How to organise a special library presented by Peter Murgatroyd, SPREP Information Resource Centre Manager – firstname.lastname@example.org
What is a special library? • NOT the same as a school library, public library or National Library • Serves a special set of users in a particular organisation • Specialises in a specific subject area/s to meet users identified needs • Supports the mission and objectives of the parent organisation • Provides highly specialised information and value added data with a very special focus on their internal customers
Libraries in a changing information landscape • “Libraries co-evolve with the organisations they serve and need to change as the organisation changes” • “New technologies offer unparalleled opportunities to make information more available to our users than ever before”
Key considerations • Who are my primary users ? • What are their information needs ? • What kind of resources do we need ? • Where should the special library be located ? • How should I organize the materials so that people can find them ?
Primary users • Dept. Management and Advisers • Programme Officers and Consultants • Community users incl. school children
Information Needs • Comprehensive country coverage • Archival access • Latest resources and developments • Relevant to the country / region • Easy to access / rapid delivery • Hard copy and electronic access • Self service / service support • Filtered and packaged to reduce information overload
What kinds of resources do we need • Reference materials – Dictionaries, Yearbooks, Encyclopedias • Books – international, regional, country • Country Reports – Depts. Consultants • Regional Reports – CROPS (FFA, SPREP etc), UN Agencies, NGOs • Grey literature – Research documents, Inventories, Surveys, Workshop reports, Conference papers • Magazines / Journals / Newsletters / Newspapers • Maps, DVDs, Videos, CD-ROMs
Where should the special library be located • Out of sight, out of mind • As close as possible to the centre of the organisation • Don’t underestimate the importance of foot traffic and high visibility • A busy meeting room may be a better option than an unused storage facility
Hard copy and electronic materials • The same principle applies for electronic documents: • Locate the electronic documents and database at the centre of the organisation – on a networked server • Easy access • High visibility
Some things to consider when designing your space • Location – central, room to expand, free from potential water damage (flooding, leaky roofs etc) • Light – light to read but books are damaged by direct sunlight • Moisture – air circulation reduces mould (fans, windows, space between shelves) • Temperature - Leaving space between the top of the walls and the roof will allow the hot air to escape. • Security – locks on doors, windows • Space – for books / documents, users, work area for librarian, public access PC and space for displays
How to organise my physical space • Shelving double-sided maximises space strong, braced, open back not too high / not too low don’t pack the books too tightly leave space at the end of the shelves for new books • Pamphlet boxes • Display stands - new books - journals / newsletters / newspapers • Vertical files – Filing cabinet
My collection • Reference Collection • General books and reports • Country Documents • Journals and Magazines (place in pamphlet boxes, order alphabetical by title • Vertical File – articles ,media, information sheets - arrange by subject area / project
Organising the books / documents • the purpose of organizing the materials in the library is to make it easier for the librarian and the users to find information. In most libraries, the users are allowed to browse the shelves to find what they need. It is very helpful in these circumstances if similar books are located near each other. • Classification systems- Dewey- Group by Subject area standard subject headings / create your own
Organising by subject • use the subject headings familiar to people in your organisation • best to start with broad categories that can be divided later instead of very narrow ones. • Creating sections within a category makes each subject easier to find, while still keeping related subjects together. Since each organisation has different information needs and priorities, each library may decide upon different subject categories and sections.
Signage • Put up signs around the library indicating where readers can find each subject. • Put a subject label on each shelf • Label your books (first three letters of subject heading plus first three letters of title) • When you have finished labeling the books and shelves, do not forget to make a list of all the subject categories, sections and codes used in the library and put this on display for users
How to organise my digital library space • Documents available on the network (NOT only the librarians or officers PC) • Decide on a simple file hierarchy and file name system so that all electronic documents can be easily filed and retrieved. Consult with colleagues. Provide database / website links to electronic documents