Proceedings of the First Park Naturalists’ Training Conference, November 1 to 30, 1929
I – LIBRARIES IN THE NATIONAL PARKS
ADMINISTRATION OF PARK LIBRARY
By Frank T. Been
In the administration of the library, the proper and most advantageous disposal of funds which the library may acquire requires considerable thought as the amount of money is likely to be quite limited. This money will probably be most usefully used in paying for subscriptions to magazines and memberships to scientific organizations which put out publications. This money may be a part of museum finances as the library is considered a part of the museum. There will have to be an outlay also for the purchase of books. Finances for employees has not been considered here as that is taken care of in general park appropriation.
The library material should be divided into two distinct parts — one part for the use of the public and another part for the use of employees and outsiders to whom the material maybe valuable in preparing worthwhile works. To accomplish this division there must be too rooms — one of which will probably be the naturalist’s office or the conference room of the museum where the most valuable material is filed.
As the park library may not be very extensive at best, the publications in it, in order to be used by the most people, may have to be limited to use in the library only — that is, no loans may be possible. The park library, therefore, may be considered a reading room and reference room as the publications therein must be used in the library.
As the building up of the park library depends largely upon acquisitions made from private sources, there will accumulate a mass of material irrelevent to the park. There may also be duplicates of books. This foreign material, the duplicate books, and the park publications, can be used in exchanging with other institutions, individuals, and ether parks for books which are desired. It is quite possible also that books contributed may be sold for high prices because they are rare. Because of the possibility of increasing the library through exchange, it may be advantageous to accept any kind of books with the understanding that they can be disposed of. This miscellaneous material should be indexed and filed, as it should be readily available in case of requests for it.
ADMINISTRATION OF THE PARK LIBRARY
By Edwin D. McKee
The actual administration of a park natural history library should be designated to an appointed librarian who has entire charge, subject to approval by the park naturalist. Whether this position is held by a specially trained person under regular pay, by an outsider who contributes his services, or by a ranger naturalist given the additional title, is a question which can be decided only by individual circumstances such as the state of development of the library and the demand for its services. In most cases it will be possible to have it open to the public only part time each day, but in any case regular hours and regular service should be maintained.
The duties of the librarian should include not only the arranging, distributing, and loaning of books, but also such details as the filing of book records, the maintenance of a memorandum of desirable literature to be obtained, and the acknowledgment and recording of accessions. Records of the literature available to the public should be carefully kept up to date and placed where available to all. Several lists of the complete library collection should also be maintained. As regards the second point mentioned above — the listing of important books which should be obtained — an advantage is readily seen when the sudden and unexpected ways of obtaining most of our books are considered. The recording of information relative to the donors of certain literature is also important and should not be neglected. This should be just as carefully attended to as the personal acknowledgments themselves.
The various systems of library classification were discussed. It was brought out that of the systems now in use, the Library of Congress system is apparently becoming standard, especially for scientific libraries. Library cards already prepared can be obtained with L.C. classification numbers and all other necessary data completely recorded.