Archive for the ‘libraries’ Category

Friday, October 21st, 2022

TinyCat’s October Library of the Month: The Women’s Museum of California

This month we’re proud to highlight the Women’s Museum of California (WMC), based out of San Diego and offering a Free Feminist Library to the public every first Saturday of the month. WMC’s Marketing Director Melissa Jones was kind enough to field my questions this month:

Who are you, and what is your mission—your “raison d’être”?

The mission of the Women’s Museum of California is to educate and inspire present and future generations about the experiences and contributions of diverse women by collecting, preserving, and interpreting their stories.

Picture of the Women's Museum of California Education Center, a tall building facade with a high archway full of windows and glass doors. Facade is covered with a hanging display of pink flowers and a female gender symbol made of flowers.
WMC’s Educational Center containing their
Free Feminist Library.

Tell us some interesting things about how your library supports the community.

Our library fills the gaps in our education when it comes to learning about the contributions and accomplishments of women. The library houses books by women authors, with particular attention to frequently banned or challenged books, for the public to borrow. We encourage everyone, young and old, to pursue their dreams. The Women’s Museum of California gives people the opportunity to learn about women in history who paved the way for women’s lives today and tomorrow. By sharing the hidden histories of women’s experiences we combat the limits society places on women and recognize that despite the inequalities that women face across centuries they have become inventors, politicians, activists, artists, and military heroes.

That is simply wonderful! Speaking to the works you have in your library, what are some of your favorite items in your collection?

We love that we have a wide range of perspectives in our collection – not every woman has the same experience. From classic feminist books like Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique to more modern books like Michelle Obama’s Becoming we hope every woman can see themselves in the books on our shelves.

What’s a particular challenge your library experiences?

We are only open one day a month and we’d like to grow so more people can read the books in our collection.

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

TinyCat is affordable and easy to use. It was so easy to get our volunteers trained on how to use it. We would love a way for patrons to add themselves to the system so we can have a self-checkout system.

Great feedback, thanks! There are some workarounds libraries use so patrons can be added to the system remotely (discussed here), but we’ll be sure to announce any official changes on that front.

Want to learn more about the Women’s Museum of California?

Visit their website at https://www.womensmuseumca.org/, follow them on Facebook/Instagram/Twitter, and explore their full TinyCat collection here.


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

Want to be considered for TinyCat’s Library of the Month? Send us a Tweet @TinyCat_lib or email Kristi at kristi@librarything.com.

Labels: libraries, Library of the Month, TinyCat

Friday, August 12th, 2022

TinyCat’s August Library of the Month: Green Bay Botanical Garden

This month we tip our gardening hats to the Green Bay Botanical Garden (GBBG)—yes, home of the Packers—as TinyCat’s Library of the Month. Linda Gustke, Director of Education & Guest Experience at GBBG, was kind enough to field my questions this month:

Who are you, and what is your mission—your “raison d’être”?

Green Bay Botanical Garden’s mission statement is this: We connect people with plants by providing year-round educational and recreational experiences for everyone in an environment that engages, inspires and refreshes.

Tell us some interesting things about how your library supports the community.

We love to be a resource for our gardening community! Our library has a wide variety of gardening books, as well as some DVD’s, for adults—from starting a garden, to garden design, landscaping, native plants, vegetable gardens, grasses, plant lore, even backyard chickens! We also have a Children’s Library that brings nature to life through stories about all that happens in the Garden—plants, animals, lifecycles, plant stories and more. We host a story time each Tuesday morning with stories from the Children’s Library, and the library is especially utilized by families visiting the Garden during the summertime.

What are some of your favorite items in your collection?

In our adult section, I love the books by Amy Stewart: Wicked Bugs, Wicked Plants, The Drunken Botanist. In our kids section, it’s hard to pick a favorite, they’re all so great!

What’s a particular challenge your library experiences?

We continue to run out of space in our building for our staff, and that means the library gets relocated and underutilized. It has such great resources that we would love to make it more widely available, but it’s been difficult to devote the staff time to it to really make it more usable for the community.

Hopefully having an online catalog makes your library’s visibility just a little bit easier! Speaking of TinyCat, what’s your favorite thing about TinyCat, and what’s something you’d love to see implemented or developed?

We love that it has brought our collection online and it makes it easy for guests and members to check out books! I haven’t worked with it as closely yet (our staff member that got it up and running recently left) so I don’t have suggestions for things I’d like to see implemented or developed at this time.

Want to learn more about GBBG?

Visit their website at https://gbbg.org/, follow them on Facebook / Instagram / Twitter, and explore their full TinyCat collection here.


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

Want to be considered for TinyCat’s Library of the Month? Send us a Tweet @TinyCat_lib or email Kristi at kristi@librarything.com.

Labels: libraries, Library of the Month, TinyCat

Tuesday, July 19th, 2022

TinyCat’s July Library of the Month: The Maurice Ritz Resource Center

TinyCat’s Library of the Month is a rather timely one: Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin’s Community Library, the Maurice Ritz Resource Center. I interviewed the Center’s Resource and Training Specialist Anne Brosowsky-Roth who was kind enough to field my questions this month:

Who are you, and what is your mission—your “raison d’être”?

The Maurice Ritz Resource Center is the Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin Community Library. It was founded in 1972 with seed money donated by a board member. It is Wisconsin’s only library dedicated to human sexuality and sex education. Housed in the Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin Milwaukee headquarters, it provides materials and resources for parents, educators, health care providers, social workers, case managers, youth workers, and others working to improve their capacity when addressing sexuality with their own children, students, patients, clients, and participants. 

The collection includes over 3,000 books, curricula, and audiovisuals. The resource center also houses a non-circulating research collection of historical materials relating to human sexuality dating from the 19th century onward.

Tell us some interesting things about how your library supports the community.

We are the only library in Wisconsin that specializes in human sexuality. We have a variety of unique holdings, including a section dedicated to sex education for people with disabilities. Our library offers resources and support for families who need to have conversations they might never have expected to need to have for their children with unique needs, like supporting kids with sensory differences coping with puberty, or people with cognitive disabilities navigating relationships.

What are some of your favorite items in your collection?

My personal favorite items are historical sex guides and manuals that live in our archival collection. They really open a window to the ways sex, sexuality, and gender have evolved in the United States over the last 100 years or so. One of my favorites was a book written for newlywed young husbands in the late 1800s, which includes “everything” he needs to know about marriage—except for intercourse. (Though it does contain “scientific” evidence about the importance of having separate beds lest couples become too overcome with passion.)

Another is a script for a radio program from the 1950s, which role-modeled ways parents could incorporate instruction about sex using everyday teachable moments. A mother tells her daughter about menstruation as they bake together. A father explains the facts of life when a neighbor’s dog has puppies. And there is this conversational lead in to a conversation about wet dreams…

FATHER: (THE CAREFUL LEAD-IN) You know, Bob, you’re getting to be a pretty big fellow! Yes sir – maybe this is a good idea. Chance for us to have a little talk.

BOB: Why sure, Dad. What’s cookin’?

FATHER: Mind if I smoke in your room?

BOB: (PLEASED AT BEING ASKED) Why, no, Dad. Go ahead!

FATHER: Thanks. Your mother will probably have a fit. She just had the curtains washed. (PUFFS AS HE LIGHTS PIPE…BOB CHUCKLES THROUGH PUFFS) Remember the last time we talked about this old body of ours, Bob?…

Sex, stereotypes, and smoking, all in one tiny piece of dialogue. It doesn’t get much better than that.

What’s a particular challenge your library experiences?

As a library within a larger organization, we have bounced around through different departments over the years. When we began, we were housed within community education, as we supported our staff educators who would provide programming to the public. When our organization experienced budget cuts that eliminated educational programming, we were moved into patient services, to support a program that supported nurse practitioners (NPs) working on their certification. When our state required NPs to get a degree through an accredited university, we were moved into development. It’s been a constant struggle to explain the reasons for continuing to support and value the maintenance of a library.

That seems to be a constant struggle for too many small libraries! 

Switching gears a bit: as a supporter of small libraries, ourselves, can you tell us your favorite thing about TinyCat, and also something you’d love to see implemented/developed?

TinyCat was revolutionary for us. We are very small, in terms of the size of our collection and our budget. One staff person oversees the library, and that is not their primary role. Until a few years ago, everything was done on paper—acquisitions records, materials processing, I even hand-typed cards and book labels. This made access difficult for all but a few dedicated users. Since the library serves staff at 23 different sites, and most of the public that uses our library doesn’t live in our region, there was no way for them to browse or access the collection. 

While we knew an OPAC was always the gold standard, there was no way we could afford access with our tiny budget. TinyCat was a game changer. The low cost combined with an easy-to-use interface for the first time meant that people could access our materials in the same way they might look things up at their local library. Even for people unfamiliar with doing searches, I can just send them a link to search results. It has made acquisitions easier as well. We have a very niche collection—it’s easy to see what other similar collections contain and add that might be of interest to our users.

I would love to see a robust circulation option built in—that could be used to solicit and track patrons.

Great suggestion. While we don’t (yet) have a way for you to message patrons within TinyCat en masse, you can add/import/track your patrons and their circulation data, and we will continue to make improvements to the system as we grow. Thanks for your feedback!

Want to learn more about the Maurice Ritz Resource Center? Explore their full TinyCat collection here.


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

Want to be considered for TinyCat’s Library of the Month? Send us a Tweet @TinyCat_lib or email Kristi at kristi@librarything.com.

Labels: libraries, Library of the Month, TinyCat

Friday, June 24th, 2022

TinyCat’s June Library of the Month: Out On The Shelves Library

It’s Pride Month, which means we’re super proud to feature an independent LGBT2QIA+ library that’s been supporting their Vancouver community since the 1980s! It was my pleasure to interview Out On The Shelves (OOTS) Library Co-Coordinator Rio Picollo, MLIS (they/them) this month:

Who are you, and what is your mission—your “raison d’être”?

Out On The Shelves Library (OOTS) is an independent community library serving the

LGBT2QIA+ community of Vancouver, British Columbia since the early 1980s. We foster a free, accessible, and safe space for LGBT2QIA+ people to discover and share stories and resources centering on LGBT2QIA+ experiences.

Tell us some interesting things about how your library supports the community.

We’re in the midst of a project in collaboration with the University of British Columbia School of Information to improve our subject tags to help patrons discover works featuring identities that aren’t well represented in mainstream library cataloguing. We routinely get requests for things like books by trans women of colour or YA fiction with non-binary characters, and until now we’ve relied heavily on word-of-mouth recommendations between library volunteers or searching through curated book lists for that information. We’re excited to create a more organized, accessible way for our patrons to find the types of materials they’re looking for from within our catalogue.

What a wonderful way to increase visibility for underrepresented identities. Speaking of your collections, what are some of your favorite items?

Our new seed library, Out in the Dirt, which offers free seeds and starters, as well as programming on sustainable urban farming and food sharing within the Vancouver queer community.

What’s a particular challenge your library experiences?

Being located on the far west side of Vancouver, it can be difficult for folks from elsewhere across the Lower Mainland to make the trip to our location. We have plans in the works for a sort of interlibrary loan system partnered with the newly developed Vancouver Black Library located in Chinatown to help increase the reach of both our organizations.

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

We love how quick and easy it is to catalogue materials with LibraryThing. It offers such a low barrier to entry for folks new to library cataloguing. In the future, we’d love to be able to store info for duplicate copies under the same bib record.

We hope to add copy management in the future as well! We’ll be sure to announce any changes on that front. Thanks for your feedback.

Want to learn more about OOTS? Visit their website at https://outontheshelveslibrary.com/, follow them on Twitter and Instagram, and explore their full TinyCat collection here.


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

Want to be considered for TinyCat’s Library of the Month? Send us a Tweet @TinyCat_lib or email Kristi at kristi@librarything.com.

Labels: libraries, Library of the Month, TinyCat

Friday, May 13th, 2022

TinyCat’s May Library of the Month: The Michael C. Weidemann LGBTQ+ Library

Our library featured this month is a Seattle-based LGBTQ+ library doing valuable work in their community while paying special attention to their most marginalized BIPOC voices. Library and Resource Coordinator Alayna S. Jasso at the Michael C. Weidemann LGBTQ+ Library formerly known as Gay City was kind enough to field my questions:

Who are you, and what is your mission—your “raison d’être”?

We are the Michael C. Weidemann LGBTQ+ Library located in Seattle’s LGBTQ+ Center. Our library’s mission is to promote the self-determination, liberation, and joy of LGBTQ+ communities through storytelling, information, and idea sharing while centering the stories and voices of Queer and Trans BIPOC individuals in an inclusive and welcoming space.

Tell us some interesting things about how your library supports the community.

Our library is one of the largest collections of LGBTQ+ books and media in the Pacific Northwest. We support our community by giving them the opportunity to see themselves in stories and media. We also provide a full resource center that allows community members to access the support they need to thrive. This could be through discounted transportation cards, Health Care Navigation, resource referrals, and more.

What are some of your favorite items in your collection?

I think the Rainbow Boys Series by Alex Sanchez. They are young adult books following the lives of three teens struggling with coming out and being accepted in high school. I think it’s super important that youth be able to see themselves in stories. I also love the Janet Mock Memoir Redefining Realness. It’s such a powerful book and shows what people go through on their journey to live in their truth.

What’s a particular challenge your library experiences?

The pandemic was of course a huge challenge for our library. In March 2020 we made the difficult decision to temporarily close our library for the health of our communities. While we were closed, we took the opportunity to curate and re-catalog our collection. Our goal was to make sure that our catalog is truly representative of all the communities we serve. By auditing our catalog, we were able to curate a streamlined collection of our most in-demand books and genres, as well as make sure we have space to expand our collection to include more voices and experiences. In particular, we are committed to expanding our collection of BIPOC LGBTQ+ authors. Our challenge is sourcing these books given the historical marginalization of these authors and the relative scarcity of some of these books along with the budgetary constraints that many libraries face.

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

My favorite feature of TinyCat is the aggregated reports. Being able to see which items are getting the most circulation really helps when considering adding or weeding titles. What I would really like to see with TinyCat is the removal of case sensitivity when it comes to tags.

Want to learn more about the LGBTQ+ Library? Explore their full TinyCat collection here.


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

Want to be considered for TinyCat’s Library of the Month? Send us a Tweet @TinyCat_lib or email Kristi at kristi@librarything.com.

Labels: libraries, Library of the Month, TinyCat

Tuesday, April 19th, 2022

TinyCat’s April Library of the Month: The Milwaukee Waukesha Beekeepers Association

Spring is in the air (at least for the Northern Hemisphere), so it’s a great time to think about our powerful pollinators! I had the pleasure of interviewing Jill Wickham, library volunteer and retired school librarian at the Milwaukee Waukesha Beekeepers Association (MWBA), for our featured library this month:

Who are you, and what is your mission—your “raison d’être”?

Our library is part of the Milwaukee Waukesha Beekeepers Association, a club in southeastern Wisconsin made up of beekeepers (beeks) and others who are interested in bees and beekeeping. The goal of our library is to support our members as they explore the hobby of beekeeping and expand their knowledge of beekeeping methods.  We own roughly 100 books covering areas of interest to our members; the books can be checked out during our monthly meetings. Our books cover the subjects of honeybee biology, beekeeping in general, queen rearing, overwintering and treating bee colonies, producing and marketing honey, pollinator friendly gardening, crafting with beeswax, as well as a small collection of children’s titles about bees. Club dues support the periodic purchase of new titles.

Tell us some interesting things about how your library supports the community.

Our members are often asked to present to various community groups, and often use our library resources during these presentations. We also donate honey from our club beeyard—we maintain about 15 hives as a club—to our local Hunger Task Force food bank.

What a worthy cause, for the bees and for the food bank! Speaking of your library’s resources, what are some of your favorite items in your collection?

My favorite title to recommend is Hilary Kearney‘s Queenspotting, a book that is both fun and educational for all age groups.   Also, two books by a Milwaukee author, Petra Ahnert, Beeswax Alchemy and Beehive Alchemy, which both contain DIY projects using beeswax, honey and propolis.

What’s a particular challenge your library experiences?

Our club members have varying degrees of experience and a variety of beekeeping philosophies. If you ask 10 beekeepers the same question, you’ll get 11 answers! So, it’s a challenge to provide materials covering all levels of interest, experience and philosophies.

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

I love how easy it is to add titles from LibraryThing and how visual our online TinyCat catalog is. I’d like to be able to add more than one copy to the same bib record, and I’d like to be able to generate emailed overdue notices right from TinyCat or LibraryThing.

Great feedback! While we don’t yet have copies management, we’ll be sure to announce any changes on that front. As for overdue notices, you can automate those from your Patron Email Reminder Settings at https://www.librarycat.org/admin/settings/circsettings. Hope this helps!

Want to learn more about MWBA? Visit their website at http://mwbeekeepers.org/, join their Facebook Group, or explore their full TinyCat collection here.


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

Want to be considered for TinyCat’s Library of the Month? Send us a Tweet @TinyCat_lib or email Kristi at kristi@librarything.com.

Labels: libraries, Library of the Month, TinyCat

Tuesday, April 5th, 2022

Happy 6th Birthday to TinyCat!

Today marks TinyCat’s 6th year of giving small libraries a sleek, user-friendly, and affordable way to manage and share their collections online, all powered by LibraryThing. Happy Birthday to us!

We’ve had the pleasure of cultivating relationships and community with thousands of libraries over the years. (Check out some of our latest Libraries of the Month on the blog.) From schools and classrooms to churches, arts organizations, local clubs, human rights groups, free libraries in underserved communities, and more, we’d like to thank everyone who’s adopted a TinyCat of their own! Of course this means we have a few gifts for you all this month to mark the occasion.

Store Sale…

For the next month until Friday, May 6, we’re running a major sale on all of our CueCat scanners, barcode labels, and TinyCat merch in the LibraryThing Store. Be sure to take advantage of the deals and stock up this month while you can: https://www.librarything.com/more/store.

...and a Surprise!

We’ll have an adorable surprise for you later this month, and a surprise giveaway for both new and existing TinyCat subscribers—well, a surprise in the sense that you can’t pinpoint* what the giveaway is, yet—so stay tuned on the blog and on our Twitter page for details: https://twitter.com/TinyCat_lib.

Come and join the celebratory thread in the TinyCat Group for some happy birthday wishes, and thanks for another great year!

*Hint hint: can you take a guess at the surprise we have in store for you?

Labels: birthday, libraries, sale, TinyCat

Friday, March 25th, 2022

TinyCat’s March Library of the Month: New England Antiquities Research Association

Humans have been using stones for millions of years, leaving behind such a lengthy history of artifacts that it only makes sense that not all stone structures still standing are known, or their purpose understood, by those alive today. The New England Antiquities Research Association (NEARA) is working to close that knowledge gap in their part of the world. 

One of NEARA’s volunteers Walter kindly answered my questions for this month’s feature:

Who are you, and what is your mission—your “raison d’être”?

We are the New England Antiquities Research Association (NEARA), a non-profit organization dedicated to trying to discover, understand, and preserve many stone structures that can be found in the northeastern US and Canada.

Tell us some interesting things about how your library supports the community.

The library is really a research library. It has thousands of books about history, archaeology, anthropology, and geology, mostly focused on stone artifacts such as chambers, rock piles, walls, propped boulders, rock art, and mounds. Most of the books circulate to our members.

The library is also an archive. Naturally we house many of the documents accumulated from nearly 60 years of existence, including all of the journals and newsletters and a few books that we have published.

But we also hold files documenting many of the sites that have been found, and we preserve the notes and files and maps of NEARA researchers. Together they occupy many boxes and filing cabinets. These files have been valuable to today’s researchers who are out looking for sites and seeing if their condition has changed or whether they have been destroyed by modern development.

What are some of your favorite items in your collection?

I’m not sure I have a favorite item. It often feels like the next thing I pick up is the most fascinating book. Reading old site reports is exciting, giving one the vicarious pleasure of discovering new sites.

What’s a particular challenge your library experiences?

We have been in the process of digitizing our archives and providing online access to it. We have finished digitizing the site files, but there’s still a lot to be done. That work has been essential in continuing the value of the archives, because now people can use it from their home or smartphone.

Most of our membership is scattered about the New England and Middle Atlantic states, so coming to visit the library isn’t as easy as visiting your local library. Before COVID there were more visitors and our in-person conferences twice a year meant much more interaction at our book tables. The browsing experience is so important. Now everything has to be mailed, which has decreased our usage and increased our per-item work and cost. Having an online catalog and circulation system has helped. But I really would like to give our members free digital access to the volumes that we own.

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

TinyCat is great for the user. It looks nice and is easy to use. Acting as a librarian, though, I find some of the circulation and patron controls hard to use on a tablet. Also, with LibraryThing I wish it were easier to handle barcodes and perform queries and mass operations.

Great feedback! I’ll touch base with you for specifics about your tablet use, and I’ll make sure you have access to everything you need regarding barcodes, searches, and power functions.

Want to learn more about NEARA? Visit their website at https://neara.org, and explore their full TinyCat collection here.


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

Want to be considered for TinyCat’s Library of the Month? Send us a Tweet @TinyCat_lib or email Kristi at kristi@librarything.com.

Labels: libraries, Library of the Month, TinyCat

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2022

TinyCat’s February Library of the Month: The Starfish Foundation Library

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

The Starfish Foundation Library—a wonderful multilingual library founded in February 2021 on the Greek island of Lesvos—is TinyCat’s Library of the Month. The Foundation’s volunteers, including Jessica Volmar, who fielded my questions this month, work diligently to help local and migrant communities in need.

Who are you, and what is your mission—your “raison d’être”?

The Starfish Foundation was started by locals on Lesvos in 2015, who witnessed one of the world’s greatest humanitarian disasters unfolding on their shorelines with thousands of refugees arriving. The target group of most of the activities are mainly refugees, but Starfish Foundation has widened the target groups and now also reaches many local people and organizations. One of our projects is the Library Project, which includes a multilingual library in the city Mytilene and a mobile library in the refugee camp Mavrovouni.

Tell us some interesting things about how your library supports the community.

Life in a refugee camp is very difficult and many people have been stuck here for years. With the Library Project we can provide the residents books for education and pleasure. Our diverse collection consists of around 6000 books in more than 15 languages – including Farsi, Arabic and French, the most common languages in the camp. The vast majority of the books are donations from all over the world. Our library in Mytilene is a great space where locals and refugees meet, which promotes inclusion and cohesion.

What are some of your favorite items in your collection?

I love the childrens books that have their text in English and Arabic or Farsi. Those are not only popular with children but also adults, as it is a fun and playful way to learn and improve a language.

What’s a particular challenge your library experiences?

Some books in certain languages are really hard to get. For example Somali – there are many refugees from Somalia who frequently ask for books in their language, but it’s hard to get them.

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

It’s very easy to find books, especially with the language tags, which is an important factor of the refugees living in the camp.

Want to learn more about the Starfish Foundation? Visit their website at https://www.asterias-starfish.org/, and explore their full TinyCat collection here.


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

Want to be considered for TinyCat’s Library of the Month? Send us a Tweet @TinyCat_lib or email Kristi at kristi@librarything.com.

Labels: libraries, Library of the Month, TinyCat

Thursday, January 27th, 2022

TinyCat’s January Library of the Month: The Concentrating Solar Power Digital Library Archive

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

January’s TinyCat Library of the Month goes to the Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) Digital Library Archive! Technical Librarian Shannon O’Grady from Sandia National Laboratories was kind enough to field my questions this month:

Who are you, and what is your mission—your “raison d’être”?

The Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) Digital Library Archive is a technical reference database of historical CSP documents accessible to domestic and global partners with the purpose of promoting collaboration and information sharing.

It is the only public collection in the world that chronicles the history and growth of the CSP industry through recently digitized documents, beginning with its inception at Sandia National Laboratories in the 1970’s. Until recently, this history was inaccessible to global collaborators. Hardcopy documents were difficult to share and no central repository existed to catalogue and access digital copies. Since the documents had no way to be discovered, knowledge of their existence and substance was limited to those who were aware of these collections, minimizing the opportunity for external collaborators to benefit from their technical contents. Consequently, researchers stood to inadvertently replicate studies instead of building on them.

The Archive contains:

  • coverage of research topics such as CSP technologies
  • modeling of CSP Plant
  • CSP engineered products
  • heliostat designs
  • heliostat operational systems, and much more.

Tell us some interesting things about how your library supports the community.

Our Library supports anyone around the world interested in solar research. Sandia solar researchers and librarians have spent the past few years collecting, digitizing and cataloging a host of reports, memos, blueprints, photos and more on concentrating solar power, a kind of renewable energy produced by using large mirrors to reflect and concentrate sunlight onto a receiver on a tower to generate electricity. These historical research documents are now in a publicly accessible digital archive for other concentrating solar power researchers, historians, corporations and average citizens to view.

What are some of your favorite items in your collection?

There are so many unique reports in the catalog, it would be hard to pick one! We recently received this feedback from a user,

“When searching for ‘sunshape’ I actually found a document that is older than myself and acknowledges someone who worked in my office for decades. Time seems to go in cycles!”

It’s very satisfying to provide information that previously was not discoverable!

What’s a particular challenge your library experiences?

The challenge for our library is the process of adding to the archive. We continue to accumulate paper copies of reports, provide all with metadata and an abstract in MARC format, and then digitize.  It’s a time consuming process but well worth it.

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

Our favorite things are the easy-to-use interface and the flexibility of modifying it. We have made several updates to the Home page and have revised the record detailed view to best display report metadata. 

What we’d really love to see implemented is more of a LibraryThing upgrade but has an aspect of TinyCat: it would be really great if there was a way to update information in the originally loaded MARC record that displays as MARC view in TinyCat.

Great feedback, thanks! We’ll take that into consideration.

Want to learn more about the CSP Digital Library Archive? Explore their TinyCat collection here.


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

Want to be considered for TinyCat’s Library of the Month? Send us a Tweet @TinyCat_lib or email Kristi at kristi@librarything.com.

Labels: libraries, Library of the Month, TinyCat