I was unduly honored and proud to be asked to advise and work on the gallery’s upcoming library reorganization project.  Finally I get to be a “real” librarian! Sort of.

 As I mentioned before, the collection of art-related books and catalogues is one of the main reasons that I was drawn to this job.  I spend time every day doing research in the library.  It is expected that all staff make the effort to become more conversant about topics related to the collection, so reading on the job is not only accepted but encouraged.  I know that’s the stereotype of what a librarian does, but it’s actually a reality in this job.  How great is that?

Anyway, when I first heard that we would be revamping the library and organizing a card catalogue that has not seen the light of day in several years, I had many ambitious visions of the subject analysis I would do and the classification system I would undertake.  The truth of the matter is not quite that exciting.  Though a great collection for localized research in art history and the art of the southwest, the library really is not large enough to warrant a huge amount of effort.  In the past, the card catalogue was created with cards for each title, author, and subject.  I don’t know who did the subject analysis or what standards they used (likely the Art & Architecture Thesaurus), but there’s probably little need to add to it.  The consensus is pretty much to take the path of least resistance for the shelf organization.  Classifying each title would be too time-consuming.  It’s easy enough to find books on the shelf based on a blanket category such as the art of New Mexico or artists by last name. 

 While I’m a little disappointed not to be able to, say, put the whole collection in an OPAC, it is a good lesson in scale and practicality.  There is a balance that needs to be found in all libraries between findability and effort.  How much effort will it take to make the collection as accessible as necessary? Though it would probably also be fun to classify my own bookshelves, I realize that life is short and some things just aren’t worth the effort.