These wine labels are part of the Shields Library's special collection at University of California, Davis. Some labels list the names of people who shared bottles with viticulture and enology professor Maynard Amerine. Photos: © UC Davis Library/Special Collections

Preserving the Vintage

March 1, 2017

One could expect that wine libraries are concentrated in California, the top-producing state, but wine collections and digital archives are also popping up in places like Indiana, New York, and Oregon. Institutions are providing for the information needs of wine enthusiasts of all stripes, and in doing so are reinventing and reinvigorating the meaning of … Continue reading Preserving the Vintage


Librarian's Library: Karen Muller

Developing New Skills

January 3, 2017

Let’s start with raising money. The first set of chapters in 40+ New Revenue Sources for Libraries and Nonprofits, by Edmund A. Rossman III, lays the foundation for specific discussions about sources. Rossman covers why libraries might need more than what their traditional funding bases offer, which for public libraries is 85%–90% local, and how … Continue reading Developing New Skills


Kislak Center for Special Collection, Rare Books, and Manuscripts at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, designed by Gensler architects.

Bringing Special Collections into Today

June 26, 2016

Representatives from three university libraries gathered June 25 for the Library Leadership and Management Association–sponsored panel discussion “Front and Center: Designing for Special Collections and Archives in the Library” at the 2016 ALA Annual Conference and Exhibition in Orlando, Florida, to showcase new special collections libraries that buck the outdated model and look to the … Continue reading Bringing Special Collections into Today



Frank Bridges, media studies doctoral student, and Christie Lutz, New Jersey regional studies librarian and head of public services in Special Collections and University Archives, with items in the New Brunswick Music Scene Archive at Rutgers University.

Rock in the Vault

May 2, 2016

The do-it-yourself ethos of the local music scene tells a story of dissent from mainstream culture, says Rutgers University media studies doctoral student Frank Bridges, who played in bands and ran his own record label in the 1980s and 1990s near the New Brunswick, New Jersey, campus. He thinks it’s a story worth preserving. Bridges’s … Continue reading Rock in the Vault


A music therapy student (a violinist) demonstrates how she experimented playing the Turkish spike fiddle before finding more official instructions.

Music without Borders

January 27, 2016

The answer, to be more precise than that 1st-grader, is “termites,” and the question was, “What hollows out the branch of the eucalyptus tree used to make the didgeridoo?” It’s one of the most organic world-music instruments around and easily one of the best known. The 1st-graders had just finished a unit on Australia, and … Continue reading Music without Borders


Beth Kilmarx (left) and Charlotte Priddle, RBMS Curators and Conservators Discussion Group co-conveners

Just Lines in a Spreadsheet?

January 10, 2016

Nearly every special collections repository sends some items to an offsite storage facility. As a result, curators and conservators are dealing with issues related to access to and transport for those materials on an almost daily basis. When attendees were asked to raise a hand if their institution sent special collections materials, manuscript or print, … Continue reading Just Lines in a Spreadsheet?


Karen Muller

Understanding Diversity

September 21, 2015

Even if we would like, we cannot know every book in our collection; nor is it likely that we will know the reading interests of every patron. How then do we advise those looking for reading suggestions? Crash Course in Readers’ Advisory, by Cynthia Orr, reviews the basics of readers’ advisory services, starting with a … Continue reading Understanding Diversity


Irene Ke, Kristine Greive, and Porcia Vaughn

Improving Retention

September 17, 2015

The University of Houston (UH) has more than 40,000 students from 137 nations. Among our undergraduates, 26.9% are Hispanic, 19.8% are Asian, 10.2% are African American, and 9.8% are international. Many of them are first-generation or nontraditional students. UH is changing from a commuter school to a flagship destination research university, and student success is … Continue reading Improving Retention


A few of the 75 Civil War–era photographs that were taken from Bangor (Maine) Public Library and later recovered. These images, along with 50 original World War I– and World War II–era posters that were stolen, had an estimated value of $31,000. The image of the officer leaning over his chair helped identify the set as belonging to the library.

Thwarting Book Thieves

September 16, 2015

What Graves didn’t know was that by the time he brought them to the dealer, the owner had already seen the items at the library a few weeks earlier. “I had been talking about them to the owner while he was visiting our special collections area,” says special collections librarian Bill Cook of Bangor (Maine) … Continue reading Thwarting Book Thieves