Saturday, 18 August 2012

One of the nice things about

being librarian for my knitting guild is that I see the new books first. I am even allowed to order the new books. They usually get delivered to my home and I take them from there.
We have a reasonable library now. When I took it over it was a rather tatty collection of "donations" in vague-sort-of-maybe alphabetical order. Then the discovery was made that I knew something about books and had been reviewing some for another organisation. I actually owned a reasonable collection myself? Right. I could do the job.
As I am unavoidably late to meetings because of another commitment it seemed a reasonable thing to do this rather than try to make arrangements to act as the person on door duty or get underfoot in the kitchen. I agreed. If you belong to an organisation you should be prepared to do things within it.
So, the library is my responsibility but there has always been a problem. Our book stores do not normally stock many knitting books. There are the pamphlets of course, the little booklets put out by the knitting yarn companies to accompany the specific yarns they sell. They are not what the library needs.
We need books on techniques, stitches and various forms of knitting - lace, Fair Isle and the like. We need books about Scandinavian knitting, knitting fisherman's jerseys, shawls, hats or gloves.
Not everyone uses them. Some knitters only knit from the pamphlets. Other people simply borrow the books simply to look at the pictures. Sometimes they will read a pattern and try something new. A few use the library as the resource it is intended to be or they will find a complex design in a book and translate it into the garment.
I do not read all the books in the library but I do look at them thoroughly. I need to know what is there because many of the guild members are simply not users of libraries. Searching books is foreign to them. They rely on me to know what is in them and I am, slowly, trying to teach them how to do this for themselves - but I need to know what is there first.
I have not always known and since I no longer review for the other organisation I do not see as many new books. I rely on internet sources for reviews. Now I also have a new source to view books before I buy them. It is our new library system. The new, multi-library catalogue which extends across the state means that I can borrow from other libraries. There are only a few knitting books in each library but there are new books there that I can look at before deciding whether we buy them or not. I have two possibilities out at the moment and can take them to the meeting this afternoon to discuss with others. Do we get them or don't we?
I am sure that the library system had no idea the common catalogue would be used in this way when they set it up. I know they expected a rush of inter-library loans to occur but, although numbers have risen, there has not been the expected volume.
Perhaps people have not yet worked out just how much information there is to be had out there - or perhaps they expect people like me to tell them. Being a librarian is a big responsibility.

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