Monday, January 16, 2012

We at the Clarke Historical Library have returned from the winter break and, along with the entire CMU community, are back at it. During the spring semester of 2012, our hours will be will be Mon. to Fri. 8 am - 5 pm and Sat. 9 am - 1 pm. Note that we will be closed on Sat., March 3 and Sat., March 10 for spring break. And to start the new year off right, we have a post relating to cataloging in the Clarke. Have a great 2012 from the staff of the Clarke Historical Library.

Cataloging at the Clarke

by Tanya Fox

I am very lucky to be the catalog database specialist at the Clarke Historical Library. My position allows me to work with a large majority of the acquisitions of our library. I have the privilege of holding the items in my hands, whether they are recently published or are decades old. My job affords me the opportunity to look through each item and discern minute details about it. Who wrote it? Where was it published? When was it printed? Did it win any awards? Did the author or illustrator sign it? I have to match an exact record with the item, if one exists. If not, I do original cataloging of the item.

I marvel at the variety of items we acquire. Some books are fragile with torn pages or loose bindings. Some are brand new with beautiful illustrations and funny stories. Some smell old and musty after being boxed up sitting in basements or attics. Others are fresh off the printing press with a wonderful new book smell.

There is a uniqueness to each item. They are tangible reminders of thoughts, people, events, places, and history. My job allows me to wonder about the authors and their motives in writing. It allows me to glimpse photographs or artwork and imagine myself within the idyllic scenes. Each item has a story to tell, not just literally but in its very existence. Cataloging the items gives me the opportunity to briefly touch that existence. How lucky I am!