At the present time, the library is used primarily by writers and artists in residencies sponsored by the Espy Foundation. From reported conversations between Polly and Vice-President Shawn Wong, I have come to appreciate their forward looking vision of interested persons renting the cottages (under design) and immersing themselves in the new Espy Library (under design). I can see, as Marcus Edwall wrote in 1997, "that the place being created in his honor is a place of refuge, where the contemplative reader and writer can utilize books in a manner sheltered from outside influences." I can also envision special programs within the schools and community to showcase the very remarkable qualities of the collection (including local history) and to highlight the contributions of the Espys.
On a personal note, as I examined the volumes in the old library, I delighted in the wit and comraderie not only of the indiviual works themselves but also in the inscriptions and notes from one author to another. The core colection from the Espys is an absolute treasure and it rekindled in me a somewhat lost love of the lighter side of language. I hope to have the opportunity in the future of sharing this delight with the local community and schools.
Since circulation and interlibrary loan are not integral to these visions of the user, I suggest that efforts in these directions are unnecessary. Neither may there be any immediate need for a public online catalog, although the option is within the software capacity of ResourceMate
What is of major concern, following cataloging, is collection management. By this I mean if and how to let go of duplicates, items in poor condition, and donations not relevant to the core collection of (again quoting Marcus Edwall) "books on words, word play, and English usage...supplemented by contributions of books, and memorabilia and artifacts from Oysterville's history."
One method of deaccessioning, as Louise Espy has oftern suggested, is to gift residents with duplicate copies. Another idea is to have a book sale on a (sunny!) weekend in conjunction with an open house at the old library, or at the annex, or both. There may be titles for which there exists both a personal copy (lovingly used) from W.R.E. and another less personalized one. A decision might be made to auction one at a Board Meeting and to keep the other.
There have already been substantial donations of art books and may be more in the future. A decision on how these collections should be managed will be necessary before finalizing plans for the new library.
As previously mentioned, Lee Soper has taken the lead on archival decisions so I defer to him. Besides the personal files W.R.E. accumulated (of his correspondence with publishers, etc.), the trustees may choose to archive some of the more valuable, unique, and fragile items from the Espys. Although, regretably, I have not been able to take any preservation courses yet, it is clear to me that some items in the old library need protection and some others are beyond repair. I found that in general the books from the Dickson collection were in better condition than those from the Espys. Perhaps they were handled less often, or perhaps they had better light and moisture conditions before they were donated. This brings up an ethical question that needs to be addressed. Is it alright, or is it disrespectful of the Espy Library mission, to discard or put into a book sale volumes from the Espys which are in poorer condition than duplicates from another donor?
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Last modified: 6/28/2007 11:06 AM