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1062990-408305<br />Robert Johnson<br />LS 575<br />Research Proposal Assignment<br />The Library as a Growing Organism<br />
Can libraries continue to meet the demands of being a growing organism given the limited amount of physical space available and necessary? Two types of libraries will be discussed: The Library of Congress and school libraries.
“The library organization should not short sightedly allow itself to be unduly influenced by its present size, but should plan its layout in such a way to keep pace with necessary growth.” (Ranganathan). Since libraries by definition must grow, what are the key components of growth? Books, readers, and staff are the three components of growth that make up the ‘Trinity’ of libraries. Libraries must support their growth. One example of a growing library is the Library of Congress (LOC). The Library of Congress has the responsibility to archive all important artifacts and make these archives available to researchers. Because the LOC has the responsibility to store all artifacts, the LOC must increase its physical space. This must be done by adding physical buildings. The school library on the other hand does not have the funding to continually increase its space; therefore, it must search for other options. This research proposal will outline what methods these two different types of libraries use to meet their growth demands and what conclusions can be drawn about their implications.
Physical Limitations of the Library of Congress
The Library of Congress is currently nearing capacity on Capitol Hill. How can a library continue to grow when space limitations impede the ability of the library to effectively collect, catalog, and store new artifacts? Currently the Library of Congress is having a challenging time archiving all the artifacts they collect each year. Historically all artifacts have been stored on Capitol Hill. Due to space limitations this is no longer an option. In 1994 Congress authorized the purchase of 100 acres at Fort Mead, Maryland to meet the archiving needs of the Library of Congress. Currently, four modules (buildings) have been completed and nine more have been requested and are pending funding. Although each module allows for 125,000 cubic feet of materials to be stored the curator indicated that the new space will only keep the Library of Congress on track for archiving new materials. Some Senators and Congressmen ask, “Can’t we digitize articles and put them in a research database and subsequently save space?” Digitizing artifacts is an important step but digitizing the article and disposing of the original artifact is not a solution. The original artifact is necessary for researchers.
The School Library will not be able to grow in the same way as the Library of Congress. Its physical space is finite and will not grow unless the school library closes and a new location provides a larger amount of space. What can be done to meet the needs for growth? Several ideas are available for implementation:
weeding -out with the old and in with the new which will allow more shelf space for incoming collections
emerging technology- if possible use emerging technology such as digitizing to keep important information available on file but free up space
virtual libraries-place selected readings to be accessible via the internet, this will free up space and give greater access to users when the library is closed
collaboration with other libraries-sharing collections with other libraries is an efficient way to save space (as an example infrequently used artifacts can be shared resulting in the availability of more space
The Library of Congress and School libraries must continue to grow. Each library has a different responsibility and therefore must be managed differently. The LOC must continue to build new space to archive all artifacts and secure our national treasures. School libraries should attempt to weed, digitize, collaborate, and make collections available via internet. By remembering the library’s responsibilities the librarian can formulate a plan to maximize space and provide room for necessary growth.
Where? LOC in Washington, D. C. and school libraries around the U. S.
Why? To meet the requirements of a growing organism
So what? According to Ranganathan, libraries by definition will grow. If growth is not managed correctly, then their growth will be counterproductive. (i.e.; not enough space to shelf books, no place to store artifacts, older elements of the collection will be inaccessible, etc.)
Beginning: An introduction to the fifth law of library science
Middle: Compare and contrast the LOC and a school library<br /> End: What conclusions can be drawn about necessary growth<br />
Data/ excerpts ( See Bibliography)
The Open Access Debate: A Conversation, hosted at the ALA conference was also helpful in understanding how school libraries can support access to articles for distance students.<br />
Bibliography<br />Bishop, Kay. The Collection Program in Schools. 4th ed. Westport, Libraries Unlimited, 2007<br />Mann, Thomas. The Oxford Guide to Library research 3rd ed. New York, Oxford University <br /> Press, 2005.<br />Mann, Thomas “What is going on at the Library of Congress?” Library of Congress Professional Guild 19 June, 2006 http://www.guild2910.org/AFSCMEWhatIsGoingOn.pdf<br />Ranganathan, S. R. The five laws of library science 2nd ed. Bombay, Asia Publishing House, <br /> 1963.<br />The High Density Storage Facility of the Library of Congress, Washington, D. C. , 2010 (pamphlet)<br /> <br />