been the same: since the Library’s beginning in 1986, there never has been a library catalog. A look at 1666 Coffman News from those days reveals that the Library fathers never envisioned a catalog. From the beginning, books were arranged on the shelves according to broad subject headings, just like they are today.
Indeed, a few of the individuals responsible for envisioning and planning our library, soliciting books from “pioneer” residents, unpacking and arranging them on the shelves were men. Not only that, at least two of them, Edward “Ned” Stanford and Ralph Hopp, had distinguished careers in UMN libraries.
I can envision those early planning sessions when the question of a catalog inevitably arose. I can almost hear one of the founding fathers say that he didn’t retire to devote so much free time to cataloging thousands of books, to say nothing of doing annual inventories. It probably didn’t take a lot more discussion for them to just arrange the books on the shelves by subject.
Back in the late 1980s, it would have taken a great deal of work just to create the catalog, not to mention keep it accurate. Today digital utilities available to small libraries for importing catalog records into local catalogs are low-cost and user friendly. The remaining obstacle to deciding to create a catalog is still the inventory control issue.
Four professional librarians are currently among the group of dedicated Library Committee members. The newest committee member, Eileen Smith, spent a career in the technical services side of library work, and admits to being passionate about cataloging. With Eileen’s leadership we have never been more equipped to revisit the question of a catalog for the Coffman Library. Watch this space!
In the meantime, several of the Library Committee members know the collection inside out. Don’t hesitate to call either Carol Van Why at 651-917-1945 or Katie Weiblen at 651-340-7049 to see if the Library owns a particular book. If either of us doesn’t immediately have the answer, someone on the committee will.
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