GREETINGS FROM THE OSBORNE LIBRARY

What’s new in the library? The staff—Clare Sheridan, Librarian, Jane Ward, Asst. Librarian, and Margaret Duggan, Cataloguer—have been busy inventorying and cataloguing the extensive trade literature in our collections. We have added 18,490 book and manuscript records to the Chace Catalogue since the project began in 2006. For those of you who are new to the library and its services, the Chace Catalogue is our online catalogue available on the ATHM’s website at  http://mail.athm.org/main.php?module=objects

This is the latest phase of the library’s long-term goal to bring the collections to the web. This project is being supported by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) that runs through the end of July. We will hear from IMLS this summer regarding our most recent grant application. Hopefully we will receive this additional funding that will allow us to showcase our priceless collection of photographs and prints.

Volunteers and interns contribute an enormous amount of help to library staff. Interns (usually from Simmons College Graduate School of Library and Information Science in Boston), help organize and create guides to our manuscript collections. Two volunteers are assisting us with inventorying our book collection, no small task. Others are scanning items for the Chace Catalogue so that researchers have an image of the catalogued item. Yet another maintains our list of journals and checks in new issues. We are truly blessed with reliable and enthusiastic helpers.

As mentioned in the latest ATHM newsletter, the Osborne Library was invited (along with other institutions) to participate in an IMLS grant awarded to Simmons College. The focus of this grant is to broaden the curriculum of the Graduate School of Library and Information Science, specifically to allow for “the convergence of the digital boundaries between libraries, museum and archives particularly in the areas of description, preservation and access….” Simmons students and faculty will use the Osborne Library as a laboratory to create a broader curriculum that will support the development of case studies for use in the classroom. This exciting project begins in January 2010.

Last but not least, the Osborne Library and its collections were featured in the latest edition of InfoLink, a Community Newsletter of the Graduate School of Library and Information Science. You can read the article here: http://web.simmons.edu/~lislive/infolink/.

Pictured below are two items from our trade collection.

The poster from the Gearhart Knitting Machine Co., of Clearfield, Pennsylvania was intended to be displayed in the window of a home to indicate that knit goods were available for sale by owners of a Gearhart hand knitter.

The other image is an advertising brochure, ca. 1940, from Hager & Bro. of Lancaster, Pa., “Where Plain Folks Like to Shop.” The “plain people” or “plain folk” refers to the Amish, Mennonites, Brethren and other sects known for the plain styling of their clothing. Hager’s second floor was devoted to plain clothing and was staffed by members from these sects. The folder appears to have focused on Brethren and Mennonite styles.

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