How to Build a Library

by Samuel Bryant - Date: 2008-10-29 - Word Count: 637 Share This!

When identifying a need for a library a person must identify the needs to the organization or community. If, for example, we want to create a special library for a humane society or animal shelter that has a significant presence online then we must identify the needs of the veterinarians, veterinary technicians, gardeners, landscapers, Web development programmers, business development specialists, public relations staff, graphic designers, website managers, media producers, member services staff, marketing staff, adoption coordinators, vegetarian cooks, members, human resources staff, and volunteers. Not only would a library be beneficial for the workers and volunteers, but it would also supply the adopters with information on the care of their new cat or dog. The library would be open to visitors of the shelter and would be an area of attraction for potential adopters.

The needs of each animal can differ quite a bit and experts are rarely supervising, which demonstrates the need for organized and easily accessible information. While the collection of library materials needs to be diverse enough to correspond with the variety of clients, the collection must also be specific and specialized to adhere to the veterinarian-centered focus of the organization. The American Booksellers Association and BookWire, which gives access to thousands of book stores, will help with the selection of books. Another prime location for discovering appropriate books is on ALA's Booklist site online. To get the library started with the initial round of serials I looked at veterinary libraries around the United States to get an idea of what they are using.

EBSCOhost is of great interest because it contains 83 veterinarian-related journals and provides a very broad spectrum of other topics that may fall under some of the other topic categories performed at Best Friends. There are another 171 veterinarian-related journals that are not represented on EBSCOhost but will be considered for subscription in addition to EBSCOhost. The library should subscribe to PubMed because of its subcategory of veterinary medicine. Some other databases of particular interest are BIOSIS Previews, ConsumerLab, Current Contents Connect, European Veterinary Information, Network of Animal Health (Noah), Veterinary Information Network (VIN), CAB Abstracts, Vet College Literature Database, WildPRO, AGRICOLA, Animal Health and Production Compendium, Biological Abstracts, BioOne Abstracts and Index Database (BAID), Wildlife Worldwide, and Zoological Record.

There should be three main sections of the library-the non-circulating reference section where the computer terminals and printer will be located; the reading room where all the extra categories of text will be placed such as business development, Web development, public relations, media production, and vegetarian cooking. The third section of the library will be the biggest and will contain all the books, tapes, and periodicals on topics related to human-animal interactions and the well-being of all animal species including a heavy emphasis on veterinary medicine. Other topics in this section will include animal facilitated therapy, animal rights, cultural attitudes, ethics, farm animal welfare, pet loss, zoo/captive animal welfare, etc.

There should be at least two computers dedicated to searching the catalog and accessing e-books, and e-journals. There should be at least three more computers that will provide access to the catalog, but will also provide access to the internet. In order to provide these services the library will need staff. In order to provide effective services the library will need more than a couple of staff members. In my estimation of the library facilities and services there should be five-three professional and two paraprofessional librarians.

To accommodate the collection and staff, the library needs to be housed in a location with at least 1,500 square feet of space. The implementation of a staffed library will be the tool the organization needs in order to improve upon the effective treatment and housing of animals, and the efficiency with which this task is performed.

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Related Tags: animal shelter, library, humane society, librarian

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