just gives trustees the wrong impression of their job (and our job).
You will see in the images below:
-Discussions of CD-ROM reference products
-That newfangled “computerized circulation control”
-Old funding statistics on what percentage of funding comes from local, state, and federal sources
-Communication techniques that are completely void of technology
-The idea that technology of the future might allow people to access the library catalog (*gasp!) FROM THEIR HOMES
-The idea that technology of the future might also allow libraries to replace print materials with “microfilm or compact discs” (p.122)
Please, please give your trustees training materials that reflect your library’s true mission and goals. You want them to support your efforts, not try to get you to spend money on CD-ROMs and plan for the future of fax machines.
There is still time to enter our Knock Knock sponsored contest! Please click here for details.
Submitter: I dug this relic out of our library science collection. It’s from 1992. I’m sure current librarians and librarians in training could benefit from this book’s advice, including how to type a catalogue card and how to keep your date stamp properly inked.
Holly: Wow, 1992? I’m surprised it’s that recent! Still, 20 years in library land is a long time. I guess if the author truly means “small libraries,” they weren’t necessarily automated in 1992, though. If they’re tiny libraries, they may never get away from catalog cards.
Folks, please remember to weed your professional collection. And, what the heck – give ’em a read now and then too.