Sunday, 30 October 2011

Shrink Wrapping and Coffee Drinking in the name of Libraries

511 Class

This week's class was held at Bird Library and focused on the special collections and conservation departments.  I am pretty familiar with the special collections due to my Management and Preservation of Special Collections class but the conservation lab was a new adventure.  One thing that really stood out for me was the shrink wrapping of the more old, delicate and rarely used books.  The shrink wrap has to be removed by a librarian before a reader can get their hands on the book and it is then sent back to conservation for re-wrapping when the user is finished with it.  This is not something I have ever heard of (UK librarians - do we do this?!) and it just generally seemed very odd.  I suppose it is a good way of conserving the books and there is no real loss of use apart from browsing becoming a bit of an issue.  As long as the catalogue record is detailed with contents etc. then there is no harm done.  A tally is kept of the number of times that a book comes back to be re-wrapped and if it seems to be a popular book then different conservation will be considered which would allow users more ready access.  Interesting.

Little Free Libraries

Now, I promised to keep you updated on the progress of the Little Free Libraries front.  This morning I and a couple of other interested parties took a trip to the Near West Side:

Red bordered area is the Near West Side
We went to 601 Tully, which is a "community based collaborative design/build project by an interdisciplinary design group of artists & architects who create sculptural spaces to address social needs" according to their flyer.  It has a coffee shop, community space, art gallery and classroom for use my the local school and other teaching groups.  The coffee, I will add, was superb and the best I have had since coming to the States.

The Blodgett High School is part of the Say Yes to Education scheme and this scheme has also sponsored the garden of 601 Tully, which has a herb garden and nods to the Latino culture of the district with planters (about a third of the population).  

601 Tully
601 Tully is next to the high school and on the central park making it an excellent location for a community building.  This is the sort of place that it would be great to locate our Little Free Libraries but, as Topher mentioned as we were wandering about, we don't want to saturate an area with development - perhaps there are other areas that would benefit more from one of these libraries.  It is up to the community contingent of the group to come up with suitable locations.  Really, our job as the library part is dependent on the location of the libraries and indeed their design so that the content is suitable.  It will be really interesting to see how this develops.

Something that caught out attention this morning was a leaflet for the MLAB: The Mobile Literacy Arts Bus, which was a collaborative effort of the 2007-2008 Social Sculpture class at SU (this is not related to the iSchool).  I had never heard of this and it looks like a great resource for the community - basically a 1984 recreational vehicle was gutted and kitted out to serve as a mobile classroom, digital photo lab, recording studio, gallery space and community centre.  It can be hired by individuals and institutions who require a physical and mobile space for creative purposes.  

It was great to see so much redevelopment happening in this area and that the Little Free Libraries are just one small part of the bigger picture.  Over the next few weeks we will be focusing on a collection development policy and thinking about what sort of books we want to start the libraries with and whether we want to run with a theme or let them evolve organically.


They have been found and duly sampled:

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