Archive for the ‘Library of the Month’ Category

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

Friday, October 30th, 2020

TinyCat’s October Library of the Month: The Sustainability Trust Library

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

TinyCat’s October Library of the Month looks at a New Zealand-based organization working to make a sustainable lifestyle easy for anyone. The Sustainability Trust’s Volunteer Librarian Marion Llenart was kind enough to field my questions this month:

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

The Sustainability Trust is a social enterprise that believes sustainable living should be an available option for us all. With a focus on energy efficiency the Trust helps those economically and socially disadvantaged in our community to use energy efficiently in their houses and flats and create healthy homes. The library provides information that helps people reduce their impact on the environment.

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

Our library has books and information which support our sustainable living community programmes such as learning how to compost and making garden containers from pallets, making cleaning products from natural products, making natural face products, and recycling.

What are some of your favorite items in your collection?

My favourite books include The Natural Home by Wendyl Nissen, which gives practical advice on sustainable living such as making a garden and cooking healthy food. Creating Cohousing by Kathryn McCamant is another favourite as this is a way of the future for those who like to live in sustainable communities. Lastly, Living Big in a Tiny House by Bryce Langston provides another alternative way of living sustainably, and this book gives beautiful examples of very small homey spaces.

What’s a particular challenge your library experiences?

The ongoing challenge for the library is always promotion and making sure people know we have all these resources and information on sustainability readily available and free of charge. As a small library we don’t have a large acquisitions budget so every new item needs careful research.

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

TinyCat has provided an online portal to the library. As well as providing access to physical resources, it allows promotion of online resources including films and websites. It has enabled me to promote the library’s Wiki, giving information on second hand shops, places to dispose of waste sustainably and local climate change organisations. It would be great to have the library Wiki developed so it can enable feedback, suggestions and discussion from library users.


Want to learn more about The Sustainability Trust? Visit their website at https://sustaintrust.org.nz/our-story 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

Friday, August 28th, 2020

TinyCat’s August Library of the Month: Solid Ground’s Anti-Racism Initiative Library

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

TinyCat is continuing its focus on amplifying libraries supporting the BIPOC community and Solid Ground’s Anti-Racism Initiative Library is a wonderful representation of that. Anti-Racism Initiative Manager Tiffany Lamoreaux was kind enough to field my questions:

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

Solid Ground believes that housing and family stability are foundational to ending poverty. We help families keep or obtain housing and get the support they need to overcome poverty and thrive.

Our mission: Solid Ground works to end poverty and undo racism and other oppressions that are root causes of poverty. Our vision: Solid Ground envisions a community beyond poverty and oppression where all people have equitable opportunity to thrive.

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

Solid Ground has an Anti-Racism Initiative (ARI) and the Anti-racism library serves to strengthen and support our anti-racism work by providing rich resources from academic examinations of racism to literature by authors from marginalized groups.

What are some of your favorite items in your collection?

My personal current favorites in the collection are How to be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi, Emergent Strategy by adrianne maree-brown, and The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie.

What’s a particular challenge your library experiences?

We house our library at our headquarters building in the Wallingford Neighborhood, but we have a few other locations. Though the curated library is viewable online, and the books can be shipped through interoffice mail, the library remains underutilized by other sites. We are working to continue increasing awareness about the library to all of our locations.

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

Before transitioning to TinyCat we had our library in a conference room, but without a clear way to check out books and manage the inventory, it was largely ignored. In 2019 we moved the library to the central break-room and transitioned the library management to TinyCat. My favorite thing about TinyCat is how easily I can add books to the library and display them for our staff that are at various locations. Since making this transition, the library usage has seen a significant increase!

That’s so great to hear! It’s exactly why we offer TinyCat to small libraries.


Want to support Solid Ground’s Anti-Racism Initiative? Donations can be sent to their Social Justice Fund to support our Anti-Racism Work at solid-ground.org/donate/.

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, July 31st, 2020

TinyCat’s July Library of the Month: The Center for Black Diaspora at DePaul University

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

TinyCat is honored to feature a library this month that offers an amazing selection of resources centering on the Black Diaspora. The Center for Black Diaspora at DePaul University’s Assistant Director Juelle Daley was kind enough to field my questions this month:

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

The Center for Black Diaspora’s reading room is a non-circulating special collection of books, films and audio-visual materials at DePaul University focused on every topic as it relates to the Black experience in the United States and the rest of the world. Our center’s mission since 1993 is to promote the culture and history of the Black Diaspora through our programming and events but more importantly, to provide a space for scholarly work. Our reading room is an integral component to this goal.

Though the university has its main library system, our reading room is a gem because of the sheer diversity of materials acquired about the Black Diaspora not found in the main library. As such, researchers, faculty and students have first-hand access to our resources.

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

The library primarily serves the DePaul University community which includes all students, faculty and staff. It is also open to Chicagoland individuals who need access to the Center’s private collection.

What are some of your favorite items in your collection?

My favorite part of our collection would be the film collection which has expanded over the last five years. We have scoured the globe and international film festivals looking for stories about the complexity of the Black experience and the multiplicity of its expressions. The diversity of these acquisitions and books are what makes us unique. Items that reflect this diversity include the following:

What is a particular challenge your library experiences?

One major challenge is making our vast resources more visible to the larger public.

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

We are delighted to finally have an online catalogue that individuals can consult remotely. TinyCat is a priceless additional step in promoting our special collection’s visibility.


Want to learn more about The Center for Black Diaspora at DePaul University? Visit their website here, follow them on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter), and check out their collection on TinyCat. If you’d like to support the library, please contact DePaul University’s Office of Development.

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, July 1st, 2020

TinyCat’s June Library of the Month: The LGBT Library at Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center

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

In honor of Pride Month, we’re thrilled to feature The LGBT Library at Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center. Executive Director Adrian Shanker was kind enough to field my questions this month:

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

The LGBT Library at Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center celebrates LGBT literature, history, and culture with our collection of more than 2,300 LGBT library materials, frequent book talks, and community reading groups focused on memoir and poetry.

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

All of our programs are free for the community, from borrowing books—which often are not available from mainstream libraries—to attending book talks or reading groups, where we even provide free copies of books to interested community members. We try to remove participation barriers and provide leading-edge programs on topics that need to be discussed. We do hope that soon more public libraries will expand their LGBT collections. For now, we are often the only place in our region where people can access the library materials we provide.

What are some of your favorite items in your collection?

As a small library, our collection is unique in that it is reserved only to materials that celebrate LGBT literature, history, and culture. We have been intentional about ensuring that our library collection includes materials celebrating multiple- or further-marginalized populations, such as BIPOC LGBT people, queer people of faith, asexual community members, and trans people.

What is a particular challenge your library experiences?

It’s always a challenge for a small library like ours to acquire newly-released library materials. Much of our collection has been acquired by donations of used books, but we strive to keep our collection relevant to current community needs and interests.

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

We love that the community can access our catalog from our website with the Tinycat search widget! It would be great if there could be an integration with GoodReads so community members can see reviews when searching our catalog.

I’m happy to say that LibraryThing actually offers some of the best reviews around, with over 2.5 million members! You can include your own review, published media reviews (such as from the NY Times, etc.), and LibraryThing member reviews from your Detail page sections settings.


Want to learn more about The LGBT Library at Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center? Visit them at bradburysullivancenter.org/library, follow them on social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram), and check out their collection on TinyCat. If you’d like to support the library, monetary donations are always welcome at www.bradburysullivancenter.org/donate and donations of new books can be mailed to the library at 522 W. Maple St., Allentown, PA 18101. (Used book donations cannot be accepted at this time.)

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, May 26th, 2020

TinyCat’s May Library of the Month: Canton Woods Senior Center

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

This month we highlight a center doing great things for their local senior citizens, the Canton Woods Senior Center! Here’s what Librarian Lorraine Melita—aka “Lorraine the Librarian”—had to say about their library:

First, what is your library, and what is your mission—your “raison d’être”?

Canton Woods helps seniors remain active members of their community. The official mission of Canton Woods Senior Center reads as follows: Senior citizens are a valuable community resource. Canton Woods Multipurpose Senior Center meets the challenges facing older Americans by offering stimulating social activities, education and recreation programs, nutrition, health, and other activities.

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

The small area that houses our collection is used as a senior writing center, a wonderful book club led by a retired English teacher, a health center for blood pressure checks, and a reading area for quiet times. The center offers seniors various exercise classes including a falls and prevention class, Tai Chi, cooking demonstrations, free band concerts, a craft club, art classes, pool, card games, Wii bowling, and many other activities.

Because the center is a municipally funded center, the library, in particular, is always looking for unique funding methods. For the past two years in the fall, several volunteers at the center have peeled apples and made many apple crisps to sell by the piece as a fundraiser for our small library. It was a great deal of work but was very successful and enjoyed by everyone who participated, especially the seniors! I also do a list of new books in our monthly newsletter and feature these books on our “new books” shelf in the library.

What are some of your favorite items in your collection?

Our seniors are voracious readers and often love mystery novels with James Patterson, David Baldacci and Stuart Woods being some of their favorite authors.

What’s a particular challenge you experience as a small library?

I find the biggest challenge to this library is technology. Three years ago, the collection was put online with the help of Syracuse University, several area grants from various donors, and LibraryThing. The technology itself works very well but the majority of our seniors are not used to looking at an online catalog for their books. Some of our readers would easily be able to use the internet to navigate our system whereas most of them like to peruse the shelves and see what’s been added to the new book shelf. I put the collection online to have the technology available and in use when more tech-savvy patrons begin using this facility. When that happens, we may begin using the lending features TinyCat offers.

Regarding the current COVID-19 pandemic, how has your library and your organization been affected? Is there anything TinyCat could be doing to meet your needs during this time?

The center has been closed to the public and our seniors since the pandemic began; however, our Director has met our loyal patrons on the front porch with a basket of books by the author they request. She takes a photo of the books, the patron’s name and number, and prints the photo for our records, all while practicing social distancing and wearing a mask. She is dedicated to our mission and our seniors!

Without our library open at this time, there isn’t much TinyCat can do to help our operations.

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

I am thrilled with the recent improvement for getting statistics. That is extremely useful to me as I need to show circulation to have any increase to my meager budget.


Want to learn more about the Canton Woods Senior Center? Check out their collection on TinyCat.

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, March 27th, 2020

TinyCat’s March Library of the Month: The Sitting Room Library

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

In honor of Women’s History Month, we’re featuring the library of the Sitting Room!

Karen Peterson, Librarian and co-founder of the Sitting Room with J.J. Wilson, fielded my questions this month:

First, what is your library, and what is your mission—your “raison d’être”?

The Sitting Room provides the local community with a library and reading room for researching women’s literature, art and related issues. To that end, we present cultural events such as poetry readings, lectures, exhibits, and performances, and we provide a place for writers’ workshops and other educational activities. The building and cataloguing of an extensive collection of reading and research material and the development of a supportive, friendly, non-intimidating environment for study are thus primary.

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

The Sitting Room is within walking distance of Sonoma State University and we are fortunate to have regular student interns work with us. We have also served as a residency for students in the online Masters of Library Science program at San José State University. Northern California is home to an abundance of writers and artists and our public events provide a space for them to share their work. All special events are free and open to all, no membership needed or gender excluded. The free monthly book groups and writing workshops are open to all and provide a unique emphasis on women’s voices and visions.

What are some of your favorite items in your collection?

We have a fabulous 1,000-volume collection of poetry filling an entire wall. Many of these are chapbooks by local as well as nationally renowned women poets. The chapbook collection of over 400 has the droll name “Spineless Wonders.”

One of the founders of The Sitting Room, J.J. Wilson, is a Virginia Woolf scholar. Over the course of her research and teaching, she amassed an amazing collection of Woolf’s writing and critical works, and creative works and history of the Bloomsbury Group.

Our International Fiction collection provides excellent opportunities to experience how women writers view and experience their native countries. Historical and contemporary perspectives from a wide range of countries are represented. With over 600 volumes, and some hard to find translations, it is a great browsing collection, either in person or online through TinyCat.

What’s a particular challenge you experience as a small library?

The Sitting Room is located in a lovely home surrounded by redwood trees. We have a kitchen! And all are welcome to brew a cup of tea or join us for lunch. The domestic setting suits the collection and while visitors are at first a bit bemused to find us in a residential neighborhood, they quickly make themselves at home.

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

First of all, TinyCat is quite simply visually appealing. We love the parade of book jackets that adorn the simple search page, announcing recently cataloged items. The design draws people in: it is inviting, not intimidating.

Some items are on our implementation wish list:

  • We would love to be able to curate the animated cover display on the home page.
  • We don’t use the circulation module of TinyCat, but would love to generate some usage statistics.

Great suggestions. Customizing the cover display is on our list of requests, and you can add your own Google Analytics to your TinyCat via the custom JavaScript setting on your Content Settings page. Hope this helps!


Want to learn more about the Sitting Room? Follow them on Facebook, visit their website here, and check out their collection on TinyCat.

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, February 28th, 2020

TinyCat’s February Library of the Month: the Asia Art Archive in America

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

TinyCat’s February Library of the Month, the Asia Art Archive in America (AAA-A), is doing great work supporting contemporary art from and of Asia.

AAA-A’s Manager and Program Coordinator Hilary Chassé discussed more with my questions this month:

First, what is your library, and what is your mission—your “raison d’être”?

Asia Art Archive in America (AAA in A) is an independently established and operated nonprofit program space and reading room based in Brooklyn, NY and is the first overseas mini hub of Asia Art Archive (AAA) in Hong Kong. AAA’s mission is to collect, preserve, and make information on contemporary art from and of Asia easily accessible in order to facilitate understanding, research and writing in the field. AAA in A strives to be proactive in instigating dialogue and critical thinking by both making our research collection more accessible to a U.S.-based audience and also through a series of regular educational programs. By doing so we hope to raise awareness of and support for the activities of Asia Art Archive in Hong Kong.

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

Besides making our reading room and digital archive collection available freely and open to the public five days a week, we also host a twice-monthly public program series, which includes artist talks, screenings, seminars, and workshops. So far in 2020 we’ve hosted a local artist book maker to lead a book-binding workshop, presented a performance-lecture by two Vietnamese-American artists on diaspora, refugees, and identity, and had one of our recent research grantees present her project examining the impact of photography and other images from the Cultural Revolution in China. Coming up, we’ll be hosting a Wikipedia edit-a-thon on women in art in Asia on International Women’s Day and will be hosting a zine-making workshop later this spring with the Australian zine publisher Red Pocket Press. We hope that by offering these programs we not only engage and educate our community in New York, but also help activate the materials in our collection and provide a platform for the artists, curators, and scholars whose work we admire and informs our own collection priorities.

What are some of your favorite items in your collection?

It’s very tough to choose but here are three books that I love and that I also think are a good illustration of the range of materials in our collection:

  • The Speech Writer by Pakistani video artist Bani Abidi: This artist book was published by the Sri Lankan press Raking Leaves in 2012. It tells the story of a fictional “documentary” presented in the form of ten photo flip books, which are then neatly housed in order in a slipcase. I think this book used a very clever method of taking the artist’s usual medium of film and rendering it into book form, and the publisher behind Raking Leaves, Sharmini Pereira, is extremely thoughtful and meticulous in her designs and execution of the books she collaborates with artists on.
  • South Vietnam: Land and People, Part I-III (pictured right): This 1967 book series, which features sketches and watercolors of everyday life and political propaganda scenes produced by North Vietnamese artists, is one of the oldest books in our collection. It came to us as part of a larger donation of rare catalogs and monographs from Vietnam in the mid-to late 20th century, donated by an American art historian and curator who spent many years in Southeast Asia. Socialist Realist Art was quite prominent in the last century in Asia, but has been consistently understudied and misunderstood in the West and we hope that by collecting materials such as these we can help spark more scholarly interest in the subject.
  • The Way of Chopsticks III by Song Dong and Yin Xiuzhen: This exhibition catalog is the culmination of three joint exhibitions by the Chinese performance and video artists (and married couple) Song Dong and Yin Xiuzhen, who, although they have very distinguished independent careers, have collaborated frequently on works inspired by chopsticks, exploring the fact that two are required to function properly as symbols of their personal and professional relationship. The dual ring binders of the catalog, one devoted to Song Dong and the other to Yin Xiuzhen, allow the reader to simultaneously study the development of this theme in their work from 2001 to 2011. I love this catalog not only because these are two of my favorite artists, but also because it’s form so neatly mirrors it’s content, and shows that even if a book isn’t conceived as an “artist book”, it can still be experimental with the form to create a unique object.

Fascinating! I love the concept and execution of Dong’s and Xiuzhen’s art. I’ll have to check them out.

You mentioned the Socialist Realist Art movement not being properly understood in the West, with your hopes to shed further light on the subject. What’s a challenge you experience, particularly, as a small library?

Our reading room collection is not only small (containing around ~3,800 books, periodicals, and A/V materials) but we also have a fairly small space to house it in, so balancing growing our collection with the constraints of shelving/storing what we already have safely and accessibly is a constant challenge. In addition to responding to researcher’s needs in our decisions for what to accession, we do our best to be rigorous about only accepting donations that meet our specific subject criteria. It’s often hard to turn away some amazing material that we might personally find interesting and worthy of being preserved, but we have to be responsible and realistic about what we can handle. When we can’t accept a donation though we always do our best to use our network to find homes at other libraries/institutions so it still is made available to as wide a public as possible.

That’s a valuable service you provide. When using TinyCat to manage such a library, what’s your favorite thing about it? What’s something you’d love to see implemented?

We love the streamlined design and very user-friendly search function on TinyCat, it’s made sharing our catalog with our researchers much simpler and has also empowered them to search our collection on their own before they arrive in the reading room so they can request specific materials they’re interested and then get started with working right away! Making our materials as accessible as possible is one of our main priorities and TinyCat has helped us achieve that enormously since we adopted it a little over three years ago.

In terms of improvements, the actual platform itself is pretty perfect and isn’t lacking anything major that we’re looking for in terms of cataloging or searching functionality, so the only thing on our wishlist is if there would be a simple way of embedding the TinyCat catalog homepage, or at least the search function, directly into our website through a plug-in instead of only through iframe coding, which is a bit beyond our small team’s capacity at the moment.

We have a basic Search widget you can add to your website! Find the coding on our Help page here.


Want to learn more about the Asia Art Archive in America? Follow them on social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Vimeo, and YouTube), visit their website here, and check out their collection on TinyCat.

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