Saturday, August 25, 2012

Wine Library of Sonoma County

The Sonoma County Wine Library has been curating an extensive collection of wine information since its inception within the Healdsburg Regional Library in 1988. Founded by Millie Howie, the special collection contains about 5,000 books on the subject of wine as well as access to over 80 wine journal titles. According to the library website, The Sonoma County Wine Library has four stated collecting areas:

  • The science and technology of growing grapes and making wine
  • The business and economics of the wine industry
  • The history of wine worldwide
  • The history of wine in Sonoma County

The library collection includes historical wine labels and oral histories of the wine industry by the library and other sources. Check out this bibliography of Oak in Winemaking. I found some pictures of the library collection on the blog, Along the Wine Road. Check out this post for more pictures of the library see the full post here:
A Wine Library? What!? Sign Me Up!

The library is supported by the active Wine Library Associates of Sonoma County. An article written in Metroactive in 2003 details some of the rare books in the collection. For those not able to visit the library in person, some of the collection resources are publicly available online. Check out the Online Historical Image collection. Also check out Wine Files, a database of wine information supported by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Millie Howie passed away in 2011 and the library is honoring her with a project to create the Millie Howie Courtyard. This special collection exists through support of the community it serves and is a great example of special collections developed and perpetuated through associations and involved organizations to serve a broad community of users. Wine lovers visiting the Sonoma region should definitely add a visit here to their list.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Manuscript Room of the Library of Congress

A few months ago I found myself with a reason to visit the Manuscript Reading Room in the James Madison Memorial Building. I needed to look for the transcript of a conversation by Carnegie's biographer supposedly located in the Andrew Carnegie papers. A doctoral candidate from UW iSchool in Seattle needed the document for her dissertation research, and I volunteered to find it because I had the time and live in the area. It was also a perfect opportunity to get over my nervousness about using the library for research for the first time. I was looking up a document that cited the Andrew Carnegie papers, box 256. The online finding aid is very well organized, easy to use and in looking up box 256 I found that some of the general content was also stored in Box 257. I would ask for both boxes and see what I could find. I checked the hours for the Manuscript reading room and called ahead to make sure the papers were accessible onsite. Many items are stored off-site and require advance notice so it helps to call ahead and check.

Armed with the box numbers I passed through security at the building entrance and found the manuscript reading room on the first floor. I also stopped to admire the stature of Madison when I took a wrong turn down a hallway.

I had already visited LM140 for my reader registration card in the same building. I walked up to the security desk and presented my card to security. I let him know I had never been to that reading room before and he gave me a key for the lockers and pointed me towards the information desk. I'd already reviewed the restrictions for personal belongings, as well as the research and reference FAQs. I also attended a research orientation class. Some of the reading rooms offer specific orientations for their subject area, which may be useful although I have not taken one yet. The general orientation class provides basic instruction on library use and could be helpful for new researchers, but is a little light for anyone familiar with library services and use.

After stowing my things in a locker at the front of the room, I approached the desk where I was checked in and registered as a user of the manuscript reading room. I gave her my two box numbers, and she thanked me for being prepared. If you need to look up the boxes you need, or want help researching the collection, there are computers available in the room, as well as staff on hand to assist you.

By the time I'd sat down at one of the lovely wooden desks, much of my apprehension had dissipated and I was a little giddy with excitement. Silly, yes, but I found the experience a little surreal at how very easy it is to walk in, ask for something, and have it brought to you on a cart. Within minutes I was sifting through the archival boxes reading bibliographies of articles and books that mention Carnegie, as well as several typed notes of references to Carnegie in articles, or interviews with people about him. I also found what I was looking for, a transcript of the conversation between Burton J. Hendrick and James Bertram my doctoral candidate friend had found mentioned in another source. I scanned it using this amazing machine, you can check it out here on Google Docs

If you're interested in learning more about collections and conducting research at LOC, the website is the best place to start. Many library resources are available digitally to browse or access, such as a Virtual Reference Shelf, Webcasts, Digital Collections, Bibliographies, Online Catalog, and Finding Aids. The rooms themselves are beautiful and the collections are amazing. Check them out if you ever have time, and unearth some neat things.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Little Free Library

This week's library highlight is the Little Free Library. While not technically a special library, it's an interesting movement and the boxes are fairly adorable. Little Free Library is a movement that started in Wisconsin with a mission to promote literacy and build a sense of community. The Little Free Library is just what the name implies, it's a box with books placed in a publicly accessible area offered for free. People can take a book, replace a book, or add books to the collection. It's an effort to promote reading, share literature, and bring a community together. The movement has picked up momentum in areas, and was recently featured in an article in the Los Angeles Times.

This concept of sharing books in free libraries is not new. Many hostels and businesses catering to travelers around the world have free book shelves. You can pick up a new book to take with you while replacing it with the book you brought with you from your last destination if you choose. There are sites such as BookCrossing which encourage travelers to send their books off into the wilds with a label, which can then be tracked online much like the Where's George project. While BookCrossing considers itself the world's library, Little Free Library is a book sharing effort a little closer to home.

The Little Free Library concept creates special libraries that are community driven and creative in content as well as in structure. You can buy a Little Free Library to put up in your yard, or really get into it by building your own. Check out the FAQ page for answers to questions about damage to the little free library, or placement on public property. I like the answer to, 'what if people steal the books?' You can't steal something that's free. The boxes available on the website are a little pricey, but very cute. If you would like more information about starting a Little Free Library, you can use the contact form on the Little Free Library website.

You could also read more about the movement in this article from the Valpariso, Indiana community news website, or USA Today. Here are a few pictures of the Little Free Libraries taken from the Little Free Library website. I love the red call box.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

American Museum of Natural History Library

This week's post is about a library visit by the Library & Information Science Student Association. A former officer and recent graduate of the School of Communication & Information at Rutgers directed me to their pictures and provided some details about their visit to the American Museum of Natural History Library in New York, NY.

The library at the American Museum of Natural History was established with the founding of the museum in 1869. This library is one of the largest natural history libraries in the world. Among the collections, the library also maintains the astronomy collection from the Hayden Planetarium, which was transferred in 1997.

The website is worth a perusal if you don't have the opportunity to check this library out in person. The Congo Expedition of 1909-1015 is very well done with multimedia t presentations, impressive gallery with QuickTime videos and images of 3D visuals and high resolution display, and well presented access to the transcripts of the introduction. The Darwin Manuscript Project with a cleverly called Darbase is also worth a look. Check this this link for the list of digital collections. To whet you appetite for an in person visit, browse their catalog online.

The Flickr page from the Rutgers LISSA visit give some great perspective of the behind the scenes. These images were clipped from the Flickr page and link to the original Flickr files.