04/12/2011 (P1689)
Contact: Tara Murray

Philatelic Library Group Uses Technology to Keep in Touch

The American Philatelic Research Library hosted a meeting for librarians, staff, volunteers, and board members from philatelic libraries around the country on March 2. The meeting was held by conference call so that people could attend without traveling.

Fifteen people representing seven different libraries attended. Besides the APRL, the Collectors Club of New York, Rocky Mountain Philatelic Library, San Diego County Philatelic Library, Scandinavian Collectors Club, Postal History Foundation Slusser Memorial Library, and Western Philatelic Library participated in the discussion.

The first item on the agenda was an update on the Philatelic Union Catalogue hosted by the APRL. Two new libraries joined the union catalogue in 2010. Most of the holdings of the Western Philatelic Library (WPL) are now searchable in the online union catalogue and a sample batch of records from the Harry Sutherland Philatelic Library at the Vincent Graves Greene Philatelic Research Foundation (Greene) in Canada also has been incorporated.

The Collectors Club of New York (CCNY) provided an updated database of its holdings, which has been incorporated as well. Visitors to the Philatelic Union Catalogue can now search the holdings of six philatelic libraries simultaneously, or each library’s collection individually. In addition to those already mentioned, the union catalogue includes the holdings of the APRL, the Postal History Foundation’s Slusser Library (PHF) and the Rocky Mountain Philatelic Library (RMPL).

The group also discussed best practices for describing and publicizing archival and special collections, indexing journal articles, sharing duplicate and want lists, and digitization projects.

Between meetings, the group keeps in touch using a Google group, the Philatelic Library Forum, to send and receive messages and share documents. The group includes representatives from several other libraries in addition to those on the conference call.

The Philatelic Library Group welcomes anyone interested in philatelic libraries, including staff from larger libraries with philatelic collections, philatelic library staff, volunteers, and library board members. If you are interested in participating, contact Tara Murray or 814-933-3803 ext. 246.

The 12,500-square foot American Philatelic Research Library contains more than 20,000 book titles, more than 5,500 periodical titles, government documents, auction catalogues, philatelic exhibits, and several unique archives, including the Daniel Hines Air Mail Collection. The Library staff of four serve the public and also publish the quarterly Philatelic Literature Review with the APS Editorial Department.

The APRL is a public nonprofit that relies heavily on donations of materials. Members of the APRL and the American Philatelic Society may borrow materials directly through the mail and others may use the Library through interlibrary loan. Scholars are always welcome to do research on site.