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Dej

OT: Don't forget your lending library...

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It may be just me, but in these days of internet 'information overload', I'd kind of forgotten that 'old-fashioned' resource, my local lending library. They provide a phenomenally good service. There are a couple of books I'd been searching for on the web and on e-Bay for years:

 

Jefford's 'RAF Squadrons: A Comprehensive Record of the Movement and Equipment of All RAF Squadrons and Their Antecedents Since 1912'

Dr. Martin O'Connor's 'Air Aces of the Austro-Hungarian Empire 1914-1918'

 

Both of these cost hundred pounds or more on the rare occasion they 'pop' up. Got them both from my local library in the past couple of months, O'Connor's book in particular coming all the way from Louisiana State Library for the princely fee of £9!

 

Just a reminder, if any needed it...

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So they exchange books with foreign libraries - almost world wide?

That is a phantastic service indeed!

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Hi chaps,

 

I work for a public library service here in the UK, so i'd just like to add my two pennorth.

 

Public libraries are, indeed, a much misunderstood and maligned service here in the UK, but have undergone almost a revolution in recent years. You'll find that, if they don't already, they will soon all be obliged to provide free internet access to borrowers, and the reference sections of most libraries are jam packed with otherwise expensive and unobtainable books, besides usually being subscribers to online services that would, if not a borrower, cost you hundreds - and in some cases, thousands - of pounds to subscribe to as an individual.

 

On the books side, they invariably provide a good and substantial selection of books that, again, might well be beyond your price range, and it's all free. I'm still ransacking our service's catalogue which has enabled me to read a plethora of excellent titles concerning WWI. Being in the North, much of the stock covers the PBI, particularly Pals battalions, but I've read the history of Jasta Boelcke, Aces Falling, Bloody April, an excellent book on the WWI aerial Palestine campaign and more besides, with plenty more still to go.

 

And, if they don't have a book you want, they'll order it for you and it's generally on the shelf in 4 - 6 weeks. If they can't source it for you - and it can happen - then the Inter Library Loan scheme ensures that they will probably be able to track it down from somewhere. And the icing on the cake is that the ILL scheme is international in scope, and covers libraries in the US and elsewhere.

 

Not bad for a free service!

 

If you're not a member of your local authority's library service, do yourself an enormous favour and join as soon as poss.

 

</soapbox>

 

Cheers,

Si

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Well, here's some coincidence! After years away from my local library (for reasons I won't bore you with) I rejoined barely 2 weeks ago. It's just so much better than it ever was! Up to 20 books out at a time, complete catalogue online, plus reservations and renewal, access to huge online reference section including, it seems, the OED - it really is quite outstanding.

 

As I was waiting for my application to be processed (only took about 10 mins) I wandered around and found Aces Falling on display in the History section, so that was my first 'borrow'.

 

I'd never heard of the ILL scheme, had no idea my library's reach was international, so really appreciate that heads-up. I'll be haunting the place from now on, just 10 minutes' walk from my house across a beautiful park. Only hope the dreaded cuts don't wreck this brilliant service, just when I've rediscovered it.

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Those living in Hampshire have access to one of the best WWI Aviation collections in the world, currently housed in the Farnborough Public Library - this is largely due to a huge donation by QinetiQ of historical books and documents (many thousand) to the library from the former Royal Aircraft Establishment. Many of the books and documents are very rare indeed (around 50 were found to be unique, and so important that they were re-donated by Hampshire Libraries to the National Archives at Kew in London). You can browse this RAE collection, to get a flavour of what is there, by entering the keyword 'qinetiq' in the online catalogue. They are all on open public access, although you may have to ask a librarian to fetch the rarer items from the locked glass fronted cabinets. Unfortunately, many of these items are so rare or fragile that they are not available for loan, but in an attempt to make at least some of these more widely available a significant number have now been digitised and are for sale on 2 CD-ROM ("Piston Engines of the Great War"). The price helps to cover the cost of digitisation and fund further projects, such as the current project to digitise the collection's copy of the WWI German Technische Berichte with English language abstracts and translations (in association with Akron State Library in the USA, who have kindly loaned a missing volume of this publication, and Cranfield University who have provided advice and offered to host the digital content via their AERADE portal). The Technische Berichte was produced in Germany between 1917-1918, and is the German equivalent of NACA technical reports (USA) or ARC (UK), and it is now very difficult to access via the few remaining hard copies.

 

Bletchley

 

http://www3.hants.gov.uk/library/aviation-collection.htm

http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:zTwnfC5Vqw8J:www.theaerodrome.com/classifieds/showproduct.php/product/311/cat/2+piston+engines+of+the+great+war+hampshire&cd=4&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=uk

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Thanks to all who've commented. A big thanks from me to you and your colleagues, themightysrc, I wish I'd caught up sooner. The tremendous service offered by public libraries cannot be emphasised enough and it's not just in the UK.

 

To embellish Bletchley's post, Aldershot Library ('next door' to Farnborough) houses the largest British Army collection, Gosport (also in Hampshire) houses a huge Royal Naval collection and - to reveal another personal area of interest, ahem - Winchester (also in... ah, you've guessed) houses one of the largest Railway collections (11,000 items). A lot of this material will be available via the ILL scheme too.

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Thanks Dej,

 

we work uz socks off trying to improve our service, so it's very nice to receive such a public thank you from a borrower. The best way to keep libraries flourishing is to use them and get everyone you know to do the same! We actually lost two branches to cuts last year - a very sad thing - and I suspect we're directly in the firing line for further cuts. It's down to the public in the end: if they tell local politicians and MPs that they won't accept their monkeying with the library service (or worse still, eviscerating it to the point where its useless) then they will back down over closure plans. Our users saved one of the branches by being bolshy and refusing to accept its closure. There's a moral in there!

 

Cheers,

Si

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