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Library Talk – March 22, 2018


Library Talk March 22, 2018

            Space, and use of space, is always a priority in our libraries.  We have been given the opportunity to be the ‘home’ for the Brown County property tax records going back to the early 1800s, when Brown County became Brown County.  I’m pleased that Ohio Historical Connection felt we were worthy enough, but…they will take up a lot of room.  I need to keep them safe, dry and accessible, which means I can’t put them in boxes and up in the loft in the annex! (definitely not handicapped accessible….).  To do this, we will use up some of our meeting room space as well as the reference area. If you’ve been in the reference area recently, you probably are wondering, well, where? The shelves are full!  I’ve begun serious weeding, and for me, this is tough going, but I have to realize many of the books that we have in the ref area have not been used for quite a while. Our local history stuff is used, and we will not be thinning that part of the collection, but we will be discarding literary criticism sets, Magill’s history sets,  books that cover different museums and their artwork, science biographies, encyclopedia of automobiles, even Chilton repair manuals and more. I know, ‘everyone’ says the information is available on the Internet…and much of it is, but there is something about the format and the feel of a book that is hard to beat.  These sets will be available if you wish to make a donation to the Friends, or wait until the Friends have their next book sale.

            One of the resources we have in several formats is the Ripley Bee.  Paper, microfilm and digital—each with their pros and cons.  We have many paper copies of the Bee going back into the mid-1800s, but lots of gaps. Thankfully, we have purchased reels of microfilm for years we did and didn’t have, supported and paid for other institutions to have their collections filmed so we could purchase a microfilm reel as well as having our own unique collection filmed. Then, with current technology, we’ve had these reels digitalized so that you can view and search for articles, family stories, school sports and more at your convenience from our webpage (www.ripleylibrary.com, newspaper archives tab) . So why keep all formats?  If we have the paper format, it is the best copy, but they are fragile, and take up a lot of room. Microfilm copies are often good, but the photos don’t always copy well. You can breeze through a year just looking at front pages, or take hours reading the stories and the advertisements, but there is no index, so if you don’t have a date or range, it may take you a long time to find something. The digitalized can be searched, so for genealogy or specific events, it is a great tool, but not as easy just to browse. The digitalization is third generation from the original, so if the microfilm wasn’t ‘perfect’, the online isn’t either, and the word search, while very good, occasionally misses the mark. So, for now, we are keeping it all, and hoping each provides a unique glimpse and record of our history.

            Final reminder that this Saturday will be the Wild Edibles program here at Ripley at 10:30 am in the library meeting room. Free and open to the public.