Tag Archives: Research & Collection Services

Better World Books and library book sales

Instead of holding book sales to get rid of unwanted books, we’re now sending withdrawn books to Better World Books, a company that turns them into money for the good of humanity.

In recent years, the quality of our local book sales has been declining because we are receiving fewer large gifts of books than in the past. When we accepted large gifts in the past, we often sorted through them and added appropriate books, which was sometimes a small percentage of the total gift, and put the rest of the books into the book sale. Our book sales had interesting duplicate copies and fun books that wouldn’t be appropriate for an academic library. Without that influx of gift books, the local books sales just consist of withdrawn academic books that relatively few people are interested in purchasing. After all, the reason those books are being withdrawn from the library collection is because nobody is using them, so it’s not surprising that hundreds of those books were left over at the end of the last sale. (We couldn’t even give them away for free.)

Rather than sending them directly to recycling, we found the Better World Books library program. We ship our withdrawn books to them at no cost to us, they market them to a world-wide audience, and when they sell them, a percentage of the profit comes to us and a percentage goes to the BWB Literacy Partners. It’s a very efficient way to dispose of our withdrawn books while benefiting both Middlebury and the world beyond.

If we ever have a quantity of books that we think will be of interest to our local community, we’ll probably put them in a sale, but for now, no book sales are scheduled for the foreseeable future.

Oberlin Group of 17 Digital Library Unconference

The Oberlin Group of 17 Digital Library Unconference was held on May 21, 2013, at Mt. Holyoke College.  With over 30 participants from 14 of the OG17 schools, there was lively discussion on topics including digital library planning and scope, organization and staffing, platforms and tools, data management and preservation policy, digital scholarship/digital humanities, outreach, and archiving born-digital records.

The format of the meeting eschewed the traditional speaker followed by a few questions in favour of a lightning round describing current projects at representated colleges, then brainstorming topics to be further discussed in a series of “break-out” sessions. The format felt more collaborative and productive than simply presenting information.   Discussions were deemed successful enough to warrant follow-up meetings.

Attendees from Middlebury: Wendy Shook, Rebekah Irwin, Bryan Carson.

Where do your charitable donations go?

It’s dinner time and the telephone rings.  The caller is asking for a donation for a worthwhile charitable cause.  What you may not know is that some non-profit organizations hire professional fundraisers to solicit contributions on their behalf and the fundraisers typically receive a commission of more than half of the amount you pledge, and in some cases they get up to 90% of your pledge.  To provide detailed information on how funds are split between the charities and the professional fundraisers, the Vermont Atty. General’s office has published a helpful report at http://www.atg.state.vt.us/assets/files/WhereHaveAlltheDollarsGone2009.pdf

How does your favorite charity rate?

Library Preservation Dept. Open House — You’re Invited!

To mark National Preservation Week, the Preservation staff in Davis Family Library is hosting an Open House from 1-4:30pm on Thur., April 26th.  Stop by our workshop in LIB135 to see the various ways we preserve the library’s collections  and to watch our conservation technician at work.  Bring in your own book and paper preservation problems for evaluation by the staff.

See how a book goes from this…

…. to this!

Preservation Week is a collaborative effort supported by the Association for Library Collections and Technical Services, a division of the American Library Association, Library of Congress and the Institute of Museum and Library Services.  To learn more about it see http://www.atyourlibrary.org/passiton

Consider coming by the Preservation Dept. on your way to the Annual Rucker Lecture at 4:30! 

For more information contact Joseph Watson,  jwatson@middlebury.edu  443-5487

Happy Chinese New Year


The Library is expanding and improving the Chinese Collection!

A gift of 1,172 titles from Bowdoin College expands our Chinese collection to a total of 5,021 volumes. Many important works on Chinese philosophy, literature, and history were added. The gift books are marked with neon pink flags.

We have re-cataloged the existing Chinese Collection, so that now Chinese books are in the Library of Congress classification order for better access and subject browsing.

The updated records contain Chinese characters, corrected Pinyin transliteration of Chinese names and titles, and added subject headings. While Midcat displays, but does not currently allow searching using Chinese characters, such searches can be performed through WorldCat.

We are still working on this project (and re-cataloged books still need to be re-labeled) so if the item you would like to check out is not on the shelf, or if it is marked “in process” in Midcat, please request it by emailing mevans@middlebury.edu or library_circulation@middlebury.edu and we will get it to you as soon as possible!

Two New Civil War Collections Won for Special Collections

Erastus Hibbard Phelps Collection

The winning bid on the Archive of Civil War paymaster Erastus Hibbard Phelps, Middlebury Class of 1861, was made at auction by Andy Wentink, Curator of Special Collections & Archives. The archive was one among nearly 350 lots of American History, including Civil War, materials offered by Cowan’s Auctions in Cincinnati, OH, last Friday morning, December 2. The Phelps Archive comprises 334 letters, 4 diaries (3 from Civil War years), 2 bound volumes including a photo album containing portraits of graduates of the Middlebury Class of 1861, many of which are inscribed to Phelps. The archive also includes two photos of Phelps previous to his years at Middlebury, his paymaster sidearm (a Colt 1851 Navy 36 caliber pistol), what is believed to be his sheepskin winter jacket worn on duty, and a leather documents trunk carried during his service.

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“Behind the Scenes: A Window into History” features Special Collections

Behind the Scenes: A Window into History created by Sara Marshall, Stephen Diehl, and Brendan Mahoney ’11, of College Communications for the online edition of Middlebury Magazine.  We’re very pleased with and honored by the film.