Implications of setting up a specialized library/museum
1. PLAN TO PLAN
The world of small, specialized libraries and museum collections is full of horror stories:
- materials irretrievably lost, misplaced, ruined, destroyed, or stolen because of improper storage and security measures
- materials difficult to classify or retrieve because of a prematurely designed, unprofessional cataloguing system
- piles of useless materials donated by well-meaning but unenlightened donors; cannot be discarded because of obligation (PR) and legal stipulations concerning custody of gifts
- piles of useless materials purchased randomly or impulsively without a carefully worked-out acquisition and budget plan targeted to the particular institution's goals
- etc., etc.
Before you get burned with any or all of the above, be absolutely clear on (i.e., plan for):
- The purpose(s) of your library/museum facility
- which materials will you seek, accept, reject (define "folk" for yourselves)
- folk/ethnic dance (instructions, theory books)
- folk/ethnic music (written, recorded)
- folk/ethnic costume (books, costume pieces)
- folklore (oral literature)
- national histories, geographies, descriptions
- what types of materials
- records, tapes
- periodicals, magazines
- costumes for museum
- costumes for loan or rent
- musical instruments for museum
- musical instruments for loan or rent
- level of interest you wish to serve
- research scholars
- high-school students writing papers
- group leaders looking for material
- popular, general-public information source
- lending, or in-house use only
- if lending, insurance for loss, delinquency, and replacement costs
- if in-house, provisions for photocopying, etc.
- Sources of funding
- donation campaigns
- membership dues
- "Library Support Group"
2. CONSULT EXPERTS
- Library Science and museology are well-established disciplines, and every aspect has been thoroughly investigated at one time or another.
- A professional knows infinitely more than you do; his/her tips will surprise you and save you time, money, and grief.
- THE GREATEST MISTAKE OF ALL IS TO ASSUME THAT "ANYONE WITH COMMON SENSE CAN PLAN AND MANAGE A LIBRARY/MUSEUM FACILITY."
- DO IT RIGHT THE FIRST TIME SAVE ON RE-DO TIME AND COSTS.
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