When you think of an archive, what comes to mind? Do you usually picture a physical place with old and rare materials? While this is absolutely correct, modern technology has allowed for archives and preservation to be moved online and into digital archives.
Richards Free Library has a wonderful local history room that functions as our in-person archive, but I’m also developing our digital archives. There are many benefits to digitization and digital archives, and I hope that adding more materials to ours will serve as a benefit to our community.
Some of the exciting things about digital archives include easier access for homebound patrons and folks from out of town who are looking for Newport History. Digitizing also acts as preservation – physical materials deteriorate even with the best care, and are always at risk for loss or damage. Having a digital archive doesn’t mean the physical one goes away – it’s simply an additional way to access the materials!
So, what goes into digitizing? While it can seem like a daunting process, all you really need is a scanner and a place to store the files. Some of the quickest materials to digitize are photographs, as they are single items and don’t require scanning multiple pages. However, with photographs you often have to be more aware of the resolution and color quality of your scanner than with text-based documents. Right now, RFL is still benefitting from the generous loan of a scanner from the New Hampshire State Library, and I am working my way through digitizing pictures from Newport’s past. The second part of digitizing is about resource description. Wherever your materials are ending up, they need to be easy to find. A description makes this possible. Photographs can be harder to describe than a document, especially if the photo has no description written on the back. Using things like subject headings and descriptive tags can help make photographs findable. We have some wonderful pictures of Newport’s past that I’m excited to share with our community! Stay tuned for updates on those projects.
We’re in the process of applying for a grant toget a scanner that RFL could have permanently, which would be a great asset to the archives. Digitizing is often slow and steady work, but permanent access to a scanner would allow for continuous additions to our digital archives.
As always, don’t be afraid to reach out to me if you have questions, a research request, or want to chat about Newport History!
Family Story Times will continue each Wednesday at 11:00 am, usually featuring 3 picture books and some songs and rhymes to enjoy with our littles! I gear this story time to anyone who will listen to picture books– usually ages 0-6. This story time will move outside to our big side yard as soon as the weather stays warm enough.
Little Wiggle Time, our shorter, action-focused storytime for our wiggliest little ones, will continue on Friday evenings at 5:00, until the Newport Farmer’s Market begins on the Common across the street on May 27th, which will be our first Farmer’s Market Storytime. I’ll be on the Common with my wagon, blankets, and books from 4:00 until 5:00, or I run out of listeners! *I don’t hold storytimes on the Common if it’s raining or too wet.
May Afterschool Programs
Teen Hangman Hangout, May 11th, 2:30-3:30- for tweens and teens ages 10-18. Come play hangman, Apples to Apples, or whatever else we feel like and eat snacks with Mo.
Afterschool Bingo For Books! May 16th, 3:30-4:00-Play bingo and win free books. Parents and little siblings are welcome! We have gently used books for children of all ages available as prizes, and we’ll play until everyone wins.
Kids Craft: Memorial Day Pinwheels! May 26th 3:30-4:00- Stop by the library to make your own pinwheel for Memorial Day to decorate your room or yard, or to remember someone special on Memorial Day.
Summer Reading Program
It’s getting closer and closer to summer reading! What are you and your kids excited to read this summer? Let us know so we can consider adding it to our collection! As always, you can reach Ms Mo at email@example.com
We’re creating a new gaming collection for Richards Free Library. This collection will include board games, card games, video games, video game consoles, and all the accessories needed to run spectacular gaming programs here at the library.
COVID-19 cut into a lot of our programming just as it was ramping up, including our game nights. When we wrote this grant application, we had hoped we could get games into your hands and have you run your own game nights at home while we waited for it to be safe to bring game nights back to the library. Thankfully, it looks like we’ll be able to reinstate library game nights sooner rather than later! We’re planning after school gaming programs in the ballroom, family game nights, and board game lessons (we know some of these rule books can be intimidating!).
I know some of you are thinking “why games?” Games are really just another way to tell a story, and we’re pretty big fans of storytelling here at the library. Plus, games are a great way to engage teens who come to the library after school, looking for entertainment (and somewhere warm or cool to spend the afternoon). We also hope they’ll be a useful tool for families to find time to spend together.
We’re planning a “kick off” event on Saturday, June 4th, which just happens to be International Tabletop Day (a big day in board game circles). Join us at the library to check out the new collection, learn a new game, or play an old favorite. We hope to see you then!
We’re really excited about this new collection and the incredible grant money from the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the New Hampshire State Library that made it possible.
Have you ever wondered what magic occurs to make a book appear on the lending shelves in a library? The process has many very particular steps!
A librarian peruses a collection development magazine, reading book reviews.
They choose titles they would like to add to the library collection and place them on an online book vendor order list.
Once they have compiled an entire order, they submit the order to the book vendor.
Next, they print out order slips containing the information about each title on the order.
(Here we insert a long pause while we wait for the order to be filled and shipped.)
When the order arrives at the library, it is unpacked, checked against the packing list, and the applicable order slip is paired with each title.
The books are placed on a book cart and taken to the librarian to catalog.
The librarian searches online for a bibliographic record of descriptive information about each title and downloads these bibliographic records into the Catalog.
Next, they access the library Catalog and open each bibliographic record to verify that all of the information in the record is correct, modifying when and where necessary and adding any missing information to the record. Access points are paid particular attention, to ensure that the information may be easily searched in the Catalog. These access points include author name, book title, series title, and subject headings. This process takes a considerable amount of time for each title. If no records of information were found for some of the titles, the librarian will have to create these records from scratch, significantly lengthening the amount of time spent cataloging these particular items.
Once the bibliographic records are complete, item records are attached to each one. These item records contain the identifying information for each item, including spine label information and unique barcodes.
The unique barcode labels are placed on their respective books. Spine labels, which will be used for locating the books on the shelves, are printed and applied to the spines of the books, along with any other applicable labels, such as a mystery label if the book is a mystery.
Once the cart of items is complete, it is taken to the processing area.
Here, the books are stamped with the name of the library, along with the current month and year.
A readers’ review slip is placed on the inside back cover of each book.
If a book has a book jacket (illustrated paper cover), then a clear Mylar (plastic) cover is placed over the book jacket to protect the cover and labels. If a book does not have a book jacket, a strip of clear book tape is placed along the spine of the book, protecting the spine and all of the labels.
Once the cart of items is complete, it is taken to the circulation desk, where the items are added to the new book lists in the Integrated Library System (ILS), which is currently Koha.
The books are then placed on the circulating shelves in the new book areas of the library.
As you can see, the process is quite complex and time-consuming, with certain portions of the process outside our control, such as time spent by the vendor filling, packing and sending the order, as well as shipping time for the package to get from the vendor to the library. Rest assured though, we are continually working behind the scenes to unpack, catalog, and process the books in as timely a manner as possible, so that they will be available for you to checkout and enjoy.
March 9, 2022 at 5:00 p.m. at Richards Free Library 58 N. Main St Newport, NH
The Richards Free Library Board of Trustees will hold a public hearing pursuant to NH RSA 202- A:4-c III(a) on Wednesday March 9, 2022 to receive public input on the acceptance of grant money from the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the New Hampshire State Library in the amount of $23,076.
“Libraries, as they exist in the twenty-first century, are the only remaining public domain. In a library, anyone of any walk of life can come and go as they choose, and so long as they remain respectful of the space they can remain as long as they wish.” –Linda Stack-Nelson, The Last Free Space.
The Richards Free Library is the perfect example of the quote from Stack-Nelson’s article in World Literature Today. Anyone is welcome to use our space, our technology, our materials, and our staff’s knowledge. No purchase necessary! While COVID-19 has thrown some curveballs in terms of being able to use the library’s physical space, we are very much looking forward to opening up all of our space to the public again this spring.
Did you know that while we are partially funded by the town, the Richards Free Library is not a town department or agency? We are our own non-profit corporation and along with our appropriation of town funding, we fund parts of our budget from endowments, grants, and donations.
For every tax dollar invested in the library in 2021, we were able to return $3.28 in services to the community. From books and movies to public computer and Wi-Fi access, even during a global pandemic (or maybe especially during a global pandemic) the community saw value in our offerings and took advantage of them.
As of March 1st we are open our normal hours, with in-person programs and full access to community spaces including our study rooms and the ballroom. We hope you’ll stop by soon to browse for a book, meet some of our newer staff, attend a story time, or visit with Dexter and Minerva, the library cats!