Wrapping Up National Library Week with the American Philatelic Research Library

Wrapping Up National Library Week with the American Philatelic Research Library

Last week, the American Philatelic Society celebrated National Library Week by highlighting the American Philatelic Research Library (APRL), which is one of the world’s largest and most accessible philatelic libraries. The APRL took over the APS social media accounts to demonstrate why Libraries = Strong Philatelic Communities. In case you missed the resources, news, stories, and knowledge offered by the American Philatelic Research Library this week, here are the highlights.

IMG_20190405_152542-1On Monday, library director Scott Tiffney described the scope of the APRL, its resources, and its services. Today’s collection includes roughly 90,000 items, including books, journals, auction catalogs, stamp catalogs, name sales, government documents (including Postmaster General Reports), domestic and international stamp show programs, stamp albums, and many special collections and archival items. Members of the American Philatelic Society can use and borrow many of these resources. The APRL also offers several services to APS members and non-members alike: you can request scans or photocopies of library materials and ask research questions. Read more about the library’s services and fees. 

The-Whole-APRL-CrewAs befits a library of this size, the APRL employs three full-time staff members and two employees who split time as library assistants. On Tuesday, Scott highlighted the library workers who make the library a resourceful community of knowledge. The library staff includes Library Assistants Krystal and Jacqueline, Technical Services Coordinator Betsy, Reference Assistant Marian, and Library Director Scott Tiffney. Staff members shared tips for using the library’s resources.

The APRL also hosted an AMA (Ask Me Anything) on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, where the staff answered questions from our followers ranging from the simple: “What are the books or study material you recommend to new collectors?” to the trickier: “I was told by a history teacher of mine that spies during WWI used to write tiny messages on the backs of stamps before affixing them . . . Is there any truth to this?” Read more questions and answers from the Facebook AMA below.

On Wednesday, the APRL highlighted its partnerships with other philatelic libraries around the country and in Canada and Great Britain. The APRL’s collection and the collections of partner libraries (including the National Postal Museum library, the Royal Philatelic Society London library, the Collectors Club of Chicago, the Collectors Club (New York) library, and more) reside in a searchable online catalog. The APRL has also contributed to a new project, the Global Philatelic Library, run by the Royal Philatelic Society London library. The Global Philatelic Library is a collaboration between 27 global libraries to consolidate philatelic literature, archives, and museum items in one online catalog. 

nook from above 3On Thursday, the APRL staff shared their philatelic library stories (#MyLibraryMyStory) with social media followers. Jacqueline, one of the APRL’s library assistants, shared that while growing up in Peru, she didn’t see or use stamps often because mail wasn’t delivered to her home. So when she moved to the United States, she was delighted to see so many beautiful and interesting stamps on all of her mail. She began collecting stamps according to her aesthetic tastes. When she learned that the American Philatelic Society was so close to her home, she knew it would be a philatelist’s dream come true to work here. Since she started working in the APRL, Jacqueline has taken courses in topical collecting, and has narrowed her collection to Christmas stamps, flowering trees, and tulips. She also says that working in the library and answering patrons’ questions has made her even more knowledgeable about philately. We also heard from our followers about their experiences using the APRL or their local libraries for their philatelic research.

Thursday was also the perfect day to share photos from past versions of the American Philatelic Research Library. Before moving to the renovated Match Factory in 2004, the APRL and APS have had multiple homes in the State College, PA area.

APRL 1987 - New AdditionAPRL 1998APRL 1989


aprl digitalFinally, the APRL wrapped up National Library Week by highlighting the online catalog where patrons can search for books for sale at a discounted price. The library also recommended one of its newer services, the Digital Library, available for APS members only. The Digital Library has high-quality scans of the full run of the American Philatelist and many other philatelic journals and bulletins, and more content is added periodically.

Here at the American Philatelic Society, we’re proud to work closely with the APRL and put its excellent resources and research capabilities to use every day. The American Philatelic Research Library = Strong Philatelic Communities. Happy National Library Week.

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Great American Stamp Show

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