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Greetings to the Merry Rose.
I am a librarian in my non-SCA life. I am a cataloger and systems librarian
for an Episocpal seminary in Alexandria, VA. I have been following the recent
discussions on libraries with interest.
"Michael Jeffrey Looney" <firstname.lastname@example.org> said:
>From my own personal experience, I can tell you that there's a lot that CAN'T
be >found in a local library, and things that no one can find (includeing the
librarians, >though the computers/card cataloges may SAY it's there) in SOME
I hear this a lot. First off it is really hard to keep control over a large
numebr of books. My library has over 150,000 volumes. And several are
missing. Why? Before we installed a security system people walked out of the
building without checking them out. They still try that but they get caught
at the doors. Misshelving is also a problem. I have seen patrons put books
back in the wrong place. Sometimes only a shelf away, but that is far enough
to make it "missing" until it is found. We train our student workers who
shelve rigourously so they don't misshelve; other libraries may not have that
luxury. Before you condemn your library/librarian, make a thorough search, or
ask that a search be done for it. It might not be done immediately (there is
always work to do in a library) but it should be attended to at some point.
Robert J Welenc <email@example.com> said:
>go to the librarian and ask her how to find a
>good biography of H7. Odds are that even the smallest libraries will
>have a reference book that lists biographies of all sorts (and all
>sorts of other books about books!) In the absense of an author
>and/or title, she can even make a subject ILL request for "a
>biography of Henry VII."
There are bibliographies of bibliographies. These are books that list books
that have bibliographies in them. Since the better researchers should put
bibs in their books, the better books should be in these lists. It is time
There are indexes to articles on almost any subject. The Social Sciences
index and Arts and Humanities index are very common to most libraries. Then
there are more specialized indexes by subject. Ask where they are. See what
books/articles/essays are indexed in them. If your library doesn't have them
ask for them on ILL.
Haunt the reference section of the library. See what they have in there on
your subject. Look and see where that work got the information. It becomes a
big looping trail as you lookat the book that pointed to and see where they
got information, and then look at that one, etc.
I don't mean to talk down, but these are basic research skills. When I took
my History Seminar class as an undergrad this is what the class was about.
How to research. I find it odd that most people can graduate college today
without knowing how to do even simple research.
>Just ask a
>reference librarian for help. These people are saints and their profession
>really demands more respect than they are given. If you know what you are
>looking for and ask about it, even the smallest libraries today can get the
>information to you.
Thank you. Depending on where you go (especially an academic library) more
often or not the reference librarian has to have 2 or more masters degrees
(one in library science and the other in a subject area). There is a lot of
info in those heads. Often people just do not ask for help and muddle on
their own. We are there to help. That is our job. Granted I don't get out
of my office often (slave to my computer) but when I do I have been stopped
for questions, and have gladly helped. I know people often have a fear of
authority, or of looking stupid, and so do not ask for help. (Subject of a
lecture while I was in library school). But I repeat, it is a librarians job
to help. So ask. The worst that can happen is that they might also have to
ask for help.
Poster: EoganOg@aol.com said:
>> Tertius: Cost. For certain loans, it's a nominal fee (in PG
>> County, it's half a buck); for other loans, the cost goes up.
>This is also true, but in my experience, most of the time it is free. A word
>of advice--many ILL forms have a space listed for the amount you are willing
>to pay (if any). Please do not leave this blank. Go ahead and fill in an
>amount. This does not obligate you to pay that amount at that time. But if
>the book you want will cost you 75 cents or a dollar to get (a fee most of us
>would be willing to pay), and you left the space blank, indicating that you
>would pay nothing, then they will not send you the book.
ILL practices vary from library to library. It depends a lot upon whether you
are at a public or university or other library. For example, my library does
not charge for our own students, nor do we charge other libraries that are
members of the American Theological Library Association, but we do charge
others a fee. Often times that means that the other places do not get the
item from us because of the fee charge. Remeber, it takes a lot of time to do
an ILL, especially if the requestor only gives limited information. Time
spent loacting the item in the OCLC database, and then seeing who has the item
schecking with the 1st library. They might refuse, so going to the next, etc.
And we get charged per search on OCLC. This can add up. THat is why the fee.
Ahh, but you pay taxes you say, so everything at the public library should be
free. That, my friends, is a discussion not fitting for this subject or
Also, libraries have their own idiosyncracies on lending. We have collections
that we do not allow our own people to take out, let alone ILL. And none of
that is evident unless you get into our own catalog (and not the ILL database)
and see that the item is in our special colelctions, or folio, or whatever.
Be not afraid to use you local libraries to their utmost limits. Even if you
can not get the item through them, use their resources to identify items that
you do want. Sometimes you can even locate which libraries that do have it.
That way, if you plan a visit to the Library of Congress lets say, you could
have done all your base research of indentifying which items you want before
you get to LC, that way you can immediatley start requesting items and not
spend half your day just trying to find a citation for one item.
Sorry for being long, and thanks for listening ......
Elizabeth of Hadley Hall
Librarian, Bishop Payne Library)
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