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What Makes a Special Library Special? Maggie Weaver OALT/ABO.

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Presentation on theme: "What Makes a Special Library Special? Maggie Weaver OALT/ABO."— Presentation transcript:

1 What Makes a Special Library Special? Maggie Weaver OALT/ABO

2 Special collections academic – focussed on a subject school – focussed to mandate special – focussed to mandate

3 … these practitioners are expected to carry out all the functions of poste restante and dead letter office, machine shop, repair department and advisory bureau on all things mechanical and electronic, sleuths extraordinaires (including the lesser roles of spymaster and industrial eavesdropper), travel agent, complaints office, centre of artistic and literary excellence, all purpose tutorial bureau, photographic studio, museum and archive, den of palmists and tea leaf readers, and a drop-in centre for the senile and otherwise mentally infirm. Their work is extremely varied.

4 Competition vs collegiality academic public school special

5 Internal materials school public academic special

6 One days mail in a busy library… … if studied in depth, could form the basis of at least twenty doctoral theses in psychiatry. Some of it is the wreckage and flotsam, adrift within the corporation, that eventually finds its way unerringly to that companys Sargasso.

7 Interest in outcome public – outcome to individual, & to community academic – outcome to individual school – outcome to individual special – outcome to organization

8 Unpredictability school public academic special

9 The mail arrives in batches… … two or three times a day. It is the only regular item and the one embodying the greatest predictability. All remaining elements of our practitioners day turn up randomly, and at those moments which will result in the greatest chaotic impact.

10 Small size special – employer hierarchy not librarians school – employer hierarchy not librarians

11 Not unionized school public academic special

12 The phone is answered by a resonant bass voice… Our practitioner asks if that is Mr. Jones and when the bass says Just a moment, you know he has gone to look at the name-plate on his office door, and that therefore he must be on the top floor.

13 Fragility school public academic special

14 Variety within the community school public academic special

15 Eventually the day eases into evening… There are the usual searching questions about why one puts up with it, but the answer is always there in view: the enormous variety of the Sargasso has shifted subtly yet again during the day. One wonders with mixed dread and curiosity what will appear tomorrow. Keith Weaver: Special libraries and the Sargasso Sea. Library Work, no.3 January 1989

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