Tag Archives: Librarianship

Celebrating librarians on the printed page

How, as librarians, do we measure the impact of the staff development activities we pursue? This is a thorny issue which we are always trying to resolve in our Staff Development & Engagement Group.  When people attend conferences they have to fill in a feedback form (although many forget to!), and they are invited to write about their experience in our SDEG newsletter.  So we have opportunities to feedback to our colleagues, and share what we have learned – but measuring impact? If anyone has any bright ideas on this issue I’d love to hear them, as asking people six months later how their attendance at a training session has improved their work doesn’t usually yield any useful results (if any results at all!). 

While discussing performance metrics and the like at our last meeting we also touched on the issue of personal professional achievements.  Staff gain qualifications, present at conferences, and publish their work – but most of the time this passes almost unnoticed, except perhaps by a few colleagues or a line manager.  Surely these are the kind of things that should also be shared and be celebrated – they are steps on the way to ‘high visibility’ librarianship – but there are times when the wider world of librarianship might know what you have done, and yet the person sat opposite you is unaware.  Many of us don’t like to shout about our achievements, we are too modest/shy/embarrassed/don’t want to look like we are boasting/don’t think anyone will be interested etc etc. 

For the next issue of our newsletter the focus will be on celebrating achievements, and most specifically on those who have published in the last year.  A call out across the library service yielded several results (and of course we are still reliant on people letting us know), but hopefully we will be sharing details to a wider internal audience, and this may also encourage others to take steps to write up their projects too.  We are also trying to track down those who have gained qualifications and won awards – so many people seem to hide their light under a bushel when they should be proud of what they have achieved – and we should be proud of our colleagues too.

My own publications can be found listed on academia.edu


Leave a comment

Filed under Librarianship, Staff development

Unexpected opportunity for a cataloguer: exhibiting Arthur

This week sees the ‘unveiling’ of an exhibition in SCOLAR our special collections department on the subject of Arthur: King of the Britons.  I’m really excited about it because I have had an integral part in the curating of it.  This is one of those ‘unexpected opportunities’ that I didn’t actually manage to talk about in my presentation at the CILIP CIG conference on 11th September because I over ran and had to skip it!

The opportunity came about for two reasons.  Firstly, my job now involves working on the Cardiff Rare Books Collection one day a week, alongside our Rare books cataloguer.  I was familiar with the collection anyway, due to taking part in the listing of material prior to acquisition from the public library.  Secondly, over the last couple of years I’ve taken a few evening classes with the University’s adult education department, purely because they sounded really interesting (one of which was on Arthurian myths and legends). In conversation with the tutor, Dr Juliette Wood, I’ve mentioned at times to her various items in the collection prior to them being catalogued, because I thought she would find them interesting or useful for her teaching and/or research.   She has a book coming out this autumn on the holy grail, and one way or another we decided it would be really great to have an exhibition on Arthurian material, and the head of SCOLAR agreed that we could do so.  SCOLAR has about four exhibitions a year, sometimes tying in with anniversaries or topics of current interest.

Arthur in the centre of his roundtable (from Malory, 1634)

Stage 1: We met up in SCOLAR to discuss what kind of themes we would focus on, and what kind of items we wanted to use.  I had identified some items that I thought might be relevant, and made a list based on our catalogue.  For me, one of our prize exhibits was going to be the 1634 copy of Thomas Malory’s Morte d’Arthur.  Produced by the London printer William Stansby (1572-1638) this version was based on the earlier editions by Wynken de Worde and William Caxton, and was the only edition available for two hundred years.

Juliette was able to suggest a whole host of authors, and books, that might be of interest.  Working with a specialist in the subject was really interesting, as she has such depth to her knowledge.  Yes, I could have pulled out lots of books about Arthur, but I wouldn’t have known any of the intricacies, the historical foibles, or the really pertinent texts to use.

Part way through setting up

Stage 2: Using my scribbled notes from the discussion with Juliette I was able to search our library catalogue and identify a further list of items of interest.  Next time we met up I had retrieved a large selection of items from the collection.  Using paper slips to indicated the seven themes we had decided upon (we had seven cases to fill) we were able to go through items and add them to our proposed cases.  Throughout this process we were trying to be aware of what would be visually appealing.  A book might be a key text but if it has no illustrations and a modern binding it risks being of little interest to the majority of observers.  Luckily we had a wealth of material to choose from in SCOLAR and could mine various collections within it such as the Cardiff Rare Books collection, the Tennyson collection, and the Salisbury collection etc.  At times we had almost too much to choose from and also had to be wary of being repetitive and not include too many examples by the same illustrator for example.

Part of the ‘Arthur and local archaeology’ case

Stage 3:  I wrote up a list of all the items we had chosen, assigned to their particular themes, and ensured I included full details of each book, especially classmark and location, in order to make it easier to retrieve them when we wanted them.

Stage 4: We met again to look at all the items and to doublecheck which illustrations, or pages, we would be displaying.  At this point we also chose a key image for each theme/case which would be used on the SCOLAR website, and I scanned these illustrations.

Stage 5:  Juliette took responsibility for writing all the captions – so I was let off the hook at this point! As she had the expert knowledge it made sense for her to do so.

Stage 6: With some proofreading and tweaking from all parties the captions were ready, and thanks to Alison Harvey, the archivist in SCOLAR who is used to curating the exhibitions and helping others do so, they were set up in text boxes that were the correct size for the plastic caption displayers.  Thus ensuring a unifying harmony in the display.

Arthur doll amidst ephemera

Stage 7: The setting up!  I don’t think either of us was quite prepared for how difficult or challenging we found this stage (even though we realised it wouldn’t be easy).  I’d expected this to be one of the fun bits (although I’ve enjoyed all stages); and it was fun and satisfying  but needed quite a bit of thinking too, as you can’t just plonk the items down randomly in the cases.  We had to assess how all the items in each case would relate to one another.  We also had to ensure that the books were displayed in a manner that wouldn’t damage them; some were more fragile than others.  We had a variety of foam wedges, snake weights, and plastic stands – but there were several occasions when we didn’t have quite the right size or type of stand that would have been ideal, so we had to be inventive!  In all, it took us about 4 1/2 hours to set up the seven cases and to do a bit of tweaking after asking the opinions of Alison and Ken (the rare books cataloguer).  Its really quite thrilling to see an exhibition come together in the flesh, after all the preparatory work.

Guinevere figurine

The exhibition will be running up to December and can be viewed 9-5 during the week; you can also see an extract on the SCOLAR webpages.  The books used are predominantly from Cardiff special collections, although Juliette supplemented the display with a few items, including some ephemera from her own collection.  Hence, we also have a lovely Arthur doll and an exquisite Guinevere!

1 Comment

Filed under Exhibitions, Librarianship, Uncategorized

Smug tweaking, shrinking cataloguers, and the corridor of uncertainty: CILIP Cataloguing & Indexing Group conference 2012

Although I am sure others will blog about #CIG12 in a more indepth manner*  I just wanted to express my delight about the excellent conference that took place earlier this week in Sheffield.  Two days packed full of thought provoking presentations, 25 speakers and just over 100 attendees; at times my brain was hurting, and I felt weighed down with concern about the things I didn’t know but really should; whilst at other moments I felt proud to be a cataloguer, and inspired to tackle new things.

There were four themed sessions spread out over the two days; Working with new standards, Working co-operatively, New challenges for cataloguers; and Developing working practices.  RDA, as to be expected, was a key issue to be talked about.  Celine Carty brought us updates from the ALA conference, and managed to succinctly condense 5 days into one talk.  It was extremely useful hearing about the view from across the pond, and she also gave us a great handout of links too!

There was quite a contrast between this conference and the last CIG conference in 2010 with

Keen attendees ready & waiting

attitudes to RDA, from what I can remember of two years ago, most people in the room weren’t really sure about how they would be tackling RDA, and were waiting for guidance from someone else.  This time round a good 50% of the audience were actively preparing for RDA, were devising training sessions for their staff (or looking for online material they could use), or were very aware of what work they had to do.  I also don’t think that anyone in the room was thinking of it as ‘Retirement Day Approaching’.  Celine Carty passed on some take home messages; things like “its now when not if” and “evolution not revolution”, she also commented that actually it can be quite good not to be the trailblazers.  While the rules are still being refined, and problems still being ironed out, its quite nice to be able to learn from what is happening in the US.  Stuart Hunt also gave us some food for thought in his session on ‘Implementing RDA in your ILS’, and pointed out that as well as us cataloguers having to get our heads round RDA, that we also had a lot of communication work to do – we need to talk to system vendors, and record supply agencies, colleagues who work on the front line and those who are library management.  We also need to consider whether our systems are ready for RDA, there are new fields, will they display or be indexed, will there be problems loading data into the system etc etc.  Anne Welsh & Katharine White also reminded us that there is always change, and we already have hybrid systems.  We need to accept that there never was a better time to embrace RDA, although we should question everything; and that standards, materials, and even students are always evolving.

Conference venue – Halifax Hall

Although RDA was casting a big shadow over us, there were plenty of other topics to discuss too.  Deborah Lee introduced the idea of the proposed UK NACO funnel, a project to collaborate on creating authority files.  Traditionally a funnel is managed by one person which is a huge commitment, and there can be delay in training new members to join; this current project however is aiming for a cascade of training  and aims to get as many participants acting independently as soon as possible with a critical mass of people who are happy to train others.  It will be a great professional development opportunity for anyone who gets involved.

As we are probably all aware we are in the midst of a time of many challenges for cataloguers, as Heather Jardine noted – ‘change is the new normal’.  We are having to face restructuring and streamlining, changes in roles, as well as changes in rules and materials.  There were several presentations demonstrating how various cataloguers are adapting  to these challenges including Helen Williams’ overview of ‘transforming a bibliographic services team from copy cataloguers to metadata creators’.  Her team have had a growing involvement in their institutional repository LSERO; with a review of workflows, additional training and comprehensive documentation the team have become multi-skilled, and better future-proofed.

Shelf-ready reared its ugly head towards the end of the conference (sorry, I admit I am not a fan!).  What still stood out for me, (and is one of my biggest problems with the whole shelf ready thing), was the standard of records being supplied – the poor quality, wrong classmarks, e-book records for print records, etc etc and even some poor processing.  What kind of service do vendors think they are providing?  And since so many of us are guilty of ‘smug tweaking’* why aren’t there more ‘good’ records available?

CIG do great bags!

I haven’t mentioned everybody who talked, but would like to say I gained something from every speaker; I’m not a fan of cricket but really enjoyed hearing abut the Marylebone Cricket Club library courtesy of Neil Robinson, and the challenges he faced with revamping a bespoke classification system (and his corridor of uncertainty); and even though I’m not a fan of shelf-ready I appreciated hearing about experiences from Sheffield with Emily Bogie, and Warwick with Christina Claridge.  And I really should mention the High visibility cataloguing blog and Cat23 –  a project I’m keen to hear more about.

The conference was great, the people were great, and as a tiny aside I was extremely pleased with the range of cold/soft drinks available at break times!  I don’t drink tea/coffee, and wouldn’t expect more than a glass of water to be offered (don’t even get that sometimes), so a multitude of fridges with a variety of beverages made me very happy!  The cakes were good too…

I also really liked that there weren’t any parallel sessions – so I got to hear everybody; and the concept of having lightning round talks was good too.  Ten minute snippets of projects and ideas, although shame-facedly I over ran in my own sessions and got flashed the ‘red card’.

Break time

My only regret is that I didn’t get to talk to some people who are Twitter contacts (we need Twitter icons/names on our badges!); however, I did talk to people who I didn’t previously know, and that is always a good thing.  I’m looking forward to the next CIG conference already! 

* See for example @archelina (Rachel Playforth) and @stjerome1st (Lynne Dyer)

* Can’t remember who coined this phrase at the conference, so apologies are due!  However, I do have to put my hand up and admit that I indulge in this practice.

All the presentations are due to be added to the CIG website soon.



Filed under Cataloguing, Conferences, Librarianship

Together we are stronger: attending the CILIP Career Development Group national conference

 I’d never been to a CILIP Career Development Group conference before this summer, probably because I’m not a member of CDG so hadn’t paid much attention to their conferences before now; but this year their call for papers really resonated with the work that CLIC (Cardiff Libraries in Co-operation) does, and so in conjunction with Kristine Chapman from National Museum Wales I put in a proposal which was accepted.

The theme for the conference was ‘Together we are stronger’ and focussed on looking at opportunities for partnership and collaborative working.  Collaboration could be between different sectors, within the same sector, between new and experienced practitioners, or working with academics, for example.

The event was held at a conference centre in Birmingham, and as to be expected from the theme, attracted attendees who were a mixture of new and experienced library and information professionals, and who worked in many different sectors. Librarians from the health sector were particularly prominent, alongside many from the usual higher education sector.

The conference was a mixture of plenary and parallel sessions; though with such a tight coalescing theme it felt a shame to have to miss sessions, as all sounded particularly relevant and interesting.  The key note speaker for the day was Liz Jolly from the University of Teeside.  Her presentation was entitled: ‘Developing our community of practice: learning together for a stronger profession’ and emphasised that professional practice needs to be underpinned by learning and research.  She believes that we should all be life long learners and reflective practitioners; and noted that the more senior one gets one should still remember to ‘give back’ to the profession.  Other tips she gave included the idea of networking with people who are different from you, and embracing a combination of continuity and change.

The first parallel session looked at ‘Sharing knowledge and experience’ and I chose to attend ‘Producing the evidence for effective evidence-based librarianship’ by Karen Davies (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee).  She introduced the topic of evidence-based librarianship (EBL) by explaining that in many ways it had emerged from the concept of evidence-based medicine – something which I expect all the health librarians were aware of, but which many others weren’t. 

EBL is about looking at the best level evidence to inform decision making practice in librarianship.  We should also critically evaluate and appraise the evidence we have.

If we can’t immediately find any relevant evidence we should try looking outside the traditional LIS area, for instance education, management, and marketing are three areas where we might find comparative research or ideas which could be applied to librarianship.  If we need to carry out the research ourselves it is also worth considering collaboration – with someone from a different library, a different institution, or someone who isn’t working in a traditional LIS role (ie look again to education, management etc).  You may want to utilise a student (someone who wishes to do some research for their dissertation), though be aware that their aims may differ from your own, and it is always worth consulting with their supervisor about the project.  Even if you are doing the research yourself consider contacting a possible mentor, someone who is more used to the research process than you might be, and who can perhaps cast a more critical eye over your prospective survey or research plan, and offer you advice.

Davies also mentioned the Evidence Based Library and Information Practice journal, which is an open access, peer reviewed journal, and a good resource for research that has already been completed.

The next session was on the ‘Wider professional outlook’, and as one speaker had had to cancel we were all able to attend the presentation by Patricia Lacey (Dudley PCT) & Emma Gibbs on: ‘Developing your own skills network’ . Their talk was about the West Midlands Health Libraries Network which has a learning and development group who put on one day ‘Knowledge sharing’ events (ie staff development/training days).  They have a wide pool of hospital libraries based in the West Midland, and are able to utilise a variety of staff to run these event, with sponsorship to cover refreshments and venues.  They also have job shadowing opportunities available on their website – this is a list of libraries that are willing to participate, individuals make contact and arrange placement themselves.  In addition to the main Knowledge sharing events they also have a paraprofessionals group which focuses on training that is practical for the job.

The following session was the first of the ‘Collaboration & partnership’ sessions, and I attended the ‘Collaboration to show impact of information sharing skills training’ by Stephen Ayre (George Elliot Hospital NHS Trust).  His presentation was about a collaboration of NHS libraries in England (mainly Midlands) who have pooled together to create an impact survey which can be used across all participating libraries to create a larger pool of evidence.  They have been looking at the impact of education training on NHS staff, based on the Kirkpatrick Hierarchy; and have developed an impact assessment tool.

The second of the ‘Collaboration & partnership’ was where myself and Kristine gave our presentation on CLIC and highlighted the benefits of cross-sectoral staff development events. 

In the third and final session I listened to Rebecca Dorsett  (Royal United Hospital Bath) talking about: ‘Shelving together: collaborative working through different library environments’.  Her key message seemed to be that we should be aware of different practices in different sectors that could be used cross-sector. With her top tips being that we should explore other library environments, be willing to share resources, and work together to create unique projects.

In addition to these presentations there was also a workshop session, and an update on the CILIP future skills project.  Overall it was a very interesting conference and left me with plenty to think about.  I will certainly watch out for CDG events in the future.

All the presentations are now available on the CDG website



Leave a comment

Filed under Conferences, CPD, Librarianship, Staff development

A summary of the ‘Conversations with Cataloguers in Wales’ event [Part 3]

So, we come to the afternoon session of the ‘Conversations with Cataloguers in Wales’ event.  For this final session we had two speakers, and then a discussion slot.  The first of our two speakers, Elly Cope, was sadly unable to be with us due to illness, however she did send her presentation and notes and so, using myself as a stand-in, we were able to hear her talk by proxy.

From UDC to DDC: reclassification at the University of Bath  was the third of our papers looking at a reclassification project.  This project had started in 2009, and was still ongoing – in fact there was mention that there was possibly another 17 years to go before it was completed!  The hierarchy of the library service at Bath was explained, and it was shown that the project was very Academic Services driven, whilst the Cataloguing team’s involvement grew along the way.  The background to classification at Bath showed that it was traditionally done by the Academic Services staff rather than Technical Services.  They had an interesting story (possibly just a rumour!) that UDC was adopted by the first librarian after the Second World War because it was too expensive to buy things in from America and they couldn’t afford the Dewey schedules; thus UDC was seen as similar and cheaper.  Over the intervening years the system of amending or updating had become very haphazard and at the start of the project they had 35 different classification variants in use.  A task group was set up to review the problems and suggest a methodology of tackling the problem; this included looking at the possibility of out-sourcing the classification.  They proposed that Dewey should be introduced across the whole library, and to use the Coutts shelf-ready service for new books.  In 2009 a pilot project was run on the 720s (Architecture), an area identified as having received a lot of complaints in the past.  The pilot took 22 weeks and 6,768 items were reclassified.  As it was deemed successful they decided to extend it to some other subject areas; however they also decided not to use the shelf-ready services and thus the cataloguing team were responsible for down-loading records and Dewey numbers.  In 2010 Management books had been added to the list of subjects being converted and there was a noticable increase in workload and some demoralisation issues (seeing new books come in as UDC and yet knowing at some point they would have to be redone).  The decision was made for all new material to be classified as Dewey, with the faculty librarians being responsibile for the previous editions retro-conversions.  Each summer there is targeted retro-conversion project, and with more procedures becoming embedded, and every item that passes through the workroom being ‘Deweyfied’ it is hoped that the project may speed up a bit (and not take the 17 years as predicted!)

The final presentation for the day came from Jemma Francis and was entitled Capturing & archiving Welsh government publications.  Jemma works for the Welsh Government where her role includes managing the Library management system, overseeing cataloguing and managing the publications archive which has all new Welsh Government publications added to it.  To capture the publications for cataloguing she needs to search the corporate website, as well as relying on colleagues for alerts about new publications, plus receiving copies of circulars and notices via distribution lists.  All these items are catalogued and there are currently 30,000 publications on the library catalogue.  The library is also involved in an archive scanning project at present, aiming to make resources more accessible – both internally, and to the public in general.  They have a project team who have 30,000 items to scan, at least a third of which are not already on the catalogue.

To finish off the day we had a discussion session, which Stuart Hunt, the chair of CILIP’s Cataloguing & Indexing Group (CIG) facilitated for us.  As was perhaps to be expected, having a room full of over 40 cataloguers and inviting them to join in a discussion, did lead to quite a lot of silent moments!  By nature cataloguers are often relatively introverted individuals (well, that is the stereotype, and we didn’t do much to alter that view!).  Stuart talked about CIG and how it worked, what it does for its members, and also how CIG Scotland functions.  The aim of our discussion was to see if there was a desire to form some kind of all Wales cataloguing group or forum, whether this be affiliated to CILIP, and be CIG Wales, or whether a stand alone group.  The general consensus seemed to be that, yes, we would like to have some kind of group – there was even a general feeling that becoming CIG Wales would be a good thing.  However, with a show of hands we demonstrated that only a relatively small percentage of people at the event were CILIP members.  Stuart pointed out that it was possible for people to join the Cataloguing & Indexing Group without being members of CILIP (pay a smaller membership fee of £30 to CIG rather than main CILIP membership), and then if individuals lived in Wales they would automatically become members of CIG Wales.  The only proviso being that the elected committee members (chair, treasurer, secretary) of CIG Wales would have to be CILIP members, but if we wanted any other committee members in addition to these three that would be fine (and they wouldn’t necessarily have to belong to CILIP).

It is very difficult to make these kind of decisions in a large group, and for the time being we felt that we could go away and think about things, and take up the discussion in a different space – on an online forum for example, or an email list or a wiki.  If we were to have some kind of group we would also need to decide what we wanted out of it – would it be easier as a group to put on practical sessions?  Even if we weren’t CIG Wales we could still liaise with CIG to arrange training sessions.

With this in mind I have set up a wiki on pbworks as an initial space to start discussions http://cataloguersinwales.pbworks.com/  I admit I am pretty much a novice at setting up/using wikis so if it looks a bit rough and ready, and you think it needs more adding  – then it probably does (well, please let me know/give advice!).  But please do join in the discussion (especially in you live/work in Wales).


Leave a comment

Filed under Cataloguing, Conferences, Librarianship, Staff development

Library Day In The Life Project – Round 8

Last week was Library Day in the Life Project Round 8 and despite all my best intentions I didn’t do a blog post then, so I am going to do one now (a week later, but never mind!).  Several days I did tweet my day’s activity using their hashtag #libday8 so at least I took part in some way during the right week.

I’ve found that the last couple of weeks I have had a meeting, training session, trip out the office, etc etc nearly every day, and I’m a cataloguer!  Most people would expect cataloguers to sit at the same desk all day every day, and to not have much variety in their jobs.  Well, not me, not here.  I wanted to pick a day where I was predominantly cataloguing (ie doing my main job) to document; maybe I was using the wrong tack and should have picked a day where I was all over the place, after all its all about giving people a realistic impression about that a ‘day in the life’ of a librarian is really all about.

A quick peruse over the diary reveals that last Tuesday I took part in a session testing PRIMO (or Library Search as we will be branding it), going through a worksheet designed to test some problem areas; Wednesday we had, what we call, ULS Briefings – its a chance for (primarily) site/subject/cataloguing librarians to get together and listen to some presentations about various things that are going on within our library service, or that relate or impact on our service.  So we heard about the support for international students, and about ULS international engagement, plus a talk about students curating an exhibition in our special collections department, and an update on our Stores project.  We were treated to Welsh cakes in our refreshment break too.

Thursday I had a Cardiff Libraries in Co-operation (CLIC) Staff Development Group meeting.  We talked about the upcoming National Libraries Day, and our day of library tours for library staff that was taking place on the Friday.  We also made a lot of arrangements for a session on marketing that we will be running in May.

Exhibition in Welsh Government building

Friday, as it was our ‘library tours’ day I went over to the Welsh Government building where they were holding an exhibition on the different libraries in Cardiff, promoting these services to their staff.  Its a secure building so I had to ensure my name had been put to the security staff, and that they knew I was due that morning.  I didn’t set off any alarms, though one of my colleagues managed to cause problems later!  As things were fairly quiet they also gave me my own little tour of their library too.

I think I also managed to do some cataloguing that week!

This week hasn’t been much better as I’ve already clocked up three meetings, and have another scheduled for tomorrow, plus a library tour of the Welsh Assembly Government Library (plus Senedd) on Friday (they couldn’t fit their tours in with last week’s session).  But yesterday I spent in our special collections section, cataloguing private press books –  a proper cataloguing day – and a chance to ignore most other distractions being away from my desk!

Email has a big impact on my life (most our lives?), and there were several days when I began with the intention of working on one particular thing, and then got knocked off course and had to follow up a whole host of other things.  This was true of Friday where I had decided to catalogue books for the Human Genetics Historical Libary (one of the projects I am involved in); and ended up sorting out invoices for refreshments for a Cataloguing day event I am organising, which led to sorting out the programme, and catching up with booking forms, etc.

This wasn’t really a proper ‘day in the life’ blog entry, but a taster of a week in the life of a ‘cataloguer with interest in staff development’.


Leave a comment

Filed under Cataloguing, Librarianship

The duties and qualifications of a librarian (in the 17th & 18th centuries)

During my stint last week in SCOLAR cataloguing some of the Rare Books Collection, I catalogued a couple of books from the “Literature of libraries in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries series”, published by A. C. McClurg, and printed by the Merrymount Press in 1906.  Just thought I would share some of the pearls of wisdom and advice that shone out from these texts.

From, The duties & qualifications of a librarian: a discourse pronounced in the general assembly of the Sorbonne, December 23, 1780 by Jean Baptiste Cotton des Houssayes.

Being helpful to users…

“He will never seek to steal away from the notice of all into some solitary or unknown retreat.  Neither cold nor heat, nor his multiplied occupations, will ever be to him a pretext for evading the obligation he has contracted to be a friendly and intelligent guide to all the scholars who may visit him.” (p. 39)

Collection management and cataloguing skills…

“He will therefore not admit indiscriminately every book into his collection, but will select such only as are of genuine merit and of well-approved utility; and his acquisitions, guided by the principles of an enlightened economy, will be rendered still more valuable by the substantial merits of an able classification.  It is impossible, in fact, to attach too much importance to the advantages resulting from an intelligent and methodical order in the arrangement of the library.  Of what utility would be the richest treasures if it were not possible to make use of them? Wherefore this complete arsenal of science, if the arms it keeps in reserve are not within reach of those who would wield them?  And if, as is said, books are the medicine of the soul, what avail these intellectual pharmacopoeias, if the remedies which they contain are not disposed in order and labelled with care? (p. 43-44)

Librarianship knowledge in general…

“A librarian truly worthy of the name should, if I may be permitted the expression, have explored in advance every region of the empire of letters, to enable him afterwards to serve as a faithful guide to all who may desire to survey it.” (p. 37)

From, The life of Sir Thomas Bodley, written by himself ; together with the first draft of the statutes of the public library at Oxon (1647)

Leave the books how you find them…

“Moreover, as it may be lawful and free for all comers in (being qualified in such sorts,as we shall after declare) to peruse any volumes, that are chained to the desks, in the body of the library, not forgetting to fasten their clasps and strings, to untangle their chains, and to leave as they found the books in their places: (whereas otherwise for their negligence, they shall be punished by the Purse, at the will and arbitriment of the Vice-Chancellor).” (p. 81)

Cataloguing hints & tips!

“Another chief point of the Keeper’s charge, is to range all his books, as well of the bigger as lesser fold, according to their Faculties: to assign to every Faculty their Catalogues and Tables; and to dispose of every table the authors therein names, according to the alphabet: Where besides the author’s name, and the title of his work, he must be mindful to express inwhat kind of volume the same was printed, with a note of the place, and year of that edition. For it so fareth often with a number of students, that the knowledge of some one of these petty particulars, may turn them in their studies to some singular advantage.” (p. 73-74)



Filed under Cataloguing, Librarianship