Archive for

Finding That Book You Want in the Condition You Want

There’s something about the smell of a book cracked open for the first time. A freshness, a quality, that gets to a book-lover, or bibliophile every time. Old books have their own smell, dusty and weathered, something that almost makes them seem wise and knowledgeable, but ones bought new or checked out for the first time have a special quality beyond just their newness. There are plenty of ways to go about getting either type of book, depending on what you prefer – the feel, scent and untouched quality of new or the aged, worn feel and scent of old books.

Used and Old Book Options
The most obvious option for getting your hands on a used or old book is going to the library. Most libraries have a good collection of both fiction and nonfiction books, all of which have probably been opened and handled by at least one person before you. Many are even older, giving you a way to get your fix of that old-book smell. If you want a specific title or subject matter and your library doesn’t carry it, libraries usually have an inter-library loan program. It involves filling out a request or having a librarian do it for you, then sending that request to the nearest library that does carry the book in question. These programs open up a wide selection of used books that you might not otherwise be able to get your hands on.

Other good options for getting used and old books exist within your community. You might have a used bookstore nearby, which buys used books from local people and then resells them. Usually, these are fairly cheap unless the book is limited edition, signed, or a collector’s item, and they have broad selections in both fiction and nonfiction. You might even be able to buy books from your library; they frequently have “Friends of the Library” sales areas in specific parts of the building. Other libraries hold annual sales to clear out their old collections and make room for new books.

In most areas, there are both garage or yard sales and estate sales. In some regions, these take place in specific seasons, since most people don’t want to go hunting for good deals when it involves through snow. You might be lucky and hit a sale that has a huge collection of books. Usually, these are well-loved. If you’re especially lucky, you’ll find that leather-bound copy of the collected Sherlock Holmes stories that you’ve been looking for over a span of years.

Getting Your Hands on New Books
It’s much easier to find a selection of books than it is old. Occasionally, you might find them in some of the same places that have used books; an estate sale might have a collection that was never read before the owner died or needed to reduce their collection of things, or you might be the first to check just-arrived books out of the library.

More obviously, though, you can go to bookstores to find what you need. There are chains like Barnes & Noble that need your business to stay open, but there are also independent booksellers that rely on your business to keep their doors open. Usually, both have excellent selections of books, whether they’re new releases or have been around for some time. You should be able to find what you’re looking for in a brick-and-mortar store.

If you can’t find it locally, there are always online options. Many independent bookstores have online listings; there are also plenty of online warehouse store options.

The Heart of Education is the Student’s Learning – The Library and the Librarian

The heart of education is the student’s learning. The responsibility of the librarian is to develop knowledge so that learning will become more lastingly significant, more permanently meaningful and more personally satisfying. Perhaps, much of what the students learn will wear out or become obsolete. But information skills learned in libraries will continue to be functional indefinitely or for as long as they are needed (Mangay, 2004).

The school/college library is a vital partner in knowledge management and should share with the school/college their responsibility to systematically design, carry out, and evaluate the total process of learning and teaching (Herring, 1982). In which case, the library assumes the role of mediator between pupils/students and learning resources, and between teachers/lecturers and instructional resources. The library contributes to a meaningful, satisfying and challenging education, if directly involved (Mangay, 2004).

The school/college library should be seen as an integral part of the school/college organization and not as an orphanage. Its development cannot be isolated from development in education because it is a part of the education system. The library is unique in that its users are part of its education, acquiring skills in the effective use of information to meet certain learning goals. The library is not merely a support to the curriculum but an active part of the curriculum.

Education generally is moving from traditional class teaching of restricted subject/modules, towards more individual work, group learning, project work, research and making increasing use of non-book as well as book resources. The disappearance of streaming in the school curriculum plays a vital role in the search for methods or sources that will cope with the great variety in the learning capabilities of pupils/students.

The traditional ‘chalk and talk’ approach of teacher/lecturer centred education has been modified. Teachers/lecturers now spend their time to introduce pupils/students to topics and explain concepts and methods in a lecturer-type situation. Pupils/students are required to learn for themselves and by themselves and where possible as their own pace. We continue to see the gradual growth of the use of the ‘newer media’ alongside the ‘older print’ medium (Mangay, 2004).

School/college libraries offer a learning environment within which the pupil/student can learn and practice the techniques of enquiring and research. Their collections express anticipated requirements of all teaching units and special interests of the school/college, and in addition, pay particular attention to the personal cultural and recreational interests of young people themselves, so that reading and enquiring become natural habits of life.

Libraries are now entering a new stage of development in the information age. New educational developments have strengthened the role and importance of school/librarians. They have the task of fulfilling the natural role of school/college libraries as a centre for learning and the exploitation of all available methods of communication. The library is a communication centre. Its commitment and concern for the encouragement of reading and enrichment of the individual’s imaginative and creative life remains undiminished (Taylor, 1980).

It is the responsibility of the librarians to ensure that clientele develop the skill to find, use, evaluate and retrieve materials according to the clientele’s own felt need and purposes. He should provide reference and guidance services when the clientele’s skills are not adequate to the search problem at hand (Grass and Klentz, 1999). Librarians are often viewed as providers of resources, rather than co-teachers who share common goals. The librarian is an educator, custodian, organizer and disseminator of knowledge. The library therefore, enables the student to investigate context beyond curriculum.

Effective library use will enhance library-consciousness of young people; transform non-users and enthusiastic students to become lifelong readers and learners. Library-consciousness will also change the opinion of students who think his/her purpose in the library is only to study lecture notes or charge mobile phones without the ability to make research for assignments, project-writing or other academic assessments. The library enables users to develop lifelong literacies. It helps to increase individual student efforts and attainment; creates a new look at the use of information, and it is a stimulus for the academic community (lecturers, staff, students, researchers).

Finally, the library should be recognised and utilized by other professional colleagues in the learning enterprise (Lance and Loertsher, 2001). It brings professional clientele by the resources provided, thus facilitating richly-improved lecture notes fruitful to students’ learning, project writing, term papers, assignments and of course, examination. Better approach will be taken on modules taught and ‘notes-making’. This stimulates partnership between lecturers and the librarian. The work of the librarian is of high-quality and he/she makes valuable contribution to the academic community (Grass and Klentz, 1999).


Grass, J. and Klentz, S. (1999). “Developing for authentic learning”. Teacher Librarian, 27(1), pp.22-25.

Herring, J.E. (1988). School Librarianship. 2nd ed. London: Clive Bingley.

Lance and Loertscher, D.V. (2001). Powering achievement: school library media-programs, make a difference – the evidences. Sam Josa, California: H. William. Research and Publishing.
Mangay, S. (2004). The need for provision for an effective school library system in Sierra Leone. (unpublished).

Taylor, L.J. (1980). A librarian’s handbook: supplementary papers and documentation, containing new policy, statement, standards of service and memoranda of evidence, and a fully revised direction section. Vol.2. London : The Library Association.

History of the Library of Congress

The Library of Congress is a renowned library housing its rich collections in three buildings – James Madison Memorial Building, John Adams Building and Thomas Jefferson Building. It is one of the oldest federal institutions as well as the US Congress’s research library. Consisting of millions of manuscripts, maps, books, photographs and recordings, this is the world’s largest library collection and is a priceless source of the American history. The library operations are managed by the administrative section.

Established in the Capitol Building in the year 1800, the library facilitated research work conducted by the Congress. President John Adams approved the building and the initial collections, worth $5000, consisted of law books sourced from England.

The contribution of Jefferson was invaluable during the formative years wherein he efficiently regulated the operations and put in several important processes in place. The early collection was destroyed in the year 1814 when the Capitol Building was invaded and the British soldiers set it on fire.

Thomas Jefferson contributed his personal collection of books that he had gathered over a period of 50 years on different subjects like literature, science and philosophy. This collection included several foreign language books. He was paid more than $20,000 for a collection of more than 6,450 books.

Later, Charles Coffin Jewett (Librarian of the Smithsonian Institution) and Joseph Henry (Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution) proposed two different approaches for the growth of this library. This was quite a tumultuous period as Charles wanted the Smithsonian Institution to become the official library of the US, whereas Joseph wanted to promote the Library of Congress as the national library of the country. Joseph was successful in dismissing Charles and transferred the precious collection of more than 40,000 volumes from Smithsonian Institution to the Library of Congress.

In the year 1864, Ainsworth Rand Spofford took over as the librarian and believed in the philosophy of Jefferson which dealt with the universality concept and took efforts to bring in various collections of books from all subjects. Due to his efforts, the library became a national institution.

Later, Spofford made it compulsory for the applicants of the US copyrights to send 2 copies of their work to the library. Soon, there was space crunch as the library was completely flooded with maps, music, prints, books and photographs among other rich collections due to which a new building was constructed in Italian Renaissance style and came to be known as the Thomas Jefferson Building.