Saturday, November 04, 2006

'the latest gasp in library efficiency'

According to the New Mexican for May 31, 1930, an anonymous donor helped the library acquire a new circulation desk that year, said to be "the latest gasp in library efficiency... It is equipped with sliding filing cases, roll top card-index spaces, and a dozen different ingenious contrivances..." This sounds very familiar to those of us who worked in the old main library building at 110 Washington. We think that this desk was still around 55 years later, and was left behind when we moved into the present Main Library in 1985. (The old building became the Museum of New Mexico's Fray Angélico Chávez History Library.)

The same article mentions that Santa Fe at that time had a population of 11,000; a 17,000 volume collection; and a circulation of 52,000. That hardworking little collection circulated really fast, more than three times a year for each item. For purposes of comparison: our population in 2005 was 70,063; the size of the collection, 247,829; and circulation that year was 453,330. So the collection today is a lot larger in proportion to the population; and today's population checks out more items per person per year...

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