Message text written by British archaeology discussion list
>In the past, when recommending a book on an archaeological or historical
subject to an enquirer I've usually tried to suggest a public library where
they should be able to find. If they are based in London, somewhere like
the Guildhall Library - or Westminster reference library is pretty good -
or I've arranged for them to get into our own Museum of London Library
(assuming we've got the book ourselves!).
If they are outside London I've tended to say that if their local
public/reference library doesn't have it, they should be able to order it
on 'interlibrary loan'. The other day I was told that some (many?) public
libraries don't participate in this service - a London Borough of Brent
library for example will only get you a book if it's available from another
branch in the same borough.
Can anyone say how widespread this is and if it is a result of cutbacks in
the public library service? I certainly benefit from being able to order
the most obscure books [for example, one that the British Library had
'lost'] by interlibrary loan through our museum librarian. Surely even
more important than public libraries buying the latest books on archaeology
and keeping up subscriptions is their ability to provide this sort of
service to their public.
'Academic' researchers usually have access to a university or other
specialist library. But what advice can we give ordinary members of the
public who want to pursue their interests in a subject further?
Any librarians or library users out there care to comment?
I sincerely hope that this "cutback" is limited to a few libraries only.
Here in North Yorkshire inter-library loan is a lifeline! Apart from one
failure where our small local library tried for over a year to find me a
copy of a Danish publication before admitting defeat, they have come up
triumphant with the most obscure items for me - they do have a slight
tendency to hide when they see me come in armed with a sheet of scribbled
titles and heave audible sighs when confonted with long titles in
"foreign", but they rise nobly to the challenge! Long live inter-library