Blog

How to Use the ABM Library

The ABM Library and Archives are up and running! Not everything has been

A colorful portion of our collection.

A colorful portion of our collection.

cataloged yet – more is added to our catalog every week – but with over 3,000 items in the library catalog and close to 18 linear feet of archival documents and photographs organized, it seems like time and past to publicly declare the materials available for use.

This is a remarkable collection, and I enjoy every moment I spend exploring, cataloging, and arranging. I’m learning a great deal. The primary resource I’m using for cataloging is OCLC WorldCat, which is an online catalog gathering the collections of over 72,000 participating libraries in more than 170 countries and territories. WorldCat is a fantastic resource for anyone doing research, because when you search for an item, it offers you two important details: which library holds which edition of the publication, and where they are in relation to your location.

Because of WorldCat, I can tell you that the American Bookbinders Museum Library has many very, very rare items. A great number show up in only one or two collections in Europe, and there have been a couple dozen that haven’t shown up in any collection in WorldCat at all. They’re that rare.

The ABM Library and Archives are a special collections collection, which means they are housed in closed stacks. For security and preservation reasons, patrons are not permitted to browse the shelves. So here’s how it works.

We have an online catalog. You search the catalog, then either place a hold (to do so you will need to create a patron account on our catalog) or email the librarian [librarian@bookbindersmuseum.org] to indicate what materials you would like to use. If you need help searching, you should also email the librarian. You do not need an account to search the catalog. Just type into the search bar at the top of the page and explore away!

After you’ve selected the materials you want, you’ll need to let us know when you plan to come in to use the materials (ideally, again by emailing the librarian! Sensing a theme here?). If possible, please give us at least an hour’s notice on weekdays, and a minimum of 24 hours’ notice for weekends so that suitable staffing arrangements may be made.

The items you’ve requested will be pulled for you in advance, and brought to you in our reading room. For the safety of our materials, we ask that you use only one item at a time. A staff member will be present in the reading room to assist you as needed.

There is no charge for using our materials or for reprographic services. If you’ll need copies, we suggest using your camera or phone to take photographs. We don’t charge, but we do ask that you credit us (and the materials) appropriately, and if you’re working on something that will be published, please let us know! We’d love to check it out.

So in conclusion, please take a look at our collection and start making use of it. It’s really something special.

Questions? Ask the librarian.