The library has started publishing a newsletter we’re calling Unshelved – in it you’ll find information about events at the library, projects and initiatives we’re working on, and features on the staff and library work-study students you may meet here at Taylor Memorial Library.
Many public and academic libraries have newsletters, magazines, or pamphlets that talk about library happenings, and over the years we have seen our fair share of them!
Early informational handouts came in the form of library handbooks, which served as an introduction to the library. The 1955 Taylor Memorial Library Handbook includes a foreword that states, “before you have spent many days at Centenary you will find that this building is the center of many of your activities. If you are willing to devote a short time to becoming acquainted with its resources and arrangement, you will be able to find quickly and efficiently the material you wish.” These handbooks were published for several years, and included a description of the main areas of the library, a guide to using the card catalog and finding books, articles, and other library materials, and finally, a summary of library services and policies. As new library instruction programs were developed that took over many of these roles, we began printing different pamphlets that focused on specific library services. At one time, this library had several pamphlets on services and resources that included requesting an item from interlibrary loan, using specific databases, and on library policies.
Library instruction programs are now more commonplace than ever; we actually offer several different types of instruction that range from a simple drop in visit to introduce library resources and services, to resource overviews that go in-depth on citations, plagiarism, researching, and other library skills. The need for a printed library handbook is largely non-existent, but in its absence, we’ve developed new ways of imparting information to our communities.
Over the past ten years, the library has created many different versions of a newsletter. Six years ago we published Shelf Talk, which talked about new library acquisitions and library events. The first version of Shelf Talk was created by a work study student named Sarah Malcolm. She delivered a new issue every month and dedicated a lot of her time at TML to the success of the newsletter. After her graduation from Centenary, we had difficulty selecting another work study who could focus on Shelf Talk with as much enthusiasm and talent as Sarah, and decided to put the newsletter on hiatus. Shortly afterwards, library assistant Jack Wooldridge ‘adopted’ Shelf Talk and created several issues. Unfortunately, with his departure, Shelf Talk was ‘shelved’ once again.
The idea to revisit Shelf Talk was always in the back of our minds, so the library staff decided to try a different type of newsletter. Instead of book reviews and new acquisitions, we are focusing on the events and initiatives of the library. With this new incarnation, we are hoping to show our community who we are and encourage people to learn more about the library – not just what we have, but what we do. Libraries have always adapted with the times, and Taylor Memorial Library is no stranger to that! We’re always experimenting with different ways of reaching out to our patrons, and we hope they enjoy learning more about the people behind the circulation desk!