Monday, November 03, 2008

Physical Fitness

I love it when a double entendre comes together: today, I'm keeping physically fit while keeping the physical books fit. In an effort to better maintain the books in the History of Medicine Room and make space for future growth, the entire collection is being shifted to alleviate overcrowded shelves. And so our step stool has become my stair stepper.

Today is also officially the last day of the "Date Range" definition of the History of Medicine Collection. Previously limited primarily to books published prior to 1901, the collection will henceforth include any medical books deemed rare and classic. Volumes will slowly be handpicked from the circulating collections and transferred to the History of Medicine Room. In fact, I'll be spending this cold and rainy afternoon in offsite storage--a facility which does almost nothing to enhance the physical fitness of books, by the way--to select the first batch of lucky winners.

The tension between security and access is one that I constantly feel, and this removal of books--some quite popular, relatively speaking--is something we do not undertake lightly. As materials are transferred, we will be analyzing circulation statistics and monitoring requests so that the most sought-after titles remain as accessible as possible to the community. Digitization, limited checkout, and free reproduction may all play into the mix of services as we expand our holdings into the 20th century. As always, we welcome questions and feedback as we move forward.

Rest break over. Time to pump print!

No comments: