Managing Your Library

Hello and welcome to this free short seven-part course for new Masonic library staff (and for those who would like a refresher). Focusing on collection development and cataloguing, we will help you get started in organizing the resource offerings of your library.

Here is a rundown of what to expect throughout this course.

Lesson 1: I’m in charge of the library. Where do I start?
No matter whether you have just stepped into the role of librarian, or you have been working in a library for some time, we start with a look at those basics.

Lesson 2: Managing your collection
Some manuals leave this for last, but the library collection development policy is so important that it will be discussed at the start. With that in place, you can start building up your library collection with an eye to the acquisition process as well as its opposite, weeding [with a fancy name of de-accession].

Lesson 3: Introduction to cataloguing
Now that you have books in hand, you want to get them ready for the shelf. That means they must be catalogued in some fashion. We’ll discuss why
we need to follow cataloguing standards, what standards you’ll need to be aware of, and how to make those standards work for your library.

Lesson 4: Descriptive cataloguing
This is the first step in describing your library collection. We will look at how it is done and where you can find information on a particular item. We’ll also look at how most people perform searches, and the important fields to consider when cataloguing.

Lesson 5: Subject cataloguing and authority files
This lesson uncovers the uses and benefits of controlled vocabularies. We also delve into authorities and authority files: what they are, and how they can make your collection more discoverable to anyone using your catalogue, whether in-house or online.

Lesson 6: Organizing your collection
We discuss the importance of classification, look at several systems of classification including that devised by William Boyden, and provide an
overview of call numbers and genre classification.

Lesson 7: The library is ready: what’s next?
Our final lesson ties everything together. We’ll look at how to evaluate and advocate for your library and suggest activities for networking.

The following additional papers are designed to assist with the work of cataloguing.

ILS Programs: If you do not have an ILS yet, here are some companies that sell Integrated Library Systems. It is not an exhaustive list.
Masonic Libraries: A list of MLMA member libraries with their catalogues online.
Masonic Subject Headings: The Boyden list has been expanded and updated to reflect 21st century headings.
Masonic Class Schedules: The Boyden classes have been expanded and updated to reflect the Canadian arrangement of Degrees and Orders.
RDA Elements: A guide page for those who wish to follow RDA practice.

This series is inspired by, and based upon, a series prepared for school libraries in 2020 by SCIS: Schools Catalogue Information Service, a unit of Education Services Australia, based in Melbourne, Australia.

The author extends a hearty thank you to those who were the readers and commentators of these pages as they were in preparation:
Glenys Waldman, retired librarian of the Masonic Library and Museum of Pennsylvania (Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania)
Bruce Yellen, librarian for Boulder Lodge #14, Boulder, CO
Jeff Croteau, Director of Library & Archives, Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library, Lexington, MA
Jeffrey Alexander, co-librarian for Mount Holly Lodge #14, Mount Holly, N.J.

Prepared by Brian Rountree, President 2019-2021
Masonic Library & Museum Association