John Phillips would have been very pleased to see our Library yesterday.
Ten students and one faculty member, Eimer Page, worked in the library dusting the shelves as their Community Action Day project. Most of the shelves on the upper floors were dusted, and all of the shelves in the Academy Archives. The following quote, for the original Deed of Gift for the Academy, clearly outlines John Phillips’ expectations that were fulfilled during yesterday’s Community Action Day. The students did not procure material for the Library, but they sure made it a better place to be.
“They are to give special attention to the health of the scholars, and ever to urge the importance of an habit of industry. For these purposes they may encourage the scholars to perform some manual labor, such as gardening, or the like, so far as is consistent with cleanliness and the inclination of their parents; and the fruit of their labor shall be applied, at the direction of the trustees, for procuring a library, or in some other way increasing the usefulness of this Seminary.”
A recent acquisition of some old Academy images brought up some thorny problems. The photographs, taken by Edwin L. Cunningham in the early 1900s, were in very rough shape, with prints exhibiting extensive waterstaining, thick layers of surface grime, and in some cases, obvious mold growth, and glass plate negatives which were either broken or rendered entirely useless by having been stuck together for decades. While we accepted many of the images for scanning, once completed, they were returned to the donor as they were pretty much at the point where physically restoring them would have been either been prohibitively expensive, or in most cases, an act of futility.
Once we had good “master” scans of the images (meaning that no editing is done besides rotating and cropping), we set about making “user” copies, where we employed some fairly basic Photoshop techniques to make the images usable again for possible online publication and/or physical printing. Deciding exactly how much editing to do can be a tricky business, but we tended to be a bit conservative on this project. Basically, we simply tried to minimize the most visually damaged elements, rather than attempting to bring the images back to a pristine state.
Click the images below to see large versions, and a read a terrific Q&A on how to handle some of your own photograph/document collections here.
The film collections are among the most popular collections in the Library, and until recently, among the hardest to browse. Newer films were kept in two wooden racks with slide-out drawers, older films were kept behind the Circulation Desk, and a large assortment of television shows and other films were kept near the music CDs on floor 1M. Not only did this cause a great deal of confusion among patrons, it even befuddled the staff a bit when trying to determine where to reshelve a returned DVD.
Thankfully, over the summer, different sections of the collection were combined and given a new home on the Library’s main floor. Located behind the row of computer terminals on the main floor of the library, the entire CinemExeter collection is now shelved in straight alphabetical order. Whether you’re looking for a new movie, a classic film, or a television series, you’ll find them all in the same place. (The educational programs and some of the older foreign films are still located in the room above the Circulation Desk.)
Integrating the collection opened up a lot of shelving in the Lawrence Music area (outside the Computer Lab on 1M), so we moved the entire paperback collection to this space for good measure. The paperbacks include fiction and non-fiction, are shelved alphabetically by author, and are selected as quick reads rather than research tools.