Archive for the ‘Library of the Month’ Category

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2021

TinyCat’s November Library of the Month: The Gnomon Library & Learning Resource Center

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

TinyCat’s November Library of the Month is one that I have admired for years from afar, and I’m so glad that Library Director Lucy Bellamy was able to take my questions this month. I hope you enjoy reading about the Library & Learning Resources at Gnomon’s School of Games, Visual Effects & Animation in Hollywood, California as much as I did:

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

The Gnomon Library boasts an attractive space for study and digital creation.

My name is Lucy Bellamy. I am the Director, Library & Learning Resources at Gnomon’s School of Games, Visual Effects & Animation in Hollywood, California. I came to Gnomon to help build their library from the ground up when the college was accredited to offer their first Bachelor of Art program. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that not many librarians experience. Gnomon is an accredited technical college that offers bachelors programs, a two-year certificate program, Foundation in Art & Design courses, as well as individual courses for career professionals wanting to enhance their industry skills.

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

The Gnomon Library is part academic and part special library. The collections support Gnomon’s programs and courses first, as well as inspire the creativity of our community of digital artists. While our collections include traditional books, ebooks, print and digital magazines, resources commonly found in most other libraries, there is also a diverse collection of art objects which our students use as reference for course work. These include vintage cameras, light fixtures, skulls(!), and more.

Our collection was started with donations from instructors, working digital artists, and industry publishers. The resources being donated were those that the donors found helpful, even inspirational to their professional development. In many ways, I viewed their donations as a demonstration of their support of our students looking to join their industry in the future.

What are some of your favorite items in your collection?

Real-life skulls, used as artistic references, peek out of the shelves at the Gnomon Library.

That’s a tough question. With so many unique objects in the collection, I think my favorite thing is the 19th century volume set of Encyclopedia Britannica published in 1877. It was originally added for its visual value because the texture of the covers is so unique. Students reference textures to re-create various surfaces in the digital space, thus this part of the collection is used not only for what is in the encyclopedia — as an information resource — but for the actual cover. When any audience appreciates a text, it is exciting, but when an audience values a text, it’s structure, and studies in the same way, it is exhilarating. I have consulted and referenced one or more of the volumes during library instruction sessions specifically for our art history and cultural studies courses, and it is wonderful to share this asset.

What’s a particular challenge your library experiences?

One challenge has been maintaining a print collection of current resources for the different software programs students are learning. Because of publishing lead times, often once a (software) book is published it may be outdated because the software has been updated which then can compromise the value of the information. Simply, our specific technology is dynamic to the point of any given new resource which may be obsolete within months post-publishing.

What we’ve done to address that concern is create catalog records that are discoverable in our online catalog (TinyCat) embedded with a link to the learning resource pages of the different software companies. This access point offers students a connection to the most up-to-date information including reference documentation and tutorials for the programs they are learning and will be using when they work in the industry.

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

Prior to using TinyCat, I had NO experience with cataloging nor an understanding of the “back end” of a library management system. That quickly changed when the new library needed one. Of the different vendors considered, only LibraryThing and TinyCat seemed promising for what our library needed, and my learning curve. The platform is easy to use, understand, and navigate. More importantly, our students and faculty use TinyCat’s online catalog to connect with the resources they need when they need it.

What I’d like to see as a future tool? Perhaps a WYSIWYG “call out message box” that will display on the online catalog home page. Maybe it could be an option included under the “Content to show underneath the search box” category on the general TinyCat Admin “Settings” page. Something that would allow users to post quick messages like “Good luck with finals!” or “Return your books before the end of the term!”

Great feedback! You may be able to add something like this via the Custom JavaScript feature in your Content Settings, though this would show up on every page in your TinyCat rather than just the Homepage. Check it out here, just in case!

Want to learn more about the Gnomon Library? Visit their website here and find 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

Monday, September 27th, 2021

TinyCat’s September Library of the Month: The Dunedin Athenaeum & Mechanics’ Institute

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

I had the pleasure of interviewing Christine, who is the Librarian at one of the oldest athenaeums in New Zealand—the Dunedin Athenaeum & Mechanics’ Institute—this past month. Christine was gracious enough to answer my questions during the nation’s latest COVID-19 lockdown (a big thanks!):

The Dunedin Athenaeum & Mechanics’ Institute in the 1930’s.

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

We are The Dunedin Athenaeum & Mechanics’ Institute, a subscription library established in 1851 by the Scottish settlers who founded the city of Dunedin in New Zealand in 1848. They held the strong Scottish belief that education was the key to prosperity and that knowledge was something to be obtained at all stages of life. Once they had weathered the first year of erratic food supplies and the privations of primitive shelters they turned their attentions to the higher things of life and founded an Athenaeum library with the remit to entertain and educate. They also established a Mechanics’ Institute to provide a more vocational education. Ten years on each organisation decided their aims overlapped to such a degree that merging would be sensible. The Athenaeum & Mechanics’ Institute prospered and quickly faced a seemingly eternal problem of moving to larger premises only to then almost immediately outgrow them. In 1870 they moved into a purpose built building in the Octagon, the centre of the city’s civic life, where it remains.

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

Although we predominantly operate as a lending library we record a fortnightly radio show where I review the new books into the library and discuss any topics that have caught my interest. It is called Wireless Books and is broadcast by Otago Access Radio 105.4 FM. We host a monthly book group, the Athenaeum Book Club or ABC. Every Tuesday we hold an open lunchtime event where I read short stories by New Zealand writers. We also host various literary events. Dunedin has City of Literature status within the UNESCO Creative Cities Network and the Athenaeum has a close relationship with the City of Literature coordinator.

What are some of your favorite items in your collection?

Victorian-style archways within the library.

It is not strictly an item in the collection but the thing we most value is the building in which we’re located. It was purpose built for us in the grand Victorian style and we have been operating there since May 1870.

What’s a particular challenge your library experiences?

As we are a subscription library the biggest hurdle we face is convincing people in the internet age that it is value for money to pay a small subscription to gain the services of a dedicated librarian who comes to know their reading tastes and caters to them.

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

I love watching the animated cover display, I find it mesmerising. I think it would be really helpful to have a showcase function where people looking at your collection could select that and see a selection of books that you wanted to showcase. For us it would duplicate the shelf we have in the Athenaeum that holds the newest books and where most members make all their selections from.

Great suggestion! While we do allow you to show your animated cover display by “Recent items”, we have had some requests on giving more customization to the display.


Want to learn more about the Dunedin Athenaeum? Check out their Facebook Group, visit their website here, and find 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

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

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2021

TinyCat’s June Library of the Month: Queer Zine Library

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

We celebrated Pride Month by interviewing an amazing mobile library fondly known as the Queer Zine Library (QZL). QZL Librarian Holly Casio was kind enough to field my questions, and it was a joy learning more about what they do. Check them out:

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

Queer Zine Library is a diy mobile library celebrating radical LGBTQIA+ self-publishing. The library is volunteer led and is run by a collective of queer zine makers and readers and librarians. In normal times the library is on tour nine months of the year, taking up space in community spaces, libraries, punk shows, queer venues, and anywhere we are invited. We believe that zines are powerful and should be shared, read, held, and handled as much as possible.

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

Queer Zine Library is first and foremost a resource for our LGBTQIA+ communities. Our histories and lived experiences are documented in these pamphlets, zines, and comics rather than in academic texts or ‘proper’ published works. Zines allow us to share our knowledge, skills, and experiences with others in our own voices and it has been wonderful to see readers connect with the collections. While not having a permanent space ourselves might feel like a disadvantage, we feel that being a mobile library gives us power. It avoids us becoming too London-centric, and means that our collections can travel and grow and are ultimately shaped by the next new location.

When we are in queer spaces we offer zine making sessions and zine readings as a way for our communities to engage with the zine collection but also create and add to it as well.We want our readers to become the makers and add to the collections as much as possible.

Over the last year supporting our queer communities has been more challenging as our tours were put on hold. We were due to host a zine maker in residency programme, we had a full tour planned, and suddenly travel and touch, the two things our library is based on, suddenly became dangerous. We moved online, hosting virtual zine readings and exhibitions. Our library catalogue became more important than ever before to showcase our collections and we were able to provide links to digital zines directly from our catalogue records to allow access to a small part of the collections during lockdown.

What are some of your favorite items in your collection?

It’s so hard to pick a favourite zine! Here are a few of our collective’s favourites though:

Building towards an autonomous trans healthcare by Power Makes us Sick (PMS): PMS is a feminist collective focusing on autonomous health care practices and networks. This zine collects ideas, actions, and resources around autonomous trans health care. “Trans people have always been a network of health knowledge because trans healthcare has historically and is still criminalised, incredibly researched and pathologised. Therefore we turn to one another.”

Homospective by Homocrime: A zine produced on the occasion of Nomo Crime, the final event organised by the queer diy collective Homocrime. Homocrime was a diy indiepunk party and record label for queers of all genders & sexualities that happened in London from 2003-2006. This zine contains flyer & singles club images plus a list of events, press cuttings & contributions from organisers, bands, and attendees. The zine is dedicated to the memory of Andy Roberts, friend and collaborator.

Rumours by Margate Queer Zine: Rumours is an anonymous zine series sharing stories, anecdotes, photography, and maps of the queer side of Margate. Issue 1 reviews local gay pubs, drag bars, hotels, and sex shops.

What’s a particular challenge your library experiences?

Queer Zine Library is unfunded and volunteer-led which means that our activities depend on donations and fundraising. We are a very small collective and we all have full-time jobs, but the library means so much to all of us. Our dream is to have a mobile library van and maybe the ability to magically learn how to drive so that we can properly take these collections out for people to see and read where they belong.

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

TinyCat is very easy and intuitive to use. Some of our collective are trained library workers with cataloguing experience, but the majority of our collective haven’t worked with libraries previously. TinyCat makes it very easy for all our team to catalogue without it feeling overwhelming or complicated.

The tagging system is probably the most useful to us. Having the ability to separate the media type and the subject tags is really useful. All of our collections are in the form of zines and we can use the media drop-down to create lots of niche subgenres and formats of zines without us having to take up space in the tags to do this. Being able to build our own queer thesaurus in our subject tags is also really useful. In the future we’d love to see this feature developed so we can create ‘see’ and ‘see also’ links to non-preferred or similar headings.

Great suggestion, I’d love to hear more about your thoughts on this. We also have the “Comments” field (aka “Local notes” in TinyCat Detail Pages) that might be useful for added notes or content that you’d like to include on your records.


Want to learn more about Queer Zine Library? Follow them on Twitter and Instagram, 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

Friday, May 28th, 2021

TinyCat’s May Library of the Month: the Gal’s Guide Library

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

Our May Library of the Month goes to the first independent women’s history lending library in the U.S., the Gal’s Guide Library based out of Noblesville, Indiana! It was a joy to have Founder and Executive Director Leah Leach answer my questions this month:

Who are you, what is your mission—your “raison d’être”, and what’s something interesting about how you support your community?

We are the Gal’s Guide Library, and our mission is to provide an independent women’s history library to preserve, collect, share, and champion women’s achievements and lessons learned. We are also the first lending library in the United States dedicated to women’s history where you can browse the stacks and check out a book.

What are some of your favorite items in your collection?

Some of the favorite items in our collection are the out-of-print books that are nearly lost to history, Conchita’s Cintrón’s Memoirs of a Bullfighter, Babe Didrikson Zaharias’ autobiography This Life I’ve Led, and The Memoirs of Alice Guy Blaché (which invented the film Be Natural narrated by Jodie Foster). These three books really inspired us to create a library.

What’s a particular challenge your library experiences?

Image clockwise from bottom left: Founder/Executive Director Leah Leach, the reading area of the library, shelves, more shelves, and a member’s card to the library.

The challenge in our library experience has been surviving the COVID-19 pandemic. We opened our doors to the public 11 days before the lockdown. We needed to pivot from a lending library to online content. It was a struggle but we found a way to thrive.

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

I don’t know if it’s silly or not but I love the animated cover display on the catalog homepage.

Not silly at all, I love the colorful eye candy on the TinyCat homepages as well!


Want to learn more about the Gal’s Guide Library? Follow them on social media (Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/YouTube), 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

Monday, April 26th, 2021

TinyCat’s April Library of the Month: The Pioneers Association of South Australia

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

Each year Core: Leadership, Infrastructure, Futures, a division of the American Library Association, celebrates Preservation Week to highlight the importance of preservation. Many TinyCat libraries have preservation within their mission including TinyCat’s Library of the Month for April. The Pioneers Association of South Australia manages a historical library centered around the pioneers of South Australia. Two of the library’s volunteers Alison and Julie were kind enough to field my questions this month:

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

Founded in 1935, the Pioneers Association of South Australia is a volunteer-run members organisation committed to perpetuating the memory of the pioneer settlers of South Australia and promoting their unique history.

Tell us some interesting things about how you support your community.

The library of Pioneers SA has a collection of approximately 1500 items including books, electronic media, pamphlets, journals, posters, and history folders. The focus is on the pioneering years: the people who settled, the ships on which they arrived, and the early colonial settlements. Through the research of members, databases and history folders are being created, collating information about the passengers on the immigrant ships and the stories of these pioneers. We also aim to preserve records, portraits, relics, and historical materials associated with pioneer settlement.

What are some of your favorite items in your collection?

The shipping and family history folders are unique to the Association. There are also a number of old, out-of-print books that provide fascinating reading of early days in South Australia.

What’s a particular challenge your library experiences?

As a fully volunteer organisation it’s always a challenge to find the time to keep up with technological changes and work involved in maintaining the collection and assisting people with their family history inquiries.

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

TinyCat is easy to use for both library administration by volunteers and searching the catalogue by the public. It is very affordable and the online access to LibraryThing and TinyCat is also beneficial for all.


Want to learn more about the Pioneers Association of South Australia? 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

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2021

TinyCat’s March Library of the Month: The Carrie Smiley Fortune Research Library

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

TinyCat’s latest Library of the Month is one that offers its visitors a rich assortment of historical collections, housed on the second floor of the T. Thomas Fortune Cultural Center in Red Bank, New Jersey. The Carrie Smiley Fortune Research Library, whose namesake was a founding member of the National Urban League, is managed by Researcher/Archivist/Librarian Lynn Humphrey, who was kind enough to field my questions this month:

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

The Carrie Smiley Fortune Research Library is a small but powerful library, whose goal is to educate the public about the impact of T. Thomas Fortune and others like him who led the way for civil rights and social justice.

Located upstairs at the T. Thomas Fortune Cultural Center, we are one of only two New Jersey national historic landmarks dedicated to an African American. In the library we offer reading and reference materials to our patrons, with resources focusing on the unsung heroes of the Civil War, Reconstruction, the beginnings of the NAACP (the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), and African Genealogy. We also host cultural events, book clubs, and exhibits on a regular basis.

Tell us some interesting things about how you support your community.

The T. Thomas Fortune Foundation practices outreach through education, exhibits, webinars, and public programming which is the basis of our mission.

What are some of your favorite items in your collection?

My favorites would have to include The Private Collection of T. Thomas Fortune which contains works such as Charles Chesnutt’s The Colonel’s Dream and works by Kelly Miller, First Edition books donated to us such as Richard Wright’s Native Son, and our collection of Arena Magazines (not yet cataloged).

What’s a particular challenge your library experiences?

As a small library it’s always a challenge reaching the public and making our presence known.


Want to learn more about the Carrie Smiley Fortune Research Library? Follow them on Facebook 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

Tuesday, January 26th, 2021

TinyCat’s January Library of the Month: Tito Peter’s Free Public Library

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

We’re kicking the new year off with a feel-good story about a retired law librarian who’s been spending his days establishing a free library for a local community in the Philippines. He recently completed the library and Librarian Peter Mazzei was kind enough to answer my questions this month! Read on:

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

Tito Peter’s Free Public Library is a small, charitable library and education center located in Tambo, Batangas, Philippines. It has been a dream of mine for many years to build a library in my wife’s barangay (village) where books and educational resources are scarce. The mission and purpose of the library is to promote literacy, provide free educational resources (books, computer access, paper, school supplies, etc.) for students of all ages, and encourage reading, writing and education.

Tell us some interesting things about how you support your community.

As books and computer access to educational and research resources are relatively expensive and scarce, the library provides these resources in a safe, quiet environment that is conducive to learning, thinking and discovering. The barangay does not have a library of its own, so our library sort of acts as an ad hoc public or community library. In the near future, post COVID, I plan on having special activities such as poetry writing, science experiments, identifying plants, rocks and minerals, star-gazing, fun with mathematics, reading groups, and classical music appreciation.

What are some of your favorite items in your collection?

Children’s books of all kinds, especially picture books with those wonderful illustrations. The kids are enthralled with interactive books like pop-up books, lift-the-flap books and other books with movable parts.

What’s a particular challenge your library experiences?

The librarian’s perennial paradox: Not enough space, yet always looking for more books to add to the collection.

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

I have many favorite things about TinyCat, too numerous to mention here. Suffice it to say that it is a first-rate online cataloging/circulation system for small libraries. I think it is the best out there.

For circulation statistics, you currently have data for “Records, Checked out, On hold, Overdue, and Patrons”. Can you add “Total Checked Out” which would be the total number of books checked out since the inception of the library using TinyCat. It would be even better if you can also give the option to break down the total number of books checked out by month or year. That would really help the librarian quickly visualize how the library collection as a whole is being circulated.

Great idea! We do give you the option to generate your own checkout reports and/or export your lending Transactions, but adding a quick reference to total checkouts might be nice.


Want to learn more about Tito Peter’s Free Public Library? 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

Tuesday, December 15th, 2020

TinyCat’s December Library of the Month: The Anomaly Archives Library

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

December’s Library of the Month is a fascinating organization focusing on the most curious phenomena this world has to offer: congratulations to The Anomaly Archives Library! The Founder of the Anomaly Archives, SMiles Lewis, was kind enough to take my questions this month:

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

Our legal name is the Scientific Anomaly Institute, but we generally refer to our organization as the Anomaly Archives and that’s how we promote ourselves. I founded the organization with the State of Texas in 2003 and we became an established nonprofit in 2006.

Our raison d’etre is the, “Preservation and dissemination of scientific research into anomalous phenomena; Research and analysis of accumulated collections; Education of the public regarding scientific investigations into these phenomena.” Put another way the purposes of the organization are:

  • Managing and developing an archive and library for documents and literature with regards to a multi-disciplinary approach to anomalous phenomena
  • Supporting, promoting and pursuing research to obtain increased knowledge about anomalous phenomena
  • Pursuing and stimulating a critical, scientific discussion of anomalous phenomena, and providing a forum for information, support, and sharing among researchers
  • Functioning as the archives and library for like-minded organizations, and other groups in the community that have similar interests.

Some of the types of subject matter our special collections cover include: UFOs and Ufology, Consciousness (“What is it?”, meditation, dreams, lucid dreaming, and more), Parapsychology (ESP, PSI, Remote Viewing, etc.) and the Paranormal (Ghosts, Hauntings, etc.), Fortean (after Charles Fort: chronicler of the unexplained) Phenomena, Cryptozoology (Bigfoot and undiscovered hominids, lake monsters, sea serpents, and other undiscovered/out of place or sightings of presumed extinct animals), ParaPolitical Science (after Professor Peter Dale Scott’s, Mae Brussell’s and John Judge’s approach to “ParaPolitics” aka Conspiracy Theory), Human Potential, Jungian Theory, Frontier Physics and much more!

Tell us some interesting things about how you support your community.

Far too often, the personal libraries and research materials of researchers—including correspondence among researchers and witnesses—of these mysterious phenomena end up lost or thrown into landfills by family who don’t recognize the importance of such legacy materials. Or such collections end up being sold online via eBay or passed along to other researchers who may not share the material with others nor properly protect and preserve the materials. That’s where we, and the small network of similar anomalous archives (see our “Other Archives” online directory), come in.

We are constantly looking for such abandoned or forgotten collections while also actively working with still living researchers to help make sure their legacy, in the form of the materials making up their personal collections and life’s work, is preserved for future generations. We serve as a research resource for other investigators looking into the many and various anomalous subjects covered by the collections within our archives. We also host regular public events featuring researchers and experiencers of these strange phenomena. Our current Streamathon event series is our most ambitious such event to date!

What are some of your favorite items in your collection?

There is so much, it’s very hard to identify specific items but…our oldest materials include historical texts from the 1600s that are part of our biggest donated collection: that of rare book collector and seller Bob Girard. Robert Charles Girard was the entrepreneur behind North America’s largest reseller of UFO related books, called ARCTURUS BOOKS INC. He published a long-running CataZine in which he’d write reviews of everything he sold. Bob has been called the “Proust of the UFO phenomenon” (John Chambers, Paranormal journalist, 2004).

Bob Girard’s collection has books on everything from Alchemy and Atlantis to all aspects of the Unexplained but also contains some of the most rare early Flying Saucer-era UFO books. We also have a nearly complete collection of his CataZine.

Other gems of our collection include an amazing collection of 1990s alternative media zine scene publications as well as rare audio and video recordings, materials from a local Past-life Regression Hypnotherapy clinician, the unpublished manuscript, daily diary, personal letters and more of a local Alien Abductee and Trance Medium who was featured in a 1990s anthology of similar cases, and much more!

What’s a particular challenge your library experiences?

Funding and staffing: we’ve grown considerably over the past 3 years, acquiring more collections and getting more volunteers active in our ongoing activities. However, we still have no paid staff and this severely limits the amount of hours we are open to the public. Then with the current COVID situation, we’ve had to completely shut down and this has been the single greatest threat to our ongoing existence.

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

My favorite thing about TinyCat is its ease of use and inexpensiveness. I have many ideas I’d love to see implemented but mainly I’d like to see a desktop cataloging extension that synced with the online version in ways that allowed easier updating of both a local catalog and the online catalog.


Want to learn more about The Anomaly Archives? Follow them on social media (YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook), visit their website at https://www.anomalyarchives.org/, and check out their 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

Wednesday, November 25th, 2020

TinyCat’s November Library of the Month: The Australian Motorlife Library

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

We’re moving just west of our October Library of the Month in New Zealand to a library built for car lovers: congratulations to The Australian Motorlife Library! Volunteer Librarians Tracy Westall and Brian Wye were kind enough to field my questions this month:

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

The Australian Motorlife Library is housed in the Australian Motorlife Museum in New South Wales, Australia. It consists of 2,200 general motoring books, a motoring magazine collection of approximately 12,000 volumes, and around 3,000 ephemera items. The library material comprises contemporary and historic items, some of which are unique and rare. The collection integrates and supports the wider museum which consists of historic vehicles, automotive memorabilia, and social history.

Tell us some interesting things about how you support your community.

We provide books and material that is niche and usually not available in the public libraries. We have a large technical and reference selection which we make available to the community and car enthusiasts alike, especially to those who are restoring or researching vintage and collectable automobiles.

What are some of your favorite items in your collection?

Our library contains an extensive collection of early and rare motoring books—like the ones pictured above—car repair manuals, and collectable vintage magazines. This enables us to provide a unique service that encourages communication with patrons from all over Australia: equally interesting and enjoyable for us volunteer librarians.

What’s a particular challenge your library experiences?

The library relies totally on donations of collectable material; we have no acquisitions budget which requires us to recycle resources and exercise our creativity and housekeeping skills. This has been the main challenge when establishing an online presence and an operational procedure: to enable the library’s resources to be accessed by the wider community. Another challenge has been to organise and upload our catalogue to TinyCat, for which the steps to achieve this has been further exacerbated due to COVID-19 and its restrictions.

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

One of our favourite things is the interface of TinyCat. As many of our patrons are seniors, the similarity of the interface to that of the public library makes it familiar and user-friendly. The online access to LibraryThing and TinyCat has enabled us to achieve our goal of uploading the catalogue in record time while working in isolation from home. The catalogue is easy to use and understand. As for improvements, the only thing that currently comes to mind is having more control over the content of the homepage’s animated cover display.


Want to learn more about The Australian Motorlife Library and Museum? Visit their website at https://www.australianmotorlifemuseum.com/ and check out their 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