Friday, November 21, 2008

Iowa's Carnegie Libraries

Library Historian Christine Pawley brought my attention to the redesigned website for the Carnegie Libraries in Iowa Project (CLIP). This is a great website and a great project. According to the website: "CLIP seeks to document the history and changes in Iowa's Carnegie libraries by scanning each library's collection of archival materials. As materials are collected and made available in a database record for each community, it will be possible to more completely study and understand the history of Iowa's Carnegie libraries in the context of their evolving communities." This is a worthy model for other states with Carnegie libraries. I'm involved with the Wisconsin Library Heritage Center which has a much more modest webpage on the Carnegie libraries in Wisconsin. The Library History Buff website has a list of other websites related to Carnegie libraries.

The real picture postcard (RPPC) at the top of the entry shows the Carnegie Library in Jefferson, Iowa. The postcard was made by J. B. Hughes of Boone, Iowa. It was mailed on June 21, 1909 to Anna Felt of Galena, Illinois. It is part of my collection of Anna Felt postcards. It is unusual in that it is 7 inches wide instead of the usual 5 1/2 inches.

Judy Aulik's library postcard website has a good selection of Iowa Carnegie library postcards. The Library Postcard site of Sharon McQueen and Richard Douglas also has a number of Iowa library postcards.

Card Catalog Cabinets

The most popular pages on my Library History Buff website deal with library card catalog cabinets. As libraries have discarded these venerable artifacts people have embraced them for a variety of uses within their homes. They make wonderful storage devices for a wide variety of items. My wife and I have three card catalog cabinets which we find extremely useful. Because of my webpages on card catalogs I get a variety of questions by email. People want to know how to find one, how much they are worth, and where to find replacement hardware for them. I answer some of these questions on the "Card Catalog Cabinets" page of my website. Other pages on my website are the "Evolution of the Card Catalog" page and the "Library Catalog Cards" page.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Libraries and the Mail

Libraries, history, and philately have been a part of my life since childhood, but only in the last 13 years have they become intertwined in a way that they are a major part of my life. Some would say they have become an obsession. I wrote about their impact on my life in an article for American Libraries' CentenniAL Blog in 2007. My interests in philately and library history have continued to reinforce each other. What began as an interesting childhood hobby has become a serious interest in the inter-relationship between libraries and the mail. If picture postcards are excluded, my collection of postal artifacts related to libraries, which I refer to as postal librariana, is probably the largest collection of such material in the world. A significant section of my Library History Buff website is devoted to postal librariana. Each month for the website I post a "Library Cover Story" which features one of my library envelopes or postal cards (covers). The archives for this feature for 2008 are located here and the archives for 2007 are located here. One of the most interesting and enjoyable aspects of my interest in postal librariana has been the development and display of philatelic exhibits relating to this topic in major stamp shows around the country. On Friday, Saturday, and Sunday of this week, may latest exhibit "The Evolution of the American Public Library" will be on display at Chicagopex, the major Chicagoland stamp show. Details of the show are located here. More information on my exhibit is located here.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Introducing the Library History Buff Blog

This blog is a companion to my static website The Library History Buff. It has a similar mission - to promote the appreciation, enjoyment, and preservation of our library heritage. The blog format, however, lends itself better to personal commentary and offers the possibility of interactive communication with others with a similar interest in library history. I often post to the listserv of the Library History Round Table of the American Library Association but the audience for that listserv is restricted to members of LHRT. Another downside to posting to the LHRT listserv is that all members of the listserv are involuntarily subjected to my posts, something I occasionally feel guilty about. It puzzles and saddens me that so few in the library community seem to appreciate or even to be aware of the legacy of those who preceded them in the enterprise of managing and facilitating access to library and information services. This blog is my small attempt to increase the appreciation and awareness of our library heritage.

The content of this blog will include some comments previously published on my Library History Buff website and posted to the LHRT listserv.