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This library is definitely worth visiting again and again. The first thing I learned on our visit is that the library is called the Richardson Memorial Library, and it is separate from the print study room.
Also, if you need to find out about a piece of artwork you own or are thinking of buying, you can use the library auction databases to try to verify its authenticity or to determine its worth.
For me, the best part of the visit was when Head Librarian Marianne Cavanaugh shared some selections from the artist book collection. One book actually had chop sticks on the front cover. This would be a great stop for artists looking for inspiration.
Tags: e-books, Jill Nissen, St. Louis College of Pharmacy
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The St. Louis College of Pharmacy librarian has a lot on her mind when it comes to materials acquisitions. Without the responsibility of staff salary, budget planning for resources is the number one concern. The library adamantly invests in materials that support the curriculum; however, the format of those materials is somewhat varied. The St. Louis College of Pharmacy places a heavy emphasis on the usage of e-journals and online resources, and particularly benefits from using digital formats. Jill Nissen, library director of the college, made a good pint in regards to this issue. Highly expensive medical texts, that can be hundreds to thousands of dollars, are a hefty burden for the often limited budgets of the academic world. Rather than buy 100 books at a ghastly rate, it is much more effective to purchase one e-book online. This way, any number of people can use this resource at one time and funds can be further stretched.
Tags: Joy Wright, Laumeier Sculpture Park, Past Perfect, St. Louis County Parks
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The Laumeier Sculpture Park is well known to St. Louis community however the park’s library remains a small hidden treasure for those who know of its existence. I have found that although the library is quite small, they actually play a very important role in the administrative process of the park. When choosing new artists to exhibit, solo librarian Joy Wright will collect background on the potential candidates, and will then collect more print and source materials on the artists chosen. Joy is an MLS graduate and also has background in Art History. She has had one Practicum student in recent years to help set up the electronic catalogue. The collection is not in World Cat and cannot be viewed online (yet). They will make the recently completed electronic catalogue available as soon as budget allows. The software used for the electronic catalogue is called Past Perfect Museum Software. The software handles the art collection catalogue, the (MARC capable) library catalogue, and the archives catalogue. It is a complete museum management system. Creating the electronic catalogue was a learning experience working through the archival process from retention schedules, to evaluation, to preservation of documents and media, and storage and finding aids for access of the records. The hard work of Joy and her volunteers will pay off as soon as the collection is posted to view online.
Tags: Richardson Memorial Library, SLAM, St. Louis Art Museum, St. Louis Artists Project
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The Mizzou Special Libraries Class was able to visit the St. Louis Art museum’s library (The Richardson Memorial Library) on Wednesday, July 22nd. Though the physical size of the library is quite small (housing a large portion of materials off-site), its breadth and scope are quite expansive. One impressive service they offer (not mentioned in the class tour) is the St. Louis Artists Files Project. This project is maintained in collaboration with the St. Louis Public Library.
The artists’ files are available to the public for research and include newspaper clippings, exhibition announcements, and other relevant biographical data. Files can be added upon request from the public via post or email. The online form can be found at:
This unique collection can be viewed at the following web address:
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Have you ever heard of a place or event and thought it sounds neat only to have your expectations completely surpassed – my example is the City Museum, it sounds like a museum about a city, right? The St. Louis County Library Special Collections was one of those places for me. I thought they’d probably have a nice collection of St. Louis area genealogical information, but maybe not much for a non-native St. Louisan like myself. I was pleasantly surprised.
The collection is massive, one of the largest in the United States. We got a guided tour through the floors of family histories, maps, and geographical directories. The collection includes the National Genealogical Society’s collection and provides access to the Salt Lake City microfilms. At one point we were touring the closed stacks and I noticed we were standing in the family histories, I took the opportunity to sneak down an aisle and found a book devoted to my family lineage!
The other impressive attribute of this library is the staff. All librarians working in this collection have a background in genealogy, making them knowledgeable and sympathetic to patrons stuck “out on a limb” of their family tree.
I can’t wait to spread the word about this collection…and once this class is done, I’m pulling my box of years-old genealogy research out of my closet, dusting it off and heading back to the St. Louis County Library myself!
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Last night, the Special Libraries class had the privilege of visiting the Special Collections Department at the St. Louis County Library. The department was established in 1998 when the St. Louis Genealogical Society gave its collection to the St. Louis County Library. This collection consists of material unique to the St. Louis area and supports research into the Midwest and for finding European roots. Later, in 2001, the department received the National Genealogical Society’s collection which consists of 20,000 circulating volumes. Other collections in the department include the Julius K. Hunter and Friends African American Research Collection and the Jewish Genealogical Society of St. Louis Collection. The information and tools available at the Special Collections Department of the St. Louis County Library are too numerous to fully discuss in one blog posting. Suffice it to say that anyone interested in genealogical research would be well advised to visit the department and take advantage of the extensive resources and knowledgeable staff who are ready and willing to help.
Manager Joyce Loving talked to us about the department and gave us a tour. Something I found interesting was the proactive role they take with Interlibrary Loan. Patrons from other parts of the United States request the department’s materials from their local libraries who sometimes mistakenly tell them that the materials are not available through interlibrary loan. The Special Collections Department often has to call these other libraries to let them know that they do indeed lend the materials.
Our class really enjoyed the visit and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in genealogical research.
Tags: art library, SLAM
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In addition to its unique collection, St. Louis Art Museum’s library serves a wider range of patrons than I was expecting. Its core materials support the museum’s specific pieces and areas of specialization, but the library is broad enough to serve the needs of local college students whose institutional libraries do not have a well-developed art collection. Even colleges that have an art library may require their students to visit SLAM in order to familiarize themselves with its resources. I also was surprised to hear that many art dealers and other professionals rely on the auction databases that SLAM provides.
Our visit also taught me about the role of the different departments within a museum and how a library might support them. I was impressed with the level of research that the curators require, as well as their linguistic knowledge; 30 to 40% of the library’s collection is in German, French, or other foreign languages. The museum has undergone several reorganizations, and the library has done a good job of taking on new roles as they adapt to a changing environment, such as helping with permissions work. They have also taken steps towards uploading SLAM images into ARTSTOR, which will help the museum’s exposure and provide quality images for others.
I think we all appreciated learning about the challenges that library managers can face and what a department can do to evolve in tough times. The SLAM library is actively looking for ways to adapt and support its host institution through different avenues.
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The Richardson Memorial Library of the Saint Louis Art Museum serves museum staff and the public. Items circulate to museum staff only, and public patrons are typically students from nearby schools. The library boasts several art auction databases as a common draw to public patrons. The library is getting started with digital collections, and currently has a A Visual History of the Saint Louis Art Museum Building.
It is worth noting that a little less than half of the library’s collection is written in English. The other primary languages are German and French.
The library staff are currently collaborating with the public relations department to host a few Saturday classes on using the library. These classes will be open to the public.
The library is part of the St. Louis research Library Consortium, which currently consists of the Missouri Botanical Garden, the Missouri History Museum, and the Saint Louis Art Museum Libraries.
St. Louis Art Museum’s Library July 25, 2009Posted by Cynthia in Library Stuff.
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The St. Louis Art Museum Library
This was the first time I’ve ever been at this particular library – and I was impressed. It was a very beautiful, even artistic place, with its maroon walls, and lots of old, old wood bookcases and tables. The bookcases, tables and leather chairs were in excellent condition, and added to the over ambiance of the place. The old-world feeling had an interesting juxtipositon with the bank of modern computer stations.
One of the interesting things this library had was a clipping file on St. Louis area artists. I have a deep interest in St. Louis history and had never known that this resource was available!
Our class got a quick tour of the stacks and I was surprised at the quantity of information, folios, and books. In short, I really enjoyed our time at this library.
Tags: SLAM art library
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The Richardson Memorial Library at the St. Louis Art Museum’s is located on the third floor of the South Wing. In addition to serving the staff at the museum, it also serves art research needs of the public. The staff answers reference questions about the museum’s collection as well as helping individuals find information about their own art. The collection is non-circulating and includes unique holdings that are well worth a visit. The library has artist files on St. Louis area artists. These files are a great resource and contain information such as exhibition announcements and newspaper clippings. Also, they are the only institution in the area that has art auction catalogs and databases.
In line with the museum’s commitment to arts education for the community, the library staff organize material for satellite Resource Centers that loan out kits to area educators for classroom or home school use. These kits include curriculum material as well as touch kits which include various objects, posters, and some slides. The library will even be offering a class that adults can register for on how to research your art.