Tuesday, July 27th, 2021

TinyCat’s July Library of the Month: The Texas Astronomical Society of Dallas

To read more about TinyCat’s Library of the Month feature, visit the TinyCat Post archive here.

Astronomy is for stargazers, dreamers, explorers, scientists, astronauts (obviously), and really anyone who has ever been interested in or intrigued by the universe. I’m definitely one of those individuals, and this month I had the pleasure of interviewing Kelley Miller at the Texas Astronomical Society (TAS) of Dallas, who volunteers her time as the TAS Librarian, to learn more about their library:

Who are you, and what is your mission—your “raison d’être”? Tell us some interesting things about how your library supports the community.

This is the library for the Texas Astronomical Society of Dallas (TAS), chartered in 1955 to promote the study of astronomy and related fields and to pursue observation and construction of instruments as a hobby. Members can check out books related to any part of the hobby they might be interested in, such as astronomical observing, astrophotography, general astronomy knowledge and history. Books have been donated by members or book authors (some of which are members!). We currently have 730 titles in the library, some with multiple copies. We have approximately 50 books that reside at our dark sky site/observatory in southeast Oklahoma. The rest of the collection is kept in a dedicated library room at my home.

What are some of your favorite items in your collection?

My favorite items in the collection are some of the older books. It’s fascinating to see what was known about the universe 50 to 100 years ago and compare that to what we know now. I also really enjoy the many star atlases/maps and other books related to star lore and mythology.

What’s a particular challenge your library experiences?

We don’t have a central location to house the collection. As a non-profit organization, we don’t have the funds to rent a space, and my house is about 45 minutes or more away from most other members. For now, the list of available books is in a spreadsheet hosted on the club’s website. However, the spreadsheet does not provide much information about the book beyond the title, authors’ names and subjects. Members can send an email to me (TAS Librarian) to request a book from the library, which is either mailed to the member or delivered in person at one of our monthly meetings (once they start again post-pandemic). I am in the process of adding the entire collection to TinyCat so that members can get more information about each title and request to check out a book. I am only about 25% complete with this project. Once this is complete, the next challenge is to maybe find a better location where members can peruse the books in person and check them out via TinyCat.

What is your favorite thing about TinyCat, and what’s something you’d love to see implemented/developed?

I love being able to add a picture of the book cover. In the library, I have each shelf labeled. I am able to put this in the Comments section, but it would be neat to have a dedicated field for shelf location to make it easier to find the book when someone wants to check it out. Our members are very technically savvy, so I think they are going to love the ability to see our library collection in an app and be able to check out books. I think it will also make it much easier to manage the library.

Great feedback. You could use your own custom call number system and LibraryThing’s “Call number” field to denote a book’s location in your library! Read our blog post here for more information. I hope this helps.

Want to learn more about the TAS of Dallas? Visit their website here, and check out their full TinyCat collection here.

To read up on TinyCat’s previous Libraries of the Month, visit the TinyCat Post archive here.

Calling all TinyCat libraries: become TinyCat’s next Library of the Month—just send us a Tweet @TinyCat_lib or email Kristi at kristi@librarything.com.

Labels: libraries, Library of the Month, TinyCat


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