Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Hawaii State Library

The Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) was established by Congress to ensure the American public has access to a certain level of government information. Since 1813, depository libraries have safeguarded the public's right to access by collecting, organizing, maintaining, preserving, and assisting users with information from the federal government. The FDLP provides government information at no cost to designated depository libraries throughout the country and territories. These depository libraries, in turn, provide local, no-fee access to government information in an impartial environment with professional assistance.

As institutions committed to equity of access and dedicated to free and unrestricted public use, the nation's nearly 1,250 depository libraries serve as one of the vital links between "We the people" and our Government. Anyone can visit federal depository libraries and use the federal depository collections which are filled with information on careers, business opportunities, consumer information, health and nutrition, legal and regulatory information, demographics, and numerous other subjects. - Taken from the FDLP Desktop Website

The FDLP newsletter often highlights Federal Depository Libraries (FDLs). This week's post is a re-post of the highlight of the Hawaii State Library. The images and text below were taken from the FDLP newsletter. Check out the list of other depository library highlights on the FDLP Desktop and to read the original post on the Hawaii State Library.

In the interest of not crossing the lines of fair use , I am only including a portion of the original post, and some of the photos, and encourage you to read the full post in the FDLP newsletter and check out some of the other libraries on the highlight list.
Would you like to apply for a U.S. passport and learn about traveling abroad and the countries you’re visiting? Are you an inventor researching patents? Are you also interested in foreign trade and marketing possibilities for your product? In Honolulu, Hawaii, you’re in luck; the Hawaii State Library (HSL) has a rich Federal depository collection and offers many additional services involving U.S. Government information. In addition to serving as a Federal depository library since 1929, spanning years as a U.S. territory and state, the library’s Federal Documents Section partners with other Federal agency programs for services that regularly attract new visitors and returning patrons alike. The knowledgeable and helpful staff express, “E Komo Mai” or “Welcome” to all.

The Hawaii State Library is the main library of the Hawaii State Public Library System, which supports three Federal depositories within the state. When entering the library building, the Federal Documents Section is clearly identifiable with colorful Government posters. The unit has a historic Federal depository collection, public computers, staff-created resource guides, and much more. Federal Documents Section staff have proactively sought out opportunities that enhance access to the Federal depository collection and U.S. Government information in general, resulting in greater visibility for the depository collection and the library. Read the full article here.

Government Documents Reference Desk
Government Documents Staff
Patent Searching

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Seattle Metaphysical Library

The Student Chapter of the Special Library Association at University of Washington (SLA-UW) hosts 'library crawls' each quarter for students of the Information School. The crawl takes students to special libraries or collections in the Seattle area to introduce them to the variety of opportunities available. Students meet with librarians at the site, tour the collections and discover special libraries. A recent visit to the Seattle Metaphysical Library was written up by SLA-UW secretary Erin Boyington. Vice-Chair Violet Fox took pictures, which are available on this Flickr photo stream. A special thank to Violet and Erin for sharing the tour experience for this blog. Also check out their tour of NOAA Western Regional Center Libraries in May.
The Seattle Metaphysical Library is a small, subject-focused library that has existed in various forms for 50 years. The original collection was donated by a small group of women who compiled their private libraries and made them available as a hobby. It's been at its current location in Ballard for 6 years. On May 18th we joined Margaret Bartley, the Executive Director of the library, for a tour of this fascinating collection.

The library is open to the public and has a selection of books for sale (both in person and online), but only members can check out books for three weeks at a time. Membership costs $30 a year, and there are about 200 people on the roster. The library organizes events such as classes, workshops, and speakers on a variety of subjects related to its members’ interests.

The Seattle Metaphysical Library is staffed by dedicated volunteers who are interested in metaphysical subjects. They do occasional weeding, reorganization, check out books to members, and make passers-by feel welcome as they enjoy the library’s offerings. Ron, one of the volunteers, said that he considers his work there as a kind of “sacred duty”, which he has been doing now for many years. He explained that “A lot of my metaphysical ideas have developed over time from reading in the library.” Another volunteer, Cathy, agreed: “Being around so many different types of thought opens your mind.”

The library’s eccentric holdings, available to browse online, consist entirely of personal donations. The advantages of browsing and serendipitous finding in this collection are obvious to its users, who may have difficulty finding books about their areas of interest through Amazon or general bookstores.

The library's materials are well-organized by a customized cataloging system which allows for the addition of new categories as needed. Here are a few examples of the categories in the library, which are grouped alphabetically:

Elves, Little People
Face on Mars
Charles W. Leadbeater
Mme. Blavatsky
Noah’s Ark
Transcendental Meditation

Though it may be an unconventional collection, the Seattle Metaphysical Library’s major concerns and needs are like any other library: preservation, access, organization, and promotion of the unique resources it offers.

Seattle Metaphysical Library sidewalk sign
Seattle Metaphysical Library
Seattle Metaphysical Library
Seattle Metaphysical Library

Sunday, June 10, 2012

US Institute of Peace Ron Silver Library

The Jeannette Rankin Library Program at the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) "serves as a depository of USIP cutting edge research publications. The core library collection encompasses over 4,000 items dealing with peace building, conflict prevention, management, and resolution, diplomacy, negotiation, and mediation, promotion of rule of law, state- building and civil society, reformation and strengthening of peace education systems." - From the USIP Website.

The USIP was established by Congress with the 1984 United States Institute of Peace Act as an independent agency purposed with conflict management. Located in a recently completed beautiful headquarters building across the street from the Department of Defense, and adjacent to the Potomac Annex facility on Navy Hill, the library is open to the public although the building follows strict security protocols. On-site research requires an appointment. The space itself is compact, dominated by the reference desk, with a moderately sized print collection, and focus on digital collections.

The library does provide access to an extensive amount of collection materials through online digital collections, catalogs, and subject guides. Their website is well worth the time to browse for a wealth of information in the library's subject areas. See this page for further details on collections and library services. Check here for further information on USIP publications and tools, such as links to an archive of winning National Peace Essay Contents Essays, congressional testimonies by USIP staff, and Oral Histories. The website is an impressive effort to provide access to information on a global scale.

The Building
Model of the Building
view from the atrium

research space

Sunday, June 3, 2012

National Library of Education

The United States Department of Education was established in 1980 by combining several federal agencies to work towards the mission of promoting "student achievement and preparation for global competitiveness by fostering educational excellence and ensuring equal access." - The department headquarters in Washington, DC is spread among several buildings. The library is located in the Lyndon Baines Johnson (LBJ) Department of Education Building on Maryland Ave.

LBJ Building

Although the library is in the basement of the building, the space has a picture window across from the reference desk that looks out onto a green space, which lets in natural light. The National Library of Education (NLE) collection contains over 60,000 books and more than 1000 English language electronic and print journals with a central focus on education, but also includes related subject areas such as "law, public policy, economics, urban affairs, sociology, history, philosophy, psychology, and information science" - NLE. The library is administered under the The National Center for Education Evaluation (NCEE), which is tasked with evaluating federal programs and disseminating information, among other things. The NCEE also oversees the Education Resources Information Center (ERIC) which is the world's largest digital library of grey literature on education such as conference, research, or policy reports and papers. ERIC was developed to provide an easy to use and search widely accessible database of bibliographic and full-text education research and information. While, commercial vendors may offer more extensive access to full text databases, ERIC is still a very useful resource for research into this subject area.

The NLE is open to the public for on-site access to collections, as well as services by phone, web, fax and mail. Services include statistical and reference services, government documents access as a Federal Depository Library and access to some material through inter-library loan. The library catalog is available online for search, although many of the electronic resource links are restricted and require on-site access or ILL request through your local public, school or academic library.

One question I came across through a visit to Library of Congress was posed by a researcher there. I attended a tour of the Business Resources Reading Room. We were discussing the collection development policy of the LOC and an attendee asked if any library keeps a historical archive of textbooks used in public schools, if someone were researching what was taught in the past and how it has changed. I thought it was an interesting question. Library of Congress doesn't generally collect textbooks, which is explained in the education section of the collection development policy. The librarian did say they sometimes receive reference questions from students looking for the teacher's guide with answers to tests.

In case you are now wondering, there doesn't appear to be a definitive collection of historical textbooks. I conducted a very quick and in no way exhaustive search for libraries with textbook collections. Library of Congress has a special collection of McGuffey Reader Collection. Indiana University of Pennsylvania has a collection development policy for textbooks, to support the College of Education and Educational Technology, but only keeps current editions. The University of Chicago Library has a subject guide pointing to a few more collections of historical textbooks. Other resources include The Center for Research Libraries, Nietz 19th Century Schoolbooks, or the Harvard Graduate School of Education special collection of historical textbooks.

You can add National Library of Education to the list. Their collection of textbooks is organized by subject and contains textbooks for the mid 1800s to the mid 20th century. The library’s collection also includes most of the reports by the Department and its predecessors going back to the 1870’s as well as a collection of federal education legislation. This library is yet another example of fascinating special collections where the ability to focus collection to a specific subject area allows the collection to dig deep for information available with a narrow scope. If you have the opportunity to visit, check out the school bus collection at the entrance. It's pretty adorable.
reference desk

journals and reference
Legal Reference
Past Directorsschool buses
school buses